FCC: Garage Door Openers May Malfunction Near Military Bases

February 22, 2005
"Increased needs of homeland security" has required the Department of Defense make more use of frequencies shared with unlicensed devices such as garage door openers. In a Public Notice released last week the FCC said "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." The Public Notice reminds users that unlicensed devices have no right to protection from interference.

The FCC Public Notice did not list the frequencies used by garage door openers, but most operate on UHF frequencies around 300 MHz. Frequencies in this range have long been used for military aeronautical communications. Federal two-way mobile systems are also known to use frequencies near 400 MHz. It appears frequencies in the 300 to 400 MHz region are being used for new mobile radio systems as well. The FCC Public Notice cited security reasons for why it cannot give homeowners information in advance regarding the new mobile radio systems deployment. Further, it indicated that local communities will be alerted by individual base commanders. The notice also suggested that manufacturers of garage door openers be prepared to help people resolve interference issues and perhaps provide, for purchase, a replacement transmitter and receiver on a different frequency.

The FCC advised consumers who are experiencing garage door opener interference to contact the manufacturer of the door opener control or their local installer for information on available immediate solutions.

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