... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer
Information on EAS - CAP - IPAWS -
1/20/15 - The FCC has issued yet another warning not to play with the EAS tones. Perhaps you remember early last year when the FCC fined NBCUniversal, Disney/ESPN, and Viacom about $2 million for violations, primarly in regards to a commercial run with unauthorized tones in them. NBCUniversal paid their half million, but the others wanted to have the fines reduced or waived. Instead, the FCC has stood fast, and issued an NAL for $1.4 million against Viacom and ESPN, as well as a Public Notice on the matter.
1/5/15 - The first IPAWS CAP RWT for the new year seems to be a double shot. The Eastern and Central time zones are reporting two RWTs about 30 seconds apart.
11/17/14 - The weekly IPAWS CAP RWT was not transmitted to the Mountain time zone today. This has been confirmed by the FEMA and will appear on their end-of-month report.
11/7/14 - The FCC finally said something about the false repeat of the 2011 National EAS Test. They issued a Public Notice late Friday afternoon. They want to alert stations about the possibility of a "Sunday Surprise" and collect comments on the impact of false alerts, as well as how it happened.
11/6/14 - The false repeat of the 2011 National EAS Test may leave a little "Easter Egg" for unsuspecting stations: an EAN could launch on November 9th, if your EAS receiver is "holding" the alert tones sent out by WSIX last week until the date matches. Ed Czarnecki of Monroe Electronics, makers of the DASDEC EAS receivers suggests that "just in case," stations that ran the Bobby Bones Show should check to ensure the fake EAN is not being held in the alert queue. He has provided a detailed instruction sheet to ensure your station will not have a nasty surprise. The Field Service Bulletin is available here. DASDEC really is trying to help: they are working on calling all the stations they know have their units.
On another issue: the call to "set your receivers for 'strict time'" or otherwise ignore EANs with defective timestamps, remember the FCC stated multiple times that "immediately" is the rule: 11.51(m)(2) and 11.52(e)(2). MORE TO THE POINT: only one manufacturer has this menu setting, you will waste your time if you go looking for it on non-sage receivers.
11/3/14 - The FEMA advises the RWT from IPAWS was not sent to the Pacific time zone today.
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10/29/14 - Reflecting on some of the issues raised by last week's fake EAN, Richard Rudman discusses some key issues raised and his view of the best way forward.
10/24/14 - An EAN (rebroadcast from the National EAS Test in 2011) was launched this morning. The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters (TAB) reported the source was a board operator a Nashville FM station, relayed by satellite to other markets, including Atlanta GA, Detroit MI, and Austin TX. (Some screen shots of TV alerts can be seen here.)
The tones from the test were dated November 9th and from "COMCAST" ... but it originated, as you can hear here, on the "Bobby Bones Show." On the audio track, the "talent" is making some comment on the previous night's baseball game, but goes way off the reservation with the tones. Curiously, if he had done as he said, replayed a local area test, it would not have gone very far. But the FCC has said that EANs should be carried immediately.
(Note: The FCC has stated that EANs must run "immediately," regardless of time-stamp. We would remind our readers of 11.51(m)(2) and 11.52(e)(2), among other statements.)
This story will continue!
10/20/14 - The RWT from the FEMA IPAWS: Today's test missed the Central time zone. Reports of "normal" reception have come from the East and Mountain time zones. Reports from IL, IN, MN, and WI all say no RWT was received. An acknowledgement from the FEMA confirmed. (One report indicated that the Eastern time zone got two tests: 11:01A and 11:03A.)
10/3/14 - Today, the FEMA announced that they missed the RWT for Alaska on September 15th.
9/17/14 - The test in West Virginia seemed to go off pretty well. The first reports in are that most of the decoders got the test OK, and the text to speech worked just fine. (As expected, a few filters were not set correctly, but that is fixable.) As intended, the test appears to have stayed in WV.
9/12/14 - When will we see the next National EAS Test? Likely in late 2015 or early 2016. The FCC has to adopt the NPT code some additional rules (like mandated reports - the bureaucrat's delight) and ensure cooperation between it and the FEMA.
