Society of Broadcast Engineers



CHAPTER 24, Inc., MADISON, WI
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SBE 24 EAS National Test

EAS

National EAS Test Information

November 27, 2011 - The big November 9th National EAS Test has come and gone. WBA and the Wisconsin EAS Committee would like to thank all stations for their cooperation in getting the word out on the test. FEMA feels that although there were audio problems with the test, it was a success in the aspect that FEMA got the readiness data they needed and the test raised EAS awareness.

Here in Wisconsin, your WBA organized a conference call for one hour after the test involving the statewide LP and SR EAS stations, our Primary Entry Point (PEP) station and normal in-the-trenches stations. Despite the poor audio, the majority of stations reported relaying the test on-air successfully, thus proving that our Wisconsin EAS Network works properly. The major exception was in the Eau Claire area, where the State Relay (SR) station truncated the test while it was still in progress. Station engineers believe this was due to the double-audio coming from FEMA which contained a second EAS Header Code 15 seconds into the test. Some EAS units detected this second Header Code buried under the audio message and thus terminated the test. This happened not only at the Eau Claire SR station, but there were reports of this happening at various other stations around the state. Whether it affected a particular EAS unit seems dependent on the "Attention Signal Threshold" setting of the EAS unit. While this second EAS Header Code should not have been there and FEMA has already diagnosed the problem so it should not happen again, any stations that experienced a truncated alert may want to increase the "Threshold" setting noted above as the Eau Claire SR station has already done. In the end, even if your station did not properly air the test due to this FEMA double-audio, the fact that your station received the test is good news in Wisconsin showing that our State EAS Network delivery system worked as intended.

All stations are reminded that you must complete FCC Reporting Form 3 by December 27 at the FCC website: www.fcc.gov/nationwideeastest. FCC and FEMA will likely do more nationwide EAS testing in the future, but no further dates have been announced at this time. On a related note, the FCC has said informally that it intends to have its new CAP EAS Rules released by the end of December. Word will go out from your WBA as well as the statewide SBE EAS email lists when that FCC action occurs.



November 3, 2011 - IMPORTANT CHANGE: DHS today shortened the length of the National EAS Test to be broadcast on November 9, 2011 at 1:00PM CST. Rather than the previous 3 to 3 ½ minute length, the audio message will now last only 30 seconds. With the EAS tones, this will yield a test of about 45 seconds. As before, the test will conclude with a normal End-of-Message (EOM) code which will release your EAS unit back to normal programming.

IMPORTANT ACTION ITEM: All broadcasters and cable operators must now download, print, and display at all EAS operating positions a revised copy of the FCC "Handbook for November 9, 2011 Nationwide EAS Test" from the FCC Nationwide EAS Test website at: www.fcc.gov/nationwideeastest. Note that nothing on the cover of the document indicates it is the revised Handbook. The changes are on Pages 5 and 16, where the test length is changed to read 30 seconds.


September 11, 2011 - FEMA will use the EAS Location Code for Washington, DC when sending the National EAS Test. Some questions have arisen whether this code needs to be entered into the filters of EAS units. In most cases, it doesn't. Here is the latest information provided by several manufacturers in a Sept. 1, 2011 FEMA webinar:

TFT EAS 911: TFT has determined that the DC FIPS code does not need to be entered into the TFT EAS 911 programming. TFT does caution however that the EAS 911 unit must be in Automatic Mode for the alert to air on its own. If the EAS 911 unit is in Manual Mode, an operator must manually forward the alert.

Sage ENDEC: Sage has said that its ENDEC unit will forward the alert whether in Auto or Manual Mode, and the DC FIPS code does not need to be added to the ENDEC memory. The only caution from Sage is that it is possible to delete or alter the EAN Filter, so stations may want to double-check that the EAN Filter still exists.

Digital Alert Systems DASDEC: DAS says their DASDEC unit will pass the EAN whether in Auto or Manual Mode, and the DC FIPS code does not need to be programmed into the DASDEC memory.

Gorman-Redlich: Says its EAS unit will pass the EAN in either Auto or Manual Mode, and does not need the DC FIPS code added to the EAS unit memory. G-R cautioned that the EAS unit must be in Automatic Mode to pass the EAN on its own. If in Manual Mode, an operator must manually forward the alert.

Trilithic: Says its EASyCAST EAS units with software version 6.67 and older will need the DC FIPS code added to the programming. EASyCAST EAS units with software version 6.70 and newer (the current version is 8.03 - May, 2011) will not need the DC FIPS code added to the programming and will pass the EAN in either Auto or Manual Mode.

November 3, 2011 - Here are some initial details, but stay tuned for changes.
• Date & Time: November 9, 2011, at 1:00PM CST.

• Length of Test: The audio message will last about 30 seconds. With the EAS tones, this will result in a total test duration of about 45 seconds. The test will end with a normal End-of-Message (EOM) code, releasing your EAS unit back to normal programming. [Note: On 11/3/2011, the duration of the test was shortened from the previous 3 to 3 ½ minutes to now only a 30-second test script plus the length of the EAS tones.]

