... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer
Information on EAS - CAP - IPAWS -
Please read below for info on ETRS, NPT, and other September 2016 issues!
10/1/16 - Are you ready for Form Two and/or Form Three, but forgot the URL? Go here.
9/28/16 - The 2016 NPT went off pretty much as expected - a lot of success - it was a test, after all, and there is nothing wrong with failure, as it helps improve the EAS for future use as stations handle the few issues that were highlighted today. More information is here.
9/27/16 - With a day to spare, the FCC has denied the request for wavier by Gorman-Redlich, so that older EAS boxes (which do not recognize 000000) might still be used. The FCC really wants the 000000 to be recognized. (On the other hand, footnote 51 does seem to indicate a possibility that individual stations may seek a wavier, but this might not have a certain result.)
9/19/16 - Monroe-Electronics has released a short (6 page) illustrated application note for Version 3.0 users to help stations be sure they have got the necessary options set and ready for the NPT on September 28th. (Stations using Version 2.x should use this one.)
It takes less than
30 seconds to sign up for the free one-time-a-week BDR Newsletter. Just
9/19/16 - Today's RMT from the FEMA was only sent in three groups, much like the coming NPT next week. PDT, Alaska, and the Pacific islands were sent along with MDT (AST was with EDT).
9/14/16 - Check your logs! The FEMA ran an RWT with 000000 at 2PM EDT today. This is a great opportunity to see how your receiver responds to an "All US" test. This is not a worry for anyone - it does not have to be logged officially. Rather, it is a chance to check your filters and see if your machine recognizes 000000, and what it does. If you did not get this test, contact your manufacturer's support line - or the instructions you got on the last update. Unfortunately, there was also an invalid certificate issue - but the FEMA says this now has been fixed until 2019.
9/13/16 - Some stations and consultants are receiving notifications from the FCC that they have not filed Form One on the ETRS, even if they did. All the reasons are not yet clear, but one guess is part of the database was lost - as some have reported. Another is someone thought it was a good idea to send "blind' emails to contacts in the CDBS.
We recommend you double check that your Form One is intact. If not, do it now/again. Need help with the ETRS before the NPT on September 28th? Go here.
9/12/16 - Sources at the FEMA note problems with this morning's CAP test. It appears to have been centered on the certificate, which went out of date again. Some EAS receivers which have been set to ignore a bad certificate have received the test. Others did not. The FEMA is working on the problem.
9/6/16 - In the aftermath of a botched EAS alert on Long Island, NY, the local County Executive first blamed the FEMA, then an EAS machine, then "the system" for an alert that included a truncated evacuation of Fire Island which could have been interpreted as ordering evacuating all of Suffolk County on the East end of Long Island.
8/26/16 - This is when all stations are supposed to be registered for the 9/28 NPT. What happens if you do not get it done? The FCC says they are more interested right now in getting folks in the ETRS and getting their stations registered, so they can report on the NPT, than in issuing citations. So, according to the FCC, do it now, even if you are late.
8/19/16 - The FCC has released the new EAS Handbook, required to be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately available to staff responsible for administering EAS tests.
A docx version, which may be easier to customize, is here. NOTE: The link is to a doc file on Google Docs. Depending upon your browser, you may need to download it as a .doc or .docx, save it, then open it.
There are some items that need to be added to the Handbook before printing, as it is desired to customize them to each individual station. A fuller Public Notice is located here. HOWEVER, the FCC has noted it is their handbook and they do not want large scale general additions nor deletions!
Deadlines of note:
7/11/16 - The FCC added by Report and Order three new EAS codes on July 6th, effective on January 6th, mandating that manufacturers add them to their system and any upgrades made by stations after one year must include them. The new codes are: Extreme Wind Warning (EWW), Storm Surge Watch (SSA) and Storm Surge Warning (SSW). (As with "normal" codes, these are all voluntary.)
6/28/16 - The ETRS (EAS Test Reporting System) site is now alive. Some assistance in finding and understanding the Forms is located here. All stations must register by August 26th, in preparation for reporting on the NPT scheduled for September 28th.
6/24/16 - The FCC did NOT vote on the new EAS Codes, and there is no information as to when or if this will return to the agenda.Apparently a cost-benefit analysis from another agency killed it for now.
6/20/16 - The Reply Comment period on the FCC's EAS NPRM is well along now, ending on July 8th. If you want to make a comment easily, just go to the EFCS to comment on Docket number 15-94. You can read the existing comments, or add yours.
