Prepping for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack

by Ray – How to survive an EMP attack

EMP, or Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. Most of us have heard of it, some of us understand what it is and what it does, and those who have read “One Second After” have an idea of what will happen if we are attacked with it. Some additional info can be found at here.

The U.S. Government created a commission to study EMP and what it could do to the safety and security of the United States. Unfortunately, this Committee published its report the same day as the 911 Commission, so it didn’t get much news coverage. You can read the report at The bottom line in the report is that it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ we will be hit.

EMP will take out just about everything electronic, whether it is connected to the grid or sitting unplugged on the kitchen counter. Things connected to the grid may fry from the 100,000 volt surge brought in through the power distribution lines.

Electronics with transistors or integrated circuits are extremely sensitive to static electricity and can be destroyed by as little as 100 volts. Walking across a carpet and sparking to that door know is well over 1000 volts. The surge created by the EMP in your electronic device will be sufficient to destroy them if they are not protected.

One of the committee members likened EMP to a time machine, transporting our society from ‘today’ to ‘1870’ in about one second. We become, once again, an agrarian society, capable of supporting the level of population that we had in 1870. This means that there will be a lot of Americans dying.

Our goal, your goal, is to be among the survivors. There are many things that need to be done to prepare: learning survival skills, having land and gardening/preserving knowledge, and many other things.

Having communications and some of the gadgets survive could mean the difference between surviving and not surviving. Things like solar battery chargers, batteries, inverters, ignition systems for chain saws, critical farm equipment electronics, walkie-talkies, NV gear among others could be critical when the time comes.

What is EMP?

When a nuclear bomb is exploded above the atmosphere, it releases gamma rays in all directions. The ones that head towards the atmosphere strike air molecules and strip off electrons.

Those electrons and gamma rays head towards Earth, stripping, even more, electrons. This avalanche of electrons called the Compton Effect, interact with the Earth’s electromagnetic field, creating very strong magnetic waves.

When a magnetic field crosses a conductor, electrical current is produced. When this EMP magnetic wave crosses power lines, electronic equipment, anything conductive, current is produced. Enough current could be produced to create fires, exploding transformers, extremely high voltage (current pushing through resistance results in voltage) which can break down insulation and create arcing and short circuits.

In 1962 the US detonated a 1.4 megaton bomb over one of the test sites in the Pacific. It was high enough that the island of Hawaii, 900 miles away, had 300 street lights go out, and some microwave links were damaged.

Hours after the detonation there were still surges and ripples in the power system. That was when we used vacuum tubes and before transistorized equipment was on the market. Today, with microcircuits and all of the very high tech equipment that we have in our homes, our factories and our defenses, we are more vulnerable than ever.

The U.S. Senate recently stripped funds for hardening the country’s power grid against EMP from a homeland security bill.

We are on our own.

What can be harmed?

Will EMP harm you? You, the human, will be safe. Magnetic waves, even very strong ones, will not harm you. MRIs use strong magnetic waves to make images of your innards.

But, look around you at anything with a wire or a chip. Whatever you see, be it toaster, TV, laptop, microwave oven, radio, chainsaw, car, or truck, it is vulnerable, and the higher the technology the more vulnerable.

WSHTF you won’t need a TV, but you will need a radio, perhaps walkie-talkies, probably solar battery chargers, that ignition coil on your chainsaw, maybe that night vision scope and whatever else you deem necessary for your survival. EMP won’t hurt you, but it may take away every electronic device that you own.

If you are part of a group, you might consider building a larger box and sharing it, and the cost.

What can I do?

One way to protect your gear is to build a Faraday Shielded Box and keep your stuff in it. A faraday shield is simply a physical device that prevents electromagnetic radiation from passing, in or out. In our case, we’ll take a cardboard box, cover it with copper screening material, and then ground it well.

I’ll describe the one that I built and you can size it up or down as you think necessary. Copper screen material with wire spacing of 0.1” is needed, and is the most expensive part of the project. You can keep costs down by only making as big a box as necessary. But when you think of the cost, think of the cost of the items that you will be protecting and what it might cost you if they don’t make it.

I started with a 2’ x 2’ x 3’ cardboard box. I actually had two of them. I cut the top flaps off of one, and cut up the other to bend and fold a lid like a hat box, with about 2” of side overlap. I wanted a loose fitting top, with plenty of overlap on the sides. You don’t want any holes or gaps in the copper shielding, which is why I put the 2” flap on the lid for the box.

I laid out the screen coverage to minimize the number of lapped joints, cut the screen and used spots of hot melt glue to hold the pieces in place. I folded the screen around lips and edges, cut and tucked it into corners, and then used a very hot (150 W) soldering iron to solder all of the lap joints and corners. On the lid, not only cover the outside but fold the screen into the underside for the side overlaps. You don’t want any missed areas of coverage of the screen.

Next, take a piece of bare #10 AWG or #12 AWG (house wiring Romex) and strip off the insulation. Form it into a loop with a pigtail. Now make a second one. Lay one on one side flap of the lid and solder the pigtail to the screen. Put the lid on the box and solder the other loop to the main box a couple of inches below the pigtail loop on the lid.

Your box is ready. Find an out of the way place where it can stay undisturbed. From the box, run a copper wire (#10 AWG) outside the house to a ground rod. You can use a ground rod of copper or galvanized steel, or you can get 10’ of ½” galvanized pipe. Drive it into the ground at least 8’, attach the copper wire to the clamp, and make sure that you always have the box and lid connected to the ground wire. At the box end of the wire, use alligator clips to conned the main wire to one of the pigtails and then make a short jumper between the two pigtails.

I haven’t finished stocking mine, but my list includes: night vision goggles, IR laser sight for the rifle, game camera, batteries, crank emergency radio, walkie-talkies, solar battery charger, 12V to 110 VAC inverter, ignition coil for the chainsaw and an alternator for the tractor.

EMP is a complex subject with lots of contradictory information available – agree or dissagree I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below as well as your tips and advice.


  1. This was my major reason prep for several yrs. however, when I read Lights Out a year ago, it spoke more about cyberattacks on the elect grid, which may result in the same thing -sending part of all of the US back in time 100-150 yrs ago. So my prepping didn’t change. Last year, I decided to add a faraday bag to my SUV trunk, to complement my GHB -it has batteries, emergency weather radio, flashlight, TENS unit (for my back & neck pain). Can’t recall if it has anything else, off the top of my head. I keep the faraday bag inside a cardboard box, so it cannot be seen when I open my trunk.

    • my four sons says:

      This event is also the main source of my prepping paranoia. One Second After was very enlightening for me and started me prepping more in high gear.

      • my four sons,
        I’m glad that “One Second After” got you moving, and it’s not a bad fictional book; but, it misses so many things. Many of the vehicle that sat along the highway would not have been affected, and only the VW’s still running. For the vehicles that were stranded, I would have been stripping them all for lighting, generator and alternator, and batteries at the very least. Few if any of these components would have been affected, and these resources were just allowed to rot sitting along the road.

        • PrepperDoc says:

          Yes, you are of course correct, but remember the writer is a history prof, and he is describing how ignorant most people are, anyway.

          You get insulin from the pancreas’ of your livestock at harvesting. The procedure for extracting it is published.

          • PrepperDoc,
            I know he’s a history professor, and I’m glad he wrote a book that has awakened so many people; but, I suspect many people look at the technical details of the book as realistic. If he had done a bit more research or consulted with some engineers or experts, in the field, I think he could have made it more of a teaching book also.
            As long as we’re waking people up, we may as well wisen them up at the same time.

        • Hey Ohio P…
          In the follow up book to One Second After (one year after) they do just that.
          the first year is about surviving…and dealing with the deaths and marauders….the follow up talks about how they worked together to get parts from cars and other items to start their water powered power station…they talk about all the copper and such being melted from the whole attack and how bad stuff was left.
          It’s ok, but it starts to get to political about bad govt personel and how they are playing us against each other etc….
          Theres another book I read awhile back…where it was a CME…and the outcome. but it had the people working on cars, tractors and such stripping out bad parts and putting in good parts …and they talk about the old batteries (mostly from tractor supply) and how as long as they didnt have the battery acid in them they would be workable?

          • TechQN,
            Good to hear. With my vision issues I don’t read much any more and have to rely on public domain things that the computer can read to me; or, on audio books. I need to find out what other books in this series or others are now available.
            Scrounging and reusing or repurposing old materials could well be a gold mine after any large event, and smelting aluminum or copper to create new items is actually not that hard.

          • TechQN, what was the title &/or author of that book? Sounds like a good one to read.

            • Hey Red…
              MD cleaned up the previous posts, as someone was trolling under my name (Thanks MD!)

              Which book are you asking on? The follow up one to ‘One Second After’? (‘One year after By: William R Forstchen)
              Or the other series I mentioned with the CME and the people scavenging after? (Countdown to Amargeddon By: Darrell Maloney)

              Both are good. The Countdown series is kind of fun….you watch this family get ready for a CME since they had previous info…all the things they do and then afterwards in how the help Austin TX people come back…
              Not sure how realistic it it. but the first couple books were fun…its the later ones when all the drama and politics start that I turn it off.

        • GeorgiaPeachie says:

          Good article! Thank you for writing it. An EMP is my greatest fear. Everything else can be sorted out in short order.

          I often wonder about the Congressional Report that says 90% of Americans will die by the one year mark. Makes you wonder how small the Prepper population is doesn’t it? Two million active duty and reserves will no doubt be fed by government. DC politicians and families will be fed and tucked away. That leaves US. You know, the majority of Americans?! I would imagine that a death rate of 40% or more would not be out of the question in large cities after only 3 months. Most folks only have 2 weeks of food at home. Add to that, dirty water and human waste will undoubtedly case more than a few illnesses/plagues to spread. The sh*t literally is going ot hit the fan, aka cause illness and death. Can’t imagine the government having contingencies for more than a few hundred thousand at best. Can you?

          Of course the time of year will make a huge difference in how fast people die off. Can you imagine grid permanently down on October 1?

          For those in the Pack who already purchased walkie-talkies what type did you buy? Same question for Night Vision?

          • GeorgiaPeachie,

            For two-way communications, I recommend the Dakota MURS Wireless 2-Way Radio.

            • GeorgiaPeachie says:


              Thank you for the recommendation! I will take a look at those. Looking to purchase enough for communication of 6-8 people within a square mile.

          • GeorgiaPeachie,

            For those in the Pack who already purchased walkie-talkies what type did you buy? Same question for Night Vision?

            I have Yaesu and Baofeng units; but, I’m a licensed amateur radio operator. The MURS units listed above by our host are also worth considering, as are citizens band radios, both mobile, base, and handheld.
            A lot of the decision comes down to what you plan to use it for and the size of your budget.
            The Baofeng UV5 and UV82 can be programmed for the MURS VHF frequencies also.

            • Jesse Mathewson says:

              OP -Most of my tribe has a mixture of the two above some have higher end base units – which we have chained similar to MURS etc just with regularly changing channels and the like / as for nvgs, I have two milspec pvs 14 gen 3s ITT with the new mx tubes/ passive much preferred to active… (it will be cute watching all the active mall rats with their little ir lasers and such scrambling about lighting up themselves…

              Others in my pack have a mixture of pvs7 through 14 and some flir- most of us are either ex extremely active mil or as I did taught mil/pd/feds tactics and such … passive is life. And all of those components are in faraday cages with milspec supressors for when things get interesting. (And none of us believe in stealing ) just protecting…especially against unknowns who act stubbornly instead of friendly. 🙂

            • GeorgiaPeachie says:

              Since I know nothing about this subject, I don’t know our needs. What I am looking for is a way for everyone in our group and some neighbors to communicate while out on patrol and all other times.

              Reading your post was like reading Greek! LOL
              “passive much preferred to active”. What does that mean? Also didn’t get the joke about the mall rats (yes, I know what those are) but the reference to “ir lasers lighting themselves up”. Sorry for the questions, but I really would like to understand communication of this type since it will no doubt be a HUGE advantage.

              • Jesse Mathewson says:

                Passive infrared ray (ir) collecting night vision goggles are far superior in many ways to active ir modules simply because by using active light those with non active light sources can see those using active light sources.

                This is why flir or thermal is preferred by many far less active emninations and more superior preformance as far as range and definition.

                This being said, personally I prefer the setup I have and have used flir and active only, because of battery life 40-60 hrs and strength of unit can be banged about a bit without fear of breakage or loss of zero.

                Effectively what the pvs14 ITT gen 3s are is a tube with ligh enhancing optical film attached it does not have a “scope/crosshairs” use them as a booster behind a red dot or scope or can be mounted to head for active patrols.

              • Jesse Mathewson says:

                First portion contains some grammatical errors and spelling fo pauxs. (Pun intended)

                I should add, use of ir capable flashlights for quick communication, (dot dash dash dot- ) can be good. Though I would suggest a more decentralized understanding versus needing communication.

                Know where your weaknesses lay, ensure all members of any tribe understand and accept their weaknesses as well as strengths. Fit these together like a puzzle and create a stronger team as a result.

                Some have citified/emergency room medical skills and bech rest shooting experience.
                Others have active combat medic skills and active combat shooting experience. There is a vast difference.

                I have seen extremely good shooters (masters class in competition) wilt and completely fall apart under fire. And have seen average mediocre shooters come into their element under fire.

                Know your individual weaknesses, be willing to admit to them accept them and add to the group with what your strengths are.

