Category Archives: National

Digital Alert Systems Issues New FEMA IPAWS CA File to Replace Expiring Certificate

DASDEC and One-Net Users Must Update Certificate Before Aug. 21 to Maintain Proper Operation

LYNDONVILLE, N.Y. — July 20, 2021 — Digital Alert Systems, the global leader in emergency communications solutions for video services providers, today announced the availability of an important update of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) digital certificates used to authenticate messaging from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

The company has released updated IPAWS Certificate Authority (CA) credentials for the DASDECTM and One-NetTM 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 Aug. 21. All U.S. DASDEC and One-Net users are advised to replace the soon-to-expire certificate to ensure the required message authentication continues to operate properly. Digital Alert Systems reminds all EAS participants the FCC requires them to “configure their systems to reject all CAP-formatted EAS messages that include an invalid digital signature.”

“With just a few weeks to go, we urge DASDEC and One-Net customers to update their certificate files before Aug. 21 to prevent any disruptions,” said Adam Jones, senior sales engineer for Digital Alert Systems. “While this seems like an annual occurrence, our customers will be pleased to know this new certificate is good until April of 2024!”

Digital certificates, called CAs, are used by FEMA to create a chain of trust between an EAS device and the IPAWS servers. The DASDEC and One-Net EAS/CAP devices use these special digital certificates to validate the authenticity of IPAWS-sourced CAP alerts. These certificates are designed to expire on a specific date and time, requiring the issuing authority to publish new certificates as replacements.

All DASDEC and One-Net customers using the IPAWS system must have the latest certificates in place so only messages authenticated through IPAWS are processed. IPAWS users who do not update their equipment before Aug. 21 could see this error message: “Event Log: Digital Signature

VERIFICATION ERROR: Signer UNTRUSTED! Check for correct CAP decoder CA file.” Alternatively, the device might simply ignore valid IPAWS alerts.

The new field service bulletin and CA file are now available from the Digital Alert Systems website at www.digitalalertsystems.com/DAS_pages/resources_fsb.html. DASDEC and One-Net customers should go to the website, download the field service bulletin for instructions, and link to the new CA file.

Further information about Digital Alert Systems and its products is available at www.digitalalertsystems.com.

Sage ENDEC Offers Firmware Update

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.

Introducing the SBE Technical Professional Training Program

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.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Departing

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.

Time to Update Your EAS IPAWS Certificates

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.