9/6/14 - West Virginia
will be the test bed for the FEMA IPAWS CAP system. A sort of "National"
test using the NPT code is scheduled to be done on Wednesday September
17th, except it will be only sent to stations in WV. At least that is
the plan. A rebroadcast of the meeting about the test
The WVBA posted
7/14/14 - The NPRM for the long-awaited Part 11 rewrite has finally appeared. The FCC is soliciting comments on changes that need to be made to the EAS Rules. Not every rule is in this NPRM, 14-93, which is probably good, as it will speed this action up. Among the items in this NPRM are the location code for EAN, that the EAN must be immediately aired, some new header codes (NPT = National Test), mandating reporting of NPT coded tests (the ETRS), visual crawl and audio accessibility, and a six-month deadline to replace non-conforming equipment. Comments are open through August 14th (Docket 04-296), with 15 more days for Reply Comments.
5/22/14 - The FCC has extended by 18 months the waiver it issued regarding the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) PSAs that have been distributed by the FEMA. These PSAs contain WEA EAS tones - which has become a rather lightning rod for fines of late. The FCC says these PSAs may run: The waiver is available here.
DC Attorney Cary
Tepper says: "PROCEED
WITH CAUTION -- the FCC
did not grant an unconditional waiver. The waiver applies only to
announcements that 'mak[e] it clear that the WEA Attention Signals are
being used in the context of the PSA and for the purpose of educating
the viewing or listening public about the functions of their WEA-capable
mobile devices and the WEA program.' The FCC warned that 'leading off a
PSA with a WEA Attention Signal, without warning, may be an effective
attention-getting device, but it would violate the conditions of this
waiver because of the effect that it could have on the listening or
4/21/14 - Tthe IPAWS CAP RWT did not run in the CDT zone. Information from the FEMA indicates that this time zone was missed during the test this week.
4/14/14 - From comments at NAB: The FCC plans the NPRM on the Part 11 rewrite to actually happen later this year. Stations should make sure their EAS gear is behind a firewall, to reduce possibilities of hacking. There has been some discussion with the NWS over message flooding. And, they will be more aggressive on the use of EAS tones and soundalikes in spots.
4/6/14 - DASDEC EAS firmware has been updated to Version 2.5-0. It is available at: digitalalertsystems.com
3/11/14 - Still waiting for the Part 11 re-write? You may need to wait longer. The FCC released a Public Notice today, seeking comment on EAS issues such as supporting multilingual information matters. If you desire to comment, you can do it on line, on the ECFS. (The Cocket number is 04-296)
3/7/14 - This has been a real strange week for EAS. "Leaking" Live Code tests, fake EAS tests, and even a couple that no one can account for in public. The latest news is that Kingsford Charcoal is planning to release an ad on Monday that contains EAS Tones. It is the advice of the NAB, among others, not to run this spot!
3/5/14 - Today's live code test in IL appears to have "leaked" somehow into parts of Indiana - both on broadcast stations and cell phones. There is no complete explanation as yet, but it did surprise a number of stations - and likely listeners. Rreports (Yahoo, Fox, jconline.com) suggest it was an old alert from Nov 17th last year. A few folks are trying to trace this back,
Live code (real,
regular EAS Codes, not DMO) tests have been announced for a number of
3/3/14 - OK, one more time: it is illegal to use EAS tones for anything but EAS activations. No movie trailers, no news reports, no silliness. The FCC is not amused. This NAL for $1.9 million to Disney, Viacom, and NBCUniversal push off all excuses - include weasel-wording from lawyers saying it was not "transmitted," or it was not false, or it was "obvious." Broadcasters, cable networks, anyone who transmits or causes to be transmitted the EAS tones will find themselves in hot water. That is the FCC's strong message. Got it?
2/19/14 - Yes, some stations still do not understand the need for an EAS receiver. KBDX-AM in Dallas, TX received an NALF for $9k for not having an operational EAS receiver nor logs.
