Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Wednesday? It's National EAS-Test Day!

     H'mm, it will be Wednesday all day.  But it's only test day once a year, and then only for a few minutes.  (Around 2:20 p.m. EDT, last time I checked.)

     There's another big test of the national Emergency Broadcast System this afternoon, this time checking the "analog" station-to-station relay system that now backs up the internet-based distribution system.  This is the part that hard-failed the first time FEMA convinced FCC to run a full national test.

     The analog backup has worked fine in tests since, but FEMA and FCC want to see if there are any holes in it they haven't yet found.  I have to give the FCC credit -- after decades of just assuming the system would work, once FEMA goaded them into finding out for real and discovering it kind of didn't work, FCC has been enthusiastic about running yearly tests, collecting data from the participants, and working to correct the problems the test reveals.


The Old Man said...

Two is one and one is none. See WWII American torpedoes for reliability sans testing.

RandyGC said...

Came through here at 1420, with really crappy audio (sounds like a middle-distant commercial AM broadcast). R about 3.5-4. Would that be one of the issues they are testing?

Roberta X said...

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

But it's not; once the audio gets to the Primary Entry Points, all of them high-power AM stations, its up to the radio and TV stations to make sure they're receiving a good quality signal from the stations they're assigned to monitor. The first relay is always from an AM station, and even engineers who should know better often use antennas that don't provide good signal-to-noise. I'm using a non-resonant dipole to pick up a 50 kW AM about twenty miles away, and while the fidelity isn't great, it's as good as a dial-up phone line. But they're not a Primary Entry Point, and whatever they're using to pick up the PEP station (probably WLW, Cincinnati, OH) is noticeably worse than the quality we get on audio they originate.

The first time FEMA and FCC tried the system with station-to-station relay only, it was a horrendous failure. This test was to see if that had been corrected -- and at least as far as Washington, D.C. to Indianapolis, IN, it has been!

pigpen51 said...

I remember the first time they tried this, although I don't remember just how long ago it has been. But I do remember that some people were definitely not happy with it, and promised that they were going to do better. It seems that they have done so.
It does seem good when you see a government program that actually is making progress towards their goal, even if it takes some time. Just like in any other area of government, I don't care if they are not perfect, if they are better than they were a year ago.
And in all honesty, things like this are probably more important than 90% of all other types of things that government gets their noses into. Ensuring that people remain safe during a time of a major emergency is one of the bigger jobs of the government, and it makes me glad to see that people with the authority and the will to fix it are actually doing a decent job.
Now if we could just get the rest of government to quit with the non productive work they do, to try and remain in office, and just be content to govern, we would be further ahead.

Robert said...

There was a test? Huh. Your blog post is the first notice I've gotten.