How often does front end overload make the news?

Karl W4KRL W4KRL at
Mon Dec 4 08:12:40 CST 2006

DENVER - What do remote-control garage door openers have to do with national
security? A secretive Air Force facility in Colorado Springs tested a radio
frequency this past week that it would use to communicate with first
responders in the event of a homeland security threat. 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.

"It would have been nice not to have to get out of the car and open the door
manually," said Dewey Rinehard, pointing out that the outage happened during
the first cold snap of the year, with lows in the teens.

Capt. Tracy Giles of the 21st Space Wing said Air Force officials were
trying to figure out how to resolve the problem of their signal overpowering
garage door remotes.

"They have turned it off to be good neighbors," he said. 

The signals were coming from Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, home to the
North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint U.S. and Canadian
operation set up during the Cold War to monitor Soviet missile and bomber

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

In general, effects from the transmissions would be felt only within 10
miles, but the Colorado Springs signal is beamed from atop 6,184-foot
Cheyenne Mountain, which likely extends the range.

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

David McGuire, whose Overhead Door Co. received more than 400 calls for
help, said the Air Force may be able to slightly adjust the transmission
frequency to solve the problem. If not, it will cost homeowners about $250
to have new units installed.

"The military has the right to use that frequency. It is a sign of the
times," he said. 

By ROBERT WELLER     Associated Press Writer    

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