Land-Mobile-Radio (LMR) System Frequency Interference With Garage Door Openers Questions and Answers

DASMA has received numerous questions from media and consumers regarding the issue of the U.S. military LMR (Land-Mobile-Radio) system and interference with the operation of overhead garage door opener remote controls. Following are some explanations to common questions.

What problems might a homeowner experience?

When a nearby military radio system operates on the same frequency as the remote controls to your garage door opener, your transmitter controls may not work, even from a close distance. However, wired controls, such as a wall pushbutton, should continue to operate the overhead garage door opener with no problems.

What is being done to solve the remote-control problem?

Garage door opener manufacturers are working with military and government officials to develop a solution that is best for homeowners and the military. Since many government personnel also enjoy the convenience of garage door openers, a mutually beneficial solution is best for everyone.

How widespread is this problem?

Throughout the U.S., as many as 40 million homeowners with overhead garage door openers could be affected by interference from the military’s new LMR system. The new system, mandated by the Department of Defense, began operating in 2004 at select military bases. However, that system is expected to spread to military bases nationwide.

Is this a new problem?

It is not a new problem. Over the years, frequency interference near military installations and elsewhere has occasionally occurred, but the problems have usually been for relatively brief periods of time. Garage door opener remote controls have been legally using radio frequencies for more than 40 years.

This situation may appear to be new because of the perception of a seemingly widespread effect and an increased number of occurrences. In the last few years, with the rapid growth of low-power wireless devices for consumers, the potential for frequency conflicts with high-power equipment has grown dramatically.

Who owns these frequencies?

The government owns a wide range of radio frequencies, but many common household devices are allowed to operate in these frequencies. These devices are known as Part 15 devices, named after the document the FCC maintains that regulates the devices.

What are some examples of Part 15 devices?

Part 15 devices include baby monitors, cordless phones, computers, garage door opener transmitter controls, wireless mouses, radio-controlled toys, wireless headsets, and many other common devices. These devices are usually low-power and not under continuous use.

What happens when a military radio system interferes with a Part 15 device?

If a military radio system (which usually consists of high-power devices) causes your Part 15 device to malfunction, then, by law, you must accept the interference.

Is my garage door opener interfering with military communications?

Since your remote control operates intermittently on very low power, it is extremely unlikely that you are interfering with military communications. Military radio systems, however, typically operate continuously on high power. That’s why they may interfere with your overhead garage door opener located near a military installation.

What can a homeowner do if this problem is encountered?

Call the manufacturer of your overhead garage door opener or your local garage door opener dealer. Buying a new garage door opener is probably not necessary. But you may need to purchase a retrofit to your remote control system to allow operation on a frequency that is not used by your local military. You might also call the Public Affairs office of the military base to report the problem. The military may be able to alter their frequency and eliminate the problem. Wherever possible, the military strives to be a good neighbor to surrounding communities.

How should a homeowner operate the door in the meantime?

In the meantime, if you need access in or out of your garage during a time your opener does not work, you can manually operate your door. Consult your owners’ manual for instructions or contact TD Supplies for free technical support.

Content Courtesy of: DASMA Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association


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