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Random Noise: April 2021

Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

 Covid-19 restrictions are changing, restaurants are opening for (limited) indoor dining, and more of the population are receiving the vaccination(s). The SBE66 meetings may become less virtual and more actual—but not this month. Join SBE66 for the April meeting via ZOOM on Thursday April 29th at 12:00PM (noon). Look for the accompanying email to this Newsletter for the meeting link and information.

“What we have here, is failure-to-communicate”, said a famous movie actor. On April 26 FEMA said the same thing. On April 26, 2021, the Required Weekly Test (RWT) from IPAWS was transmitted with an incorrect signature. The test messages had a mismatch between the digest inside the message, and the digest computed by receivers. This is a part of the validation for an alert, and checking it is required by FCC Rule 11.56(c): The FCC says that, “EAS Participants shall configure their systems to reject all CAP-formatted EAS messages that include an invalid digital signature.” So, in theory, you should NOT have received this week’s RWT. If your received logged it, it should have said: “digital signature invalid.” All EAS devices should have rejected the test. The error affected all units, Sage Endec, DasDec and Trilithic. Some facilities have reported that their systems were configured correctly, but they still got the test. What say you? Our EAS box at the FM station where I work, did not receive the usual Monday morning alert. Check out the EAS Update story in this Newsletter for more information.

Also, The has FCC issued a Public Notice to announce the effective date of the FCC’s 2019 Report and Order on RF Exposure. This requires all stations to do an evaluation no later than two years of the RF Exposure on the site. It goes into effect on May 3rd. New and modified stations must do the evaluation immediately.

How good is your old reliable table-top tube set and long wire antenna? The FCC has released its latest census of broadcast facilities. As of March 31st, there are 4,546 AM and 10,895 full power FM stations with 2124 LPFM, and 8521 FM translators and boosters. That should keep you busy DXing in front of the magic eye tube for a few evenings at least. Hope to catch you in one of those tiny zoom boxes.

If you can’t find the accompanying email, here is the information for the upcoming Thursday (April 29th 2021) ZOOM meeting:         Meeting ID: 817 7628 3417   Passcode: 970358