The U.S. military and the Federal Communications Commission acknowledge that new military radios, part of an $800-million effort to upgrade communications at bases, have interfered with garage door openers across the country, reports the Los Angeles Times. Both agencies have fielded numerous complaints from frustrated residents since last year, when the Department of Defense began installing radios that use the same frequency as the ubiquitous clickers.
The military radios operate on the same 390-megahertz frequency as the openers. Although the government has reserved that frequency for military use for more than 50 years, manufacturers of garage door openers have for decades been allowed to use it for their low-power remote transmitters. The garage-opener interference issue was quick to surface when the first radios were switched on at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and at military installations in Pennsylvania, authorities said this week. “All of a sudden, all sorts of homeowners couldn’t open their garage doors,” said Tom Wadsworth, editor of Illinois-based Door and Access Systems magazine, a trade publication. He said the high-powered military radios “overpower” the low-output door-opener remotes.