Radio World sought comments from the field about Wednesday’s big regional EAS IPAWS test. Here are observations from Matthew Lightner, an engineering consultant who serves as Emergency Alert System chairman in Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters.
Overall from initial reports the IPAWS NPT test went very well in Pennsylvania.
Some stations picked up the NPT from the EMnet system which we have deployed at a majority of our stations, and others directly from IPAWS with their CAP devices. The majority of the failure reports I received was from stations that did not add the NPT event code to their ENDEC, so it did not auto forward.
We sent multiple memos reminding everyone they needed to add the NPT code, but some did not get it done in time, or did not understand how to properly add it. We will continue to work with all the stations to make sure they are ready for the national test.
It’s sometimes very challenging with the smaller stations that have very limited technical help to get changes made to their EAS equipment. It would be great if the most serious event codes (including NPT for testing) was automatically setup in EAS devices out of the box to auto forward. Some stations simply think they can plug in the EAS equipment and it works after setting the FIPS codes and call letters, however nothing is setup to auto forward except for the EAN and RMT.
We will continue to do outreach to all the stations including LPFMs to hopefully get the point across that everyone must properly setup all EAS devices to make sure they forward state and local level emergency messages.