Santa Clara County OES, California

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County-wide Communications Exercise &
Simulated Emergency Test (SET)

Overview     |     City/Agency     |     Individual     |     Travel

Overview Information

Activation Number XSC-17-12-T
Overview Cities/agencies will set up an alternate EOC radio room in the field. "When all else fails" skills will be practiced. Participants will visit other teams' setups and compare best practices. City/agency teams will compete with other cities/agencies for awards and bragging rights!

Each city is invited to send a team to set up an alternate EOC radio room that is independent of commercial power and able to operate day and night, rain or shine, as if your city/agency EOC radio room was being operated from an alternate location. These radio rooms will demonstrate the ability to communicate by UHF and VHF voice and packet radio with the alternate County EOC radio room, and optionally with additional field teams from your city.

A competition will be held to select by vote of participants the best alternate EOC radio room overall and in several categories. Winners will receive fame, glory, and the admiration of all Santa Clara County ARES/RACES members! Awards will also be given.

Individuals may participate whether or not their city sets up an alternate EOC radio room. Positions will be available in the alternate County EOC radio room and in the field. All position types will be available, including field communicator, net control operator, packet operator and shadow communicator.

Evaluations for MAC qualifications will be available for those who sign up for a county position.

And, for the icing on the cake, enjoy a delicious grilled lunch provided by County OES!


Open to all cities/agencies in Santa Clara County and all individual amateur radio operators interested in emergency communications. Everyone MUST sign up in advance.

Individuals can operate with their city/agency teams or as a county resource (or both). Individuals should check with their Emergency Coordinator to see if their city/agency will be attending as a team.

Individuals who do not have a current DSW registration with Santa Clara County ARES/RACES can register when they arrive at the drill.  Registering for DSW during check-in at the drill may delay check-in by as much as 20 minutes, so plan accordingly.


To participate in this drill, you MUST sign-up by October 5th.

The participation options are very flexible in order to allow people to participate in a way that is most fun and interesting for them. Your options are:

  • Participate with your city team for the entire drill
  • Participate with both your city team and one position on the county team
  • Participate with the county team for the entire drill. You can choose one position or two different positions.
  • To participate in a MAC evaluation you must sign up for a county position no later than October 5th.

Click here to sign up for a county position

The cities that will be sending teams to the drill are listed below. To sign up for a position with your city team, select the appropriate link below.

Date Saturday, October 14, 2017  (rain or shine)
Drill Location

Ed Levin County Park  (part of the Santa Clara County Parks system)
3100 Calaveras Rd
Milpitas, CA 95035

Note: You do NOT need to pay the entrance fee. The fees have been waived for this event.

Map showing Ed Levin County Park plus surrounding area, staging location, and parking

Thomas Brothers Guide:  page 794 grid G5

GPS Coord of entrance: 37* 26' 52.19N / 121* 50' 54.95W

  • 06:00 - Drill staff arrive; county radio room and staging setup begins
  • 07:00 - Resource Net opens; drill participant travel begins
  • 08:00 - Staging opens; drill participant check-in begins; please do not arrive earlier unless specifically scheduled
  • 09:30 - County message, command and packet nets open; city/county traffic begins
  • 10:30 - Deadline for cities to have their radio rooms operational
  • 10:30 - 13:00 - Visit other setups and compare best practices
  • 11:30 - 12:30 - Grilled lunch provided by county OES
  • 13:00 - County message, command and packet nets close; end of city/county traffic
  • 14:00 - Staging closes; drill participants should be checked out
Weather Average temperatures in mid-October: Highs in the mid-70s F; Lows in the mid-50s F. Sunrise: 07:14. Mostly Sunny (but be prepared for rain).
Lunch County OES will be providing a grilled lunch (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.). Meet some of the principals at OES while you're taking a break. Bring your own if you have unique dietary requirements or if you simply prefer something else.
Evaluations Mutual Aid Communicators (MACs) and MACs in Training (MITs) can request evaluations for the following MAC program qualifications:  F3, F2, N3, N2, P3, P2, S3, S2.  We may offer MAC equipment evaluations if sufficient staff is available.
AAR The After Action Report will be posted a few weeks after the drill.


City/Agency Details


Each city/agency setup should seek to provide the following recommended minimum capabilities:

  • Physical operation protected from sun, wind, rain, and prepared to operate in daytime or night time
  • Radio operation on the county message net, command net and packet net, as well as any field net(s) you may use for intra-city communications. The county county message and command nets will operate on the standard county frequencies. The packet net will operate using our portable W5XSC BBS on three bands: 2m, 1.25m, 70cm (frequencies TBD).

Each city/agency team is responsible for providing their own equipment. Recommended equipment includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Shelter and furniture (pop-up, tables, chairs, etc.)
  • Lighting (sufficient to operate the radio room at night)
  • Radios for voice (county nets, city net(s))
  • Packet station (PC, TNC, radio, printer)
  • Antennas for voice and packet (antennas, masts, tripods, etc.)
  • Power (generator and fuel or sufficient battery)
  • Safety equipment (orange cones, caution tape, fire extinguisher if using a generator, etc.)
  • Blank forms (ICS-211, ICS-213, ICS-309, etc.)

