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astrohip
10-31-2011, 09:35 AM
FCC and FEMA are planning the first Emergency Alert System nationwide test, which will take place at 2 p.m. (EST), on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. The test will last approximately three minutes. Normal programming will return following the test.

Have no idea what this will do to our TiVos, but thought I would throw it out for general awareness. I'm going to set a recording for that time, just to see what happens. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, in that our local stations have never run an Emerg Alert (AFAIK).

[Aside: this probably belongs in the Season Pass forum, but I've become convinced lately no one reads it. Warnings & notices in that forum seem to have no effect on people posting here about shows that are bumped, etc.]


http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test


FCC and FEMA are planning the first Emergency Alert System nationwide test, which will take place at 2 p.m. (EST), on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. The test will last approximately three minutes. Normal programming will return following the test.

ONLY A TEST. On November 9, 2011, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). At that time, an announcement will come on every TV and radio channel indicating that the emergency alert system has been activated. This is only a test. Please do not be alarmed when you see this message. You will not need to take any action.

The purpose of the test is to assess how well the EAS can alert the public during certain national emergencies. Although the FCC and FEMA are taking steps to ensure that everyone has access to announcements made during the test, some people watching cable television (as well as some others) may receive only an audio (not a visual) notice that this is a test. The FCC and FEMA want to make consumers aware of the test so that they understand that this is only a test and that there is no real emergency.

What is the EAS? EAS alerts are sent over the radio or television (broadcast, cable and satellite). State and local emergency managers use these alerts to notify the public about emergencies and weather events, such as tornadoes and hurricanes. The EAS can also be used to send an alert across the United States if there is a national emergency. It is common for state and local EAS tests to occur on a monthly and weekly basis, respectively, but there has never been a test of the nationwide EAS alert on all broadcast, cable and satellite radio and television systems at the same time.

The November 9 test will help ensure that the EAS will work if public safety officials ever need to send an alert or warning to the entire country or to a large region of the United States.

What will be different about this EAS test? The nationwide EAS test on November 9 may be similar to other EAS tests that you have seen. Such tests include an audio EAS tone and a message indicating that “This is a test of the Emergency Alerting System.” The nationwide EAS test will last a little longerout three minutes. In addition, due to technical limitations, a visual message indicating that “this is a test” may not appear on every television channel, especially for cable subscribers. For these reasons, the FCC and FEMA are taking extra steps to educate the public, especially people with hearing disabilities, that this is only a test.

For more information about how this EAS test may affect you, please visit:
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test

Amnesia
10-31-2011, 09:59 AM
I'm going to set a recording for that time, just to see what happens.Don't those tests disrupt recordings?

astrohip
10-31-2011, 11:28 AM
Don't those tests disrupt recordings?
Yes, from what I've heard. I've read from some posters here that it drops you out of your recording to the EAS, and never resumes the recording. Others have said your recording does resume. I know it drops you out of whatever you're watching, which is no biggie. All I care about is what it does to a recording in progress.

Since I've never had it happen, I'll set something to record, just to find out.

LoadStar
10-31-2011, 11:32 AM
The interesting thing about this test is that this would be the first time in the history of the EAS they will be using the national emergency procedures, so even they don't quite know whether everything will work 100%.

I'm not sure - did they ever have a national alert or test with the EBS or CONELRAD?

astrohip
10-31-2011, 11:35 AM
Does every Friday at noon count?

[I guess you have to be 50+ to even know what I'm talking about...:D]

RGM1138
10-31-2011, 11:48 AM
A likely story. It's probably to disguise the fact that that's when the alien overlords will finally land and commence the occupation of the planet, and make slaves of the hoomans.

You heard it here first. ;)

That Don Guy
10-31-2011, 01:20 PM
My first thought was, "Since it's nationwide, networks can probably hold back programming for three minutes" - but this would be hard to do as they would have to hold back a different show in the east (where it's 2 PM) than they do in the west (where it's 11 AM).

The question I have is, at what levels will the alert take place - will (a) cable companies, (b) local stations, and/or (c) cable channels like CNN have their own alerts, and how will they overlap each other?

LoadStar
10-31-2011, 01:45 PM
The interesting thing about this test is that this would be the first time in the history of the EAS they will be using the national emergency procedures, so even they don't quite know whether everything will work 100%.

I'm not sure - did they ever have a national alert or test with the EBS or CONELRAD?

The answer to my question, according to Wikipedia, is only once -- unintentionally. On February 20, 1971, a teletype operator at Cheyenne Mountain played the wrong message down the wire, triggering the Emergency Alert Notification.

From what I can tell, there were national tests issued weekly under the EBS, but none that actually triggered an EAN. They were to be simply logged.

cheesesteak
10-31-2011, 04:14 PM
I don't know about this but when we get the periodic Amber Alerts, it breaks into the TiVo recording but resumes it afterwards.

DeDondeEs
10-31-2011, 05:50 PM
It seems that whenever they plan drills like this, some disaster actually happens. Stop jinxing us... And is it just a coincidence that it is happening on 11/9, the opposite of 9/11?

generaltso
10-31-2011, 06:03 PM
Don't those tests disrupt recordings?

I'm pretty sure that was fixed a while ago. If you're watching a recorded show, the Alert will drop you to live TV to watch the scrolling information. But I'm pretty sure anything that's recording just records in the background without the Alert message. At least, that's how mine's been working with the weekly tests.

gastrof
10-31-2011, 08:27 PM
...I'm pretty sure anything that's recording just records in the background without the Alert message. At least, that's how mine's been working with the weekly tests.


:rolleyes:

The TV stations and satellite/cable systems aren't running anything when those tests run. They're running the test, so your machine can't possibly be recording something that's running in the background, with or without the alert message.

All that's being sent out IS the alert message.

generaltso
10-31-2011, 08:36 PM
:rolleyes:

The TV stations and satellite/cable systems aren't running anything when those tests run. They're running the test, so your machine can't possibly be recording something that's running in the background, with or without the alert message.

All that's being sent out IS the alert message.

