A recent article in The New York Times reported that many garage door openers and keyless vehicle entry fobs in an Ohio town near Cleveland mysteriously stopped working. While the article invoked The X-Files and hinted initially that a NASA research center somehow could be involved, the cause was not so much mystifying as arcane.
“Garage door repair people, local ham radio enthusiasts, and other volunteer investigators descended on the neighborhood with various meters,” the May 4 article by Heather Murphy recounted. “Everyone agreed that something powerful was interfering with the radio frequency that many fobs rely on, but no one could identify the source.”
More than a dozen residents reported intermittent issues getting their key fobs and garage door openers to operate, and most lived within a few blocks of each other. At one point, the local power utility started shutting off power to areas where the strongest RF signal was detected, but the signal persisted. Dan Dalessandro, WB8ZQH, a TV repairer, was among several hams who investigated. He initially picked up “little blips” on a signal detector, but finally, on one block and at a particular house, the signal was quite loud.