Implementation of IPAWS-OPEN in REC Systems: myLPFM v3.2 release, FCC.today and standalone CAP service
REC Networks is a developer that has been approved by and has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to access and disseminate emergency alert information from the Integrated Public Alert Warning System Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS OPEN, or just IPAWS). REC has no capability to originate new alerts into IPAWS, only to receive them.
EAS alerts in this system are those that are sent to EAS decoders used by radio stations, television stations and cable systems that are received through the IPAWS CAP functionality of the decoder. "Legacy" alerts that are received by a local EAS participant using a radio, television or satellite receiver are not included. Only those that are sent through IPAWS. Non-EAS alerts are those alerts that are sent through IPAWS on a separate channel that are not intended for direct dissemination through the EAS. Most non-EAS alerts originate from the National Weather Service, however public safety agencies can also originate these alerts. These alerts will not be seen by EAS decoders for forwarding over broadcast and cable systems.
REC IPAWS OPEN Alert Aggregation System (AAS)
To support IPAWS at REC, we have built an application that runs once per minute to poll the IPAWS services for Emergency Alert System (EAS) and non-EAS alerts receieved though Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). This data is decoded and then placed into our database to be available for other applications within the REC Universe to be able to use in their presentations. The AAS is the only touch point between REC Networks and the FEMA IPAWS OPEN data.
REC will retain non-EAS alerts for a period of 72 hours from issuance. EAS alerts will be retained for at least 365 days, however, there is no program in place at this time to delete EAS alerts from the REC database.
REC IPAWS All Hazards CAP Feed Page
This page on the REC website allows access to all of the active data that is currently being stored by AAS. This page is available to the general public. This page shows all active EAS and non-EAS alerts that are currently in effect. The list is filtered by default to not include marine weather, which is a considerable number of the alerts received by AAS. The list can also be filtered to show all active EAS alerts and an archive of the last 100 EAS alerts on file, including those that have expired. Users can also filter current alerts by state.
For each returned alert, clicking the "View" link will show all of the CAP data that was received by AAS for that alert.
myLPFM version 3.2
REC Networks releases version 3.2 of myLPFM, our station management and channel searching portal for licensed Low Power FM (LPFM) broadcast stations. This version implements the IPAWS functionality and other unrelated features. The IPAWS functionality was originally scheduled for version 3.1, but was moved to 3.2 due to the delays that we encountered with our final FEMA approval and activation of the IPAWS OPEN feed at REC.
Alerting menu option
A new megaphone icon will now appear on the left menu and on the main menu page that will take users to the Alerting functionality within myLPFM.
myLPFM alerting profile
When a user logs into myLPFM for the first time (or the first time since version 3.1), the user will be taken to a menu that will allow them to set up an Alerting Profile. In this profile, the user can select the counties or other jurisdictions (FIPS codes) that the user wishes to see alerts for within myLPFM. The system will default to jurisdictions located within 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) of the LPFM station. Other jurisdictions that are within 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) are also available for selection. The user can select these jurisdictions to expand the area for which alerts will be monitored for that station.
This functionality can also be edited by going to the Alerting system and under the "EAS and Weather Alerts" tab, clicking on the "Adjust alerting coverage area" link.
In-system notifications of alerts
On the top line of most screens in myLPFM, there is now a link "EAS/WX Alerts". This link will take the user to the Alerting functionality in myLPFM. When there are active alerts in the county or jurisdiction that is set in the station's myLPFM profile, this link will display in red and include the number of alerts.
Alerting - EAS and Weather Alerts
When the megaphone icon is clicked and the user is taken to the Alerting system, the first tab they will experience is the "EAS & Weather Alerts" section. On this page, any active EAS and non-EAS alerts for the jurisdictions within their profile will be shown. Clicking on the alert will bring up more detailed infrormation about the alert. This functionality is available to all licensed LPFM stations.
Alert and Test History
This tab, which is also available to all licensed LPFM stations will display historical information about the last 25 EAS alerts received for this jurisdiction, including expired alerts. Non-EAS alerts are not shown on this tab.
External Access/Station Alerting Public Page
LPFM stations with REC Client level access (stations with a historical minimum spend of $350 in REC services) will have access to an external page, which can be accessed by the general public that displays details on alerts that are in effect for the station's coverage area. This page can be used by stations for their air staff to be able to view alert information without the need to log into myLPFM. LPFM stations can also put a link on their station's website to this public page. The public page also includes the station's logo that was either uploaded into myLPFM or otherwise appears in the LPFM.us National LPFM Station Directory and if a station website URL is on file in LPFM.us, there will be a link from this page to return the listener to the station's main website.
This function is automatically enabled for any LPFM station that has already set up their alerting profile in myLPFM and can be accessed by the general public by going to:
https://mylpfm.com/alerts/[the station's facility ID]
Alerting Website Widgets
LPFM stations with REC Client level access have access to a small REST Application Processing Interface (API), which stations can use to integrate into their station website or other applications to provide current EAS and non-EAS alerting information.
Non-adjacent channel change - reduced interference showing
Not related to the IPAWS implementation, myLPFM v3.2 also includes new functionality for REC Client users that will do an evaluation of whether, during a channel change, the new channel could be considered as "reduced interference" pursuant to §73.870(a) of the Rules. LPFM stations may change to any available "adjacent" channel (first, second or third adjacent as well as intermediate frequency) as a minor change. To change to any other available channel, a technical showing of reduced interference must be performed. This study will compare the LPFM station's current incoming interference on co- and first-adjacent channel with the channel that is being studied.
To access this new functionality, perform a channel change or site move request. For available channels that return that are not adjacent channels, the system will show a "Check Reduced Intf." link for each available channel. Clicking on that link will perform a report similar to that used by the Encroachment Report for both the current channel and the proposed channel. If done in conjunction with a site move, the system will check the new channel at the proposed site and the existing channel at the current site.
FCC.today EAS information display
When an active EAS alert is in progress, it will now display at the top of the FCC.today page. The display will include the narrative of the alert and a link to the alert at the REC All Hazards CAP Feed page. Non-EAS alerts are not shown here. This will serve as a reminder that a CAP EAS was issued for a particular area and gives the station an excellent opportunity to verify in their EAS logs that the alert was received and processed properly by the decoder.