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Unid 98.3 from Michigan 7/24

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  • Unid 98.3 from Michigan 7/24

    During the 7/24 Es opening, I received a station on 98.3 broadcasting a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that had just been issued for Tuscola County Michigan with the feed from NOAA Weather Radio. The problem... no 98.3 looks to have coverage area that includes Tuscola County.

    My best guess is that it may have been W252CP/Holly MI (K-Love). Holly is close to the Flint NOAA Weather Radio Station which includes Tuscola County in it's coverage area,

    Does anyone know how EAS typically works for translator stations (in general), or K-Love stations or for W252CP specifically? Do translators typically have their own EAS input which could activate their EAS independent of the translator's primary station? W252CP's primary station is apparently WDKL/Mount Pleasant MI which is probably not close enough to pick up the Flint NOAA Weather Radio and would probably use Detroit's NWR anyway so it would not seem to be from WDKL itself.

    Doug

  • #2
    Arguably, 74.1231(f) and (g) allow an FM translator to operate EAS independent of the primary but don't require it.

    I can cite two specific translators that do NOT operate independent EAS. W279CH Hermitage, Tennessee which I help maintain -- it is wired in such a way that it's a 100% relay of primary WRFN-LP. And a station in Meridian, Mississippi on which I heard EAS activated for a Severe Thunderstorm Warning -- for Marin and Sonoma Counties in Northern California. It was translating KEAR-106.9 San Francisco via satellite.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

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    • #3
      My best guess... is WCMZ Sault Ste. Marie. But that's a guess.

      WCMZ relays WCMU-FM Mount Pleasant. WCMU's coverage includes at least parts of Saginaw, Midland, Bay, and Gladwin Counties. All of which are in the same EAS Operational Area as Tuscola County. (and Saginaw County borders on Tuscola County to the west)

      That said, I would expect WCMZ, as a full-license station, to have its own EAS gear. It's expected to monitor WYSS-99.5 and WSUE-101.3 for alerts -- WCMU relays WUPS-98.5 or originates the alerts itself.

      Is it possible you were hearing a *local* translator, whose primary was being overridden by Es from Michigan?
      Doug Smith W9WI
      Pleasant View, TN EM66
      http://www.w9wi.com

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      • #4
        Thanks for the info, Doug. That's the sense that I got looking at the FCC rules for translators, but didn't know for sure how things worked in practice.

        WCMZ was another station that made some sense to me because of the networking with WCMU (and at times,WUCX/90.1/Bay City MI which would be adjacent to Tuscola County). I don't think I have enough to go on though.

        I hadn't thought to look at local translators being overtaken by Es input signals, although I have experienced that before. I don't have any local translators on 98.3 and don't see any good candidates nearby.

        I wish I would have stayed on frequency to see what the station was coming out of the warning broadcast, but I thought I had a good geographic reference to log it and I moved on.

        Thanks again, Doug.

        Doug

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        • #5
          I asked one of my friends who is knowledgeable about EAS. She told me that typically EMF translators pick up the EAS of their parent, which would rule out WDKL.

          Apparently not much is known about the EAS situation from WCMU, so they might be able to. But we just don't know.

          She adds that Tuscola County is toned for by three NWR transmitters: Bad Axe, Flint, and Sandusky.
          Follow En Frecuencia on Medium and Twitter @EnFrecuencia, your Mexican broadcasting blog.

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          • #6
            Raymie-

            Thanks for the information. That's good to know about how EMF translators typically are set up, so yes, that does seem to rule out W252CP/WDKL. My local K-Love and Air-1 are full power stations, so their coverage area pretty much matches the Oklahoma City Weather Radio coverage/EAS area, so I've not had any experience with EAS on any of their translators.

            I had looked to see if there could be a potential connection through the Bad Axe or Sandusky NWR broadcast areas as well, but didn't see anything obvious. If it did happen to be WCMZ/Sault Ste Marie, it would be a relog. I don't see any other good possibilities, so it will likely stay in the unid dustbin.

            But thanks for the info, Raymie and Doug!

