Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Field Packet Mini-Drill and Outdoor Recreation Activity
Saturday, 13-Jun-2020

Activation Number TBD

Outdoor Recreation

  • This event is an Outdoor Recreation activity. Outdoor recreation is considered an essential activity under the Santa Clara County stay at home order.
  • Attendees will set up their own individual packet station outdoors and are free to walk around the park as much as they want, all while maintaining social distancing.

Packet Mini-Drill

  • The Field Packet Mini-Drill is a short, focused drill designed to simulate a brief but real-world field packet deployment. It's a simple and fun way to gain practical experience deploying your packet station in a field setting and accomplishing a set of objectives patterned after real-world assignments.
  • The Field Packet Mini-Drill is only a few hours in duration. Participants arrive, check in at staging, receive a briefing, and then set up, operate according to the exercise scenario, tear down, and check out. You can be home for lunch (or shortly thereafter).


This mini-drill takes place at the same time and place as the Pop-up Packet Practice session. But the activities you will perform are different. The key differences are:

Mini-Drill (this activity):

  • Arrive on time and participate for at least 2 hours, including setup and tear down of equipment
  • Operate on the air for at least one hour
  • Execute the provided exercise scenario
  • Complete all standard documentation and follow all standard operating procedures
  • This is the preferred choice if you've already been to one pop-up practice session
  • This ***IS*** an approved exercise for credit toward credentials


  • No pressure opportunity for learning and experimenting
  • Come when you want, stay as long as you want, leave when you want
  • Set up, send/receive a few messages, packet up and go; easy peazy
  • Limited documentation requirements
  • The practice session is the preferred choice for first time packet users who are not yet comfortable operating in the field
  • ***BUT*** practice is NOT an approved exercise for credit toward an SCCo ARES/RACES credential
  • For more information and to sign up for the practice session instead, go here

Anyone involved in SCCo ARES/RACES. Packet is our primary/preferred message handling method because it's fast, accurate and automated. Just like everyone today knows how to use email, every ARES/RACES operator should be able to use packet (or should be working to get to that point).


Saturday, June 13, 2020


Hellyer County Park
985 Hellyer Ave.
San Jose, CA 95111

A map showing the best places to park and operate is located here.

The vehicle entry fee is currently not being charged. If that changes, each individual is responsible for the fee (usually about $6.00).


The following schedule is preliminary, based on similar, previous exercises. Check back occasionally for updated information:

  • 08:00 -- Park Opens
  • 08:30 -- Staging Opens
  • 09:00 -- Briefing (be on time, including completed with staging)
  • 09:15-12:00 -- Operating time
  • 12:00 -- Operating time ends; all operators should be packing up by now
  • 13:00 -- Everyone gone

You must sign up in advance to participate in this exercise. See: 13-Jun-2020 Field Packet Mini-Drill Sign-up Page

Weather Rain or shine.

Bring your own equipment

  • You will set up your individual packet station in the grass right next to your car.
  • You can set up with something as simple as a card table and chair.
  • You'll need a radio (HT recommended) to be in contact with the voice net (our normal procedure), plus your packet station.
  • You'll need something to keep papers from being blown around. Clipboards work well.
  • You'll need something to shield your screen from the bright light of the outdoors. In a pinch, a cardboard box painted black inside works.
  • If you bring a pop-up tent, do NOT use stakes because you may hit the sprinkler pipes. Be sure you have about 40 lbs of weight per leg to ensure it doesn't get blown into and hurt someone or damage something else (like the cars nearby).
  • Antenna
    • If you use a pop-up tent, you can secure the mast to the tent legs with velcro straps. This avoids tripod legs that people can trip over.
    • If you bring a mast and tripod, be sure to bring 10-20 lbs of weight per leg to secure the tripod from tipping over.
  • Be sure not to block any walkways or get in the way of other park users.
  • We recommend skipping a parking place between yourself and the next packet user. This will help you maintain social distancing as you set up and operate.

No AC Power

  • There will be no AC power available and we don't want anyone to bring generators. Remember, this is supposed to be quick and easy. The operating time will be about an hour (less, depending on how fast you are!). Everyone's station should be able to operate for at least one hour on battery.

Any of the SCCo ARES/RACES BBSs on any available access frequency. See our frequency list here.

  • Your best bet is probably W2XSC. And W4XSC is reachable with a mag mount antenna.
  • If you have a taller mast, you may be able to reach W1XSC.
  • If you have a 220 radio, please use it. It will help reduce the load on the 2m channels.
Evaluations Evaluations for SCCo ARES/RACES credentials will be available for: P3 and P2.

Follow all social distancing protocols and requirements from the SCCo Health Officer:

  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home
  • If you are in the high risk group (over 65, have other health conditions), it's best to stay at home
  • Maintain social distancing at all times
  • If you need a mask, we will have them available

Follow all standard personal and RF safety procedures, plus:

  • Stay out of the traffic lanes in the parking lot. Stay within the parking spaces.
  • Bring sun protection. At a minimum, a wide-brimmed hat will work for some. Of course, if you bring a pop-up tent, that works, too.
  • Bring sufficient weights to hold down and stabilize any equipment you set up.

Suggestion for getting the most out of the exercise:

  • Arrive on time. Expect to spend about 15-20 minutes in staging. So be sure to leave enough time to be ready for the briefing on time.
  • Stay at least until you complete the exercise scenario.
  • For credential credit, you need to operate on the air for at least one hour and participate in the exercise for at least two hours.
  • Set up your field station just like you would do in a real situation.
  • Avoid using your vehicle, except for transportation. In a real situation, it's highly unlikely that you will be operating next to your vehicle.
  • If you have time after completing the exercise scenario, walk around and see what everyone else is doing and what they use for their setup. Share ideas for your own station.
  • For questions about packet, use our Packet discussion group.
  • For more information about all of our discussion groups, visit our Discussion Groups page.


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This page was last updated 06-Jun-2020