That's not true. Have you seen an Alert message? It's pretty obvious that it's not the only thing being sent from the cable system since you can see and hear live TV under the streaming message.

I've seen plenty of tests while programs were being recorded. The recordings were not affected by the tests at all.

gastrof
10-31-2011, 08:42 PM
Locally we've gotten black screens with white printing on them, nothing else.

generaltso
10-31-2011, 08:51 PM
Locally we've gotten black screens with white printing on them, nothing else.

I guess it depends on the system. From what I can tell, the Alerts in my area are sent as a separate digital stream that's simply overlayed on top of live TV. The TiVo seems perfectly capable of Recording programming without the Alert in the background. It makes sense that it would work this way. The Alerts are meant to be time sensitive, which is why you get forced to Live TV to see the Alert in real time. It wouldn't serve much of a purpose If the Alert was recorded.

LoadStar
10-31-2011, 09:36 PM
Locally we've gotten black screens with white printing on them, nothing else.

For analog cable customers, this is generally true; the screen you described is generated by the EAS encoder/decoder (most commonly, the SAGE EAS ENDEC). When it receives an alert, it automatically interrupts all analog programming and inserts this text screen and plays the message.

For digital subscribers, the EAS message is able to be transmitted to the subscriber "out of band" without interrupting normal television programming. The digital set-top receiver is able to decode the digitally transmitted EAS message, overlay the textual content and play the audio message. For instance, a Series 3 or beyond TiVo looks like this when it receives an EAS alert:
http://www.shawnz.com/TCF/S3EmergencyBanner.jpg

What I'm curious about is whether cable stations are even required to carry or transmit EAS messages, since the only messages they'd ever be required to carry are national-level alerts, and of course we've never had any. I'm also curious how satellite television handles EAS, since even the spot beams cover such a large area that handling local EAS alerts would be difficult at best.

mattack
10-31-2011, 09:37 PM
Put your Tivos into Standby, and it won't interrupt the recordings (supposedly)... but if this really is happening on ALL channels, maybe it's moot. Would be for a good test if you have multiple Tivos though!

EvilMidniteBombr
10-31-2011, 10:53 PM
I'm one of the lucky ones, I guess. I have never seen an Emergency Alert on my TiVoHD. That includes watching TV during thunderstorms, winter storms and even a tornado warnings.

scooterboy
11-01-2011, 12:15 AM
For digital subscribers, the EAS message is able to be transmitted to the subscriber "out of band" without interrupting normal television programming. The digital set-top receiver is able to decode the digitally transmitted EAS message, overlay the textual content and play the audio message. For instance, a Series 3 or beyond TiVo looks like this when it receives an EAS alert:
http://www.shawnz.com/TCF/S3EmergencyBanner.jpg

Alerts on my TivoHD don't look like that at all. Standard black screen with white text and annoying tones.

LoadStar
11-01-2011, 12:34 AM
Alerts on my TivoHD don't look like that at all. Standard black screen with white text and annoying tones.
You mean something like this?
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110413165835/emergencyalertsystem/images/2/2f/West_Virginia_Emergency_Alert_System_Required_Monthly_Test.j pg

Those are analog alerts being broadcast by the cable company, not the new digital ones handled by the TiVo.

ThePennyDropped
11-01-2011, 10:28 AM
FCC and FEMA are planning the first Emergency Alert System nationwide test, which will take place at 2 p.m. (EST), on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. The test will last approximately three minutes. Normal programming will return following the test.

Hey! Spoilers!

snowjay
11-01-2011, 11:13 AM
For analog cable customers, this is generally true; the screen you described is generated by the EAS encoder/decoder (most commonly, the SAGE EAS ENDEC). When it receives an alert, it automatically interrupts all analog programming and inserts this text screen and plays the message.

For digital subscribers, the EAS message is able to be transmitted to the subscriber "out of band" without interrupting normal television programming. The digital set-top receiver is able to decode the digitally transmitted EAS message, overlay the textual content and play the audio message. For instance, a Series 3 or beyond TiVo looks like this when it receives an EAS alert:
http://www.shawnz.com/TCF/S3EmergencyBanner.jpg

What I'm curious about is whether cable stations are even required to carry or transmit EAS messages, since the only messages they'd ever be required to carry are national-level alerts, and of course we've never had any. I'm also curious how satellite television handles EAS, since even the spot beams cover such a large area that handling local EAS alerts would be difficult at best.


That's exactly how it looks on my S3.

I don't mind that I get dropped to live TV during a message I just wish the TiVo would resume were it left off instead of me hunting around for where I was. It gets annoying when they run several alerts in a short time period.

busyba
11-01-2011, 12:31 PM
And is it just a coincidence that it is happening on 11/9, the opposite of 9/11?

Yes.

scooterboy
11-01-2011, 08:51 PM
You mean something like this?
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110413165835/emergencyalertsystem/images/2/2f/West_Virginia_Emergency_Alert_System_Required_Monthly_Test.j pg

Exactly.

Those are analog alerts being broadcast by the cable company, not the new digital ones handled by the TiVo.

Well I'm a digital subscriber so I thought you meant that I would see the other version.

LoadStar
11-01-2011, 09:21 PM
Well I'm a digital subscriber so I thought you meant that I would see the other version.

Cable providers have two options. In the first, they transmit the EAS signal "out of band," using a cable industry standard SCTE 18, which the digital cable receiver can decode and display (as shown above in the first image).

The second, an older implementation, has the EAS text information sent to a character generator. The video from the character generator, and the audio of the EAS alert, is transmitted on a cable channel. The cable receivers are then forced to change to this channel during the duration of the alert.

gastrof
11-02-2011, 12:51 AM
I do like the idea of the show continuing to record intact while the alert shows up on your screen live. I've just never seen it happen that way, and I'm a FiOS victim...umm...customer now. (Sorry...used to have Comcast. Still not adjusted yet.) FiOS is actually notifying us onscreen when we turn on the set top box or change to On Demand or DVR that the test is coming, giving date, time, and all.

Now all I need to do is get a TiVo again. (Currently using a non-TiVo stand-alone digital recorder, but would like the ability to have a recorder that controls channel changes again.)

