Sage Alerting Systems has announced that the Sage Digital ENDEC model 3644 users should concern themselves with two upcoming events:
FEMA Signing Certificate updates (CR-Rev6)
A signing certificate used by FEMA to validate CAP alerts will expire on Aug 21, 2021 at 21:00:00 UTC. Sage has released a free firmware update for Rev95 that you must install to permit your ENDEC to continue to receive EAS CAP alerts from FEMA after that date. You can install the CR-Rev6 update at any time before August 21, 2021. You do not need to install it before the National Periodic Test as the NPT will not use CAP this year.
Please go to the Sage firmware update page at https://www.sagealertingsystems.com/support-firmware-new.htm to read the release notes and download the update file. You must already be running the Rev95 release to install this update.
National Periodic Test (NPT)
This year’s test will be sent via the Primary Entry Point (PEP) network, that is, via over-the-air audio-EAS only, on August 11, 2021 at 2:20p.m. EDT. CAP will not be used. To help ensure that you will receive and relay this test, take the following steps:
1) Check your log to make sure that you are receiving weekly tests from your monitor assignments, and that you have been originating weekly tests and relaying Monthly Tests as required by your license type.
2) Make sure your ENDEC has a filter to receive and relay the NPT. The easiest way to check this is to access your ENDEC with a web browser. From the main page, click the Tools button on the left column, then click the “Verify Req” button. If you see “Your ENDEC will meet the FCC requirements for the National Periodic Test” on the last line, your ENDEC is ready.
If you have any questions regarding this update or the NPT, please email us at support@… or call 914-872-4069 and press 1 for support. If you get voice mail, please leave a message and we will call you back.
The new SBE Technical Professional Training (TPT) program began January 1, 2021 to help encourage and train new people in the broadcast/media technical field. Stations, station groups, networks and state broadcaster associations are encouraged to cover the $475 cost to sign up their new or newer engineers. The TPT includes SBE MemberPlus membership (gives access to all SBE webinars), one download of the SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT) CertPreview (exam prep software), SBE CBT exam session, a copy of the SBE Broadcast Engineer Handbook and participation in the SBE Mentor program. See the SBE website for details.
As is the custom, Chairman Ajit Pai announced his coming departure in advance of the changing administration in January. Normally, the FCC has five commissioners, two of the minority political party and three of the majority party, including the Chairman. Pai was appointed by President Obama in 2012 and rose to Chairman under President Trump.
Ajit Pai, in a press statement, listed his accomplishments: “Closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety.”
His critics have pointed to a perceived bias toward telecom interests over broadcast as the FCC has worked rapidly to sell, not lease, spectrum to the telecom giants directly from spectrum previously used by broadcasters with the goal of universally available fast networking. Ajit Pai had worked two years for Verizon as an Associate General Counsel before returning to public service in 2003. Pai has also worked against internet neutrality in favor of ISP traffic controls and surcharges.
For broadcasters, he supported the move for AM broadcasters to get an FM translator channel wherever possible, which has worked better for some broadcasters than others. He also pushed allowing AM stations to choose digital modulation if they wished. There has been no increase in broadcast spectrum, including for the crowded FM band, under his leadership.
By Larry Paulausky, Vice-Chair Arizona SECC
A reminder for those who may have missed this info: a digital signing certificate used by FEMA for its IPAWS service will be expiring in the next few days. Certificates like this are designed to help recipients automatically authenticate IPAWS messages, and by design these certificates regularly expire to be replaced by updated versions.
To continue to receive IPAWS messages on your EAS devices, most end users like broadcasters and cable systems will need to update the certificate settings in their device. Please check with your device’s manufacturer for instructions on how to do this.
For Sage’s ENDEC systems, have a look at their home page at https://www.sagealertingsystems.com.
For Digital Alert System’s DASDEC devices, see their field service bulletin accessible at http://www.digitalalertsystems.com/DAS_pages/resources_fsb.html .
For most users whose devices are otherwise at current software levels and already receiving IPAWS messages, these updates are free to download and install. Please do so by the expiration date to keep receiving EAS messages (for example, AMBER alerts and Required Monthly Tests) via IPAWS.
By the way, the next certificate will be valid until August 21, 2021, so you may want to mark your calendars for July of next year to check again with your device’s manufacturer at that time for the next needed update.
The SBE will present the SBE Annual Membership Meeting and National Awards Presentation via the internet at 4:00 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Details on how to watch the webcast will be shared via the SBE website, SBE-news email newsletter and social media in the next week.