A new radio system operating at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach may interfere with nearby garage door openers in the surrounding community.
Called Enterprise Land Mobile Radio, the system is being fielded at most U.S. military installations. ELMR uses radio frequencies between 380-399.9 megahertz that have long been reserved for use by the Department of Defense, but had been underutilized until now.
Some radio-controlled garage door openers operate, on an unlicensed basis, on these same frequencies. Such devices operate legally under Part 15 of Federal Communications Commission rules, at very low power, with the requirement that they do not interfere with government communication systems.
Because garage door openers are unlicensed devices, they are not offered any protection from interference by licensed users in the same frequency band, and in fact are required by federal law to accept interference from licensed users.
The Department of Defense was required to move into these underutilized frequency bands to meet its own 21st century communications needs, at the same time that the explosive growth of wireless communications networks has dramatically decreased available free bandwidth.
Base commanding officers do not have the authority to modify their ELMR systems because of local complaints, or to offer compensation to unlicensed users affected by the new system.
However, many garage door opener manufacturers offer replacement transmitters and receivers that operate on frequency bands not used by the ELMR system. Affected homeowners should contact their garage door manufacturer or installer for more information.