6/20/16 - The FCC's Open Meeting this week will feature a vote on new EAS codes. Mostly this is NWS action, meaning stations are not required to do anything - remember, only EAN, RMT, RWT, and possibly NPT - depending upon bureaucratic actions - are required to be transmitted by stations.
5/17/16 - The FEMA announced that due to a conflict in an emergency management area in Washington State, the June 9th NPT is now being planned for Wednesday June 15th (Six days later). The FEMA will issue further statements shortly. A web seminar will be held on June 2nd (Thursday) at 4PM EDT and one at June 7th (Tuesday) at 3:00 PM EDT for those wishing more information on the text.
5/10/16 - The FEMA has announced the next in their series of regional NPT (National Periodic Test) activations. On June 9th, at 2:20 PM MDT/1:20 PM PDT, the states of CA, CO, ID, MT, ND, SD, OR, WY, and WA will have an NPT run from IPAWS. As in past activations, the FEMA will do a live web presentation on May 12th to at 4 PM EDT to answer questions for those wanting to know more about "NPT." More info here.
5/5/16 - As asked for by Monroe Electronics (Makers of the DASDEC EAS receiver) the FCC has extended comments on the EAS NPRM (15-94) until June 8th, with reply comments due July 8th.
5/1/16 - As has been announced, the FCC and the FEMA are tooling up for the NPT this fall (see next item). The date for the test is currently set for September 28, a Wednesday. More information will be posted as it is received.
4/27/16 - The FCC has released the Public Notice regarding the ETRS (Emergency Alert System Test Reporting System) for EAS receptions. This April 18th Public Notice is an information notice only, with screen shots of how the ETRS will look and operate. Actual instructions and requirements to fill in the forms will come later this year, likely just ahead of the NPT schedule in September.
3/30/16 - The FCC has issued a Multilingual EAS Order. So far, the upshot is the FCC is telling to SECCs to provide data on multilingual EAS usage. It does not yet require multilingual broadcasts by EAS participants.
3/24/16 - The EAS NPRM was published in the Federal Register this morning. Comments are due on or before May 9, 2016 and reply comments are due on or before June 7, 2016. One key point, the docket number has changed from 04-296 to 15-94. So be sure to use 15-94 on the ECFS.
3/3/16 - The FEMA announced through the Alabama Broadcasters' Association that an NPT will be sent to that state, in lieu of the cancelled one from last week. It is scheduled for March 10th at 11:15AM.
2/29/16 - Those states where participation in the latest regional test was abruptly cancelled will be added to a future test, according to information released by the FEMA today.
2/25/16 - How did things work out on the recent NPT? Like any test, one might call it a success, in that many stations got the test and either forwarded it or discovered some problems in settings - there were many reports on non-forwarding.
The biggest problem seems to have come from the FEMA and state broadcast associations in the South that cancelled the test at the last minute - but did not see fit to notify stations in any way.
Other issues included some AES settings caused the audio to be slowed dramatically - or no audio at all.
2/23/16 - The FEMA announced the next National EAS Test - it will be conducted on Wednesday. September 28 at 2:20PM ET. It appears to be an IPAWS-only - not using the PEP stations via legacy EAS. Meanwhile, the FCC expects the ETRS (Electronic Test Reporting System) to be up and running by mid-year so EAS Participants can "sign up" before the test.
2/22/16 - A regional EAS test has been announced for February 24th, a Wednesday, at 2:20 EST. This time the test will include the East Coast and Tornado Alley, among other states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, D.C., Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia. More information will come from the FEMA and the FCC shortly. (NOTE: FLORIDA has requested to be removed from this list for this test.) (NOTE2: at the last minute, EMs in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia requested no participation. The NWS reached out to cancel the test in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.)
2/9/16 - The FEMA has some information about the upcoming regional EAS test, available here.
11/23/15 - The FCC advisory committee, CSRIC will meet on December 3rd to discuss ways to improve the reliability and security of the communications infrastructure. The meeting will be streamed at www.fcc.gov/live.
11/19/15 - The FEMA NPT went off well according to reports. Reports from the various states indicate that most stations got the NPT.
In fact, even a non-advertised function went well. Users of the DASDEC EAS receivers reported the ability to get Spanish language versions of the test cleanly and clearly. This demonstrates that it is possible to send language specific alerts to areas of high concentration of various language speakers.
