FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Some people using garage door openers near Fort Jackson may experience problems with their remotes as local military radio systems are scheduled to transition to a new frequency range next week.

Garage door openers operate on "unlicensed basis" within the Federal Communications Commission regulations on radio frequencies, known as FCC Part 15 rules. Because garage door openers operate as FCC Part 15 unlicensed devices, users must accept any interference that may occur from the authorized users of radio frequencies.

Some manufacturers of garage door openers, deeming that their risks of interference are generally low, have chosen to operate on frequencies between 380 MHz and 399.9 MHz that have been reserved for the government and military services since World War II. DoD and the military are fully authorized to use these frequencies, particularly for land mobile radio, or LMR, systems that are necessary for force protection, law enforcement, firefighting, transportation management, and emergency medical first responders on military bases and installations.

LMRs used by the military at Fort Jackson and around the world are transitioning to use new frequencies, often the same frequency range used by some unlicensed consumer devices, such as garage door openers. This gradual transition began in 2004.

Consequently, some consumers located near military bases may occasionally experience radio frequency interference to their garage door openers which can temporarily reduce the operating range of the wireless controls or cause the wireless control to stop functioning. This interference will not cause the garage doors to open or close by themselves, but rather they will temporarily not operate wirelessly. However, the installed hard-wired controls inside or outside of the garages will not be affected by radio frequency interference and will continue to electronically open and close the doors normally.

According to news reports, during recent tests of the radio system at Fort Gordon, Ga., residents as far away as 15 miles experienced some problems with their garage door remotes.

Other wireless devices operating on the same frequency may also be affected.

According to FCC Public Notice DA 05-424, dated Feb. 15, 2005, garage door opener manufacturers stand ready to help consumers resolve any interference to their systems, including, in some cases, making available for consumer purchase, a replacement transmitter and receiver to operate on a different frequency than that used by government or military services and mobile radio systems.

Consumers who experience problems with garage door openers should contact the manufacturer or local repair shops for assistance or call the FCC Call Center at 1-888-225-5322.

Page last updated Fri June 21st, 2013 at 10:24