News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, June 12, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Electronic testing at Fort Gordon has some people locked out of their homes. The post is transitioning to a new land mobile radio system that operates on the same frequency as many garage door openers in the area, leaving some people stranded outside when their remotes won't work.
"I was mashing that button pretty wildly," said Donna Conrad, but no matter how hard she pushed, her garage door would not budge.
She says it's been a recurring problem over the past week and a half.
"Enough to make us think we were bananas," she said.
As it turns out, she's not crazy, and she's also not the only one having this problem.
"Last Wednesday, we experienced several high volume calls of remote controls not working. Just been working fine, and all a sudden stopped," Overhead Doors Service Manager Steve Garrett said.
Last week, Fort Gordon began testing a new frequency on their land mobile radios, the same radio frequency many remote garage door openers use. It's causing a jam of signals across the area.
"The government owns the frequencies, so we were allowed to operate under 390 MHz. The mobile radio systems operate from a 380 to a 399 MHz, which is causing the interference from what we believe," Garrett said.
"I can mash it until the cows come home," said Conrad, pressing her garage door opener over and over.
For Conrad, this problem means a phone call to her parents inside the house every time she comes home.
"Mom, Dad, please open the door, let me come in because I can't get my garage door to open," she said as she described her phone calls.
She says this problem is more than an inconvenience.
"It's not safe. It puts my parents at risk, it puts their belongings at risk," she said.
Garrett said he hopes the problem will get better as testing ends this week, but says it's a waiting game to see what will happen.
"This could be a problem intermittently, this could be a problem permanently," he said.
"I'm hoping that someone will get this issue fixed very quickly and swiftly and at no cost to any of the homeowners," Conrad said.
This isn't a new phenomenon, however. Having interfering signals happens around military bases all over the country.
They're hoping this problem will ease by the end of the week, but if the problem doesn't get better, Garrett says you can buy a dual frequency receiver for your door. Those will still work because they pick the best frequency to use when you push the button, but that will cost in the neighborhood of $100 to $150.