SBE EAS Advisory Group; Larry Wilkins, CPBE, chair
As you should be aware by now, FEMA along with the FCC has scheduled the 2021 National Periodic Test (NPT) for Aug. 11, 2021, at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Should conditions arise that interfere with the transmission of the test on Aug. 11, the backup date is Aug. 25.
The test itself will be distributed via the Primary Entry Point (PEP) system and will not be available via the IPAWS network. This test will be conducted using the over-the-air daisy-chain system, where the message will be received by a state’s PEP station and then passed from station to station based on monitoring assignments set out in each station’s statewide EAS plan.
To ensure a station’s EAS equipment is set up correctly to receive and relay this test, engineers should verify the following:
- Verify the EAS equipment is operating properly with the most up-to-date firmware and security patches. Contact he equipment supplier for information about the latest version.
- Verify the EAS equipment system clock is correct and locked to a national time server.
- Check with the state EAS plan to see what the assigned monitor sources for your area are (this does include National Weather Service or IPAWS). These monitor sources are listed in the state EAS plan. If you are unable to receive the stations assigned, contact your State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) or State Broadcasters Association to request an alternate source.
- Verify the audio quality and level from both the required sources. Audio should be clean with no crosstalk, or hum, and the input level of the sources should be set to match your loop-through program audio.
- Ensure you are receiving the Required Weekly Test (RWT) from both required sources.
- View the incoming filter list in the EAS decoder. There should be one labeled NPT, with the originator listed as Primary Entry Point, event as National Periodic Test (NPT) and location left blank.
- It is highly suggested that the station engineer or other responsible employee be on hand the day of the test to ensure the test is received and relayed properly with clean audio. This information will be needed when reporting results to the FCC via the ETRS (Emergency Test Reporting System) by Aug. 12, 2021. Note the reception and relay of the test or any problems in the station log.
Take time now to check all the above, so you can rest easier as we approach the test day of Aug. 11, 2021. Should you have any questions contact your SECC or State Broadcasters Association early.