National iPAWS Test Delayed Until October 3rd

(From FEMA) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on October 3, 2018. The WEA portion of the test commences at 11:18 p.m. PDT, and the EAS portion follows at 11:20 p.m. PDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed. The test was delayed from September 20 due to Hurricane Florence emergency activity.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless carriers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in September 2011, 2016 and 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

Replace Your Expiring DASDEC IPAWS Certificate

Digital Alert Systems and Monroe Electronics announced the availability of an important update of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) digital certificates used to authenticate messaging from the IPAWS system. The companies have released updated IPAWS Certificate Authority (CA) credentials for the One-Net™ and DASDEC™ series of Emergency Alert System/Common Alerting Protocol (EAS/CAP) encoder/decoders to replace a certificate in the current certification chain that will expire on Sept. 24. One-Net and DASDEC users in the U.S. are advised to replace the soon-to-expire certificate to assure that devices configured to require message authentication will continue to operate properly. T

“DASDEC and One-Net users are urged to take the simple step of updating their certificate files before Sept. 24 to allow continued authentication of IPAWS CAP alert messaging,” said Ed Czarnecki, senior director of strategy and government affairs for Monroe Electronics and Digital Alert Systems. “This is the second such certificate replacement this year, so we are actively working with FEMA IPAWS to look at methods for automating this update process and hope to have such a process in place before the next certificate update occurs in 2019.”

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September 19 Meeting: Digital Watermarking

How do they encode your digital audio and video to identify the source without making it audibly or visually apparent?
Niels Thorwirth of Verimatrix will present an overview of content identification, recognition and marking technologies used as a data carrier or forensic tool with a deep dive into one implementation of digital watermarking.

Join us Wednesday, September 19th at 12 noon at iHeartMedia, 9660 Granite Ridge Drive, San Diego. We’ll serve a free lunch, followed by the presentation.

About Niels

Niels Thorwirth is the VP of Advanced Technology at Verimatrix, Inc. and is responsible for Innovation and Research in areas such as digital watermarking, IoT Security and Machine Learning. Since April 2005 Niels Thorwirth is spearheading content security innovation efforts to meet and exceed requirements of content owners and digital TV operators, resulting in among others the Verimatrix VideoMark® and StreamMark® forensic video watermarking technologies.

Prior experience includes research activity at the Fraunhofer Society and guiding the technology development at MediaSec, Inc. in Providence, RI, and Essen, Germany, from the company’s inception to its acquisition. Mr. Thorwirth has published several international papers and obtained various patents in the field of digital rights management and digital watermarking. He holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science and Business Management from the University of Mannheim, Germany and the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.

Christyahna Finally Gets CP to Build Lemon Grove AM Station

On August 29, 2018, the FCC granted a Construction Permit for Christyahna Broadcasting to build a 500 W day/night AM station on the 1400 kHz “graveyard” channel in Lemon Grove. The daytime pattern location is in the middle of the old KSDO tower site. The evening pattern location is at a residence on Berry Street in Lemon Grove.

Accompanying the CP is an application to operate a translator on 93.7 MHz from Mt. San Miguel with 4 watts vertical aimed northeast toward El Cajon and Santee.

According to Wikipedia, Christyahna principal Gerry Turro was past Chief Engineer at WNEW New York, then the operator of the famous “Jukebox Radio” network WJUX in northern New Jersey. The FCC eventually broke up the network of low power FM stations in 2003 after it was accused by competitors of improperly extending its coverage with translators outside its primary coverage area using fiber links to the various transmitters. Turro built KRLY-LP in Alpine, California, but transferred it in 2005.

[Edited 9/6/2018 to correct transmitter locations.]

New XHTJB Channel 15 DTV Causing Ruckus in LA Metro

After KPBS-TV abandoned channel 15 during the digital conversion in June 2009, the FCC allocated that spectrum to first responders in the Los Angeles and Orange Country for use in mobile 2-way voice communications, otherwise known as  “T-band” public service spectrum. Past UHF-TV channels 14, 16, and 20 are also so designated in the L.A. metro area.

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Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego