Like almost all of Brown’s work, The Wireless Set takes place in a rural environment on Orkney. The valley of Tronvik is isolated from the mainland, but the arrival of the wireless set slightly breaks this isolation.
The setting acts as a foundation for many of the themes of the story. Tronvik’s isolation makes the characters innocent from aspects of modernity. This is shown from the start of the story when we learn that the wireless was
the first wireless ever to come to the valley of Tronvik. Similarly, in A Time to Keep, when a car arrives, Bill states that:
It was the first car ever seen in the island.
The setting also ensures that the characters are well-acquainted with the cycle of life and death through their hard, agricultural work.
The characters are connected to Tronvik and have knowledge of the land that is unrivalled. Some can accurately predict the weather and the tides. Their lives are maintained by the land and sea. In The Wireless Set, Brown suggests that people should maintain their faith in nature rather than be seduced by modern advancements. This is also hinted at in A Time to Keep, where Bill does not have religious faith, but has faith in nature and its ability to provide.