                (Using shooting and combat as an active example not a sole item of intent)

              • GeorgiaPeachie,

                What I am looking for is a way for everyone in our group and some neighbors to communicate while out on patrol and all other times.

                Once again, how far apart would these folks be in either scenario? Even the inexpensive FRS radios can communicate over pretty good distances; but, the distance is primarily base on height.
                The best hand held radios with several watts of power, will be limited between two people on patrol trying to communicate with each other, while the lowly ½ watt FRS radio can communicate over miles when one or more of the parties are at a great height, like standing on a barn roof.
                Probably your best solution would be a base station with an antenna at a great height on the top of a tall building or a tower. One person always mans the base unit, allowing the “dispatcher” to communicate with the field units who may not be able to hear each other, and relay needed information.
                I’m on the northern end of my county, and our EMA facilities are on the south central part of the county, so part of my communications gear, includes an EMA base radio that allows me to relay communications from units on scene in the north of the county when they cannot talk directly to the main station farther south.
                On your active vs. passive question, in general one is detectable by others and the other is not. For instance, if I have a night vision scope on a firearm, I can see you in the dark via your heat signature, Unbeknownst to you; but, if I shine a light or a laser on you, I can see you; but, you can also “see” me.
                Submarines use sonar and you’ve probably seen movies where you hear that “ping” which can be heard by the target being pinged; but, more often they will just listen for noises that are not native to the environment, like a motor running or a propeller spinning. Hope this helps.

          • A lot of well prepped people are going to end up dying as well. Chance infection, broken leg working the land, raiders, etc.

            The sad thing is, most of the 90% won’t be dying of starvation. I really think that the vast majority will die in fires. Modern houses aren’t equipped for cooking over fire. People are going to suffocating themselves running hibachis in the house, they are going to burn themselves down with candles and unsafe lamps (or even homemade torches), and once a housefire starts, we won’t have modern firefighting equipment and organization to deal with it. Entire cities are going to go up like London in 1666. I would wager that most cities will be effectively burned down within 3 months.

            • Phelps,

              Entire cities are going to go up like London in 1666.

              But, but , . . . that was so long ago. Try something more modern, like Chicago in 1871, LOL.
              Yep, city living is already a bit hazardous; but, I suspect it will become more so; especially with the current crop of idiots who burn down their own neighborhoods.

            • GeorgiaPeachie says:

              Had not thought of the fire aspect, but can’t say I disagree. Unfortunately.

          • In the scientific community we study daily satellite images of CME’s from space which are so powerful that it would heat up anything metal to the point anything around it would melt or com-bust. Studying the Carrington Event of 1857 report are that there were many fires caused by over heated wiring. Thus if you are truly preparing, your Faraday cages A need to be grounded with a metal stake at least a foot in the ground and also your preps should be away from your house and away from anything with metal or are electronic. The day of the CME/EMP may literally burn every house and building down when it hits. Just be warned. The non-man made EMP is far stronger than the man made kind.

            • DOCPrep,

              In the scientific community we study daily satellite images of CME’s from space which are so powerful that it would heat up anything metal to the point anything around it would melt or com-bust.

              True; and I also watch the SOHO reports and receive regular space weather email, but, for now we still have a magnetic field and atmosphere surrounding the planet that mitigates a lot of that.

              Studying the Carrington Event of 1857 report are that there were many fires caused by over heated wiring.

              True; but, as I read the reports, the wiring was not just an unplugged extension cord laying on the table; but, wiring connected to the grid, that acted as a large energy collection system (i.e., an antenna) to deliver enough energy to cause the problems.

              Thus if you are truly preparing, your Faraday cages A need to be grounded

              And just what does this ground do. The physics say the ground doesn’t help, and if the ground wire is sufficiently long, may even introduce problems. I have many small Faraday enclosures and I’m rather confident that nothing is going to catch fire.

              • GeorgiaPeachie says:

                Do you think metal roofing is going to be a factor in fires?

                • GeorgiaPeachie,

                  Do you think metal roofing is going to be a factor in fires?

                  From what perspective do you mean?

                  • GeorgiaPeachie says:

                    Someone had mentioned that an EMP would most likely cause house fires. I’m just wondering how a metal roof plays into it?

                    • GeorgiaPeachie ,
                      Two separate statements with two separate answers

                      Someone had mentioned that an EMP would most likely cause house fires

                      If the transient coming in on the power line is sufficiently large, then things plugged into the grid would no doubt be destroyed; but, in some cases could catch fire. Fires caused by lightning would also fall into this category. My only severe lightning strike only took out some electronics and a well pump; but, they have been known to start fires.

