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Radio frequencies are a growing concern in and around Lamar County

By Walter Geiger In recent weeks, The Herald Gazette has received multiple calls about the degradation of radio signals in and around the Barnesville-Lamar County area and a social media outreach indicates the problem is widespread and involves more than just radio signals. Multiple respondents reported they have noticed diminished signal strengths and more dead spots on their cell phones. This was particularly true of Verizon users. Two attributed longer searches for cell signals with a rapid loss of cell phone battery life. Amateur radio operators have also noticed weak signals and interference. Particularly hard hit has been the WSB radio signal which is complete static on both the AM and FM bands in the area around Gordon State College. Many listeners reported having to change the radio from back and forth between the AM and FM bands to hear the station’s news/talk format. WSB is not the only station impacted, however. ’My car radio doesn’t pick up anything anymore. I thought it was just mine until I got in my daughter’s car and her’s was the same,’ reported Heidi Lone. James Aldredge commutes and has noticed big changes. ‘The Barnesville area has turned into a radio void. Stations out of Macon fade out in Barnesville but (the signals) return after I leave the north side of Barnesville and stay strong until I get to McDonough. It did not used to be like that. Also, stations out of Atlanta that I listen to fade out when I am in town but come back and are listenable once I get below Forsyth,’ Aldredge said. ’I have noticed the interference with local and major Atlanta stations as well as those from Macon. I have no explanation but it doesn’t bother me enough to pay for companies such as Sirius and XM radio, etc,’ added Suzanne Cooper. Keith Martin reported no signal at all on Hwy. 36 East at Howard’s Bottom. ‘It’s really not good anywhere. I don’t have any idea why,’ Martin said. John Oglesby, meanwhile, reported weak signals on Hwy. 36 West. ‘My car radio will hardly pick up anything. I thought I may need a new one,’ added Debbie Haywood. Retired trooper and HAM radio operator Truman Boyle reported issues with interference on amateur radio bands while many added cell phone issues to their complaints. ’It’s got to be something interfering with both radio and cell signals. The Verizon signal has been horrible ever since the radio frequency issues began. It all seemed to start at the first of the year. I, for one, am glad ya’ll are looking into it,’ noted Laura Miller. Shelley Abernathy agreed. ‘Not sure if it would be related but the Verizon signal has also dramatically decreased in the last few months,’ she reported. ’˜We were just talking about this yesterday. My husband I both have the same problem with the radio but not with the cell service. We have AT& T,’ Jennifer Taylor said. The signal loss for radio and Verizon has been established and several readers reported it is not occurring just here in Lamar County. The question is why. Some blame solar storms. Others cite Verizon selling off some of its towers. ’FM, VHF and UHF signals are usually poor in July and August. Also, the FCC has been auctioning TV bandwidth to wireless providers. There may be a connection there,’ added Roger McLeod. Editor’s note: Next week we will dig further into possible causes of these signal losses.

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