• The National EAS Test on November 9 will replace our normally scheduled Wisconsin Required Monthly Test (RMT) for November. Thus, the National Weather Service will NOT send the RMT that was scheduled to run on NOAA Weather Radio on the morning of November 2, 2011. This RMT will not be re-scheduled; there will be no RMT in Wisconsin during November, per FCC guidance.

• The State Relay (SR) stations that all Wisconsin broadcasters monitor do not normally run a Required Weekly Test (RWT) in the week that an RMT is scheduled. Since there will now not be an RMT in the first week of November, the SR stations will run an RWT during that week; it is scheduled for November 2 at 1359. For the new Wisconsin EAS Test schedule, see www.wpr.org/eas, which shows this new RWT as well as the placement of the National EAS Test.

• The National Weather Service, which would normally run an RWT on NOAA Weather Radio at 12 Noon on November 9, the day the National EAS Test is to occur, will instead move the NOAA Weather Radio RWT a day earlier to 12 Noon on November 8.

• Per the FCC, all broadcasters and cable operators have the option to not run their own RWT during the week of November 7, the week that the National EAS Test occurs.

• On National EAS Test day, November 9, all TV stations and cable systems should be prepared at 1:00PM CST to display a graphic stating "This is a Test" which should be visible behind the EAS crawl. Note that because the real Presidential EAS code will be used, your EAS crawl will say "The Primary Entry Point System has issued an Emergency Action Notification…". Although the audio message will state it is a test, the text crawl will look like it is a real alert. Thus, you are requested to display a Test graphic behind the crawl. You may either simply use the graphic you use every week for your RWT, or NAB has worked with FCC and FEMA to develop the text on the following graphic you may wish to use: http://www.nab.org/documents/advocacy/EAS/EASTestSlide.pdf

• The FCC has released a "Handbook for November 9, 2011 Nationwide EAS Test" with specific instructions for this test. The procedures in the special Handbook are to supersede those found in the present EAS Operating Handbook for the day of the test, and this special Handbook is to be posted at all EAS equipment locations or normal duty positions. Download the special Handbook on the FCC's National EAS Test portal: http://www.fcc.gov/nationwideeastest

• The event will test legacy EAS, not CAP.  [CAP will be tested in future tests.]

• The Emergency Action Termination (EAT) code will not be used.  [The test will consist of the Emergency Action Notification (EAN) code followed by the audio message and finishing with the End of message (EOM) code.]

• NOAA Weather Radio will not carry the test.

• The test will not use the President’s voice.

• EAS Location Code will be Washington, DC.  [Equipment manufacturers have said this will not be an issue, and no EAS unit re-programming is necessary. Note: See updated comment above on September 11, 2011.]

• EAS Originator Code will be Primary Entry Point (PEP).

• Your EAS unit will carry the test with no re-programming needed.

• The test will be disseminated nationwide through an NPR satellite channel as well as over a network of specially-designated Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations.  The Wisconsin EAS Network will likely get its feed from NPR, but the test will also originate on WTMJ in Milwaukee, our state PEP station.

• Because WTMJ in Milwaukee is a PEP station, other stations monitoring WTMJ may see PEP RWTs from WTMJ on their EAS unit logs in the months leading up to the test.  Nothing special needs to be done in regard to the tests.  This information is just being provided here as an explanation if such tests are noticed on your EAS unit log.

• Stations must file a post-test report with the FCC. Responses are required by FCC rules via paper form as a minimum, but if stations choose they can voluntarily use an electronic reporting system in lieu of the paper form. The Commission requests that stations fill out online Form 1 prior to November 9, complete Form 2 on November 9, and enter further details on the test on Form 3 by December 27. Access this Nationwide EAS Test Reporting System on the FCC's National EAS Test portal: www.fcc.gov/nationwideeastest

You will need to enter your station Lat/Long in decimal degrees. Here is the FCC converter to go from minutes/seconds to decimal degrees: http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/audio/bickel/DDDMMSS-decimal.html

• FEMA will conduct an “aggressive information campaign” with broadcasters, cable operators, emergency management, 911 centers, state EAS committees, and the public.  Webinars are scheduled for July 1, August 1, and September 1.  [Webinar information is at link below.]

• Broadcasters and cable operators are encouraged and requested to run PSAs to inform the public of the National EAS Test. See the links below to produced audio and video PSAs as well as PSA scripts for your own staff to read.

Useful Links:

FCC National EAS Test PSAs, Audio and Video, in English and Spanish

NAB National EAS Test Pre-Checklist and English/Spanish Audio and Video produced PSAs and scripts

SBE National EAS Test Webpage and PSAs

NAB/FEMA/FCC suggested Test Graphic

FCC Guide on National EAS Test

FCC Two-Page info sheet on National EAS Test

FEMA National EAS Test website

FEMA National EAS Test Informational Toolkit

FEMA EAS Best Practices Guide - Info on improving EAS station reception, specific instructions for programming each specific EAS unit (Sage, TFT, etc.) for the National EAS Test, and other best practices for EAS operations

NASBA National EAS Test Website

Press Release on National EAS Test

FCC FAQ on National EAS Test

FEMA Webinars and site to provide your input to FEMA on EAS

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