#1145: The Day The Isuzu Stood Still

Nov 05, 2011
This week on Car Talk, science fiction comes to Keller, Texas, as Isuzus cease functioning when they come close to a mysterious FAA "weather device." Is GORT up to his old tricks, or is the answer a bit more down to earth? Elsewhere, Kathleen and her husband escaped a scary rollover in their Subaru. But, what's truly frightening is that Kathleen's husband is still intent on driving it. Also, a Land Rover needs either a new transmission or two in the hat; a clutch job goes bad in New Jersey; and a husband turns to science to explain why his wife shouldn't listen to Car Talk. All this and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share a few compelling cases of why nouns should have genders.

This Week's Puzzler

How can ten trees create five rows of four trees each?

Last Week's Puzzler

Which lights are still on after the 20,000th person passes through?

As Read on Car Talk


Another fine show

Great show
Favorite Moment: 
Can't narrow it down, it was a great.

Isuzu vs. FAA Radar

I love Car Talk! This weekend's show about the FAA Radar vs. the Isuzu was particularly interesting. So, I had to look it up. I found that it's an FAA Air Defense Radar Station. Here's the info... http://www.radomes.org/museum/showsite.php?site=Keller,+TX+(FAA+site) and the location... http://maps.google.com/maps?q=795+keller+smithfield,+keller+tx&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x864dd6d8edef19d9:0x625b63bf3be35308,795+Keller+Smithfield+Rd,+Keller,+TX+76248&gl=us&ei=hEK3TopP45mJAsrSmMcE&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBsQ8gEwAA
Favorite Moment: 

Don't Mess With Texas, Klaatu

Dear Knuckleheads: I am concerned about the lighthearted advice you dispensed during your 5 November 2011 broadcast to the caller from Keller, Texas, whose problem was her car stalling when driving near a 'weather ball' (i.e., an FAA radar dome) on a local road. In order to shield its computer from electromagnetic (EM) radiation which you suspected as the cause, you humourously suggested that she wrap parts of her car in tinfoil. As anyone who has ever mistakenly placed a tinfoil-covered dish in a microwave oven (i.e., a 'radar' range) can attest, the presence of a conductor within an EM field of sufficient strength quickly generates some pretty impressive lightning-like sparks. I shudder to think what might happen to this poor woman (and her tank full of, y'know, gasoline ...) in these potentially disastrous circumstances. It's a good thing that weather dome is located next to a fire station. Seriously -- while it's entirely possible that, by design or defect, her car's electronics are insufficiently shielded from EM, it's also likely that the dome's emitters aren't properly calibrated, and they are putting out a much hotter signal than is necessary. After all, the FAA operators aren't going to worry about a signal with too MUCH reach; they want all the range they can get, to gather them most weather data possible. But if it poses a potential threat to passing motorists (not to mention any birds flying in the vicinity) it's a problem that needs to be addressed. I suggest that you contact your caller and advise her to forget the tinfoil science experiment, and choose a different route, at least. And if that dome thing actually IS a CIA / NSA / Who Knows What Agency listening station, don't worry, they've already heard from you (and me). Best Wishes and Happy Motoring!
Favorite Moment: 
Telling the schoolteacher to get his brakes fixed before he kills himself or someone else, even if it means asking Mom for the money.

Another radar hmmmmm.?????

Anyone notice the City of Keller memorandum that says, "The Keller Fire-Rescue Department needs to relocate Fire Station No. 2 due to it extremely close proximity to the FAA Radar on Keller-Smithfield Road". Another thing that makes one go hmmmmmmm?
Favorite Moment: 
Radar stopping traffic

Keller Texas radar dome

Favorite Moment: 

Found your Radar

The "weather ball" your caller is having trouble with in Keller, TX is an ARSR-1 Air Surveillance Radar, producted by Raytheon in Marlborough, MA. It is definitely powerful enough to interfere with electronics. You can actually see a picture of the site on Google Earth. If you Google FAA Radar +Keller, TX you will get the exact location which is on Keller-Smithfield Road.
Favorite Moment: 
Tin foil experiment

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