702
11-02-2011, 08:40 AM
From all of my years working in a TV station, there has never been a national emergency. Not even 9/11. It was explained to be that basically the only two things that would count, are A) The missiles are in the air B) There is a huge asteroid/meteor/comet about to hit earth.

Amnesia
11-02-2011, 08:41 AM
What about the inevitable zombie apocalypse?

sieglinde
11-02-2011, 09:01 AM
My HD Tivo with cable cards shows the black screen. I hate it but it is so short that it rarely really wrecks a show. I just hate the noise. When we get real weather related stuff, we get a scroll on the bottom of the screen. (Oddly, despite the fact that I live in California, I have lived in a FEMA zone for bad rains and flooding one year.)

Rocketslc
11-02-2011, 09:02 AM
Does every Friday at noon count?

[I guess you have to be 50+ to even know what I'm talking about...:D]
I guess I better clean out the space under my desk.

:)

TiVo'Brien
11-02-2011, 09:40 AM
I couldn't pause, change channels, rewind, fast forward, bring up the guide, or do pretty much anything while the alert was going on. :down: :down: :down:

astrohip
11-02-2011, 11:02 AM
I guess I better clean out the space under my desk.

:)

We know how old YOU are!:D

LoadStar
11-02-2011, 11:35 AM
I couldn't pause, change channels, rewind, fast forward, bring up the guide, or do pretty much anything while the alert was going on. :down: :down: :down:

You do realize that the test is for Wednesday, November 9, right? Today is November 2. They haven't done the full national test yet.

(They may have done one of the regular local tests where you are, however.)

markz
11-02-2011, 11:38 AM
I got the following email from Comcast at work today:

Dear Comcast Business Class Customer:

On Wednesday, November 9 at 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), FEMA and the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the nation’s first-ever Emergency Alert System
(EAS) test. The purpose of this test is to help determine if the national-level system will work as
designed, should officials ever need to send a national alert.

This test will last approximately three minutes and will be seen on all local, cable, and satellite TV stations across the country, as well as radio.

Here’s What You Should Know

Your Comcast programming will be temporarily interrupted. However, as soon as the test ends, you will be returned to your regularly scheduled programming. While we do not anticipate an interruption in your service, in some rare cases, you may need to:

Use your remote to channel up and then channel down or power down your box to fully restore programming after the test completes.
Any DVR recordings that are in progress during this test will be interrupted, and in some cases, lost.
If you experience the Emergency Alert System message for more than five minutes, please do
the following:

Power-cycle your cable box by unplugging the power cord from the outlet.
Wait thirty seconds and then plug it back in.
The guide data and Video OnDemand content will take a period of time to fully restore. Please
wait 20 minutes before choosing Video OnDemand as this might result in other errors with your
box. To watch a video and learn more on how to Power-cycle, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about the national EAS test, visit us at: http://www.comcast.com/nationaleastest/
or visit FEMA at http://www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/eas_info.shtm.
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test

We thank you for being a loyal Comcast Business Class customer.

Sincerely,

Comcast Business Class Customer Care




I bolded the part that has to do with this thread.

sieglinde
11-02-2011, 11:59 AM
I remember when they used to test the air raid siren at 10 am on one Thursday a month. Ah, I am old.

LoadStar
11-02-2011, 12:00 PM
I remember when they used to test the air raid siren at 10 am on one Thursday a month. Ah, I am old.

They still do here, and in some areas weekly - but then again, the "air raid" sirens are now mainly used for severe weather (tornadoes).

TiVo'Brien
11-02-2011, 05:45 PM
You do realize that the test is for Wednesday, November 9, right? Today is November 2. They haven't done the full national test yet.

(They may have done one of the regular local tests where you are, however.)

Yes, several times now.

If you have a TiVo and if you're watching live when it happens, I'd be interested if the same thing happens to you.

pdhenry
11-02-2011, 07:42 PM
I bolded the part that has to do with this thread.but does it apply to a TiVo or just the cable company DVR?

questors
11-02-2011, 09:00 PM
Does every Friday at noon count?

[I guess you have to be 50+ to even know what I'm talking about...:D]

I grew up in Los Angeles, and the Civil Defense sirens went off at 10:00 AM the last Friday of each month.

SnakeEyes
11-02-2011, 09:50 PM
First Sat of the month at noon here in the Des Moines area, sirens still used for tornado warnings.

The ones near me are awesome because they're tested in attack mode!

mattack
11-02-2011, 10:08 PM
but does it apply to a TiVo or just the cable company DVR?

I'd say cable company DVR.. but still put your tivos in standby beforehand as a precaution.

Amnesia
11-03-2011, 07:20 AM
(...) but still put your tivos in standby beforehand as a precaution.Why would you suggest that people do that? My TiVo is always on during the regular tests; why should this one be any different?

Yes, any recordings in progress could be lost, but I certainly don't have anything scheduled to record at 2PM...

morac
11-03-2011, 10:00 AM
Cable providers have two options. In the first, they transmit the EAS signal "out of band," using a cable industry standard SCTE 18, which the digital cable receiver can decode and display (as shown above in the first image).

The second, an older implementation, has the EAS text information sent to a character generator. The video from the character generator, and the audio of the EAS alert, is transmitted on a cable channel. The cable receivers are then forced to change to this channel during the duration of the alert.

How do I get my cable provider (Comcast) to use the former method. Considering Comcast dropped all but a handful of analog channels, you'd think they'd simply switch to the newer method. Unless they don't feel like paying to upgrade the system.

astrohip
11-03-2011, 11:42 AM
Why would you suggest that people do that? My TiVo is always on during the regular tests; why should this one be any different?

Yes, any recordings in progress could be lost, but I certainly don't have anything scheduled to record at 2PM...
Recordings aren't necessarily lost. I think it depends on your feed and how they do it. Here's a post I made in another thread...



It must have something to do with the transmitting party, as my TiVo does NOT do this. I intend to test this more fully next week, during the national test, but coincidentally, we had a test this morning. Here's what happens:

When I turned on the TV, there was a scroll across the top telling me that this was an emergency test, if it was a real test yada yada. Immediately below the black banner with blue letters was "Press clear to clear this screen". And in the background was live TV.

