CGC #1102

by CGC on November 14, 2011



                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR

                           CGC #1102

                   Monday,  November 14, 2011


                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor

    Copyright 2011, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)



  In this newsletter, Richard Rudman looks at the audio loop-back 
problem that in his opinion has a "very strong likelihood" of having 
come from FEMA, then he addresses other important issues associated 
with the first Nationwide EAS Test including the need for us to make 
our own prompt repairs to resolve any broadcast problems.

  CGC highly recommends that local EAS areas patiently diagnose what 
went wrong beyond the obvious loop-back problem.  There may be 
important and unexpected trends.  Some stations have already 
discovered that their audio levels were set incorrectly, for 

  Next in this newsletter, Oscar Medina grabs the bull by the horns 
and tells us what he has learned so far from the San Diego Operational 
Area, but he points out that more data is needed and tells us 
specifically what is needed and where to send the info.  Other 
Operational Areas may send out similar information requests so 
watch your in-boxes.

  This is really an exciting time because each Operational Area has 
its own story to tell.  Once the local problems are resolved, expect 
another Nationwide EAS Test.  We hope that will happen sooner rather 
than later so any remaining bugs can be ironed out and the nationwide 
EAS issues put to rest.

  In summary, let's examine the data, determine local trends and 
repair any obvious problems.  It's a good bet that the nationwide 
audio glitches experienced last Wednesday won't be repeated in the 
next go around.  Broadcasters didn't drop the ball Wednesday; let's 
not drop it now.



  "FEMA will hopefully release the details soon, but from some post-
test recordings I have listened to I believe there is a very strong 
likelihood that the audio loop-back occurred at the FEMA warning 
origination point.  There are other theories being advanced, and we 
will have to wait for FEMA to issue their official post-test report 
to know with 100% certainty exactly what happened and what will be 
done to prevent this from happening in the future....

  "A large number of people and media outlets still represent the test 
as a "failure" and it wasn't that at all.  I want to strongly restate 
my feeling that we need to look beyond the audio shortcomings and 
concentrate on the many things that went right with the EAS relay 
system, and on the distribution infrastructure and equipment issues 
that will require EAS public and private stakeholder cooperation to 

  "At some point in the near future we will find out if our government 
is serious about warnings or not.  This includes dollars for training 
from origination point on through -- dollars for redundant and 
resilient warning distribution infrastructure -- and now the will on 
the part of FEMA and the FCC for as rapid a transition from SAME EAS 
to CAP EAS as possible, with wired and wireless paths for CAP distri-
bution that back up Internet distribution."

  Extracts from a letter by Richard Rudman, CA EAS SECC
  Vice Chair, November 11, 2011



  "Three stations have sent me some feedback [from the San Diego 
Operational Area] and there are some pretty strange things going on.  
At first glance, based on this very limited data, the problems appear 
to be directly connected with the brand of EAS equipment used at a 
station.  Some received the test but it did not automatically relay.  
Others received the test but only one or two seconds of audio passed 

  "What we need for the San Diego Operational Area is more data.
Please let me know:

  o  your station's call sign,

  o  the type of EAS equipment used,

  o  if you received the test,

  o  if your EAS box automatically interrupts your
  station programming or if EAS messages are delayed and
  manually broadcast,

  o  how much of the test was rebroadcast (how many seconds
  of the voice announcement if you have that figure),

  o  if you had to take any action to get the test on the air,

  o  if you had to take any action to return to regular
  programming, and

  o  any other comments that you think might be helpful.
  For example, how much time elapsed between 11:00:00 and when
  you received the start of the test, and your assessment of
  the audio quality before the loop-back began."

  Thank you,
  Oscar Medina, Chairman, San Diego LECC EAS
  November 12, 2011

  Send e-mail to:  feedback (at)

  [This address might sound like a nationwide domain name but
  it is not.  The name was available so Oscar grabbed it for
  the San Diego Operational Area.  Nice catch!]



  While contaminated audio, noise or the absence of audio plagued many 
of us on test day, these are problems that can be fixed and will 
undoubtedly result in a much better test next time around.
More problems -- involving station faults -- will surely come to light 
in the days and weeks ahead.  Repairs need to be made quickly while 
the problems are fresh in everyones' minds.  We will hopefully test 
again soon.

  The good folks at Radio World have compiled these reports from 
industry experts with a wealth of important information:



  Please use the following URL and (if necessary) scroll down past the 
copy of this newsletter to see all of the postings concerning the 
first-ever Nationwide EAS Test:



  Finally, we leave you with this.  Bill Agresta is Chief Engineer of 
KBRT(AM) on Catalina Island -- a picturesque retreat with a commanding 
view of the southern California coast.

  Bill has developed a revolutionary replacement EAS system and demon-
strates it for us here.  If it is true that everything in heaven is 
analog, this system may indeed be divinely inspired.

                             FCC NEWS


  o  LPFM vs. FM Translators -- The FCC is now reviewing about
  200 comments filed in its Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule
  Making on this complex matter:

  o  Auction 93 freeze announced for FM minor change applications:

  o  The FCC's tentative agenda for its next open meeting on
  Wednesday, November 30, 2011, includes the possible allocation
  of spectrum in the 413-457 MHz band for medical purposes:

                           RANDOM NOTES


  The gala SCFCC Mt. Wilson "Christmas Party" for broadcast engineers 
is set for Wednesday, November 16, 2011, see CGC #1095 for details.  
We have learned that Southern California Edison is planning a presen-
tation on the new A.C. power feed arrangements for Wilson and Harvard, 
so this will be a golden opportunity to learn about the new system 
and ask questions.

  The weather is predicted to be sunny with a high near 62.

  Please RSVP to howard (at)



  o  KBRT(AM) antenna relocation article from Radio World.
  Note the enlarged photos available by clicking:

  o  Transmitter manufacturer Nautel Ltd. has changed hands:

  o IBOC defined: It Bothers Other Channels

                       LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


  Letters to the Editor of the CGC Communicator should be
  posted on the Tech Letters Website at the URL below.  All
  letters and comments are moderated and are posted after review.

  Please contact Steve Blodgett if you have trouble viewing
  or posting:   sblodgett (at)

                            OFF TOPIC


  o  Dr. John Abbott's strobe photography of insects,
  bats and other animals in motion is outstanding:

  o  An interview with Siri, the personal assistant that
  resides inside the new iPhone 4S:

  o  How it feels to fly in the Boeing Dreamliner:



  The CGC Communicator is published for broadcast engineering
  professionals in so. California by Communications General®
  Corporation (CGC), consulting radio engineers, Fallbrook, CA.

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