EAS Recommendations?

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Ray
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EAS Recommendations?

Post by Ray » Sat May 31, 2014 2:08 pm

I looking at two popular EAS boxes for our new LPFM. The capability seems to be almost the same and the price between the two are close. I was wondering if I could get some recommendations? Is any additional software required or do the units come with everything required for a LPFM decode?

Option 1 Sage Model 3644

Option 2 Monroe DAS DECII-LC

Thanks

Ray

TPT
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by TPT » Sat May 31, 2014 5:33 pm

Apart from monitoring sources (commonly called radios...) either unit would have everything you need for an LPFM.

I had a DASDEC (briefly) but sent it back. Too confusing to set up, didn't like the log format. Now have two Sage units. You do need to download their set-up software, but set-up is easy. Just run the audio through the Sage then into your processor--XLR's in and out. Connect it to your network (yes I know--a network for an LPFM? Just get one of those inexpensive 4 port switches--you will still need 2 computers, one for air, one for audio editing/web surfing--and you are in business).

What I liked about the Sage--apart from the fact that I got it up and talking to the network myself (I'm a hardware fixer--don't get along with most software), is that the logs are easily printed using Internet Explorer (for some reason Firefox only picks up the first page). Supposedly it has built in printer drivers for HP printers, but I prefer using IE, & print preview since I can shrink it down instead of printing a page with just one line. You can have it send e-mail notifications, although if the weather gets busy you're inbox will be overwhelmed.

Other nice features: You can schedule an automatic weekly test--either at a fixed time each week, or at random times. You can put an icon on a control room computer & allow the board op to pull up the Sage & manually send an RWT. You can also program a timed delay on certain warnings (such as thunderstorm or flood watches). The front panel speaker sounds off when the delayed alert is received (there's a separate audio feed on the back--I ran this to a little computer speaker in my control room). The board OP can then either let it go through, or abort the message using a computer on the network.

Problem Areas: The manual is terribly un-helpful. Reading it you would think you have to use the tiny LCD front panel screen to set-up; but really, you just download their ENDECSET software, set up your operating parameters, such as identifying your local county, assigning priorities to alerts (e.g., air immediately, delay, or just log), then upload the saved set-up to the Sage over the network. One trick that is in the manual, but easy to miss, is that you must use the front panel to turn on a "network server" and grab the IP address. Then you just use this as the address in your browser to talk to the box.

Another problem area--easy to over-load the audio inputs. Bad things happen when you do this. You can see approximate levels over the network & even stream the audio to your computer. Typical -10/10K IHF level off a tuner should be about right, although I had good luck with a little Scientific Oregon weather radio by just using the headphone jack--and keeping the level down.

If you do go with the Sage--there are plenty of folks on this list who can help you figure out some of the unclear set-up areas in the ENDECSET software.

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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by NECRAT » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:33 am

They are both good boxes, and both have plenty of use in the industry. To add to TPT's post, if you go with the DASDEC, plenty here will be able to help with that as well. However it is a really time consuming box to setup and it is more geared for TV use than radio anyways. The Sage is the better way to go.
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by kkiddkkidd » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:43 am

I concur on the Sage. We installed 2ea DAS units and 8 new Sages if I am counting correctly. The Sage is much easier to setup. We have had one of each brand totally lose programming for some reason and one early Sage that had to be returned for service within a month of installation.
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Muadeeb
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by Muadeeb » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:26 pm

I've installed 30 Dasdec units and I prefer them to the Sage. I found them less annoying to configure than a TFT, and could do it with any browser. The newest firmware also allows you to see Radio status (audio level) and the last received CAP message on the login page without even logging in. The three AM/FM/NOAA decoders built into the device is a nice plus too. RWTs can be sent via a double tap of the ONE button on the front panel. I agree that there are lots of options, but most of them can be ignored, and even the base unit is very functional.
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by jeeisenz » Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:15 pm

+1 on the DASDEC-II. We've been running one here for quite a few years now and it just sits and runs. We had a TFT 911 before, so we knew there was going to be a little curve going into it, but the announcers that need to run it seem to have taken to it like fish in water. We also run it "segmented" as well.

The logs aren't too horrid - unless you are looking for a certain event, then it's a little tricky. Yes there is a little setup required but once it's set, it just runs.

Methodical
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by Methodical » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:29 pm

I've got both units in operator and prefer the sage.

Going against the dasdec are a couple major snafus:

1. They shipped a ton of units with bad drives, containing a serious bug. The units would die after 400+ days (there's a particular number) of days, irrecoverably. The drive would have to be replaced, and if you haven't backed up the configuration you get to start from scratch. This is quite involved with the dasdec units.

2. They released an update that contained their private SSH key.... oops

My minor issue with it is the terrible user interface.

On the plus side, it's way more powerful if you need to do special stuff. The built in radios are very nice. If you need a DASDEC, you need it. You'll know it. If you don't, stick with sage.

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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by w9wi » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:50 am

Methodical wrote:The built in radios are very nice.
Just as a minor aside, this is a serious understatement:)

I set one of these up in our (TV station) tech core a few months ago. Got everything working, received a RWT from each of our LPs, one of which is an AM station. But listening to the monitor, the AM station seemed a bit noisy. Was a bit concerned, until I looked at the back of the unit.

And realized I'd forgotten to connect the AM antenna.

While located in a RF-noisy tech core, the thing managed to decode an RWT from an AM station 15 miles away, with no antenna. I was impressed.

(admittedly, the AM station in question is WSM, but still...)
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by NECRAT » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:11 pm

See i'd say the AM is almost too sensitive. I have the (fun?) issue of trying to receive 1030AM, our local LP1 (Yes, WBZ)., but also get a nice clear signal from 1200 AM, a 50kW station only 5 miles from the RX location. The old outboard TFT receivers don't have the same issue, connected to the same long wire. It decodes everything from WBZ nice and legal, and that functions well. The only issue is the erroneous EAS stuff that comes via 1200.
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Kent T
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Re: EAS Recommendations?

Post by Kent T » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:46 am

I have both in service. And actually prefer the Sage of the two. Which has a better interface and easier setup. And has proven more reliable.

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