I was recording a show at the time. The show continued to record, and had no banner in it. The banner appears to be an overlay on the TV, but it does NOT affect the recording. I could not change channels until I pressed CLEAR. But again, the recording continued, unimpeded.

THIS is the way to do it. And since it's a TiVo, I can only assume TiVo handles it properly if the broadcaster does.

Maybe we should turn our wrath on the feed, not the recorder.

astrohip
11-05-2011, 10:26 AM
Discovered a couple of interesting quirks of the EAS & TiVos. When there is an alert on the screen*, the TiVo won't update (call home), nor will programs that connect thru the Internet be able to connect. For example, TiVo-to-Calendar (http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=473159) won't update or connect while the alert is onscreen. As soon as you press Clear, the TiVo starts to update (assuming it missed one already). When I ran T-to-C on a TiVo that had an alert onscreen, it just sat at the "connecting to TiVo" status forever. Once the alert cleared, it worked.

*This is the type of alert where programs still record and you can see the TV behind the alert, not the kind that kills recordings. I don't know what happens in that case, since Comcast in Houston uses the "better" style of alerts.

HomieG
11-06-2011, 03:20 PM
Have read elsewhere that they are cutting down the length of this test to 30 seconds. Apparently FEMA has also updated their FAQ with this info:
http://www.fema.gov/eastest/faqs.shtm

scooterboy
11-07-2011, 03:53 PM
I get the analog Alert once in a while during a recording, and it finishes recording the program every time. The Alert is just in the middle of it.

If I'm watching a recording and get an Alert live, when the Alert finishes it will go to Live TV and I have to resume watching the recording.

mrdbdigital
11-07-2011, 07:27 PM
Now some people in the industry want to cancel the alert until later to address some issues:

http://www.televisionbroadcast.com/article/125774

morac
11-07-2011, 07:32 PM
Now some people in the industry want to cancel the alert until later to address some issues:

http://www.televisionbroadcast.com/article/125774

Considering the audio on alerts in my area is usually garbled I bet many people would think it's an emergency. Especially people watching that time of day.

mattack
11-07-2011, 10:28 PM
Why would you suggest that people do that? My TiVo is always on during the regular tests; why should this one be any different?

Yes, any recordings in progress could be lost, but I certainly don't have anything scheduled to record at 2PM...

Maybe you don't, but maybe others do. I know I sometimes have autorecording wishlists catch shows during the day.

I know, if it's on EVERY channel, it's kind of moot, but supposedly putting your Tivo in standby prevents it from changing channels on "those" types of alerts... i.e. you won't lose part of your recording. (again, if it's on every channel maybe this is moot.) But are we sure that EVERY tivo on current software now will keep recording after the alert is done?

sieglinde
11-08-2011, 10:15 AM
I get my TV from the Los Angeles metropolitan area, this means that the alerts are usually for events that are happening about 150 miles away. Even if I got my stuff from the nearer towns of Lancaster, CA and Bakersfield those two towns are over 75 miles away with mountain ranges inbetween me and them. Unless a huge earthquake takes out the LA basin or something closes major roads these are irrelavant to me. I would hope that in the future, these things could be tailored to the area not just where the broadcaster is located.

Amnesia
11-08-2011, 10:25 AM
I would hope that in the future, these things could be tailored to the area not just where the broadcaster is located.I don't understand. You watch a broadcast station from 150 miles away, but you want only local emergency information? How might that work?

Jonathan_S
11-08-2011, 11:01 AM
I don't understand. You watch a broadcast station from 150 miles away, but you want only local emergency information? How might that work?With the old style analog emergecy alert system it couldn't have. They replaced to video with the alert, so there was no way to transmit it to only part of the coverage area.

But with the digital system the cable box or TV is responsible for displaying the alert that was transmitted out of band. That opens the theoretical possibility to let the cable boxes or TVs determine, based on information in the alert, whether to display it.

Emergency alert radios have had that functionality for years. You program the area you're in, and alerts are tagged with the affected area. The radio only alerts you if the area you programmed matches an affected area.


But I don't know if the TV emergency alert system was designed to include that kind of regon coding, so I don't know if that something that could easily be implemented.

Amnesia
11-08-2011, 02:00 PM
That seems like more trouble than it's worth. If there were an emergency in LA worthy of actually using the EAS, then I would imagine that they'd want to let everyone in broadcast range know about it. For example, say a huge earthquake were going to wipe out LA. Wouldn't people 75 miles away want to know? Perhaps cancel that trip to Universal Studios?

Jonathan_S
11-08-2011, 02:24 PM
That seems like more trouble than it's worth. If there were an emergency in LA worthy of actually using the EAS, then I would imagine that they'd want to let everyone in broadcast range know about it. For example, say a huge earthquake were going to wipe out LA. Wouldn't people 75 miles away want to know? Perhaps cancel that trip to Universal Studios?If it was a huge earthquake that affected people 75 miles away then presumably the alert would be tagged with every area within 75 miles so they all receive the alert.

morac
11-08-2011, 02:29 PM
That seems like more trouble than it's worth. If there were an emergency in LA worthy of actually using the EAS, then I would imagine that they'd want to let everyone in broadcast range know about it. For example, say a huge earthquake were going to wipe out LA. Wouldn't people 75 miles away want to know? Perhaps cancel that trip to Universal Studios?

What most people consider an emergency and what the Government considers an emergency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_Area_Message_Encoding#Event_codes) don't necessarily mesh.

The "Local Area Emergency" code is particularly abused by local law enforcement, so much so that in the case of a true emergency many people would probably end up ignoring it.


Personally the only alert I've ever found "useful" was for a tornado warning. I put "useful" in quotes because the warning (http://www.010ly.com/browse.php?u=Oi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL3dhdGNoP3Y9aHFibC03RE5 5SjA%3D&b=5) was completely inaudible making it fairly useless as the details were in the audio.

Amnesia
11-08-2011, 02:32 PM
I can't think of any emergency that would cause the EAS to be used but not be of interest to people 150 miles away...