Three types of activities will be happening:

  1. County nets: Cities/agencies will exchange messages with the county radio room on the county nets
  2. City/agency setup visits and voting: Team members will visit other setups to exchange ideas and best practices and vote on the best setups
  3. Optional city tactical nets: Cities may wish to assign members of their team to perform "field" duties elsewhere in the park and report into the city radio room


Individual Details


ALL participants, whether part of a city/agency team or operating on their own, must bring or wear the following minimum equipment with them, on their person. 

  • Driver's license or other State-issued identification card
  • Amateur Radio License
  • HT (2m minimum; 2m/440 dual-band preferred) with sufficient batteries to operate for the time you are there
  • Clipboard, note pad, pens/pencils
  • All ICS forms required for your Go Kit (see Operations > Forms > ICS Forms used in Communications)
  • Lunch (if you have special dietary requirements or if you simply prefer your own)
  • Sufficient water for the time you are there
  • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes (wear)
  • Long pants (wear)
  • Safety vest (wear) [ANSI 107 Performance Class 2, fluorescent yellow/lime]
  • Sun protection (wear) [hat, sunscreen, etc.]
  • Be sure you have a backpack, fanny pack, shoulder bag or some other hands free way to carry your equipment. That goes double for your radio - you need a radio harness, belt clip, or something to hold it.

MACs and MITs participating in MAC evaluations will have other equipment requirements, depending on the qualification level of the evaluation.  Consult the MAC handbook for a list of the required equipment for each MAC qualification level.


Individual activities will be available:

  1. County assignments: Assignments will be available for individuals to perform field, net control, packet or shadow duties supporting the county radio room and staff
  2. MAC Evaluations: MACs and MITs who operate a county assignment can optionally be evaluated for a MAC qualification while they perform that assignment.
  3. With advanced planning and early arrival, individuals will be able to complete a county assignment (with optional MAC eval) plus spend time with their city/agency team


Travel Information

Travel to Drill

If you are a registered county DSW, you are expected to use the Resource Net. Follow standard Resource Net procedures.

If you are NOT a registered county DSW, Net Control can not activate you. But you can still practice using the Resource Net for tracking your travel. Follow standard Resource Net procedures.

Resource Net The following repeaters will be linked together for the drill and will function as the resource net:
  • AA6BT:  146.115 (+) 100.0  (Main; located in East San Jose)
  • W6ASH: 440.800 (+) 100.0  (North; best for North end of the county and near the park)
  • N6NAC:  444.625 (+) 110.9  (South; best when South of San Jose intersection of Hwys 85 & 101)


  • Program all three repeaters into your radio memory so you can easily switch between them while driving. 
    • If you are coming from the southern end of the county, you will need to switch from N6NAC to AA6BT approximately when you reach the 85 and 101 intersection in South San Jose.
    • You will need to switch to W6ASH as you approach the park area.
    • If you are coming from the northern end of the county, you can probably stay on W6ASH the whole way.
  • Remember that linked repeaters require you to insert extra delay.  Leave plenty of space before keying up.  Pause after keying up, before speaking.
  • Prior to departure from home:  Check into the resource net. When called, tell net control your starting mileage (last three digits of your odometer) and your street location. (Your odometer does not have a decimal point. If you see a decimal point, you're looking at your trip odometer.  We don't use that because it can be reset.  Switch to your odometer and provide the last three digits to net control).
  • While traveling:  Stay tuned to the resource net and respond to health and welfare checks by net control. A proper report includes the last three (whole) digits of your odometer, your street location, and your call sign.
  • Refer to the above map as you get near the drill site.
  • Upon arrival at the drill: Stay in your vehicle and contact net control. You will be told what to do next.
  • If you do not yet have a current county DSW registration, net control will not be able to officially activate you and you will not be covered under the DSW program until you reach the drill site and complete your DSW registration.
Training Info Additional information on the disaster server worker program, resource net procedures and net types and usage can be found in the Fundamentals of Emergency Communications training course materials. If you have not taken this course, you are advised to review the course presentation prior to the drill.
Staging After checking out of the Resource Net, walk to the Staging Area to complete the check-in procedure.
Net Usage Everyone is required to be on the proper net at the proper time. The county Resource Net is used for travel to and from the event.  Be sure you always check-in and check-out properly when moving from one net to the other. Always pay attention to the net control operator for whichever net you are on and answer promptly when called.
Check-Out After you have completed each assignment, return to the Staging Area for re-assignment or check-out.  Be sure to fill out an evaluation form so we can capture your feedback.
Travel Home Check in to the Resource Net from your car, prior to leaving the park. If you prefer not to be tracked back home, notify net control when you check in. Alternatively, you can check out of the resource net at any time on your way home if you decide to go somewhere else.


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This page was last updated 13-Oct-2017