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Fwd = Why don't keyless remotes work?

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www.bremertonsun.com/news/2001/march/0324keylessremot.html Original Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 14:22:25
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2001
      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://www.bremertonsun.com/news/2001/march/0324keylessremot.html
      Original Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 14:22:25 +0200 (CEST)

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================


      Why don't keyless remotes work?

      By Lloyd A. Pritchett Sun Staff

      Something has caused almost all the devices to stop working in

      Joel Maimon of Port Ludlow first noticed the problem when he arrived
      in Bremerton for work Thursday morning. No matter how many times he
      clicked the remote keyless entry device for his car, it wouldn't work.

      He wasn't alone.

      Art DeCamp, service manager for Haselwood Expo Buick Pontiac
      dealership in Bremerton, first realized something was amiss Wednesday
      afternoon when a flood of customers began calling with the same

      By Thursday, virtually every new car dealership in the Bremerton-Port
      Orchard area was inundated with hundreds of similar calls from upset
      customers. The outage also affected unsold new cars sitting on their

      The cause of the bizarre problem was - and still is - a mystery. No
      one so far has been able to explain why the remote keyless entry
      systems on nearly every vehicle in the Bremerton-Port Orchard suddenly
      stopped functioning at about the same time Wednesday afternoon and
      hasn't worked since.

      "It's strange," DeCamp said. "A lot of people are really upset."

      Speculation about the cause has ranged from solar flares to the Mir
      space station or possible interference from USS Carl Vinson or some
      other local Navy ship.

      But Navy officials say there's no evidence that a naval vessel is
      causing the problem, and experts say such a localized problem couldn't
      be caused by solar activity.

      A spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission in Washington,
      D.C., which regulates radio-controlled devices, said the agency will
      look into the problem if it persists.

      The malfunction, which seems to afflict all makes and models of new
      vehicles, disappears as soon as a car is driven outside the area.
      Although a few vehicles with remote entry seem to be immune to the
      problem, the vast majority are affected by the outage.

      Larry Sharrett, general manager of the Parr Auto Group, said all new
      cars at the group's Bremerton dealerships are affected, whether
      foreign and domestic.

      "It's across the board," he said. "I simply have no idea what's
      causing it."

      DeCamp said remote keyless entry devices use a radio signal in the
      300- to 500-megahertz range. When the "lock" or "unlock" button is
      pushed on a handheld device, it transmits a signal to a receiver in
      the car that locks or unlocks the doors.

      But in the Bremerton area, "something is keeping it from working by
      not allowing the signal to do what it needs to do," DeCamp said.

      The problem started at almost exactly the same time the aircraft
      carrier USS Carl Vinson was returning home to Bremerton from seven
      weeks at sea, causing service managers at some car dealerships to
      suspect radio emissions from the ship are somehow to blame.

      But the ship's communication experts checked the ship over and could
      find no evidence that it was the source of the problem.

      "We've checked all of our radars and communication suites and the ship
      doesn't appear to be emitting any frequencies that might have an
      effect on these remote control devices," said ship's spokesman Lt.
      Matt O'Neal.

      Daphne Burke, spokeswoman for Naval Station Bremerton, said there is
      no evidence that any Navy ship or shore facility is to blame for the
      mysterious malfunction.

      "We've been looking ... but we have no answer," she said. "We're going
      to continue to check until the problem goes away or until they find
      something out."

      Solar flares, which were also suspected as a possible cause, have been
      ruled out because of the pattern of the outage.

      Joe Kunches, acting chief of the Space Weather Operations Division at
      the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said intense
      solar activity can cause global radio interference.

      But it wouldn't cause such a localized problem, he said, nor would it
      persist for more than an hour or two if solar activity was the source,
      he said. And it definitely wouldn't continue after the sun goes down.

      John Winston, spokesman for the FCC in Washington, D.C., said the
      problem could be caused "by any one of a number of things."

      He said if the problem persists, an agency investigator will be
      assigned to look into it.

      Meanwhile, Joel Maimon and thousands of other vehicle owners are
      relearning how to use their car keys - and wondering how much longer
      they will have to use them.

      Reach reporter Lloyd A. Pritchett at (360) 792-9212 or at

      Published in The Sun: 03/24/2001

      SunLink � 2000 - An online publication of The Sun newspaper of
      Bremerton, Wash.

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