We asked Ed Czarnecki,
Monroe Electronics’ senior director for strategy and global government
about the multilingual aspect of
the test. He said "The NPT was a
single CAP message with two information blocks - one in English and the
other in Spanish. Each info block contained the full expanded text of
the Emergency Alert in each respective language. The CAP message also
contained two audio files embedded in the message itself - again English
The successful completion of this test gives us and our broadcast partners confidence that we have a flexible and workable path forward to support multilingual public alert and warning in this country.”
11/17/15 - The FEMA continues to roll out regional tests of the IPAWS system. This time, on November 17th at 4:20 EST, the NPT test sequences will be sent to stations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada. The location code PEP code will also be part of the test, although the 000000 apparently will not be used as it is not required until next year. There will again be several online seminars available to answer questions. Check with fema.gov for details.
8/10/15 - The FEMA is planning an New England IPAWS test in September (16th), in coordination with state broadcast associations in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT. The test, at 2:20PM EDT will test the NPT code. There will be an online seminar on September 3rd at 10 AM EDT to answer questions.
7/13/15 - The IPAWS CAP RMT did not run today in the EDT Zone.
6/30/15 - The clock has stared on the R&O items below, as the FCC published them in the Federal Record. There is already some pushback on the ETRS and audio follow video crawl. It remains to be seen if the equipment can be put in place on the the FCC's timeline. FYI: Monroe Electronics (DASDEC) EAS boxes are already programmed for the 000000 and NPT. And, both Gorman-Redlich and TFT have stated that their CAP converters handle the 000000 and NPT.
6/2/15 - Only 3.5 years after the National EAS Test, the FCC has released four proposed improvements to the EAS, in its 6th Report and Order. Among the FCC's proposals:
The Enforcement shoe has dropped on iHeart Media for the
false EAS tones (a repeat of the National EAS Test) run on
the Bobby Bones Show in October 24, 2014. The
Order for $1 Million in civil penalties (plus a
compliance plan) was agreed to by iHeart Media
to conclude the matter. It is worth noting that part of the
reason for the large settlement was that the program was
more than just on locally in Nashville (WSIX) - it was on
satellite and carried in a number of markets.
5/5/15 - The CAP RWT for the American Samoa time zone was not sent this week.
4/1/15 - Are you ready for the National Public Alering System (NPAS)? No, this is not an April Fools' joke. The NPAS - or "Alert Ready" - is the Canadian system that is now in full operation as of today.
Similar to the EAS rules in the US, the Canadian regulatory agency (CRTC) requires most all radio/TV/satellite/cable/video-on-demand stations to participate in NPAS and broadcast alerts where there is danger to life or property. (There is a one year extension of time for campus/community/ native broadcasters and "radiocommunications distribution" services to comply with the requiremen.)
You can listen to the Canadian Alert Tone here.
Receiver and alerting gear similar to that in the US will be in use, however it appears that broadcasters will have less option in relaying alerts. There is even a national message aggregator, similar to the US IPAWS. The government plans to spend about $2 million on a national marketing campaign to inform the public and encourage them to visit the Alert Ready site, which contains explanations, video examples, and links to agencies that can help during emergencies.
Complete information - including the new rules - on the Canadian NPAS can be found here. Among the interesting facts are that there are 153 event codes (approximately three times as many as in the US) and that SGC (geo-codes) are used which, unlike FIPS, are able to zero in on a very tight localized area, or wide regional spread, as needed.
3/31/15 - "Something" happened with the IPAWS CAP RWT this week. Details are sketchy, but someone from the PSHSB noted it was apparently confined to Comcast cable systems. The official word was: "Yesterday [Monday] at 11am EST Comcast inadvertently released a FEMA [IPAWS] EAS Test Alert to a limited number of its devices. This was not a national issue and affected only certain states." It appears mostly in some Eastern states, but also some as far away as California and Nevada TV stations received and broadcast an odd RWT.
3/24/15 - The Part 11 re-write is coming RSN.
2/9/15 - If you are in the Eastern Time Zone and did not receive an RWT from IPAWS, do not worry. The FEMA did NOT send a CAP RWT this week. Just mark your EAS log appropriately. (The other zones appear OK.)
2/4/15 - IPAWS will do a
live test of the NPT code for broadcast and cable operations on
Wednesday, March 18th at 2:30PM EST in the following four states:
For DASDEC/One-Net owners, an application note on configuring the autoforward for the NPT event test can be found at this link.
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 for the movie Olympus Has Fallen, 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.
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 programming. 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.