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Wireless Networking United States Hardware

Air Force Jams Garage Doors 335

Posted by kdawson
from the all-your-doors-are-belong-to-us dept.
SonicSpike points us to a Chicago Tribune article reporting that in Colorado the Air Force is jamming garage doors. In a joint U.S.-Canadian operation, they were testing communications on a frequency that would be used by first responders in the event of a threat to homeland security. From the article: "But the frequency also controls an estimated 50 million garage door openers, and hundreds of residents in the area found that theirs had suddenly stopped working... Technically, the Air Force has the right to the frequency, which it began using nearly three years ago at some bases. Signals have previously interfered with garage doors near bases in Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania."
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Air Force Jams Garage Doors

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  • Re:Technically??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonnyelectronic (938904) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @07:22PM (#17084792)
    What that sentence could be trying to say is that the Air Force has the rights to the frequency, but only started using it three years ago.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @07:24PM (#17084816) Homepage Journal
    So the test was a total success. Because it proved, in undeniable public, that in the event of an emergency, the first responders around essential Air Force bases would be getting jammed by people opening their garage doors.

    These tests are important. That's why I was stunned when I realized (3 years later) that on September 11, 2001, I didn't hear a single transmission of the Emergency Broadcast System. If ever there were an emergency during my lifetime that the public needed broadcasts to know what what was happening and what to do, it was multiple aerial bombings of NYC and the Pentagon. But there was nothing.

    Though we'd all been taught since childhood to be always at least a little bit subconsciously afraid, but trusting the government had a system to handle even the ultimate emergency: nuclear war. And endured countless nerve-rattling drills, usually interrupting the most otherwise "relaxing" TV and radio (PBS, mostly).

    I guess those weren't "tests" at all. They were the real thing: steady fear/trust propaganda. Never really expected to do anything in any kind of emergency, even survivable ones like 9/11/2001. Because they all delivered the desired result.

    So maybe these Air Force tests are really failures. Because instead of keeping people irrationally afraid, yet trusting the government, they've actually woken people up.
  • by yourpusher (161612) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @07:27PM (#17084858) Homepage Journal
    They shouldn't have made their openers to operate on this frequency, in the first place. It's no secret which frequencies are allocated to the US gov't. It's laziness on the part of the company.

  • Re:Technically??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @07:42PM (#17085016) Journal
    the problem here is that those garage doors openers are unlicensed transmitters using a band they wouldn't be allowed to use if it wasn't for the "low power" exceptions.
    A similar example would be the iPod to FM Radio adapters & similar products.

    The FCC will give you a free pass if you're below some maximum power, which brings us to this tidbit from TFA: Holly Strack, who lives near the entrance to the facility, said friends in the neighborhood all had the same problem. "I never thought my garage door was a threat to national security," she said.

    Don't worry hon, your garage door opener isn't a threat, unless you're somehow violating FCC regulations.

    And this genius: David McGuire, whose Overhead Door Co. received more than 400 calls for help, said ... "The military has the right to use that frequency. It is a sign of the times," he said.

    If by "sign of the times" you mean "the military is getting around to testing systems that should have been up and running years ago".

    Why does this article try to inject so much fear into what is a relatively straight forward issue?
  • Re:Technically??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 02, 2006 @07:52PM (#17085094)
    Normally, I like to assume good faith when commenting. I'll make an exception in your case. Shut the fuck up. Please. Owning a device which uses a certain frequency doesn't necessarily allow you the right to use that frequency.
  • Re:Technically??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bumptehjambox (886036) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @08:16PM (#17085254)
    Why does this article try to inject so much fear into what is a relatively straight forward issue?

    For real. And judging by the 'omg teh gov't is teh evilz' posts here, it is working quite well.

    I thought it was funny, but apparently it is a political issue to some, obviously the American Government are evil fascists for this human rights outrage.
    For a few hours on one random day I was faced with the decision of whether to shut my garage door manually or wait until the test was completed...that's it, the terrorists have won.

  • by Ironsides (739422) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @08:50PM (#17085496) Homepage Journal
    The moral thing would be for the Garage Door manufactureres to pay for it as they were the ones knowingly making a product that uses a military frequency. It's not as if the DoD was just allocated this frequency last month. They've had it for decades.
  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @09:25PM (#17085682) Homepage
    While I agree with your overall view of the FCC abdicating its responsibility for regulating the spectrum to prevent interference, focusing instead on "wardrobe malfunctions" and Howard Stern, the existence of Part 15 devices isn't really the problem here.

    Without the Part 15 rules allowing various low power equipments to share spectrum with each other, as well as other services, you would need to buy licenses for your garage door opener, cordless phone, car alarm remote, WiFi gear, etc. There would only be as many licenses available for a given area as there were reserved channels, so if all your neighbors got theirs first, you would be SOL.
  • by jesdynf (42915) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:20PM (#17086330) Homepage
    Wait, what?

    The Air Force was assigned the uncontestable right to use certain frequencies, it has made use of this right, some class B devices were manufactured that are by statute designed to fail in this exact circumstance, and now it's the government that needs to start writing checks?
  • Re:Technically??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bogjobber (880402) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:43AM (#17087298)
    Some people will flip out if they get behind someone who is driving within the speed limit. I don't understand why people think it's acceptable to pressure me to break the law. This greatly offends me.

    I, unfortunately, am sometimes that guy. The only times I do that, however, is when people are driving slow in a left-hand lane and there is plenty of room to get over. Although in that situation they may technically be obeying the law, what they are doing is creating a more dangerous situation by forcing people going above the speed limit to make a right-hand pass and generally pissing everybody off. It is very disruptive when someone thinks, "I am doing the speed limit, so it doesn't matter where on the road I'm at."

    I do try and control my frustration and am generally not an asshole when driving, but there are definitely situations where people driving the speed limit are acting discourteous by ignoring those that want to get by. That's probably a small amount compared to the asshole drivers that just want to drive as fast as possible, though. I agree that riding behind someone trying to get them to go faster is extremely rude and dangerous, just wanted to add my 2 cents.

  • Re:Technically??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @10:45AM (#17089428) Journal
    You don't lock your garage to keep people from stealing your car, you lock it to keep them from stealing the lawn mower and other tools.

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