Son of Star Wars leaves drivers stranded

Son of Star Wars leaves drivers stranded (Guardian). Interesting collision between military and civvie radio technology.

The upgrading of the security and surveillance systems at (RAF Fylingdales base in Yorkshire, which is planned to be used as a UK base for new US ‘Star Wars’ projects) … is knocking out the electrical systems of expensive cars. … High power radar pulses trigger the immobilising devices of many makes of cars and motorcycles – BMW, Mercedes and Jeep among them. Many have had to be towed out of range of the base before they can be restarted.

Wing Commander Chris Knapman, of RAF Fylingdales, said it was not up to the base to resolve the problem. ‘We have had the frequencies we use for a very long time,’ he said. ‘They are allocated to commercial, military and government users, and the allocation is very tightly controlled. As far as we are concerned, the radars are working on frequencies which are well known, and most car manufacturers take that into account.’

A spokesman for Jeep said: ‘The problem is that the government gives manufacturers such a narrow band to operate in – so the radio wave (sic) we use for our key fob is severely restricted.’

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