The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

Latest EAS News

The idea is to bring some clarity to the issues and answer your questions. Definitions and a fair amount of historical info is below, including air checks from the National EAS Test

Main EAS Page


5/6/21 - The FCC and the FEMA have made it official:

This year's EAS NPT will be on August 11th ... unless it isn't.

Seriously, the test is scheduled for August 11th. But if there are bad storms or some major emergency, there is a backup date:  August 25th.

5/5/21 - We are encouraged by the willingness of the FEMA's Mark Lucero to explain the issues that have confronted the IPAWS CAP RWTs since they changed servers. Mark graciously spent more than an hour directly answering questions posed. The video is here.

In addition, there have been reports of some alerts failing due to mp3 attachments. According to the FEMA, this is another effect of the server change, mostly affecting Everbridge users, due to the formatting of the URL for the audio. It is in the process of being corrected.

4/26/21 - The FEMA's Monday morning RWT failed again - this time for stations that check the digital signature. Many receiver logs will show "digital signature invalid." Thus, if that is what you got, just more the test "failed." Some indications are that you might have gotten the test via a secondary source, like Em-Net. How receivers react to events though such second source may vary.

It is worth mentioning that 11.56 (c) requires EAS devices to check digital signatures.  

4/23/21 - The FEMA sent an unscheduled RWT this afternoon, around 4:30 EDT, using a different script, to see if they can fix what happened on Monday. The test used the 00000 code, which is normally only for EAN and NPT, so most boxes may not respond or log it as they would not be looking for 00000 for an RWT.

This was a test, and should not cause you to reprogram your EAS units.

4/19/21 - The FEMA was unable to send the RWT correctly this morning. Apparently, it seems to have affected mostly sage boxes rather than DASDEC/Monroe or Trilithic units.

We have been told there was a recent change in servers - and the new server had some trouble handling the normal script used. The result was some difficulty for sage units to decode. The IT folks are scrambling to correct the script used. This can be logged as a "failed test" if you did not get it. 

As the day progressed, it was clearer what happened, and that it involved all time zones in the US. 

4/13/21 - The FEMA is said to be close to locking in August 11 and 25 as the main and alternate dates for an NPT for the EAS this year.

Test is said to be based on the PEP system, which showed some major problems in 2019, during storms. WEA is also to be included.  More information is expected, including the Form (One, Two, Three) dates. 

3/29/21 - Digital Alert Systems has released software Version 4.3 for the DASDEC EAS boxes. The update s free, and contains security upgrades and a Single Sign On (SSO) feature so administering multiple boxes can be done with one login and password. 

3/22/21 - The FCC is moving the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry along. There are a number of items that broadcasters will want to notice.

You likely heard that the FCC wants the SECCs to ensure they are operating along the lines of the NPRM and adjust the information sent to the FCC on an annual basis; they want to provide from repeating of EAN would like to investigate Internet relay of alerts by streamers; they want to have more reporting of false alerts - and allow governmental agencies to report false alerts;  and make it impossible for cell phone users cannot opt out of  WEA alerts from the FEMA.

Comment and Reply Comment dates are set for relatively short periods: 21 days and 14 days. You are encouraged to read the NPRM and tell the FCC what you think on Proceeding 15-94. 

1/22/21 - There are reports of many stations not receiving the local RWTs nor those on each Monday  from the FEMA. This is almost exclusively Sage EAS boxes that have not been fully updated. The version 95 that many got last year did not include the CR rev5 patch. 

Checking your EAS receiver, under VERSION, you should see CR-REV5, P4     If not, get the latest download. 

1/21/21 - The National Weather Service offices that usually sent out an RWT on Wednesday, did NOT on January 20th, as part of an over-abundance of caution. Chief Operators reviewing logs should note the RWT was cancelled by the NWS.

9/22/20 - The National Weather Service has now introduced county subdivisions in some areas - Duluth, MN; Glasgow, MT; Rapid City, SD  and Tucson, AZ. EAS receivers in these areas should be programmed to respond to the subdivisions. Instructions are in the receiver manuals.

In addition, the NWS plans to install this capability at the Las Vegas office in the near future and then at other offices. Details on the Las Vegas proposal are provided here.

If you have technical questions about this new service, you may contact wayne.hart@noaa.gov or 240-938-1629.

