Fort Gordon apologized to the more than 500 homeowners in the Augusta area who have experienced problems with their garage door remotes while the post tests an emergency radio system, but added the military won’t help residents pay to counteract the inconvenience.
The post said in a statement Friday that the frequencies through which the openers operate have been reserved for the U.S. military since World War II and that neither the installation nor the Defense Department can compensate homeowners for repairs.
“Unfortunately, many commercial garage door owners use these frequencies on an unlicensed basis,” Fort Gordon Public Affairs Officer J.C. Mathews said. “As the licensed user of these radio frequencies, neither Fort Gordon nor the Defense Department can compensate homeowners for the repair, modification, retrofit, or replacement of garage door openers.”
The post’s new land-mobile radio system aims to enhance communication with firefighters, paramedics and police officers across the region.
Fort Gordon plans to resume testing next week, which Mathews said could produce interference to garage door openers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.
The base halted testing Tuesday to ensure the public was informed of the transmission timeline after receiving reports of interference with garage door openers.
Phones lines at the Overhead Door Co. of Augusta were swamped last weekend when more than 500 homeowners, some in Evans who live as far as 15 miles from Fort Gordon, called to complain of remotes not working and sometimes taking seven or eight attempts to trigger the door, manager Billy Sheppard said.
“During the testing period (June 17-21), and certainly after the system is permanently turned on (July 15), some electronic garage door openers may not operate normally at all times,” Mathews said.
Mathews said no testing is planned from June 22 to July 15. However, the system will permanently resume operation July 15.
The U.S. armed forces is licensed to use the lower-level frequencies through which garage-door remotes operate, particularly for land-mobile radio systems that are necessary for communicating with firefighters, law enforcement officers and paramedics on military bases and installations, according to the rules of the Federal Communication Commission.
Sheppard said in many instances retrofit kits, which are available in stores and online, will repair the problem, preventing owners from having to purchase and install anew unit for as much as $500.
“Fort Gordon had intended to provide advance notification to the public before the transition, but the testing began earlier than expected,” Mathews said. “We hope this additional information about the timeline for testing and the pause in testing between June 22 and July 15 will give local homeowners time and opportunity to make modifications to their garage door systems or choose other solutions before the upgraded LMR system permanently begins transmitting.”