CBCnews
Story Tools: E-MAIL | PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Mysterious signals jamming garage door openers

Last Updated: Friday, November 4, 2005 | 8:27 AM ET

Hundreds of automatic garage doors in the Ottawa area have suddenly and strangely stopped working, due to a powerful radio signal that appears to be interfering with their remote controls.

The phenomenon began suddenly last weekend, J.P. Cleroux of Ram Overhead Door Systems said, adding that a strong signal was blocking garage door openers.

Angolan Ambassador Miguel Puna couldn't close the embassy's iron gates using his remote control Thursday.
Angolan Ambassador Miguel Puna couldn't close the embassy's iron gates using his remote control Thursday.

"It's affects a 25-mile radius. That's huge," said Cleroux.

Angolan Ambassador Miguel Puna is one of those affected by the problem. He can no longer open his embassy's electronic gate.

"Not only in this gate, but even other gates, we are having a lot of problems," said Puna. "This could cause security concerns."

Cases have been reported from as far away as Casselman and Aylmer, but two companies that have plotted the reported problems on maps say they appear to cluster in the Byward Market area and a corridor leading south-east from there.

The Door Doctor has received more than 100 calls from irate customers who can't operate their doors using the remote. It installs Liftmasters, one of the most popular door openers in North America, which operates by radio frequency.

The signal is transmitted on the 390-megahertz band, which is used by virtually all garage door openers on the continent.

It's the same frequency used by the U.S. military's new state-of-the-art Land Mobile Radio System.

Cleroux says operators have already been warned of this phenomenon by service updates from U.S. manufacturers, who started seeing the same problem around military bases last summer. The strong radio signals on the 390-megahertz band simply overpower the garage door openers.

One technician likened it to a whisper competing with a yell.

"From what we hear, it is the American Embassy that's operating on 390, and they're the only ones who can block it, but I'm not 100 per cent sure, because we're all kind of up in the air until we know exactly what's going on," said Cleroux.

The U.S. Embassy denies any transmissions on that frequency. So does the Canadian military.

Story Tools: E-MAIL | PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Ottawa Headlines

Century-old Wakefield steam train for sale
The historic steam engine that takes tourists on excursions in western Quebec is for sale, the owner has announced.
Independent review to probe 1.2B-litre sewage spill in Ottawa River
Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien has announced an independent review of the spillage of 1.2 billion litres of raw sewage into the Ottawa River in the summer of 2006 — an incident that has recently been blamed for fouling an east end beach.
Canada's top court orders partial access to Khadr transcripts Video
Defence lawyers for Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr said Friday's Supreme Court of Canada ruling ordering Ottawa to grant limited access to confidential documents falls "far short" of what they hoped for.
Ottawa designers strut their stuff at inaugural fashion festival
Models wrapped in fashions created by Ottawa-area designers are sashaying through a former courthouse during the first ever Ottawa Fashion Week.
Minority report 'misses the point,' PQ says VideoAudio
A report by Quebec's commission on religious and cultural accommodations is seriously flawed in its omissions, the Parti Québécois said Friday, a day after the document was released.

Canada Headlines

Report clears PM's chief of staff in NAFTAgate controversy Video
A report into the so-called NAFTAgate issue has cleared Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff of breaching any confidentiality rules.
B.C. apologizes for Komagata Maru incident Video
After 94 years, the B.C. legislature unanimously passed a motion Friday apologizing for the Komagata Maru incident.
Canadian Forces in 'war for talent': Hillier
The Canadian military is in a domestic "war for talent" as it attempts to boost its ranks, chief of defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier said Friday in a speech to the Nova Scotia legislature.
Canada's top court orders partial access to Khadr transcripts Video
Defence lawyers for Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr said Friday's Supreme Court of Canada ruling ordering Ottawa to grant limited access to confidential documents falls "far short" of what they hoped for.
Call off your dogs, Canada Post says
Canada Post wants homeowners to keep their dogs on a tighter leash.

Top CBCNews.ca Headlines

Headlines

Quake death toll 80,000 'or more': China's Wen
The death toll from the earthquake in central China could rise as high as 80,000 "or more," Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday.
Report clears PM's chief of staff in NAFTAgate controversy Video
A report into the so-called NAFTAgate issue has cleared Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff of breaching any confidentiality rules.
Burma opens doors to foreign aid workers Video
Burma has finally agreed to grant visas to all aid workers who want to help the estimated 2.5 million struggling survivors of a deadly cyclone, UN leader Ban Ki-moon says.
Canada's top court orders partial access to Khadr transcripts Video
Defence lawyers for Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr said Friday's Supreme Court of Canada ruling ordering Ottawa to grant limited access to confidential documents falls "far short" of what they hoped for.
Federal surplus comes in at $10.2B
The federal government's surplus for its latest fiscal year came in around $10.2 billion, the finance department said Friday.