Keyless encounters

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Valley has keyless encounters of the weird kind

By JULIET V. CASEY, J.M. KALIL and KEITH ROGERS
REVIEW-JOURNAL

Was it the storm clouds, sun spots or Area 51?

By late Friday afternoon, some locksmiths, car dealerships and towing companies had been flooded with calls about mysteriously malfunctioning keyless vehicle entry devices.

There were nearly as many theories as there were lockouts. But there were no firm answers as to why the remote devices stopped working.

"Maybe it's those little green men up north," said Nellis Air Force Base spokesman Mike Estrada, whose own keyless entry system failed. "Are there sun spots? I've been trying to figure it out. It happened to me right after lunch."

Estrada resorted to using his key to unlock his car door, but that set off his alarm. [continued]
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Feb-21-Sat-2004/news/23271330.html
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I know nothing about how keyless remotes work. What would be the nature of the EM signal that could knock out so many over such a wide area? Would it be affecting the transmitters, the recievers, or both? It's not clear to me if they were just temporarily jammed, or if they were permanently damaged, (as they would be with the EMP from a nuclear blast that one guy threw out as an idea).

I liked the story, anyway, and appreciated it for being more detailed than most about this kind of thing. Alot of interviews.
 
  • #3
neutroncount
When I was up at school, I'd go grocery shopping at night at a certain superstore. Everytime I went at night, I could neither lock or unlock my car door with my keyless entry unless I had the thing pressed up to my car door and even then it would require constant clicking. It was always under their parking lot lighting system. One night I parked in an area on the outskirts of the store where a group of the parking lights weren't turned on. If I was within about ten feet of my car I could lock and unlock fine. If I was farther than that, I could no longer do that. If I went to the same store during the day, I could unlock my car almost from the store's doorway. I accounted it to EMI from the lights but I would have no idea what would cause a whole city to experience that unless someone was testing an illegal transmitter with the wattage ramped up.
 
  • #4
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Originally posted by neutroncount
I accounted it to EMI from the lights...
Interesting story, neutroncount. My first thought is that there would have to have been something wrong with that particular store's lighting system for it to be emitting frequencies in the radio range. The reason I think that, is because if normally operating parking lot lighting systems affected keyless locks it would happen so often that it would be common knowlege.

It does sound like a "jamming" phenomenom since there was no permanent damage to the key system, and since you could get it to work by pressing the remote right against the lock and clicking.

-Zooby
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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..."Maybe it's those little green men," joked Mike Estrada, a spokesman for the US Air Force's Nellis Air Base, about 160 kilometres north of Vegas. He was referring to the fabled Area 51 military research facility, which sits smack in the middle of Nellis's bombing range and where UFO buffs, conspiracy theorists and nutters of all persuasions have long maintained that the Pentagon picks apart space aliens and their crashed flying saucers.

This time, the likely culprit, according to some, was a top-secret test of equipment intended to fry an enemy's circuitry. Is this the biggest exercise in paranoia since a drug-addled Hunter S. Thompson mistook the desk clerk at Circus Circus for a man-eating lizard? Only if you label veteran Pentagon watcher and weapons analyst John Pike, director of the Washington-based Global Security think tank, as a fruitcake, which he is not.

"As a working hypothesis, the idea that a military test of some sort was responsible isn't that far-fetched," Pike told The Sunday Age last week.[continued]
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/03/06/1078464695634.html

Maybe some folks from Area 51 have been in Italy recently...
 
  • #6
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Well, that story speaks of the locks as having been "fried". I wonder if that is just an expression he's using or if they were actually permanently damaged?
 

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