For NWS Policy questions, you may contact  timothy.schott@noaa.gov or 301-427-9336

9/17/20 - The FEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS) have announced that the NWS will now be relaying "Non-Weather Emergency Messages (NWEMs, in bureaucratic speak) through the IPAWS - replacing the HazCollect program.
Right now, this is operating on a test basis in a limited number of markets during Q4 of 2020, with a national rollout in 2021.

 8/26/20 - Digital Alert Systems has prepared the small upload you need to make your EAS box work with the new FEMA certificate. The old one expires on October 28th. You can get the new one here

7/23/20

The FEMA certificate for CAP will expire on October 28th. Sage EAS boxes will require an update for this and a root certificate for downloading audio from IPAWS.  Digital Alert Systems also plans a tiny file to update the DASDEC machines. As of now, Gorman-Redlich says they do not need to do anything.

7/8/20

The FCC announced that Form One for the ETRS is not required this year, seeing as there will be no NPT.

7/6/20

According to the FEMA, support (EOS) for EAS receivers using IPAWS TLS security protocols 1.0 and 1.1 ended on July 6th. The FEMA had delayed this step for some 18 months since the initial EOS was announced, to give stations and entities time to upgrade their firmware. If you do not have TLS 1.2 installed, IPAWS tests and alerts will not function. The FEMA recommends contacting your EAS receiver manufacturer for more information.

At this point, you must have DASDEC 3.1 or later (4.2 is current); Sage needs rev 95 .. the current version; Gorman-Redlich requires at least ver 2.76.3; Trilithic/Viavi must be Version 3.0 or later (V19.10 is current).

6/27/20

The FEMA has opened a new web page "OpenFEMA" which is a database of all activity on IPAWS since June 2012. The Public Announcement is here.  Documentation is here. And more about OpenFEMA is here.

6/19/20

The FEMA announced today that the 2020 NPT for the IPAWS has been cancelled. The next test will be in 2021.

12/2/19

The IPAWS test this morning happened, but was one hour late in all time zones.

11/25/19

If you did not get an IPAWS test this week, still no need to panic - there was no RWT. The FEMA did not express a reason, but did confirm all time zones did not get a test today.

11/13/19

If you did not get an IPAWS test this week, there is no need to panic. It is probably due to the needed changes in the TLS security protocol and/or certificate.

11/6/19

Due to the inability of sage alerting to deliver the necessary software update for handing security protocol TLS 1.2 (Part 11.56) until this week, the FCC has issued a Public Notice stating that stations unable to install the update may operate until January 7, 2020 without further authority.

The FCC expects most stations to accomplish the update much more rapidly, but has noted the 60 day period in the Rules (Part 11.35) to help contractors with many stations, for example, not to be consumed with the upgrades to the exclusion of all else. Also, some entities require purchase orders to buy the upgrade, which now can be expedited.

If your station is unable to accomplish the upgrade by November 8th, a note in the EAS log is sufficient for the time being. (Users of any EAS receiver are also allowed the same period of time, but as the upgrade has been available for long time, the FCC is not noting the period merely for those who have no good reason for the delay. While there is no indication they are doing this at this time, it is not beyond possibilities for the FEMA to identify which stations are not polling IPAWS with TLS 1.2)

11/4/19

The FEMA has notified manufacturers that the new Federal Bridge certificate, needed to receive IPAWS/CAP tests and alerts after November 8th is now available.
      For the update and instructions for DASDEC/One-Net, click here.
      For sage users, their latest date was posted on November 4.
      Gorman-Redlch users get their TLS 1.2 and Federal Bridge update here. Cost said to be $180

NOTE: In addition to the new certificate, you need to be upgraded to TLS V1.2 protocols. DASDEC notes that their versions 3.1 and 4.1 are already TLS 1.2 ready. For sage units, you must get the upgrade Rev95.

IF YOU CANNOT DO IT BEFORE 11/8: IPAWS/CAP alerts/tests will not be received. If you are doing your best to update, but have time/availability problems, you should note it in the EAS log, that you were unable to accomplish this on time due to manufacturer delays. This is especially true for those of you who contact for a lot of stations.

9/16/19

A reminder that the Form Three from the NPT is due by Monday the 23rd. If you have not filed this, it should be done ASAP. Just go to the ETRS web on the FCC site. There is more information on this general 2019 EAS NPT page.