LoadStar
11-08-2011, 03:18 PM
I can't think of any emergency that would cause the EAS to be used but not be of interest to people 150 miles away...

Severe weather warnings. In particular, a tornado warning; those would only affect those currently in the immediate path of the storm.

morac
11-08-2011, 03:25 PM
I can't think of any emergency that would cause the EAS to be used but not be of interest to people 150 miles away...

There's a number of reasons. For me, 150 miles can be up to 2 states away.

Here's a few reasons:
1. Amber and Silver alerts
2. Localized weather (tornado, flash flood, etc)
3. Local emergency (bridge collapse (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjM_d1osRlI), escaped zoo animal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd7sUr15rw4), basically any LAE code emergency).

jsmeeker
11-08-2011, 03:28 PM
There's a number of reasons. For me, 150 miles can be up to 2 states away.

Here's a few reasons:
1. Amber and Silver alerts
2. Localized weather (tornado, flash flood, etc)
3. Local emergency (bridge collapse (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjM_d1osRlI), escaped zoo animal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd7sUr15rw4), basically any LAE code emergency).

none of those really need the EAS, though. You get all of those alerts today without it.

Amnesia
11-08-2011, 03:29 PM
EAS isn't used for Amber alerts, is it?!? That would be a horrible misuse of the system, IMO.

morac
11-08-2011, 03:30 PM
none of those really need the EAS, though. You get all of those alerts today without it.

How exactly do you get the alerts without it? Remember local alerts are part of the EAS system, they simply use the LAE code.

morac
11-08-2011, 03:31 PM
EAS isn't used for Amber alerts, is it?!? That would be a horrible misuse of the system, IMO.

Yep, they are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qnu3bq8u5E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqyKAxBvV3A

jsmeeker
11-08-2011, 03:36 PM
How exactly do you get the alerts without it? Remember local alerts are part of the EAS system, they simply use the LAE code.

I didn't think those were EAS. I thought EAS had never ever been used before. That the other local alerts were some other system.


For weather stuff, we just get a crawl on TV sent out by the local channel. or they simply cut into programming.

morac
11-08-2011, 03:50 PM
I didn't think those were EAS. I thought EAS had never ever been used before. That the other local alerts were some other system.

For weather stuff, we just get a crawl on TV sent out by the local channel. or they simply cut into programming.

The national EAS codes (EAN, EAT, NPT and NST) have never been used, but there are dozens of other codes. See the link in my previous post.

trainman
11-08-2011, 05:14 PM
For weather stuff, we just get a crawl on TV sent out by the local channel. or they simply cut into programming.

The TV stations are most likely getting the alerts via the EAS system, but not passing the actual EAS alerts along as part of the broadcast. TV and radio stations would do the same thing back in the old Emergency Broadcast System days (except for the Common Program Central Station in the area, which would have to carry the EBS alert).

LoadStar
11-08-2011, 05:48 PM
This alert will last for 3 minutes, I wonder how many idiots wiil be dialing 911. One time you want the news media it inform the public, i haven't heard a thing on tv or radio...

They actually dropped it to 30 seconds.

They've also released a series of PSAs, and asked news media to report on it. I've seen both here.

jsmeeker
11-08-2011, 07:10 PM
How do they validate the test?

Wait for the people to call 911 to ask what's going on? Do they have government workers sitting at home, scattered about the country to confirm they see it on their TV?

MikeAndrews
11-08-2011, 07:52 PM
I got the following email from Comcast at work today:
I bolded the part that has to do with this thread.

They're talking about their Comcrap DVR.

I've had a few seconds of the message show up on a TiVo recording but none totally lost. It looks to like the TiVo tunes to a fringe all-infomercial channel, but it comes back after a minute or two.

There are designated "ConraD" stations and the others are supposed to go off air or carry them. In Chicago it's WGN on AM radio.

I got an email from the village about the Wednesday test. I just have to remember to keep the TV and AVR OFF. The BRAPPP scares the whee out of the dog.

LoadStar
11-08-2011, 08:47 PM
How do they validate the test?

Wait for the people to call 911 to ask what's going on? Do they have government workers sitting at home, scattered about the country to confirm they see it on their TV?

The various media providers - television and radio broadcasters and cable/satellite providers - are required to report the results for their station. Even the smallest of radio stations have to. We've got like a 10W FM station on campus that barely reaches more than a mile... even they are required to have an ENDEC installed and receive and retransmit EAS alerts, and for this test, report the result of the test.

jsmeeker
11-08-2011, 11:39 PM
The various media providers - television and radio broadcasters and cable/satellite providers - are required to report the results for their station. Even the smallest of radio stations have to. We've got like a 10W FM station on campus that barely reaches more than a mile... even they are required to have an ENDEC installed and receive and retransmit EAS alerts, and for this test, report the result of the test.

Sure.. they report. But how do they validate it actually got to the homes of the small number of people actually sitting around and watching TV at that time?

LoadStar
11-08-2011, 11:44 PM
Sure.. they report. But how do they validate it actually got to the homes of the small number of people actually sitting around and watching TV at that time?

Am I being zoomed here? :confused: The stations report whether or not they successfully received the alert and properly re-transmitted it. If they transmitted it, of course anyone listening to that broadcast would receive it.

Are you trying to suggest somehow magically the alert might removed from the broadcast somewhere between the transmitter and the people at home?

LoadStar
11-08-2011, 11:47 PM
BTW, here is the handbook for the nationwide EAS test, that should contain a lot of information about the test and how broadcasters are to report after the test:
http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/eas/EAS%20Handbook%20-%20National%20Test.pdf

JETarpon
11-09-2011, 03:54 AM
The EAS test has been cancelled for the state of Alaska. With the storm coming, they want it to be available for actual emergencies and not to confuse people with tests.

scooterboy
11-09-2011, 09:40 AM
This alert will last for 3 minutes, I wonder how many idiots wiil be dialing 911. One time you want the news media it inform the public, i haven't herad a thing

This alert will last for 3 minutes, I wonder how many idiots wiil be dialing 911. One time you want the news media it inform the public, i haven't heard a thing on tv or radio...

