Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Mutual Aid Communicator Program

As of January 1, 2020, the MAC Program has been replaced by the
Credentialing Program


Mutual Aid Communicators (MACs) are amateur radio operators who have volunteered their time, their expertise and their equipment to provide communications services during times of need.  These individuals are trained and prepared to provide a variety of communications services and are available for deployment throughout the county, according to the county mutual aid mechanisms.  The MAC Program defines standards of performance and includes several types and levels of qualifications. These qualifications are the basis for resource typing and effective and efficient resource assignment.


Program Brochure

MAC Program Brochure    PDF (345 kB)    Word (101 kB)  [Revised 24-Oct-2009]

A brief, high-level overview of the Mutual Aid Communicator Program in a tri-fold format.  Quickly describes what a MAC is and how to become a MAC.  Ideal for distributing at ham crams, Field Day, club activities or to served agencies.  There is room on the back to attach a sticker with local contact information.  Alternatively, you can edit the MS Word version to add your contact info.

(Printing tip:  For optimal column alignment, print the PDF version using "borderless" or "edge-to-edge" mode and no page scaling on your home printer, or send to a professional printer.)


Program Handbook

MAC Program Handbook    PDF (987 kB)  [v2.3 Revised 20-Jun-2018]

A comprehensive and detailed description of the Santa Clara County Mutual Aid Communicator program.  Includes how to become a MAC, MAC roles and responsibilities, and advanced qualifications.  Required reading for anyone interested in or already participating in the program.



MAC Program Overview - Oct 2013      (1.5 MB)
by Michael Fox, N6MEF

Santa Clara County ARES/RACES - Oct 25-2011      (36 kB)
Presented at Pacificon 2011 on 25-Oct-2011 by Larry Carr, KE6AGJ

Building a Mutual Aid Communicator Program - Oct-25-2011      (1.9 MB)
Presented at Pacificon 2011 on 25-Oct-2011 by Michael Fox, N6MEF

Amateur Radio Resource Typing - May-22-2011    PDF  (2.3 MB)
Presented to Carnegie Mellon University / Disaster Management Institute on 22-May-2011 by Michael Fox, N6MEF

MAC Program Update - Oct-14-2010    PDF  (230 kB)
One year progress review, current status and next steps.  Presented to the EC Council on 14-Oct-2010 by Michael Fox, N6MEF

MAC Program Overview - Sep-05-2010    PDF (2.08 MB)
A brief overview of the MAC program.  Presented to various ARES/RACES groups by Michael Fox, N6MEF.

MAC Program Kick-Off - week of Sep-20-2009    PDF (570 kB)    MP3 (6.01 MB)
A brief overview of the recently implemented enhancements to the MAC program.  Presented to Santa Clara County ARES/RACES groups following the Monday night SPECS net (Sept 21, 2009) and the Tuesday night SVECS net (Sep 22, 2009) by Michael Fox, N6MEF.

MAC Program Enhancements - Aug-13-2009    PDF (271 kB)
A summary of the enhancements to the MAC program which are currently underway.  Presented to Santa Clara County EC Council on Aug 13, 2009 by Michael Fox, N6MEF.


Performance Standards

All Santa Clara County MACs are expected to perform their duties according to the Santa Clara County ARES/RACES Performance Standards and Best Practices ("the Performance Standards").  These standards are recommended for everyone and are the required minimum standard for MACs.  They are located in the Operations > Standards and Procedures section of this website.



Candidate Record

The following form may be used by a candidate for the MAC program (MAC in Training) and his/her EC as an aid to tracking progress toward completion of the MAC program entrance requirements. The form contains a list of the requirements defined in the MAC Program Handbook section titled "Becoming a Mutual Aid Communicator."  Refer to the MAC Program Handbook for specifics of each requirement.

PDF MAC Candidate Record (117 kB)  [rev 02-Apr-2014]

Qualification Record

The following forms are for use by candidates to keep a record of their progress toward qualifications.  These forms mimic the information that is stored in the county database.  They act as a receipt, just in case the county's records are lost or in error.  Download a copy of the appropriate form and bring it with you to your evaluation.  When you complete each part of the evaluation, ask the evaluator to initial it for your records.

PDF Field Communicator Type III  (F3) (79 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]
PDF Field Communicator Type II  (F2) (78 kB)  [rev 18-Apr-2016]
PDF Net Control Operator Type III  (N3) (74 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]
PDF Net Control Operator Type II  (N2) (75 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]
PDF Packet Operator Type III  (P3) (74 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]
PDF Packet Operator Type II  (P2) (75 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]
PDF Shadow Communicator Type III  (S3) (73 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]
PDF Shadow Communicator Type II  (S2) (73 kB)  [rev 09-Apr-2013]

To compare your records to the county database, visit:  Log in and click on "View MAC status."  Then click on a qualification level and compare the information to your paper qualification record.  Please allow up to 5 business days for evaluators to update the county database.



Required Training Courses per MAC Qualification Level

Pre-MAC Preparation Training

The following training courses are designed to bring amateur radio operators up to speed on Santa Clara County ARES/RACES emergency communications procedures.  They are useful for anyone interested in emergency communications.  They are considered essential preparatory training prior to entrance into the MAC program.

Introduction to Emergency Communications
Ideal for new hams who are interested in emergency communications.

Fundamentals of Emergency Communications
Ideal for new hams who have completed "Introduction to Emergency Communications" or experienced hams who are new to emergency communications or new to Santa Clara County ARES/RACES procedures.


E-mail List / Group

The MAC discussion/e-mail group is available for MACs and those interested in becoming MACs.  One need not be a MAC to join. Recommended membership includes ECs, AECs, MACs and those interested in becoming MACs.

To Join: Visit our Discussion Groups page to learn how to subscribe to our main Announce group. Once approved, you can subscribe to the MAC group.


Record Updates

To access your MAC status, go to the Training and Events Database, log in, and click on "My MAC Status."  Click on the individual qualifications for status about each requirement of each qualification.  For the details about each of the requirements listed, consult the MAC Program Handbook.

The database updates are performed manually by volunteer MAC Evaluators. Updates are usually entered within a few days of any activity where evaluations are performed, such as drills and public service events.  Unfortunately, we just don't have the manpower to check ever person's record who attends every training class or participates in every net.  So, how can you get your training and participation requirements updated after you complete a class or participate in an event?

Training and participation requirements are usually verified and checked-off at the same time that equipment, knowledge and operator skill requirements are checked-off. So, if you still need equipment, knowledge or operator skill sign-offs, then just remind the evaluator the next time you are evaluated to also check your training and participation requirements.  However, if the only requirements you have left to complete for a given qualification are training or participation requirements, simply send an e-mail with the relevant data to the program manager (see below) when you complete those items.


Questions and Comments

The best place to ask questions or make suggestions about the program is the MAC discussion group listed above.  Posting to the group allows everyone involved or interested in the MAC program to have visibility to the issue and an opportunity to add value to the discussion by providing their own observations and/or suggestions. 


Program Manager

The credential program manager for the program can be reached at:  credmgr at scc-ares-races dot org


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This page was last updated on 20-Jun-2018