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Car-remote problem fixed in downtown Mitchell

The mystery of the downtown car-remote dead zone is apparently solved.

Tom Glanzer, NorthWestern Energy spokesman, said Tuesday the culprit was “a piece of equipment that remotely turns on and off lights” in a house.

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“We had one of our employees who does a lot with radio frequencies bring a spectrum monitor to test the radio frequencies in the area to try and pinpoint where the interference was strongest,” Glanzer said. “He narrowed it down to a neighborhood, and then an actual building.”

Glanzer declined to say exactly which building was causing the problem. He said NorthWestern was contacted by the city of Mitchell to look into the problem and see if it was caused by any NorthWestern equipment.

The Daily Republic received many reports recently of drivers unable to lock, unlock or start their vehicles with remote systems while parked downtown. Earlier this month, the issue came up at a Mitchell City Council meeting. By all accounts, the problem disappeared once the vehicle moved out of the area.

Although the problem has been fixed for now, Glanzer said, he added this could become a recurring problem with advancements in technology.

“The ability to do things wirelessly now, they all carry a radio frequency,” he said. “All it takes is a little interference of a radio frequency that you didn’t have before, and all of a sudden, you walk away from your car thinking it was locked and it’s not. I don’t honestly think it’s the end. I think it will happen more and more in the future and hopefully makes us more aware of it.”

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