Beer fridge knocks out mobile network in Australia

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   June 5, 2013 at 11:13 AM

A mobile network blackout across several neighborhoods near Melbourne, Australia, and Telstra technicians tracked the interference to a beer fridge in the garage of Wangaratta resident Craig Reynolds.

Technicians believe electric sparks emitted from the refrigerator's faulty motor generated enough radio frequency noise to knock it out the cell network.

A spark with a large enough magnitude, according to engineers, would interfere with the 850mHz spectrum, which carries mobile voice calls and internet data to smartphones and tablets.

Greg Halley and his crew are black-spot detectors for the telecom company, and tracked the interference using "Mr. Yagi" antennas, named after their Japanese creator. After locating the address, Halley said, they just knocked on the door.

Reynolds was shocked to discover his beer fridge could do such damage. "I'm amazed something like that could knock out part of the network," he told the Herald Sun. "I'm going to run and see if my fridge is all right next time there's a problem with the network," he said.

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