            Doug

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            • #7
              CMU is my local on 89.5, though I can't say I often listen to it a lot as there are far stronger public radio signals I tune into more as WMCU is more on the semi-local side. I can't imagine them running any EAS at all actually as they are a public radio station that could just interrupt programming themselves and tell the audience about the warning. I don't know too much about how EAS works but certainly never hear every station in a coverage area break into programming at once with alerts. It's always just a few while others go about their business. Weather-wise, CMU stations broadcast weather for Michigan and Ontario in degrees F and C regardless of which frequency/location. It may be them though.

              The Thumb primarily is out of other markets. Even as far as TV markets go, it is classified as being in the London, ON market. It can be hard to hear Bay City and Detroit signals there as well. I'd keep it in that UNID dust bin.
              [ Radio and weather geeks, beware. Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide, Great Lakes Coastal Radio, domestic Korean radio, and Chinese FM tropo and Es - find 12+ hours of audio at http://www.chriskadlec.com/ • Tuner: Grundig G8 portable • Location: Seoul, Korea and West Michigan • Home DX sites: Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Mears, Mich.; Songtan, Korea • Contact me at Chris.Kadlec@gmx.de ]

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              • #8
                Thanks for the information, Chris. And I think it's pretty much the same way here - I've mainly heard EAS and straight NWR cut-ins for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings on unattended stations around here too (that is if have the radio on and am not at work during severe weather... so my sample size is pretty small.)

                I definitely won't have enough to do anything with this Michigan one.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cckadlec View Post
                  CMU is my local on 89.5, though I can't say I often listen to it a lot as there are far stronger public radio signals I tune into more as WMCU is more on the semi-local side. I can't imagine them running any EAS at all actually as they are a public radio station that could just interrupt programming themselves and tell the audience about the warning. I don't know too much about how EAS works but certainly never hear every station in a coverage area break into programming at once with alerts. It's always just a few while others go about their business. Weather-wise, CMU stations broadcast weather for Michigan and Ontario in degrees F and C regardless of which frequency/location. It may be them though.

                  The Thumb primarily is out of other markets. Even as far as TV markets go, it is classified as being in the London, ON market. It can be hard to hear Bay City and Detroit signals there as well. I'd keep it in that UNID dust bin.
                  As far as the FCC is concerned, the only EAS alerts that are required to be relayed are RMT (Required Monthly Test), NPT (National Periodic Test), EAN (Emergency Action Notification - basically, we're being nuked), and EAT. (Emergency Action Termination - the condition that caused an EAN to be issued no longer exists) From an FCC standpoint, stations may choose to relay weather warnings but they are not required to do so. The station I work for (and most TV stations that have a weather department) does NOT relay weather warnings via EAS -- we use our own equipment, and for more urgent alerts, our own on-air personnel, to report those alerts. I have heard of stations using their own personnel during business hours and automatically relaying via EAS when there's nobody around.

                  Each state has an EAS plan. That plan may establish additional relay requirements, and the FCC will enforce that plan. Michigan's plan is password-protected -- apparently you must be a Michigan-licensed broadcaster to access it. (I think the Washington State plan requires relaying all NOAA alerts, but don't hold me to that) If WCMU is using their own personnel to report weather warnings one could presume they were NOT the station involved in this case.


                  Officially, the FCC uses Nielsen DMA market definitions. These definitions don't cross international borders -- no place in the U.S. is in a Canadian market. Michigan's Thumb is split between the Flint and Detroit markets, with Tuscola County in the Flint market. Markets are irrelevant to EAS though. Each state EAS plan establishes Operational Areas, which determine where an event will activate EAS for any particular station. While the Michigan plan is password-protected, the Operational Area map isn't: you can see it here: https://michmab.com/wp-content/uploa...Map-062419.jpg The Nielsen maps can be viewed here: https://thevab.com/storage/app/media...A_Map_2019.pdf
                  Doug Smith W9WI
                  Pleasant View, TN EM66
                  http://www.w9wi.com

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                  • #10
                    There's an 88.5 I am uploading soon from 7/15 (which overrode my local translator), with a severe thunderstorm warning for an area in Texas that has no 88.5 nearby. It's similar to the content of this UNID. Not sure when I will get to it, with 10 hours of recordings to go through starting at the morning opening on 7/14!
                    FM/AM/SW DXer of Yakima, WA! God Bless America!

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