Category Archives: National

Sage ENDEC Updating Firmware & Software

In mid-July, Sage Alerting Systems announced a firmware update for its popular ENDEC model 3644.

Sage says on its website:

This free update addresses a changed requirement in the FCC EAS rules, Part 11.33(a)(10), which affects how the valid time frame of an alert is determined. This rule change takes effect on August 12, 2019. The ENDEC currently employs a slightly different method of determining the valid time frame. The update will have no adverse effect on the reception and relay of valid alerts. All users must install this update to keep your ENDEC compliant. The update also adds the BLU alert to the list of valid alerts if you have not previously installed version 89-32.

NOTE: This release does not affect the ENDEC’s reception and relay of the scheduled August 7, 2019 National Periodic Test. Whether your ENDEC is running version 89-30, 89-32, or this new version 89-34, your ENDEC will relay the NPT.

A software “major release” is planned for September 2019 to address changes in the distribution of CAP messages from IPAWS. This update will cost users $349 per unit, sold through distributors. The major distribution is available for free for units purchased new after March 1, 2018. Sage says registered users will be notified by email when the update is available.

2019 EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Update

June 5, 2019

Larry Wilkins, CPBE, CBNT, AMD
Chair, SBE EAS Advisory Group

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that all EAS participants must renew their identifying information in the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One on or before July 3, 2019. This is in conjunction with the nationwide test of the EAS scheduled for Aug. 7, 2019, at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

EAS participants must renew their identifying information required by ETRS Form One on a yearly basis. The ETRS site is online and available now at the FCC site:
https://www.fcc.gov/general/eas-test-reporting-system.
It can also be reach by going to fcc.gov and clicking on ETRS under the licensing and database tab.

All the information for logging in and completing the form is on the ETRS home page. Make sure you have the company Federal Registration Number (FRN), station Facility ID, along with correct login information from last year available before you visit the site.

Additional information is available in the Public Notice:
https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-19-505A1.docx

Review all the information and make any corrections or changes before submitting the form. You will receive a confirmation email after it has been successfully submitted.

On or before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Aug. 7, 2019, EAS participants must file “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two. On or before Sept. 23, 2019, EAS participants must file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three. ETRS Forms Two and Three will become available in the ETRS at the time of initiation of the 2019 nationwide test.

No Chapter Meeting in April— See you at the NAB Show!

If you find yourself at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this year, make yourself an appointment to join us at the SBE national meeting, Tuesday, April 9 at 5:00 PM in Room N234, upstairs in the North Hall. These meetings move fast, and there are nice door prizes given at the end of the hour. A Membership Reception starts immediately thereafter and across the hall. This is a great opportunity to network with industry leaders and fellow engineers.

Yours truly will receive an award at the national meeting for having served for ten years as the Chapter 36 Certification Chair.

Also consider stopping by the SBE booth, LN4, meet your officers and administrators; buy a T-shirt, book, or cap; and enter the daily drawings for a giveaway prize.

On Saturday, April 6, just a few blocks away at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel, the SBE is presenting a full-day tutorial on ATSC 3.0 organized by SBE Fellow Fred Baumgartner. Fred, past manager at Qualcomm MediaFLO, is now director of the Next Gen Broadcast Implementation at One Media – Sinclair Broadcast. This comprehensive, all-day learning opportunity is open to all and costs $95 for SBE members and PBS member station employees and includes lunch. Register here.

GPS Date to Rollover April 6 on Some Electronic Devices

Some compare the change to the famous “Y2K” transition at the end of the twentieth century. An information security expert said at the RSA 2019 conference in San Francisco last week, “I’m not going to be flying on April 6.”

Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers limited the number of stored digits needed to count the date, so some devices will roll back to zero on April 6, 2019.

Broadcasters seldom directly use GPS to supervise station activities. Most often, a GPS-based device might be used to indirectly correct a wandering computer clock, or as a time standard in a precise oscillator where its pulses are measured but the date may be ignored.

However, GPS is used often for time stamping video and for displaying time of day. I contacted Bill at El Segundo Electronics, ESE, about whether his ES-series clocks, used widely around broadcast stations, might have the 10-digit time problem. He replied, “The supplier for our GPS receivers assures us that there will be no problem with the WNRO (Week Number Roll Over) on April 6, 2019. Our Chief Engineer recommends that you keep the unit powered up and running over the WNRO.”

Thanks for the news tip, Bill Lipis.

FCC Drops Rules Requiring Physical Posting of Licenses

The Federal Communications Commission in late 2018 issued a Report and Order eliminating the long-standing requirement that radio and television stations of all types post physical copies of their licenses at their transmitter sites. A posting in the February 8, 2019 Federal Register made this official.

The FCC said, “These rules have become redundant and obsolete now that licensing information is readily accessible online through the Commission’s databases, including CDBS, LMS, and ULS. It therefore finds that eliminating these rules, which apply in some form to all broadcast licensees, will serve the public interest.”

You may officially take down those dusty old license frames.