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Many transmitters operating in one area can cause interferences, one good example is garage door opener controls. Consumers near certain military installations have recently experienced interference to their garage door opener controls that may reduce the operating distance or cause the device to stop operating.

Garage door openers operate at very low power on an “unlicensed basis,” and have been permitted to operate on frequencies that have been reserved for the federal government since WWII for air/ground communications systems, but received limited use by the government for many years. As unlicensed devices, there is no right to protection from interference. However, because of this limited use, the risk of interference was similarly limited, so manufacturers of garage door openers chose these frequencies for their transmit and receive devices. In response to the increased needs of homeland security, the Department of Defense now must make more use of these frequencies to deploy new mobile radio systems on and around certain military bases.

Some consumers near these bases may experience interference to their garage door openers that can reduce operating range or cause the remote control to cease functioning. This interference will not cause the garage doors to open or close on their own. Inside the garage, wall-mounted push buttons will not be affected by any interference that might occur, and will continue to operate normally.

itlIt is not possible to predict in advance which specific users or locations near military bases may experience interference, because of the variety of technical characteristics of garage door controls and configuration of the mobile radio systems. The Department of Defense is working with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to make reasonable effort consistent with their mission requirements, and the Federal Communications Commission is working with the garage door opener industry to make every effort on their part, to minimize the impact to consumers.

For security reasons, the Department of Defense cannot make information broadly available in advance as to the deployment of the new mobile radio systems. Individual base commanders may make some information available to their local communities when appropriate.

Garage door opener manufacturers stand ready to help consumers resolve any interference to their systems, including, in some cases, making available for purchase, a replacement transmitter and receiver that operate on a different frequency that is not used by the new mobile radio systems.

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