Cambridge: Military frequencies in village disable car locks, ham radio buffs zero in on culprit

By | February 6, 2012

Cambridge Military frequencies in village disable car locks ham radio buffs zero in on culprit

Radio enthusiasts claim a Cambridgeshire village may have “its very own Bermuda Triangle†after cars mysteriously refused to open for their owners.

Drivers parking around Waterbeach’s Green experienced problems locking their cars remotely and some said their cars would not start.

The “problem†was noticed when a group of radio amateurs met in the village pub last week and found themselves locked out of their vehicles.

Wojciech Piotrowski, a scientist from Willingham, told the News: “It was really weird but being the radio hams that we are, we sort of knew it was an interference of some kind.

“I’m sure it would be worrying for other people. Suddenly being locked out of their cars could be scary I guess.

“One guy’s car is a push button and he couldn’t get his started either – he had to go home with someone else to get the manual to override it.â€

Everyone affected that evening managed to get into their cars eventually using their keys.

The following day the group returned and used sophisticated equipment, including a spectrum analyser, and direction-finding techniques, to determine the problem.

Mr Piotrowski said: “A strong electrical interference source was radiating radio signals in one of the ultra high frequency bands at the southern end of the Green.

“The primary user of this band is the military. However, by Sunday, the problem seemed to have gone.â€

He said it could have affected other wireless devices such as thermostats, remote light dimmers and switches and energy meters. He added sometimes this high-level frequency can be caused by a faulty electrical component, so residents should check devices for faults.

The group reported its findings to the communications watchdog, Ofcom, and an engineer was set to begin investigating the problem today.

An Army spokeswoman said she had contacted the nearby Waterbeach barracks and told the News: “They are not aware of anything happening at Waterbeach that would have caused anything remotely like that.â€.

via Cambridge News | Latest News Headlines From Cambridge City & Cambridgeshire | National News By Cambridge News | The mysterious case of village with its own Bermuda Triangle.

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