8/26/19

Today's IPAWS RWT from the FEMA was missed in the Central and Mountain Time Zones - due to a FEMA server issue. Stations may wish to make a note in the logs, or wait for the FEMA's monthly report in a week or so, and attach that. The FEMA reports that all was OK in the Pacific Time Zone.

8/15/19

The FCC released a Public Notice and a list of settlements (totaling $634,000) from the Enforcement Bureau for misuse/abuse of the EAS (and WEA) tones. The settlements range from broadcast television (ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! - $395,000) and radio (KDAY/KDEY - $67,000) to cable channels (AMC and Discovery). The FCC has said for some time it is serious about using EAS tones in promos, news, or commercials, although it has been somewhat lenient for news items following the Hawaii false alert.

There is one exception, the FEMA has produced a set of "simulated tones" which sound similar, but will not set off an EAS receiver, and that may be used for promos, news, etc.

8/7/19

Well, the 2019 NPT came. Perhaps the best way to comment is that there is a lot work to do with the PEP (PEP Map is here) and daisy-chain - the way the EAS works when the Internet is down. Reports from Test Day noted quite a few stations reporting clean audio, and forwarded the test. However, other reports  noted a number of issues:
          1. The test did not reach some areas and states. Florida generally missed the test, as did the upper peninsula of Michigan, and parts of Georgia.
          2. In many places, there was no audio. Wisconsin generally had no audio due to a receiver failure. Some stations in ND, CO, NC, and NH also got no audio.
          3. Many sites reported "scratchy," "unintelligible," or audio with something underneath the NPT.
          4. Stations pulling from Sirius got overly hot audio, fairly distorted.
          5. It appears that Sirius sent a second NPT an hour later, perhaps in error.
          6. Some stations reported the same problem with the FCC's ETRS site, where they were unable to file Form Two, but received messages essentially saying "the server is too busy." Those that got to file Form Two, sometimes had to wait for well over an hour (or more) to get confirmation emails.

Already, some of the problems have been identified, and a few places are planning a "statewide re-do" to see if the daisy chain can be improved and made more reliable.

On the other hand, several states had severe storms occurring, which made reception of some sources difficult (or impossible) or crowded a bit by the local storms. Also, there were a number of RWT's launched during the day by stations - nothing bad, but unnecessary.

There is no date for the FCC to report on the test, but we can hope they are able to summarize things quickly, so SECC's and LECC's can work on corrections.

7/28/19

The Federal Register has published the FCC's August 2018 changes to the EAS rules, which now require reporting false alerts - known to be false - to the FCC within 24 hours, and SECC's filing news plans electronically.

7/25/19

The FCC sent out letters today to a large number of stations - presumably testing the contact information from the Form One filings. Some person Kamal ... no phone or other contact info, although the FCC servers do appear in the headers. After some calling to the FCC, it appears this was an attempt by someone at the FCC to push out a Public Notice. The link to the Public Notice is at here.

A later email says that there was some error on their part at alerting@fcc.gov:

"You are receiving this email because you have filed in the ETRS or because you are an EAS Participant registered within an FCC database.?

"Some of you received an email earlier today from FCC Alerting.  The email was sent in error.  We apologize for the inconvenience."

7/18/19

Sage Alerting announced a required update on their EAS boxes. The update, required by November 8th, in needed to continue using IPAWS CAP feeds from the FEMA, which will be using TLS 1.2/1.3 (Transport Layer Security, previously known as SSL). This update is apparently NOT NEEDED before the NPT. At this time, it is understood that the upgrade will cost $349 per receiver.

Most other EAS boxes will not need an update to comply with the TLS 1.2/1.3. DASDEC reports that anyone with Version 3.1 or later (4.0) will be fine, with no further update needed now, nor in the fall.

7/12/19

The FCC has again extended the Form One deadline. According to the ETRS site, the Form One deadline is now August 5th. If you have any questions on what to, there are now videos at the top of the ETRS page.  Additionally, the quickest way to get help - contact is at etrs@fcc.gov. In case ETRS cannot help (they seem to rely quickly), the Public Notice shows legal issues may be addressed to Elizabeth Cuttner, Attorney Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at elizabeth.cuttner@fcc.gov or Maureen Bizhko, Attorney Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at maureen.bizhko@fcc.gov.

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