Last week Ellen and I with two other couples spent eight days at the Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park, located in rural Shasta County. It is next door to the Hat Creek Observatory which is searching for signals from extraterrestrial intelligence and other science-related projects involving Cube Sats. More details on the science activities are at the SRI Interventions Website. We spent one afternoon visiting the observatory, which is remotely operated from Silicon Valley via a fiber optic network.
The Steele family has been camping at Hat Creek RV Park for over 32 years, first in tents and then in our Airstream Trailer starting in 2002. Our first trip to Hat Creek was in the winter to a surplus equipment auction at the Observatory, which was hosting the Millimeter Array at the time. I need a 19-inch rack for an amateur radio astronomy observatory I was building in my Nevada County backyard. I ended up bidding on two racks and arranged to come pick them up in the spring. Our first camping trip was in the spring a few days after the campground opened on the 15th of April. We camped in a tent and woke up to 3 inches of snow on the camp table, with a frozen water faucet.
As home to the Millimeter Array Hat Creek Observatory was in an old volcanic caldera with an RF quiet zone, no radio, TV or cell phone access. There is still very limited cell phone access at the RV Camp it is in a “No Service Dead Zone” If there is an emergency, the Camp Ground has a Frontier Communication Telephone Booth next to the woodpile behind the Store.
Even though there was no cellphone coverage, we were not without communications. The Camp Ground has excellent WiFi coverage. Which is a vast improvement over some of the first WiFI services at the RV Park, when it was first installed you had to be within 20 feet of the building to get a signal? Now there is 2 bar service all over the campground. Three bars at sites near the store. We used SMS text to coordinate our group activities and meal planning. We all had excellent access to the Internet, even on the weekend when the park had more visitors and the system slowed for short periods as traffic increased.
I did a speed test, and the download speed hovered around 11.5 Mbps, with about 1.5 Mbps upload speed at 3 PM. The ping time was 45 ms to a Reno server. Overall we had excellent broadband service in the RV Park. We even did a phone call via WiFi on Ellen’s AT&T Cellphone, and it worked once the figured how to get passed all the AT&T legalize over the 911 location limits when calling on WiFi. I wonder if Artificial Intelligence could write a better explanation than human lawyers?
It was a pleasant surprise to find good broadband in rural Shasta County.