I've heard about it twice within one minute from the same source...

sieglinde
11-09-2011, 10:55 AM
I get my TV stations from the best metropolitan area rather than Bakersfield. If an earthquake hit LA, I would most likely feel it and get on the USGS page unless it knocked out the entire power grid. (I doubt if it would knock off the power where I live.)

Most of the warnings I get are for bad storms that are missing my area or for brush fires that are miles away.

TheMerk
11-09-2011, 10:59 AM
The University of Utah just sent out an email to all faculty, staff and students, alerting them of the test. From what I heard in class just now, this was the first time most college age kids had heard of it.

sieglinde
11-09-2011, 11:02 AM
My dumb junior college sends out those alerts. (At least this time I am taking a bricks and mortar class rather than an online class) and something really horrid would have to happen for it to affect me at home. (a few miles away)

Raj
11-09-2011, 01:02 PM
Going on now...

LoadStar
11-09-2011, 01:07 PM
Well, our radio station picked up on it and broadcast it, but the message was so garbled because of our equipment that it was completely impossible to understand. Oh, well.

allan
11-09-2011, 01:08 PM
Total fail! I haven't heard a thing!

Of course, being at work, nowhere near a TV/radio might have something to do with it

JETarpon
11-09-2011, 01:09 PM
Didn't get it here. I was watching a recording on TiVo, and as I recall, EAS interrupts playback. But, as reported previously, they aren't doing it in Alaska.

Raj
11-09-2011, 01:10 PM
Several stations implemented it differently.

We didn't carry it, being a cable station (EAS then becomes the cable operator's responsibility) but our sister company that runs OTA broadcast stations carried it.

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 01:15 PM
We got a notice about it at work a few days ago.

changk
11-09-2011, 01:15 PM
I'm using Comcast's digital cable tier. On the standard definition stations (which come through as digital channels) I saw station-branded messages stating there was an EAS test, without any audio. On their HD counterparts, and other HD channels, I didn't see any messages on-screen or in front of the screen from TiVo. Normal programming played without interruption.

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 01:16 PM
Well, our radio station picked up on it and broadcast it, but the message was so garbled because of our equipment that it was completely impossible to understand. Oh, well.

to me, this means FAIL.

yes, you got the message and transmitted it. But if it's not received and understood, then it didn't work. that's what I was getting at earlier. It needs to be received and understood by the actual intended recipient (the housewife sitting around and watching Ellen or whatever comes on at that time of the day)

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 01:18 PM
I'm using Comcast's digital cable tier. On the standard definition stations (which come through as digital channels) I saw station-branded messages stating there was an EAS test, without any audio. On their HD counterparts, and other HD channels, I didn't see any messages on-screen or in front of the screen from TiVo. Normal programming played without interruption.

another example of what I was trying to get at.

You need reports like this to actually verify the test. the cable co saying "we got it and sent it out" isn't real verification.

kirk1701
11-09-2011, 01:40 PM
Is there a way on the Tivo to opt out of these interruption's?

What burns me up is the local station breaks in and I mean "Local" as same town telling us as to the path of the storm, damage, time to expect storm to hit down to the minute and while this info is on the EMS on the Tivo breaks in and the prudent info we need is all missed.

LoadStar
11-09-2011, 01:41 PM
to me, this means FAIL.

yes, you got the message and transmitted it. But if it's not received and understood, then it didn't work. that's what I was getting at earlier. It needs to be received and understood by the actual intended recipient (the housewife sitting around and watching Ellen or whatever comes on at that time of the day)

And I would agree, this would be a partial fail, and probably should be reported as such. That's part of what this test was supposed to reveal, all the different points in the system where a failure could occur, so they could be resolved. We've got engineers working on the problem from our side.

LoadStar
11-09-2011, 01:49 PM
Apparently, it wasn't just our equipment... I'm reading the engineering board on radio-info, and it was a disaster from coast to coast.

I feel so much safer now.

Edit: to clarify, the relay network mostly worked, as did the encoded message identifying it as an EAN. So, partial success there. It was mostly the audio component that failed.

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 01:57 PM
Duck and cover!!


Now you are safe...

Scooter
11-09-2011, 02:21 PM
Yeah, they need to do more work on the system. Our CBS station had the same message on both satellite and OTA, but the background tones and buzzes we all know and love from the past could be heard in the background of the new message. It was hard to understand what they were saying.

disco
11-09-2011, 02:37 PM
Unbelievable that EAS has been around for 14 years and this was the first national test of it...and it failed.

Now making the news, too:
http://www.businessinsider.com/attention-your-tv-is-about-to-be-taken-over-by-the-government-2011-11-1

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 02:41 PM
Unbelievable that EAS has been around for 14 years and this was the first national test of it...and it failed.

Now making the news, too:
http://www.businessinsider.com/attention-your-tv-is-about-to-be-taken-over-by-the-government-2011-11-1

BREAKING: EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM TEST FAILS



lol
BREAKING


they got that right.. :D

TIVO_GUY_HERE
11-09-2011, 03:46 PM
QOTD: "If this were a real emergency, you would have found out via Twitter and Facebook 15 minutes ago."

Fish Man
11-09-2011, 04:00 PM
Cue trombone with plunger mute:

Waaaa Waaaaa Waaaa Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....

midas
11-09-2011, 04:05 PM
Was in the car listening to XM when this started. Station went dead for about 5 seconds. Then heard a few tones and voice saying it was only a test and then it cut off. Dead air for another 5 seconds or so and back to music. I don't know the full time, but I know it was less than a minute because my clock read 1:00 when it started and still read 1:00 when it ended. I don't think it really worked.

disco
11-09-2011, 04:07 PM
Cue trombone with plunger mute:

Waaaa Waaaaa Waaaa Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....
http://www.sadtrombone.com

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 04:25 PM
QOTD: "If this were a real emergency, you would have found out via Twitter and Facebook 15 minutes ago."

lol

Awesome.. :)

Fish Man
11-09-2011, 04:43 PM
http://www.sadtrombone.com

Perfect! :) :up:

Me Likey!

