This is an update to our article published last week in MAB News Briefs, to include information from another manufacturer as well as an FCC release on the required update.

Sage, DASDEC and Gorman-Redlich  have announced availability of required updates for their EAS boxes, which must be installed by November 8.

Sage announced October 30 that its long awaited ENDEC update (Rev95) that is necessary for the expiring digital certificate has been cleared for distribution. This is the controversial update that Sage is charging* users $349 for each ENDEC.  The upgrade became neccessary after FEMA announced changing the method used to connect to its IPAWS server, disabling an older method in favor of a new security standard. After the FEMA switchover, older versions of the ENDEC software will not be able to receive CAP messages from IPAWS. The update is available from Sage distributors.  For more information, visit Sage here.

*This update will be provided free of charge for ENDECs purchased new after March 1, 2018.

Digital Alert Systems has announced that the security update DASDEC devices is available for download and install.  Information and download is here.

Gorman-Redlich:  The Nov. 8 changes do not require a new E-prom. They have info on the website for updating the CAP program to handle the changes required on November 8 and the cost is 180 dollars.  Click here.

Larry Wilkins, CPBE, of the Alabama Broadcasters Assocation has made available a tutorial on the upgrade process for both Sage and DASDEC.  That tutorial is available here.

Can’t make the deadline?  The FCC has acknowledged that with the late roll-out of the updates, some broadcasters may find themselves unable to install the update by the November 8 deadline. The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will give an extra 60 days on the clock, meaning the updates need to be in place by Jan. 7, 2020.  However, this “extension” is using existing provisions with regard to EAS equipment that is out of service.  Broadcasters should install the updates at their earliest opportunity to remain capable of receiving CAP-formated alerts which which are distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency before they are relayed to the public. That validation process requires that a station’s equipment be configured so that any CAP-formatted alert that doesn’t include a valid digital signature is rejected. It does that by looking at the message received and the digital signature created by the certificate included in the alert. The equipment checks to be sure the certificate matches one of the trusted sources stored in the EAS unit.  Read the FCC release here.  HOWEVER:  The lack of a current digital certificate does not affect the over-the-air relay of alerts.  Just the ability of EAS equipment to receive alerts through IPAWS.

The pressing issue has come into play since FEMA said one of the certificates it has issued for the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), that has been installed in all EAS devices, is set to expire November 8.