Signal Interference? Not In This Town

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

Nestled in the mountains of West Virginia lies a small town where using microwaves, cell phones, and almost anything that emits a radio signal is banned or severely discouraged from being used.

Highly-sophisticated telescopes at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV scan outer space for faint signals millions and millions of miles away.  And according to an article written about the town by CNN, the so-called “RFI police” connected with the facility even hunt down sources of interfering signals and interact with residents to curb the spurious signals and restore a quiet RF band.

From a DXing perspective, Green Bank seems to be in a perfect spot to get minimal FM signals and would be an ideal spot for Sporadic E reception.  Being about equally 80-90 miles away from the closest major markets (Harrisonburg, VA, Roanoke, VA and Charleston, WV), there are only a few FM signals within 40 miles away from the town.  The Appalachian Mountains envelope the area, and while Es reception would likely be great, long-range tropo would be likely nonexistant, based on my DXing trips to towns in the region also affected by the same mountain range.  Although I’ve never been to Green Bank, I’ve been to many nearby markets in Virginia and these mountains decimate any hint of tropo.

Perhaps the most intriguing bit of the story: residents of Green Bank, according to CNN, have ham radios — devices that typically broadcast radio-frequency signals.  I wonder if the RFI police know that.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2015/07/us/quiet-town-american-story/

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