LoadStar
11-09-2011, 04:44 PM
Apparently many Time Warner and Cox Cable areas switched channels for the alert... to QVC. :confused:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/133553193.html

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 04:45 PM
Apparently many Time Warner and Cox Cable areas switched channels for the alert... to QVC. :confused:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/133553193.html

Missles on the way!

Go buy stuff.


:D

LoadStar
11-09-2011, 04:53 PM
That's better than DirecTV, who apparently believes the end of the world will be accompanied with the sound of "Paparazzi" by Lady GaGa.

Amnesia
11-09-2011, 04:59 PM
That's better than DirecTV, who apparently believes the end of the world will be accompanied with the sound of "Paparazzi" by Lady GaGa.That doesn't sound too improbable...

Fish Man
11-09-2011, 05:56 PM
That doesn't sound too improbable...

LOL!

Seriously.

Idearat
11-09-2011, 07:12 PM
I tend to not watch or listen to much live media. No radio for music, only for traffic and only when commuting. TV is 100% delayed.

One thing I was curious about was whether I'd get an alert on my phone like I do for weather warnings, but no. Thinking about it though, co-opting a National Weather Service alert to send this out might be a way to go.

So, if this had been an actual emergency I wouldn't have known about it until much later, like if someone brought it up in a conference call even it it had worked properly.

jsmeeker
11-09-2011, 07:21 PM
Over in the help forum, people are reporting that they came home to TiVos that got hung up due to the alert test.

MikeAndrews
11-09-2011, 07:48 PM
Apparently many Time Warner and Cox Cable areas switched channels for the alert... to QVC. :confused:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/133553193.html

Can I get the Iodine on Flex-Pay?

Fish Man
11-09-2011, 08:18 PM
My wife, who was at home watching live TV through a DirecTV DVR says she heard and saw the test. The picture and audio were clean and correct.

I was bummed. I wanted to laugh about her hearing Paparazzi by Lady Gaga. :p

dfergie
11-09-2011, 08:43 PM
That's better than DirecTV, who apparently believes the end of the world will be accompanied with the sound of "Paparazzi" by Lady GaGa.It should have been REM "End of the World" :D

mattack
11-09-2011, 09:52 PM
http://www.sadtrombone.com

Does anybody know the origin of that?

There are a lot of things like that, and the gong / couple of notes you hear in old movies
when they go to an Asian country are a lot of weird memes that everybody "just knows", but I don't know the origin.

mattack
11-09-2011, 09:55 PM
Is there a way on the Tivo to opt out of these interruption's?


(Interruption's what?)

No. The closest thing is putting your Tivo in Standby, then at least for the "normal" alerts, it supposedly won't change channel/interrupt your recording(s). (I say "normal", because since this was supposed to be on all channels, it should have "interrupted" any recording, since it would be on that channel too.)

I forgot to put my Tivo in standby, and I had started a ~4.5 hour "Save to VCR" (of the FIRST chunk of the WSOP final table)... So I suspect my recording was messed up around 1/2 hour before the end. I hope my Tivo didn't hang as others have said happened.

Amnesia
11-09-2011, 09:59 PM
A quick Google search indicates that it's been around since Vaudeville, but I can't find anything more specific than that.

Fish Man
11-10-2011, 09:40 AM
A quick Google search indicates that it's been around since Vaudeville, but I can't find anything more specific than that.

Some doofus on "urbandictionary.com" claimed that its origin was the "Debbie Downer" sketches on SNL.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Good lord, these young whippersnappers!

I'd been hearing it all my life, decades before the first Debbie Downer sketch! (Others corrected the stupidity on urbandictionary.)

martinp13
11-10-2011, 10:06 AM
http://www.sadtrombone.comBeat me to it! : shaky fist :

martinp13
11-10-2011, 10:10 AM
I forgot to set something up at home, so at lunch I used my phone to set a manual recording of some show that would be on before, during, and after 1pm CST. I settled on ESPNU repeating the LSU-Alabama game. I watched the recording last night, and other than the crawler that said there *may* be an alert, there was no alert from 12:45pm to 1:15pm.

sieglinde
11-10-2011, 08:05 PM
I was in the car listening to KNX and sure the 11 am news was interrupted but it certainly was not a good test. It was a lot of dead air then some garbled stuff then silence.

A weird thing happened today on my Tivo. I was actually in the part where you look up your settings because I was grabbing the 15 character ID for the Tivo so I could fill out a channel line up change request and a test came up on THAT!!!! The Tivo went to live TV when the test was over but it interrupted me when I WAS IN TIVO MODE not watching TV. Weird.

LoadStar
11-10-2011, 08:55 PM
A weird thing happened today on my Tivo. I was actually in the part where you look up your settings because I was grabbing the 15 character ID for the Tivo so I could fill out a channel line up change request and a test came up on THAT!!!! The Tivo went to live TV when the test was over but it interrupted me when I WAS IN TIVO MODE not watching TV. Weird.

Not really. Apparently, "Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda" (the fourth hour of "Today") did a news report on the EAS test failure today. As a part of the news report, they played a recording of the test, including the tones at the beginning of the test.

Now, how EAS works is kind of like a giant game of telephone... one station monitors another, which monitors another. Because THEY played the alert tones, that triggered other broadcasters' EAS equipment, and so on... resulting in your TiVo going off again today.

(BTW: news directors coast to coast were reminded by the FCC multiple times NEVER to replay the EAS alert tones. Somehow, I'm not terribly surprised that whomever works on that hour of "Today" failed to get that memo.)

LoadStar
11-10-2011, 09:03 PM
BTW, apparently WCCO (AM, I think) in Minneapolis was the source of a majority of the issues yesterday. From what I read, WCCO, one of the PEP (Primary Entry Point) stations, gets their alert from FEMA via a telephone conference bridge. Unintentionally, they fed back the alert from their equipment (delayed by a few seconds) back onto the conference bridge. This is why on many stations you could hear the tones start again halfway through the alert, along with a second copy of the message.

http://www.thebdr.net/articles/fcc/eas/eas.html

jsmeeker
11-11-2011, 10:22 AM
BTW, apparently WCCO (AM, I think) in Minneapolis was the source of a majority of the issues yesterday. From what I read, WCCO, one of the PEP (Primary Entry Point) stations, gets their alert from FEMA via a telephone conference bridge. Unintentionally, they fed back the alert from their equipment (delayed by a few seconds) back onto the conference bridge. This is why on many stations you could hear the tones start again halfway through the alert, along with a second copy of the message.

http://www.thebdr.net/articles/fcc/eas/eas.html

oy..


