In the SBE Short Circuits of Aug. 21, the Society of Broadcast Engineers provided an explanation of the EAS rules change on broadcasters.
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RF Report previously discussed the new EAS rules, which will require stations to modify or replace their equipment to allow alerts to be received using the CAP protocol. The Frequency Asked Questions regarding the new EAS rules covers many of the questions broadcasters are likely to have about the new rules.
For example, questions include, “Can existing EAS monitoring receivers be used with the new system?” and “What will this equipment look like and what it will cost?”
The answer to the first question is CAP will have to be added as an additional message delivery system. “The existing legacy distribution systems broadcast stations, narrow-band two-way radio channels and other services do not lend themselves to this effort,” SBE explains.
In response to the second question, SBE states, “SBE is aware that several manufacturers are developing CAP-compatible products. Due to the fact that FEMA has not yet finalized the operating parameters for these units, it will be some time before guaranteed compatible equipment will be available for installation. According to manufacturers SBE has spoken with, the price for these units will depend on the number of features offered. What we do know is that these units will be more technically advanced than the units being replaced.”
SBE said the best information it has indicates it will likely be at least a year before FEMA takes action implementing CAP for EAS. However, the FCC has set strict time limits for compliance with the new rules once FEMA acts, so it would be wise to monitor what FEMA is doing and ask what your EAS equipment manufacturer plans to do to either provide new equipment or modification of existing equipment to comply with the new rules.