Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Pop-Up Net Control Practice



Pop-up Net Control Practice is a quick, simple, fun way to practice being a net control. 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 controlling a net. 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 get experience in running a Tactical Net where operators are reporting from field positions, and in running a Resource Net with operators traveling to their assignments.  The experience will include practice, and advice as needed, on completing the appropriate logs for these activities.  
Intended Audience: Anyone involved in SCCo ARES/RACES that meets the prerequisites below. Net controls are an essential position for every net, and they set the pace for how efficient and effective the net will be. We always need more net controls. So, anyone should be capable of controlling a basic net.

There are five different roles in this activity:

  • Participants
    • These are the folks who will be practicing to be (better) net controls. They will perform the net control function for a tactical net and then for a resource net.
    • Sign up for and operate for one hour: 0900-1000, 1000-1100, or 1100-1200
  • Staff
    • Operate from 0900-1200
    • Coaches
      • Accomplished net control operators who will provide one-on-one support and direction as the participant operates the radio.
    • Simulators
      • Simulate multiple operators on the net.
    • 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:

  • Participants must have already completed the following SCCo ARES/RACES training courses within the last two years:
  • Coaches must have the Net Control Type III credential or higher
  • Simulators must have Communicator Type IV credential or higher
  • Check-in must be a licensed amateur radio operator

The next practice session will be:

  • Saturday, March 21, 2020; 0900 - 1200
  • Parking lot across the street from the Sheriff's Office building
  • Look for the pop-up tents and park at least one slot away. No permit is required on weekends.
  • 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 order.


Attendees need to bring the following Go Kit items:

  • Participants
    • All standard Go Kit Forms
    • A radio will be provided for your use
  • Coaches, Simulators, and Check-in
    • Bring 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 of three or more hours. Bring a backup battery and/or HT, just in case.

Will be provided when you arrive.

Evaluations: No credential evaluations will be offered

COVID-19 Precautions:

  • We will practice all recommended procedures to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • We will spread out in the parking lot and maintain the recommended "social distance" from each other.
  • Participants should have their own hand sanitizer

Follow all standard personal and RF safety procedures, plus:

  • Watch for trip hazards, such as on coax or foot switch cables
  • Stay within the designated areas marked by cones and the pop-up tents.
  • Stay out of the traffic lanes in the parking lot

Suggestion for getting the most out of the practice session:

  • All:
    • Carefully review the Net Control Type III 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 06-Mar-2020