Last week’s National Periodic Test (NPT) of the Emergency Alert System drew mixed results from around the country. This was the first test that completely relied on the daisy-chain approach and not IPAWS/Internet delivery of the test. Barry Mishkind’s BDR Newsletter reported:
1. The test did not reach some areas and states. Florida generally missed the test, as did the upper peninsula of Michigan, and parts of Georgia.
2. In many places, there was no audio. Wisconsin generally had no audio due to a receiver failure. Some stations in ND, CO, NC, and NH also got no audio.
3. Many sites reported “scratchy,” “unintelligible,” or audio with something underneath the NPT.
4. Stations pulling from Sirius got overly hot audio, fairly distorted.
5. It appears that Sirius sent a second NPT an hour later, perhaps in error.
Here in Michigan, MAB’s own survey after the test reported audio issues from some stations. Somewhat distorted audio came from those (and those downstream) who received the audio via NPR’s Squawk Channel. Others reported that as the alert passed through the daisy chain, the opening tones were repeated with each pass. Several stations had equipment issues.
With regard to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as mentioned above, it appears the test was received in the Eastern UP, but most of the Central and Western UP did not receive. The MAB was able to quickly identify the cause of the issue and it has since been resolved. However in dissecting the daisy chain path, it became obvious that an alternate path to the Upper Peninsula needs to be formulated and several solutions are being discussed.
The BDR Newsletter also reports that some stations reported problems with the FCC’s ETRS site, where they were unable to file Form Two, receiving messages essentially saying “the server is too busy.” Those that got to file Form Two, sometimes had to wait for well over an hour (or more) to get confirmation emails. Form Two was due by Midnight the day of the test (August 8). Form Three is due on or before September 23, 2019.