Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Packet Operations - Type III, Part B

Course Description and Materials


Overview: This is the second course in a two- part series designed to prepare an individual to assemble and operate an existing packet station. Part A covers the overall county packet network architecture and the various components of a standard packet station, with a hands-on exercise focused on configuring and using the standard packet station. Part B builds on Part A and ties general packet operations to a typical field deployment.
Intended Audience: Hams with experience in emergency communications who are interested in performing Packet Operator duties.
  • Valid Technician Class or higher Amateur Radio license
  • Santa Clara County ARES/RACES training course:
  • Perform the pre-class homework defined below

Note: The above prerequisites are not strictly enforced. But to get the most out of this course, you should have previously attended the above course. If you have not yet attended one or more of the prerequisites, you should carefully review the course materials for the missed prerequisites prior to attending this course. Then, be sure to attend any missed prerequisites at your earliest opportunity.

Length: 3 hours
Pre-class Homework:

Students are expected to perform the following pre-class homework:

  • Join the packet discussion group
    • Use the discussion group to get help with any of the following homework
  • Read and understand the following web pages:
  • Install Outpost and Pack-It-Forms using the latest SCCo Packet Client Software Installer.
    • Review the Setup and Tools menus and dialog boxes
    • Review the Outpost User Guide (on the Outpost web site)
  • If you have a packet station:
    • Practice connecting to your primary and secondary BBS and sending yourself a message at each
    • Download, save, read and understand the notices in the XSCPERM area
    • Check in to the Monday or Tuesday packet net
  • If you did not attend the Packet 3A class, then complete the Packet 3A Exercises Workbook
    • These exercises cover a lot of operational details of Outpost.
    • Some of those details involve actually sending and receiving a message.
    • But even if you don't have a radio and TNC, you can complete most of the exercises except for the actual Send/Receive of the message.
Students should bring:
  • Copy of course materials (see below)
  • Pen/pencil and pad of paper
  • A copy of the "Packet Frequencies and BBS Listings" web page for use during the class participation segments of the class.
Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course, students will know how to:

  • Verify the setup of an existing packet station
  • Select a BBS and connect to it
  • Create a message with Outpost and Pack-It-Forms
    • Properly format the subject line
    • Send a proper check-in message
  • Retrieve SCCo notices and send local notices
  • Conduct packet message field operations
Topics Covered:

The course agenda includes:

  • Packet Operations
  • Diagnosing Setup Problems
  • Selecting a BBS
  • Creating Messages
  • Event Documentation
  • Productivity Hints
  • Archive event documentation
  • Exercises
Scheduling Info:

Course Materials:

Classroom presentation (Revised 02-Oct-2023):

Print out and bring the following to class:


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This page was last updated on 02-Oct-2023