1/13/14 - The IPAWS CAP
RWT was not received by some stations. Reports do say tests were
received in EST, CST, MST, and PST. A software issue with the SAGE endec
caused users to miss reception. A common comment was:
Checking with other companies: Digital Alert Systems (DASDEC) confirms no certificate issues are forseen for their products. TFT has also indicated no issues are anticipated.
1/8/14 - The FEMA IPAWS office issued a statement to try to resolve some of the comments recently about a proposal floated by FEMA that appeared to indicate a desire to privatize or outsize the IPAWS CAP services. Antwane Johnson wrote that IPAWS "does not anticipate that there would be any changes to the IPAWS-OPEN alert input or output interfaces and no impact to our alert origination and alert dissemination partners beyond normal planned functional improvements."
12/10/13 - The FEMA CAP Server apparently has been operating without major issues over the past month. All time zones report receiving all the scheduled RWTs.
12/1/13 - Several states are now experimenting with voice messages attached to the CAP RWTs. The initial reports are the the audio files are clearer than Text-to-speech. However, clearly this will depend upon the conditions where the audio is recorded.
11/20/13 - Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced his choice to head the PSHSB (Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau) and replace RAdm Jamie Barnett. The new Chief will be RAdm David Simpson.
11/5/13 - The FCC finally has issued more than a mere Public Notice regarding the use of EAS tones (and sound alikes) in ads, promos, and programning. Bottom line: it is illegal. A rather large fine has been proposed for Turner Broadcast for violating this rule. And a Bowling Green, KY station agreed to make a $39k 'voluntary contribution' to clear them running EAS tones in a commercial.
10/21/13 - Sage has released a firmware update: V89.6 to solve a problem with text to speech. Other recent updates involve issues such as IPAWS polling. The update. And some information on updates. (Thanks to: Todd Hausser)
10/14/13 - As reported, the FEMA decided the RWT was not "essential" during the partial federal shutdown, and did not run it. Nothing official will be offered until the end of the month, but all time zones reported no RWT this week.
10/7/13 - Thus far reports indicate FEMA ran the CAP RWT this week as scheduled, despite the other silliness going on in Washington, DC this week. We must give credit when due!
9/25/13 - Richard
Rudman says: "It is a good thing when the National Weather Service
(NWS) warns the public when bad weather threatens life and property.
Yet,some EAS participants are wondering if there can be too much of a
good thing. Some parts of the country are experiencing many NWS EAS
weather warnings in very short periods of time that, despite their good
intent, may be excessively disrupting programming and driving listeners
and viewers away. The Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) wants to
find out if EAS participants are cutting back on the number of NWS EAS
events they relay. They have created a short survey to find out. Here's
the link to the survey:
9/24/13 - The FCC has issued a Public Notice inviting comments on equipment and operational issues related to the first National EAS Test in November 2011. Comments are due by October 23rd. The Docket Number 04-296. The Public Notice is located here.
9/23/13 - We have reports of missing CAP RWTs today. On good authority we can tell you that the scheduled RWTs seem to be missing for the Eastern, Mountain, and Pacific time zones today. Apparently FEMA sent only Guam, Atlantic, Central and Alaska time zones thus far. Any missed CAP RWTs will be listed in the monthly summary provided by FEMA. (You do not get the monthly summary? Sign up here.)
9/17/13 - Nebraska conducted a CAP text-to-speech test through IPAWS. Most stations reported success. A number of states are now running with CAP tests through the IPAWS server. Stations are cautioned to check the logs carefully to see where the tests come from - as it is no longer always the national FEMA folks.
9/2/13 - Perhaps in honor of Labor Day it was a day off at the FEMA. They have now confirmed that they did not issue an RWT as has been the custom on Mondays.
8/9/13 - Interested in a summary of the state of EAS in mid-2013? Richard Rudman presented this information to the Texas Association of Broadcasters this week.
8/9/13 - The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has come out with a "quiet hours" directive for AMBER alerts for WEA between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM.
7/22/13 - This week's FEMA CAP RWT failed to connect in Connecticut due to an incorrect FIPS code. Apparently a digit was left off the state code.
