The Federal Emergency Management Agency, via the Federal Communications Commission, often has not had the best communications channels broadcasters when it comes to promulgating the yearly national Emergency Alert System (EAS) tests and updated EAS requirements. While commercial broadcasters usually have legal representatives providing them with updates, non-commercial and low power broadcasters hear about these things word-of-mouth.
Each station has an EAS, which not only monitors other terrestrial signals, but is equipped with a Common Alerting Protocol (“CAP”) system to receive emergency announcements over the internet. Recently FEMA has proposed changing the certificate for EASs to received messages via their Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The effective date of the change is November 8, 2019.
On November 5, a cool three days prior to the changeover date, the FCC released a public notice. This effectively means station operators are required to update their EAS firmware. Sage EAS users will need to upgrade to Rev95 update which users will need to supply Sage with their serial number and $349, here. Gorman-Redlich CAP-EAS1 users can obtain information here. DASDEC users can find update information here. We are still in the process of trying to contact Trilithic regarding EasyCAP EAS firmware on where to obtain a firmware update for those decks.
For stations not able to make the September 8th deadline, built-into the EAS rules (Section 11.35(b)) it states:
...an EAS Encoder, EAS Decoder or Intermediary Device used as part of the EAS to decode and/or encode messages formatted in the EAS Protocol and/or the Common Alerting Protocol becomes defective, the EAS Participant may operate without the defective equipment pending its repair or replacement for 60 days without further FCC authority.
Furthermore, Section 11.35(c) provides licensees with ability to request further time given good reason via informal request. This would be directed to Maureen Bizhko, Attorney Adviser, FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
Follow-up Note: Trilithic EAS unit users should be sure firmware V3.04 is updated. For more information contact trilithic.easysupport [at] viavisolutions.com