Santa Clara County, California ARES/RACES
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Pop-Up Packet Practice



Pop-up Packet Practice is a quick, simple, fun way to practice setting up a packet station in the field. It doesn't have the formality of typical drills/exercises. You go, you do, and you leave. How long you stay is up to you. What differentiates it from practicing at home (which we should all do, right?!) is you have to set up in the field, plus you get to see the setups used by other operators and there is technical support available.

Why do this? We have observed that operators can have difficulty getting their station set up and working in the field, even if they regularly send their weekly practice messages from home. And being able to set up in the field is what we're all about, right? So, this practice is designed to give everyone an opportunity to practice a field deployment with packet without the complexity and overhead usually associated with more complicated exercises.

Intended Audience: 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 working to get to that point).

SCCo ARES/RACES Training Courses:


See event-specific information in our activities database:


Bring your own equipment

  • 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 can set up with something as simple as a card table and chair.
  • If you bring a pop-up tent, 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
  • If you bring a mast and tripod, be sure to bring sufficient sandbags to secure the tripod from tipping over.

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 2m or 1.25m bands.

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 (and current MAC qualifications) will be available for Type III or Type II.

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 practice session:

  • Come at the beginning.
  • Stay until you complete all of the exercises.
  • 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.
  • Take the time to see what everyone else is doing and what they use for their setup. Share ideas for your own station.
  • 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 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 on 30-Mar-2019