7/15/13 - The FCC has rejected waiver requests from three companies for not having installed new EAS Receivers (CAP Compliant) by the June 30, 2012 deadline. Each appeared to have waited too long to get their receivers ordered in time for delivery before the deadline. There was no specific fine nor indication of when/if the FCC would issue such a fine, but it was made clear that waivers have to meet a very high standard to succeed.
7/15/13 - Reports this morning indicated the Weekly test in the EDT zone went missing due to a programming error. The IPAWS CAP Server was up, but the EDT test was not sent. This has been confirmed with the FEMA folks.
7/9/13 - Several publications, including ZDNet and Wired have reported security holes in DASDEC EAS boxes. This is old information, as DAS had released firmware in April to resolve any issues. More information is here. All DASDEC units should be updated to V2.0-2 at the DAS site.
6/10/13 - There are widespread reports from around the country that there have been glitches in the IPAWS CAP Server this morning during the overnight hours and at 8:45AM, 9:09AM and 9:46AM EDT. Several stations in the CDT time zone reported not receiving the weekly test.
6/6/13 - Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems released an advisory to remind stations about ensuring security for their EAS codecs - and to be sure they have the latest software update. A discussion of the "Zombie Alert" and related issues is located here.
5/31/13 - The FCC PSHSB has rather rapidly released an Order which permits playing the FEMA/Ad Council ads for cell phone alerts. The waiver is for a year.
5/30/13 - It really is hard to know how to react to this one. Remember the FEMA web page with "useful advice" on what to do in an emergency (How checking local radio stations was at the end of the list)? Well, then you may be non-plussed to see this new PSA (there are similar radio spots) that the FEMA expects broadcasters to run, telling people that they can rely upon cellphone alerts to make them secure. (The people in Norman, OK will be glad to tell you how useful cellphones were after the tornado hit. And, even when they work and the cell companies transmit - which many do not - the WEA message is limited to 90 characters. Then what? )
But if that were not enough, included is a free violation of the FCC Rules (11.45). Although some reports indicate the tones have been made shorter and lower in level, several state associations have already told their members to pull any such spots that they have in house. We will leave it to you to ponder this one.
5/29/13 - There is another software update for the Sage digital EAS boxes; 89.5. This update is to correct some issues with CAP Audio, especially when over one minute in length. Those of you on DASDEC boxes can get their 2.02 update here. If you have not updated your EAS boxes, you should, to ensure good connection to the FEMA server.
5/28/13 - The FEMA IPAWS OPEN CAP Server was done this morning from approximately 02:57 to after 9AM EDT. It appears there were differing times in different time zones.
5/14/13 - A number of stations reported intermittant CAP service today. It was across the country, but it appeared that only a portion of stations were affected.
5/2/13 - The PSHSB (Public Safety and Homeland Safety Bureau) of the FCC has issued a statement encouraging the SECC's to update their state plans and monitoring assignments. An outgrowth of the recent report on the National EAS test, the FCC wants SECCs to review Section 11.21 and ensure it is up-to-date. Some changes may only need informal latters.
5/2/13 - The FEMA and Premiere Networks are working on a plan to provide an additional data path to stations from the IPAWS OPEN server. A date for implementation has not yet been announced, but most observers see any additional options for receiving the CAP messages is good for the industry.
4/18/13 - The IPAWS CAP server was down today from 7:59 to 8:16AM EDT
You may breath again! All those of you who have been holding their breath,
waiting for the FCC's
report on the National EAS Test. It was released Friday - just after the
NAB Spring Show.
3/13/13 - Monroe Electronics and Digital Alert Systems have delivered the first CAP-enabled receivers for Canada's multilingual NAAD (Net Alert Aggregation and Dissemination) system. Fully functional in English and French-Canadian, the DASDEC and R189 One-Net systems can provide CAP-driven audio announcements for weather alerts and civil emergencies. The DASDEC now handles English, Spanish, and Canadian-French.
3/11/13 - The IPAWS CAP server was reported up and down this morning, for example: from 8:25 to 9:22AM EDT and 9:31 to 9:42AM EDT.
3/7/13 - This past Monday's RWT from the FEMA was not received by some users with DASDEC EAS receivers. The focus on what happened is on a minor issue with the scheduled software update that was made to the IPAWS aggregator last week.
