What do remote-control garage door openers have to do with national security? A secretive Air Force facility in Colorado Springs tested a radio frequency this past week that it would use to communicate with first responders in the event of a homeland security threat. But the frequency also controls an estimated 50 million garage door openers, and hundreds of residents in the area found that theirs had suddenly stopped working.
Technically, the Air Force has the right to the frequency, which it began using nearly three years ago at some bases. Signals have previously interfered with garage doors near bases in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Unless things have changed even more drastically than I thought, garage door controllers were in a separate part of the radio spectrum from most voice channels. Obviously, the controllers themselves use a very low output power (much less than the toy walkie-talkies we played with as kids), and a tower atop Cheyenne Mountain would likely overpower the controllers, but still....
I can hear it now:
"We're opening your garage doors here so we won't have to do it there... when we ship you off to Gitmo as a Demoslamifascis---- errr, terrist. If you control your own garage door, the terrists have won. Heh, heh."
I heard somewhere -- and I don't know if it's true or not -- that the Cheyenne Mountain facility (or at least the national command post inside the mountain) is being mothballed. It was built in the late 50's or early 60's -- during the height of the Cold War -- to function in case of a nuclear attack on Washington. Subsequent "advancements" in weapons technology, however, have made the bunker just as vulnerable as anyplace else on earth.