The US town with no cell phones or Wi-Fi

Pocahontas County in West Virginia falls within the National Radio Quiet Zone. It’s home to quiet country living, friendly people, and one of the most impressive engineering marvels in the world–the Green Bank Telescope. The GBT measures radio waves from throughout the universe, but due to the telescope’s extreme sensitivity, any operating wireless device can have a negative effect on its observations. But to the people who live in the NRQZ, the restrictions and the quiet, peaceful life that comes with them are welcome.

Click on the icon to watch a short video about life here. Then, fill in the gaps and check your answers with the key at the bottom of the page. Happy silence!


Artie Barkley
Quiet Zone Resident
What I like best about living in the quiet zone, and it kinda tells the whole story, the  1. _______. Some people come here and say, “What do you do?”, well I just say I’m doing it right now, you know. And I just say, listen to nature all around you.

Michael Holstine
Business Manager
NRAO, Green Bank Site
Green Bank, West Virginia is a very 2. _______ place. I find it ironic sometimes that we are working with technology here that’s world class, it’s world 3_______, but yet no one here has a cell phone.

Karen O’Neil
Site Director
NRAO, Green Bank Site
So a radio telescope works just like an optical telescope, in that if you build it or have it in an area where there’s a lot of radio noise the signals you’re trying to look for would be 4. ________ by that radio noise, in the same way you can’t see the Milky Way in downtown New York City.

Michael Holstine
A cell phone on Mars would be the 5. _______ radio object to us in the sky. In order to protect the radio atmosphere in this area, Congress created the National Radio Quiet Zone, and that’s an area that’s 13,000 square miles. There’s actually a long list of modern 6. _______ that we can’t utilize here, and generally shouldn’t be utilized in the community. Gasoline engines cause a problem, we only use diesels on site, WiFi modems, 7. _______ telephones, no cellular phones, the automatic door opener at the local store, no digital cameras.

Makeia Jonese
Quiet Zone Resident
When you go and you tell people 8. _______ like that, they can’t believe it and they’re just like “What?” Like I called my college roommate, and she’s just like “Well give me your number and I’ll text you,” and if she doesn’t have an iPhone and we can’t do iMessage, I was like “Well we can’t text because I don’t have service.” And they just don’t understand, they’re just like “How do you live without your phone, what do you do?” I mean it’s different, if you don’t go from one house to another with WiFi, you don’t have any other way to contact other people which is 9. ______.

Joyce Nelson
Quiet Zone Resident
I really enjoy it because it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s beautiful. All these electronic technician things that these kids are sitting pushing buttons on, don’t happen here. Only way you can do that is at home.

Karen O’Neil
It would be very difficult to create a radio quiet zone these days, because in order to create it you would have to walk into an area and take things away from people. But living here, people have grown up without it, and they’ve built their homes and they’ve built everything around the idea that they will be 10. _______, they won’t have wireless systems, so it’s much easier to maintain a setup like this than it would be to create a setup.



1. quietness       2. unique      3. leading      4. obliterated      5. brightest

6. conveniences       7. cordless      8. stuff      9. odd    10. wired

More on life in the Quite Zone:


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