Fort Gordon radios jam garage door remotes

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A new radio system being installed at Fort Gordon to enhance emergency communications across the area is causing mass frustration with hundreds of homeowners who have been locked out of their garages because of jammed remote-control signals.

The confusion started last week when Fort Gordon unexpectedly upgraded its land-mobile radios to a 390 megahertz bandwidth, the same frequency used in automatic garage door remotes.

As a result, nearly 500 residents have called or visited the Overhead Door Co. of Augusta to complain about garage doors that fail to open and close on command.

“It’s about to kill us,” Billy Sheppard, the service manager at the company, said of the business’s increase in calls.

Though Sheppard said most complaints have been reported along Gordon Highway, faulty remotes have been encountered as far as 15 miles away from Fort Gordon.

Jason Milford lives on William Few Parkway in Evans and enters his home through the garage, where his wife parks her car. He thought boxes blocking ground sensors were the root of the problem, but he was wrong. The problem persisted after clearing the area around the alarms.

“On Sunday, I came home, sat in front of the garage in my car and pressed the remote seven or eight times before the door finally opened,” Milford said. “I was not even 10 feet away.”

Until Monday, residents such as Milford said they were baffled by the failures, adding that they changed batteries in their remotes, retrieved backup controls from utility drawers and even considered buying new systems.

At the root of the frustration is Fort Gordon, which provided no advance notice to let the surrounding community prepare forthe switch to a new emergency call system.

Fort Gordon spokesman Buz Yarnell said in a statement Monday that the Army post intended to conduct widespread public notifications on the transition but testing began “earlier than expected.”

Melanie Taylor lives across the street from Fort Gordon. She said Monday the lack of warning was upsetting.

Taylor said she used to open her garage door from halfway down the block. Now she has to get out of her car, walk inside her Hatton Court home and press the door’s inside wall button – unaffected by the upgrades – before she can pull her car under cover. In the past week, Taylor said, she has gotten soaked by the rainy weather.

“It’s spontaneous, when my remote will work and when it will not,” said Taylor, who has found some luck by pressing the remote for several seconds.

Although garage door remotes, baby monitors and cordless phones have been legally using radio frequencies for more than 40 years, the U.S. military is the authorized operator of lower-level frequencies for assisting police, firefighters and paramedics in responding to emergencies.

Under the guidelines of the Federal Communications Commission, owners of consumer gadgets are considered “unlicensed users” and must yield to military operations.

That’s been the case for decades. Only since 2004 has the Department of Defense been gradually upgrading its radio networks, increasing its activity on local bandwidths – and creating problems across the country in military communities in Connecticut, Texas and California.

In April, the installation of a stronger radio signal at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Ga., knocked out hundreds of residential garage-door remotes.

Altogether, the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association estimates that as many as 40 million U.S. homeowners with overhead garage door openers are vulnerable to interference from land-mobile radio systems.

Although the glitches are usually brief and only temporarily reduce the operating range of the wireless controls, the bad news is that the onus is on garage door opener manufacturers to resolve any interference with their systems, according to the FCC.

Sheppard said customers have three options. They can wait to see whether Fort Gordon fixes the glitch; place a special order of between $150 and $170 for a 315 megahertz Molex receiver; or buy a new, next-generation dual-frequency garage door system for $500.

So far, Sheppard said no one has chosen to spend any money.

“At this point,” he said. “Everyone is taking a wait-and-see approach.”

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KSL
126830
Points
KSL 06/10/13 - 07:52 pm
4
6
Another indirect tax on

Another indirect tax on middle income people. No one should have ever listened to the ob. And yes, it all started before his first term. The problem is that he has promised many, many things he either can not or chooses not to deliver.

Dixieman
14425
Points
Dixieman 06/10/13 - 08:24 pm
7
5
NSA is watching when I open my garage door

"ground censors" instead of "sensors"?
"advanced notice" instead of "advance"?
Either reporters can't spell any more or copy editors are asleep at the switch.

KSL
126830
Points
KSL 06/10/13 - 09:06 pm
6
6
Apparently spelling is no

Apparently spelling is no longer emphasized. Or spellcheckers rule.

I qualify as Senior Citizen now. So, back in my day, we had 20 spelling and definition words every week in every class we took. Very easy for our Latin teacher. A bit more of a challenge for teachers of certain subjects. As well, proper grammar was err emphasized.

Then somehow, thankfully after I had moved on, the emphasis moved away from that. It might explain why some people have trouble finding adequate employment these days, but not in in years past, no matter what schools they attended.

Gage Creed
16785
Points
Gage Creed 06/10/13 - 08:56 pm
4
1
What's the frequency Kenneth?

What's the frequency Kenneth?

dichotomy
32129
Points
dichotomy 06/10/13 - 09:01 pm
7
4
The Federal Communications

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has lost it's mind and continues to screw the consumer with each and every decision. And it does all of this with NO oversight and NO consulting with elected officials.

They screwed us with the totally unnecessary forced cut off of analog TV signals, thereby forcing consumers to buy digital TVs at premium "new item" prices. They are giving dedicated frequencies to the military and other government agencies that are in "shared", unlicensed spectrum traditionally used for consumer electronics, and they are considering allowing a commercial license to LightSquared, a communication company that is seeking to use a radio frequency for it's commercial service that is known to interfere with consumer GPS receivers, to include the expensive ones that come as OEM equipment in our automobiles.

