There is something like two weeks left until the deadline for installing CAP compliant EAS equipment. No, this time they really mean it!
I have installed a few of the new SAGE ENDEC boxes at various clients. They do have one common problem; audio input levels. The newer blue faced SAGE units are much more sensitive than the older units. The existing audio input levels connected to older EAS units need to be adjusted downward nearly 100% of the time. SAGE Alerting Systems has a bulletin about it: SAGE Alerting Systems Audio Levels.
The FCC reverses it’s former position on EAS text to speech, permitting stations to begin using it today (May 7, 2012). The FCC’s main issue with Text To Speech (TTS) was that it may not render the text accurately enough to be understood, especially in emergencies. This can lead to confusing messages and defeat the purpose of EAS altogether.
I have played around with some text to speech software and indeed it can mangle words, mispronounce punctuation as a part of the sentence structure, mumble, etc. Further, as I have said before, listening to some robo voice is very impersonal. But, I suppose that is the point, isn’t it; some big government agency computers generating messages that no one person is really responsible for. Bureaucratic paradise.
November 9, 2011 at 2pm EST, FEMA will be testing EAS with it’s first ever national level test. To promote that event, they have released a twenty eight page “tool kit,” (near the bottom of the page) designed to help everyone get through the test. It should be interesting. According to FEMA:
The nationwide EAS Test is not a pass or fail measure, nor will it specifically test Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) compliant equipment (although CAP compliant equipment should pass the Emergency Action Notification [EAN] live-code in the same manner as legacy EAS equipment).
They will release a Emergency Action Notification (EAN) to all the Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations, which should then flow down stream through all the radio, television, cable systems, and direct broadcast satellite systems. The test should last about two minutes and will conclude with a standard EOM.
I doubt very much it will sound like this:
That is WHEN, Syracuse, NY singing EBS test. A bit of originality there. WHEN played this for their weekly EBS test for the better part of the 70’s. Naturally, the FCC found out about it and told them to stop. Shame, really, it is kind of catchy.
If you have some spare time, download the tool kit and study up for the test.
A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19
...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.