Green Bank (USA) – Cows graze, pick a password, silence falls. No untimely ringing disturbs the quiet streets of Green Bank (West Virginia’s). Mobile phone and wifi are prohibited, to the delight of “sick” wave.
USA: Green Bank radio silence, refuge for sick wifi
“If we lose the telescope, it is rotten,” says AFP Meckna Charles, 53, as he built a garden shed for his small house in the woods of this hamlet 350 kilometers to the eastern Washington.
This fifties originally from Nebraska (center) moved there in July to get away from electromagnetic waves, he said, made him seriously ill, and it never ceases to thank the telescope.
For Green Bank –143 habitants– and surrounding Pocahontas County, in the Appalachian Mountains, is the heart of a “Quiet Zone”, an area of radio silence officially enacted in 1958 to protect facilities “GBT” “Green Bank Telescope.”
The telescope 150 meters high stalking day and night signals from space. “It examines the life cycle of stars, a few seconds after the Big Bang, gravitational waves,” says Mike Holstine, facilities manager of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).
“This is the most sensitive radio telescope in the world. It can receive a signal equivalent to the energy of a snowflake hit the ground,” he continues, “but for that, the radio environment around must be extremely quiet. ”
Also, a “National Radio Quiet Zone”, unique in its kind, was enacted by the US government in an area of 33,000 km2.
The radio transmissions should be the lowest possible. Within 16 kilometers of the telescope, anything that produces a radio wave and thus cause any electrical interference is banned or severely restricted as WiFi, cordless phones, remote controls or microwave.
“A quasar emits a signal of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a watt,” says Holstine. “A mobile phone emits two. It completely blur the signal that astronomers seek to receive.”
– A disease found, not recognized –
Dozens of victims of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) and are coming to this rural area to enjoy a life without waves, like Charles Meckna.
Former head of yards, he lives with his wife a few kilometers from the telescope. Ill since the late 1990s, he has, he says, many times before assigning her illness to wave his mobile phone.
“I had not made the connection. At first, my doctor gave me antidepressants,” says fifties who suffered from vomiting, headaches and heart arrhythmia when he approached wireless terminals.
“Here I am much better, I can have a life again,” said Mr. Meckna, which still feels a little “prisoner”. “And I hate it,” he adds.
Diane Schou, which is also electro since a relay antenna was installed near his farm in Iowa (center), says he has made up his mind. “I do not have a choice. It’s live here or have migraines,” summarizes the fifties who lives in Green Bank since 2007.
The pain was so violent that she had to live for a while in a space tinkered with her husband and turned into a “Faraday cage”, covered with aluminum air tight. “Here I can have a life, I can invite friends”.
Ms. Schou carefully manages its use of all equipment. She has a computer connected to the phone and “very slow”, it opens a few tens of minutes per day to watch the emails of her husband who is to join a few months per year.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which is a growing concern in a world increasingly connected, is recognized but not recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Studies criticize the waves, others speak of psychosomatic illness.
WHO announced on its website that it “will proceed in 2016 a formal evaluation” risk of mobile phones, whose subscribers are estimated at 6.9 billion worldwide.
In Trent’s, a grocery store / gas station less than a mile from the telescope, the lack of cell phone little discomfort. “There has never been, then they have never failed us,” exclaims the cashier laughing, Betty Mullenax