Another government agency that is out of control and not looking out for the average citizen consumer.

And Fort Gordon was TOTALLY inconsiderate and out of control to implement this system without MONTHS of prior notification and assistance to the local community to avoid these problems. Arrogant and inconsiderate.

KSL
126830
Points
KSL 06/10/13 - 09:10 pm
5
4
All about Federal government

All about Federal government out of control because they have been trained, educated, to think they know what is best.

Gage Creed
16785
Points
Gage Creed 06/10/13 - 09:28 pm
6
3
Somewhere an ominous EMP

Somewhere an ominous EMP generator glows eerily in the dark...waiting for just the right moment...

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 06/11/13 - 12:15 am
3
5
The Russian's are coming, the

The Russian's are coming, the Russian's are coming? The phone call comes at 3A.M. and guess who peacefully sleeps and doesn't answer the phone?

KSL
126830
Points
KSL 06/11/13 - 01:22 am
3
3
Gage

Very crafty, but I used to lock all doors except the garage door, controlled ny remote access and the thedoor between the garage and house. That has not been true for a number of years, but it would be most annoyiing not to be able to get into my home.

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 06/11/13 - 04:15 am
5
1
It would seem we have reached the point of

A government ABOVE the people

Not by the people

eschamb
154
Points
eschamb 06/11/13 - 04:43 am
5
2
NSA in extending the surviellance project

What everyone has encountered is the additional surveillance of Big Brother into everyone's household thru your garage remote control. Now they know when you leave in the morning and come home at night. Next is how to intercept the automobile remote control....then the TV remote control.....

Fawkes
48
Points
Fawkes 06/11/13 - 06:14 am
2
0
Announced years back

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-172R

This was announced several years ago that it would be a problem.
Call some of your local independent garage door repair people, they can save you some money.

Bodhisattva
6016
Points
Bodhisattva 06/11/13 - 06:30 am
8
2
Evidently we have some

Evidently we have some obscene garages in this area. I have to agree, when government censors garages, they've gone too far. Around 5 1/2 years ago this would be no big deal and would have garnered very few comments. If anyone said anything against it they would have been shouted down as standing in the way against the 'WAR ON TERROR"(reverb unit on and slowly fades). Anything and everything for the military. It's just a minor inconvenience to protect us. "Remember 9/11." "Remember Pearl Harbor." "Remember the Maine." "Remember the Alamo." "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" My what a difference a few years have made even though the policies in Washington have remained the same. The war on terror doesn't seem to matter so much anymore, unless something bad happens. As soon as a crisis occurs that falls on lack of communication capabilities the same people who gripe would blame the administration for not updating communications. It's a lose-lose situation. We cured cancer! Why didn't we do it last year?

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/11/13 - 08:24 am
5
0
I still grab the handle and

I still grab the handle and raise the garage door. Off the grid ya know!

Gage Creed
16785
Points
Gage Creed 06/11/13 - 08:28 am
2
1
Traded the garage for a

Traded the garage for a bunker...

rmwhitley
5542
Points
rmwhitley 06/11/13 - 08:57 am
0
0
I'm certain
Unpublished

my garage door being jammed at approximately 6:30 p.m. last night had nothing to do with Fort Gordon's test. I live in Holly Springs, 170 miles away. It sure is strange about the coincidence.

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 06/11/13 - 09:53 am
3
0
From the Technical side I am

From the Technical side I am impressed.

Garage Door Openers have about 4.3 billion possible combinations according to Overhead door website or 4,096 different codes as stated by Wiki.

Jamming the whole 300-400 MHZ range?.
http://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/OPP/working_papers/oppwp38chart.pdf

BTW: According to Wiki
The 315 MHz frequency range avoids interference from the Land Mobile Radio System (LMRS) used by the U.S. military.
?????

rebellious
20630
Points
rebellious 06/11/13 - 09:56 am
2
0
Kinda reminds me of the Moron

who drowned when his truck rolled into the lake while launching his boat. He couldn't get the tailgate open.

urright
465
Points
urright 06/11/13 - 10:54 am
3
3
OMG!

People had to push the button REPEATEDLY to get their door to open! Front page news!! Geez, people. Don't we have better things to complain about?

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 06/11/13 - 12:48 pm
2
1
Urright - or are you?

We are not dealing with a FCC Part 15 covering Radiated
Emissions Limits that has been tested for civilian environmental safety.

To jam 500+ area home owners means they are playing with 100's if not 1000's of watts RF energy.

FT. Gordon obviously is using 300-400 MHZ, but IS NOT experimenting in a Sealed RF enclosure.

Anyone remember back in the late 90's an USAF Electronics plane, a Raven I think, was doing some "enhanced" RF testing in Nevada and it got above the mountains range and jammed, blocked or all commercial radar, "accidentally" destroyed a lot of civilian electronic equipment. It also open and closed hundreds of Garage doors in California which were 100's of miles away.

rmwad3
2
Points
rmwad3 07/23/13 - 12:28 pm
0
0
Here we go again!!

Looks like they turned the system back on. Garage door opener doesn't work half the time. After this story was originally posted last time my openers mysteriously started working that afternoon. Can you repost???

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