Could You Live Off The Grid Electronically?

This photo was taken in South Dakota where geography is the cause of no signal.  In the No Radio Interference zone the restriction is federally sanctioned.  photo credit: Bill on Capitol Hill via photopin cc

This photo was taken in South Dakota where geography is the cause of no signal. In the Quiet Zone the restriction is federally sanctioned.
photo credit: Bill on Capitol Hill via photopin cc

Imagine you can’t use wifi, wireless internet, satellite TV service, cell phones or GPS.  You aren’t allowed to drive anything but a diesel engined vehicle because spark plugs are prohibited.  You can’t even listen to the radio, use a toaster or even snuggle under an electric blanket.  Why? Where you live any kind of EMI (electromagnetic interference) is strictly prohibited.  There is even an enforcement agency that patrols the area with detection equipment seeking and shutting down any EMI signals.

This is the way of life in what is called The Quiet Zone.  It straddles an area in the mountains along the border between Virginia and West Virginia.  The area is barely populated though there are a few towns with a couple hundred residents.  Why is this area so strictly protected from even radio wave interference?  If you look at the map below the circle inside the square shows the area that is most protected from EMI because Radio Telescopes reside in this most sparsely populated area.

These radio telescopes are calibrated to receive transmissions from deep space.  They are so very sensitive to these signals that even the lowest level EMI could be confused as contact from another world.  Scientists use the signals received to attempt to understand the origins of the universe, our galaxy and life on Earth.

How would you deal with such restrictions?  Thinking back 25 years I didn’t have access to cell service, WIFI or even wired Internet service.  We received TV via antenna and radio as entertainment in our home which in this are would be a big NO-NO.  My father would be the one who would have the most difficulty adjusting.  He loved watching TV (I should say loves) and we could not get cable service out in rural middle of no where.  In modern day my family still lives out in the middle of no where but we rely heavily on all kinds of wireless services.  Our home phone is a cell phone.  I work on a computer that uses WIFI within the house and wireless Internet service.  Our TV is only available through satellite service.  WHY?  For some reason I can’t get a wired phone, wired Internet, or cable service where I live.  I’m not sure I could do it.  Communications have changed so much as has the access to information at all times.  Though I may with time become accustomed to not be able to use these devices and services, but I’d feel very isolated.

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2 comments for “Could You Live Off The Grid Electronically?

  1. Alicia Lopez
    January 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I was born way before the internet and suffered through high school without an iPhone, but would’ve been nice in some cases. I don’t even know if anyone really writes anything down with a pen and on paper anymore. Not unless they really have to?? Seems very sad, but as I’ve watched decades go by, I’m 44 by the way, it was bound to progress what it is today. Same goes for TVs. They have smart tvs now?? But how is one supposed to learn how to survive if there happened to be a nationwide blackout or something?? I guess speaking face to face people is just too difficult or they’ve been bitten by the Facebook/Twitter Bugs. I would be more prepared for worst case scenarios. Even though we all know, Big Brother is watching & listening, through your XBOX One. 😉

  2. February 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Heck no, I couldn’t do it. Once I could have, but certainly not now.

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