If you did not get the
test, just note it "failed" and determined that it was not a local
3/6/13 - TFT has received Certification from the FCC on their new EAS911+ CAP-enabled EAS receiver. The unit has also complete FEMA compliance testing for CAP decoding. TFT will be showing the product at the NAB Spring Show next month.
3/5/13 - Another movie trailer - for "Olympus Has Fallen" - is running around the country with EAS tones included. While the tones have not yet been reported to contain any useful information, it is a violation of 73.1217 - it may be worthwhile to inform your traffic/sales/management. (The producer is supposely doing a remake without the tones - but check which version you may be airing!)
2/28/13 - The FEMA has finally responded to many requests by the BWWG and others for delivering information on the IPAWS OPEN server status and the occasional issues. They have set up a mailing list which also will inform users of the status of the weekly tests, so users can compare with their local logs, and information on when problems occur. To sign up, go here.
2/26/13 - A web seminar has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 6th to discuss the state of the public warning systems and how to improve them, especially on the state and local level. The time for the broadcast is 2PM Eastern time. The link to the broadcast is here.
2/26/13 - NPR is in the midst of a study to see how stations can better serve deaf persons with EAS messages. Methods may include strobe lights or vibrators actiivated by RDS signals.
2/26/13 - A scheduled outage of the IPAWS OPEN CAP Server has been announced for Wednesday 9:30 to 10:00 AM EST tomorrow (Wednesday) 2/27. There is to be a software upgrade.
2/25/13 - The FCC has renamed CMAS as WEA - Wireless Emergency Alerts.
2/12/13 - Here is a bit more of what facts we know about the fake EAS event Monday:
Key point: The unauthorized EAS device access and subsequent alert happened because the system was still using the factory default password. While no one has admitted to not having a working firewall, one station did claim that their attack was launched from another continent.
To repeat: While it has be indicated the event developed from a breech of a company LAN, the resulting on-air issue was due to the failure of stations to change the default passwords.
Another problem popped up today. Several stations, and apparently NBC Today played the audio on the air, including the databursts. There have been scattered reports of stations relaying this. It is a good idea to ensure filters are set correctly (fips codes), and the relay time window does not accept outdated alerts.
2/11/13 - Have you changed the passwords on your EAS receivers from the default? If not, please be aware that hackers have managed to penetrate EAS CAP receivers in at least two states and put out a fake alert. Other stations caught it and blocked it in at least three states. Do not operate with your default password! A few sites have video/audio of the event.
2/11/13 - The FEMA advises us that the IPAWS OPEN Server still is intermittantly up and down at 6AM EST. It has been reported to be back up at 9:33AM EST, although some areas reported problems until 2:30PM EST
2/10/13 - The IPAWS OPEN CAP Server went down at 10PM EST.
1/16/13 - Lamar Smith (KDWN Las Vegas) was the latest to be added to the PEPAC (Primary Entry Point Advisory Committee), The ten member committee helps bridge the FCC and the FEMA with the PEP (Primary Entry Point) stations in each state.
1/10/13 - The FCC report on the Derecho storms last year have a couple of interesting points. While they "like" what the broadcast community does, the writers also appear to think 911 and other alerting methods like CMAS are the future.
1/10/13 - A presentation at NAB by the FEMA's Wade Witmer and representatives from NOAA and the cellular industry discussed the state of alerting, especially the current CMAS rollout. Some of the topics included the rather difficult time the cellular industry is having getting the right messages to the right subscribers.
1/9/13 - EAS ALERT: If you were wondering when the FCC was going to enforce the requirements for stations to monitor IPAWS OPEN CAP feeds, wonder no longer. An NOV was issued to KPRI, San Diego for not having records of monitoring the CAP feeds nor reasons why tests were not received.
12/31/12 -Another IPAWS OPEN outage has been reported, starting around 9:30 AM EST. It appears to have been completely restored by 2:30PM. The outages seem to be different in some areas. e.g. The MST Monday test was received normally.
