Navy says it’s not responsible for malfunctioning garage doors, key fobs (this time)

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is happening again! Garage doors and key fobs for cars are not working in several areas on Oahu.

Navy ships were to blame for blocking the signal of remote-controlled devices in the past, but the military says it is not them this time.

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Adding more to the mystery is that it is happening in different parts of the island. KHON2 has had residents from Waikele as well as in Makiki reach out.

Ronald Miyasato says his son came home Tuesday afternoon and had to manually open the garage door. They changed the batteries, tried to reprogram the keypad and gave up after three hours.

“How many times did you try it?” KHON2 asked.
“About ten, fifteen times. First I was trying to and then my wife came up on the ladder, she was trying too,” said Miyasato.

He says the remote control itself seems to be working fine.

“When we pressed the remote to say it was receiving the signal, it blinked. That’s the sign saying that it’s receiving the signal,” said Miyasato.

Neighbors had the same problem. Some also could not get their key fobs to open the car doors. KHON2 spoke with an owner of a garage door business who says he has received nearly 30 calls about it Wednesday morning, from customers from Waikele to Mapunapuna.

“All the remotes stopped working, the keypads stopped working, the built-in buttons in the cars stopped working, anything wireless stopped working,” said Zachary Shea, owner of ZS Overhead Doors.

It has happened before, during RIMPAC Naval exercises back in 2014. The Navy says electromagnetic activity from the ships can interfere with wireless devices.

“Anything running off of the frequencies like the remote controls, those frequencies can get blocked or jammed, or just the ranges and distance gets severely affected,” said Shea.

A spokesman for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam says it has also received complaints about garage doors not working. He sent a statement saying, “We have reached out to multiple commands on the installation and are unaware of any Navy activities that would be causing this.”

Shea says this usually happens every few years and the good thing is it only lasts a couple of days.

“Kind of just wait it out, a little inconvenient to have to get out of the car and go inside to open the door, but fortunately everything comes right back to life in a couple of days,” he said.

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