Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Pop-Up Message Passing Practice



Pop-up Message Passing Practice is a quick, simple, fun way to practice proper message passing procedures. It doesn't have the formality of typical drills/exercises. You go, you do, and you leave. What differentiates it from practicing at home (which we should all do, right?!) is you get direct, individualized coaching and feedback.

Why do this? We have observed that operators can have difficulty making the transition from classroom learning to actually passing messages on the air. So, this practice is designed to give participants an opportunity to put into practice what they learned in the classroom without the complexity and overhead usually associated with more complicated drills or exercises. Think of it as the lab part of a lecture/lab combination course.

Scenario: You'll be paired with a coach and will send and receive several different types of messages over the air to/from another operator.
Intended Audience: Anyone involved in SCCo ARES/RACES that meets the prerequisites below. Passing messages for 3rd parties is an essential part of what we do and, frankly, it's most of what we do at EOCs, DOCs and command posts. So, it's essential that EVERYONE develop this basic skill set.

There are five different roles in this activity:

  • Participants
    • These are the folks who will be practicing message passing.
    • Sign up for and operate for one hour: 0900-1000, 1000-1100, 1100-1200
  • Staff
    • Operate from 0900-1200
    • Coaches
      • Accomplished message passing operators who will provide one-on-one support and direction as the participant operates the radio
    • Simulators
      • Exchange messages with participants
    • Check-in
      • Manages the check-in/out desk and helps organize participants before and after each shift
    • Event IC
      • Supervises the entire activity

The prerequisites for each role are as follows:


The next practice session will be:

  • Saturday, May 30, 2020
  • SCCo EOC, 4th Floor, 55 W Younger Ave., San Jose
  • To sign up, click here

If all slots are full, or if you do NOT have the necessary prerequisites but would still like to participate, you can sign up on the waiting list. If a space is available, priority will be given to those with prerequisites, and then on a first come, first served basis.


Attendees need to bring the following Go Kit items:

  • Participants
  • Coaches, Simulators, and Check-in
    • Your HT

No AC Power

  • There will be no AC power available. Remember, this is supposed to be quick and easy.
  • Coaches, Simulators, Check-in: be sure you have sufficient battery power in your HT for low power operations for three or more hours. Bring a backup battery and/or HT, just in case.

Will be provided when you arrive. Be sure you know how to program your radio from the keypad or front panel (no computer).

Evaluations: No credential evaluations will be offered

Follow all standard personal and RF safety procedures, plus:

  • Watch for trip hazards, such as on coax or foot switch cables
  • Follow normal safety precautions for an indoor office environment

Suggestion for getting the most out of the practice session:

  • All:
    • Carefully review the Message Passing course materials before coming to the activity (see links above)
    • If you have questions about the materials, ask them on our Training discussion group
  • Participants:
    • Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time slot
    • You are welcome to stay and observe after your time slot is finished
  • Coaches, Simulators, Check-in
    • Arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the activity. There will be a short briefing.
  • If you have questions or feedback about this or other training activities, you can join our Training discussion group and ask your question there.
  • For more information about all of our discussion groups, visit our Discussion Groups page.


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This page was last updated on 03-Feb-2020