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Military Signals Jam Garage Door Openers

If you live near a military base, all your garage door openers are belong to us...

Fredericksburg.com - Garage doors go haywire

If you live near Quantico Marine Corps Base or Fort A.P. Hill and have problems opening your garage door, don't smack the remote or rush out to buy new batteries.

Military bases in the Washington area are switching to a new radio system that uses the same frequency as garage door openers, and that has caused some of the devices to malfunction.

That happened because garage door openers work on a radio frequency the Defense Department has owned since World War II, but hasn't used much.

Since they use a low-powered signal, the remotes can operate legally on the military frequency. There's just no guarantee the signal won't be jammed when the military is using the same wavelength.

That's what's happening now at dozens of bases around the country. More technical details here.


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Comments (7)

HAHA...yeah, it happened in... (Below threshold)

HAHA...yeah, it happened in Fort Walton Beach, too (near Eglin AFB)

That explains why that do... (Below threshold)
mark m:

That explains why that dolphin crashed into my garage door. I thought he was just a "slow" dolphin...but now I know.

This story hits close to ho... (Below threshold)

This story hits close to home for me. I work a couple miles from the base where the problem first cropped up. I was actually impacted by the stuff.

I’m an electrical engineer (warning: geek stuff ahead), and a couple of us were testing a new product when we started to notice a noise spike around 400 MHz. It was intermittent at the time, which really sucked. We spent 3-4 days trying to figure out if it was coming from our product, or maybe from some new pc’s we had just bought, or if our instruments went bad, or whatever.

Then I saw the story about the garage door openers on the local news one night, and it all made sense. Small price to pay for (hopefully) improved national security, though.

Yes, buy I understand that ... (Below threshold)

Yes, buy I understand that if you fly an ugly old helicopter with a little orange robot overhead, the doors will magically spring open.

Another (part of the) probl... (Below threshold)

Another (part of the) problem is that cellular companies lease an incredible amount of bandwidth from the government and the spectrum has become strangely crowded.

I worked with a Frequency Manager when I was back in Colorado and he was bemoaning that some folks even think we should privatize it completely and have the Government lease the airwaves from private corporations.

Keep that in mind the next time you pay your cell phone bill. You're paying for the service. The service gives Uncle Sam money for the airwaves. You pay taxes for using the airwaves. The government gets paid twice for the same service.

If you ever study for a Ham... (Below threshold)

If you ever study for a Ham license, you will learn how much of "our" airspace is "secondary," subject to government preemption at will.

I remember the Eglin story ... (Below threshold)

I remember the Eglin story awhile back. There was also a story from Frederick MD near Aberdeen Proving Ground last weekend.






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