12/24/12 -The FEMA IPAWS OPEN server was reported to be up and down approximately 8:32PM - 12:20 AM EST
12/20/12 -Another "rolling restart" was apparently done successfully.
12/17/12 -The FEMA plans a "rolling restart" of the ATOM server at 3 PM EST today.
12/14/12 -The IPAWS OPEN server is reported down at 4:24PM EST. Restoration appears to be at approximately 5:22 PM EST. What was described as a "rolling restart" process did not, and a manual restart happened. The FEMA is looking into what happened.
12/12/12 -The IPAWS OPEN server went down today, but without any advance notice, at 11:23AM EST. Complete restoration was finally at approximately 12:45PM EST.
12/11/12 -The FEMA has been doing an upgrade on the IPAWS OPEN server. It was supposed to take a few hours today (Tuesday), but late at night, there was information that there was a snag, and the installation of a mirror server would have to be done another time. The plan for an "active-active" system with rollover, is hoped to prevent any systemic outages in the future - one of the two servers always being active and an automatice "failover" going into effect in case of problems.
(Prior known outages of the FEMA IPAWS OPEN server are located here.)
10/29/12 -Hurricane Sandy smashed into the East Coast today. Few EAS messages were sent, as it was pretty clear this was coming and the wall-to-wall coverage on the TV nets and many "full service" radio stations pretty much informed everyone. On the other hand, the FCC and FEMA have other ideas on how you may wish to communicate - or at least some might think the priorities are a bit upside-down. At least they got to radio. Broadcasters should feel "special."
10/26/12 -The New Jersey Broadcasters' Association reports that the state's EAS systems suffered a major outage after a lightning strike caused major issues with new EMnet system. A backup trunked radio system also failed at the same time, prompting calls for more periodic testing to ensure both the EAS and backup systems were always ready.
10/15/12 -For those of you who wonder how tests of emergency alert systems work in other countries, perhaps it will provide a small sense of perverse comfort to know that having problems during national tests is not confined to the US.
has listened to requests from the BWWG and the broadcast community and announced the IPAWS OPEN RWTs
will continue TFN.
Exactly does it mean for a
station to be "compliant?"
Do you have to log the tests
from the IPAWS server?
If there is a problem with the
IPAWS RWT tests, what should be done?
Will the FEMA have a web page
to explain problems/errors?
How often should you poll the
IPAWS OPEN SERVICE CONNECTION TIPS
The three most common
problems for those installing new EAS receivers:
If you still have issues, contact your receiver's tech support line.
7/9/12 - Sage owners: there is a software glitch that causes the receiver to lock up. It may be related to momentary loss of connection with the IPAWS or CAP server. A reboot usually resolves the problem. Sage has indicated they will have a software update to try to resolve this issue (Version 89.2).
The FEMA has released a new online course designed by Integrated Public
Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), for emergency managers and others.
IS-247, is designed to support and test skills needed to draft more
appropriate, effective, and accessible warning messages and to teach
practices for the effective use of Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).
The FEMA expects to require this training for all emergency warning centers before they are permitted to upload warnings to the FEMA OPEN aggregator server. Completion of IS-247 will also be required for any alerting official to send an alert via IPAWS, and is also to be made part of the NIMS (National Incident Management System), and certification being required in order for agencies to get federal funding.
CAP - Common Alerting Protocol
For those worried about the requirements in Part 11 about the State Plan and State Map, the FCC is not expecting new State Plans. At this point, they are asking for "Amendments" to existing plans - and the maps are for a future time.
2/25/13 - The FCC has renamed CMAS as WEA - Wireless Emergency Alerts.
6/28/12 - National Weather Radio is now
sending out weather alerts to mobile devices that are enabled to receive
the CMAS. These alerts - various warnings - announced on the NWS Home
Page are in CAP and will include
Tornado and Flash Flood Warnings, Hurricane, Typhoon, Dust Storm and
Extreme Wind Warnings Blizzard and Ice Storm Warnings, and Tsunami
Warnings. More information is on
NWS site here. A
chart of the warnings is here. News reports indicate some
alerts have already been sent/received in different parts of the US.