Seriously?

This is the MODERN system?


I hate to know how the OLD systems worked. Did they use carrier pigeon and smoke signals?

Fish Man
11-11-2011, 12:26 PM
oy..


Seriously?

This is the MODERN system?


I hate to know how the OLD systems worked. Did they use carrier pigeon and smoke signals?

It was a daisy chain of radio and/or TV stations. And since in an emergency (e. g. nuke attack) some stations might be down, there were secondary, tertiary, fourth-iairy (is that a word?) etc. paths for every part of the chain. The EBS receiver would automatically switch down the line as it lost the carrier from the primary, secondary, etc.

Those "tones" in the test activate the EBS receiver in the next station in the chain.

Sometimes old-fashioned analog is more straightforward than modern digital.

When I was a DJ in college, twice I had to log when the "test" from the upstream station came in. If it's a test, you log it (and some government agency reviews the logs periodically to make sure nothing was missed). If it's an actual emergency, you don't only log it, you put it on the air. In our case, the last slider on the on-air mixing board had a rotary switch to select seldom used inputs to assign to that slider. The EBS receiver was one of the inputs on that switch.


Once I was scheduled to play the test for our station so that the next station in the chain could log it. The "EBS Test" was nothing but a cart (those obsolete broadcast things that look like 8-track tapes) with the tones and message recorded on it, the tones recorded on that cart activated the EBS receiver in the next station in the chain.

LoadStar
11-11-2011, 12:59 PM
At this point, EAS really is not much different to how EBS worked in the latter years.

There are 34 PEP stations around the country that are connected to FEMA by landline and HF radio (and theoretically satellite, I believe). They are the first stations that broadcast the alert. These PEP stations must have an onsite fallout shelter, a diesel generator capable of operating for 30 days uninterrupted, food and water, lightning/weather protection, and are ideally located outside major metropolitan areas. Essentially, they're ready for all the threats that those in the 1950's could envision. ;)

Other "local primary 1" and "local primary 2" stations monitor the broadcast from the PEP stations, receiving and rebroadcasting it as needed. Finally, the rest of the stations in the area monitor those "primary" stations and rebroadcast.

So, for instance, in my area, the PEP station would likely be WLS-AM in Chicago (and possibly as a backup, WCCO-AM in Minneapolis). From there, I believe the LP-1 and LP-2 stations are WTMJ-AM and (possibly) WISN-AM, who would rebroadcast the alert from WLS. The station on our campus monitors both WTMJ and WISN and rebroadcasts them as needed.

Generally, I believe the chain doesn't go more than 3 deep: PEP -> LP-1/LP-2 -> other stations.
When I was a DJ in college, twice I had to log when the "test" from the upstream station came in. If it's a test, you log it (and some government agency reviews the logs periodically to make sure nothing was missed). If it's an actual emergency, you don't only log it, you put it on the air. In our case, the last slider on the on-air mixing board had a rotary switch to select seldom used inputs to assign to that slider. The EBS receiver was one of the inputs on that switch.
For our station, the EAS is between the board and the transmitter; in the event of an alert, the EAS automatically cuts off the board and broadcasts the alert. The board op doesn't have to do anything. This prevents the board op from either missing an alert accidentally, or worse yet, choosing not to carry an alert.

jsmeeker
11-11-2011, 01:06 PM
Twitter and Facebook would be so much easier. :D



Seriously, they should have Google re-invent it. It would be awesome.

LoadStar
11-11-2011, 01:18 PM
Generally, I believe the chain doesn't go more than 3 deep: PEP -> LP-1/LP-2 -> other stations.

I was wrong on two counts.

First, it goes from the PEP to a State Relay, to the Local Primary 1 and Local Primary 2, to the rest of the stations.

For us, the PEP is definitely WLS, the State Relay is 90.7 WHAD, the LP-1 stations are 620 WTMJ and 94.5 WLWK (they are sister stations), and the LP-2 stations are 99.1 WMYX and 1250 WSSP (also sister stations).

So, for us, we monitor WTMJ and one of the LP-2 stations (not sure which... I'd guess WSSP).

trainman
11-11-2011, 04:51 PM
Once I was scheduled to play the test for our station so that the next station in the chain could log it. The "EBS Test" was nothing but a cart (those obsolete broadcast things that look like 8-track tapes) with the tones and message recorded on it, the tones recorded on that cart activated the EBS receiver in the next station in the chain.

Back in my college radio days, we had the message on cart, but we had an actual piece of equipment in "the rack" to generate the tone -- two switches on the front, and one got pushed up and the other got pushed down.

There was nobody monitoring us, so the weekly test was basically just to make sure our equipment worked. (We were in the Chicago metropolitan area, where as far as I know, everyone was monitoring 670 WMAQ and nothing else, so there wasn't much of a chain!)

Fish Man
11-11-2011, 09:18 PM
There was nobody monitoring us, so the weekly test was basically just to make sure our equipment worked. (We were in the Chicago metropolitan area, where as far as I know, everyone was monitoring 670 WMAQ and nothing else, so there wasn't much of a chain!)

I doubt if there was anybody monitoring us either, which is probably why the cart was good enough. :D

Actually, there's no reason the tones recorded on a cart wouldn't work to activate an EBS receiver though, unless the cart got really worn out and developed bad flutter.

I was at WRCT (Pittsburgh). Most all the radio stations in Pittsburgh monitored KDKA (as we did). IIRC there were a few exceptions, however, to simulate an actual "chain" in an actual crisis situation.

However, the "chain" and failovers come into effect if stations start to drop off in an actual emergency.