                      I’m just wondering how a metal roof plays into it?

                      It would have nothing to do with starting a fire, and might actually provide some shielding from the direct pulse wave front. Once a fire has started from my first response, then it may help the fire burn out the internals of the building; but, that is more a question for a firefighter.

              • GeorgiaPeachie says:

                I appreciate your explanations OP!

          • “Two million active duty and reserves will no doubt be fed by government.”

            With what? The food that’s rot ti in the commissary freezers and refrigerators which were fried? How will edible supplies reach those troops when the trucks and trains and planes that WEREN’T affected run out of fuel or spare parts because the fuel and logistics depots aren’t functioning?

            • Encourager says:

              Did you not know MrSatyre, that a few years ago the federal gvmt bought every last meal package from places like Mountain House and other brands? You could not get any and it took months of back orders to finally get what you needed. They did the same thing with ammo. So that is what they will feed the troops with. not to mention all the MREs they have stockpiled also.

              • Jesse Mathewson says:

                Encourager, again check sources. Conspiracies abound, facts are different. Some of what you said is true, the government CONTRACTED with ammunition companies, (who are still filling those contracts) as for the mountain house etc., thats all on the heads of over zealous end of days nuts from 2008/ 2012 etc.,

        • Dave Fiebig says:

          Some people write that most cars would not be affected and you should take the lights, generators, alternators and batteries because they would not be affected. Others say almost all houses would burn down because the over heated wires would start them on fire. Others have said a kick start moped would not be affected because the wiring is made to handle the load.
          Does anyone really know what they are talking about or is it mostly conjecture based on a very limited data?

          • Hi Dave,

            Its really a moving target. What I mean by this is there are man made EMP’s which can be nasty (China, the US, and Russia are working on making them stronger.). These most likely delivered by nuclear missile in the atmosphere or more targeted on a new drone developed by the US can destroy the electrical grid, might not be strong enough to hurt some cars, might not effect a moped, etc. But then you have the super charged EMPs from the sun or from space called CME’s. This can be anywhere from minor to devastating. Some of the gamma ray bursts watched on satellite are strong enough to devastate the world if we were in the path. So strong it would be surprising that anything electrical survived and strong enough to cause fires. The not so strong ones are believed to hit earth every 200 years or so. The last being 1857. The really strong ones are very elusive and may hit every thousand years or so. No idea when the last one was. So the answers you are hearing are accurate based on which ever level you believe the earth might be in the path of.

          • Dave Fiebig,

            Does anyone really know what they are talking about or is it mostly conjecture based on a very limited data?

            It’s a combination of understanding the physics, looking at the effects of the few real EMP events like Starfish Prime, and some empirical testing that has been done on some vehicles, mostly by the military.
            First of all, the pulse is simply a very high powered, short duration, burst of what is essentially radio energy. That being said, it requires an antenna of some sort to collect the energy, and if the antenna is of insufficient size to collect a lot of energy, then nothing happens.
            For this reason, electronic devices that are not connected to the mains power (a big antenna network) or some type of long antenna may not be affected. So, your cell phone laying on the counter may not be harmed at all; however, the cellular system it depends on would not be functional.
            Car batteries, made from lead plates sitting in sulpheric acid, have no small space for energy to damage, even if the wiring under the hood could collect some energy.
            As for starting fires in houses, etc., it really depends on the circumstances, like what is plugged into which outleat and where. I had a very close lightning strike near my place about 25 years ago, and while it did kill my well pump (the best ground in the house) and several modems and other power controller’s that were plugged into the wall outlets, there was no other damage.
            OTOH, there are lightning strikes every year that do cause fires.
            Protecting from EMP and lightning are sort of in the same category. You do your best within your budget, and if the circumstances happen to stack up against you, then things break.
            Being prepared to live with none of the electronics is your best bet; but, then you prepare and cross your fingers.

          • A lot of it depends on the nature of the event. It’s like asking, “how bad is a gunshot wound?” Well, depends on the gun, the bullet, where you were hit, how healthy you are, etc etc etc.

            The main EMP events we think about are man made (nucs, purpose built devices like explosive coil designs) and natural. The man made ones are all at about the same level of danger, but there are WIDE variations in the natural ones, going from a Carrington Event level (google it) to something like a Quasar kill-shot, where you aren’t going to care much about EMP because if you aren’t under at least 12 feet of concrete you’re dead in a few seconds from the gamma ray burst.

            • Phelps,
              The Carrington event was indeed one of the worst CME disruptions ever recorded. There was another of similar magnitude in 2012; but, it missed the planet. With monitoring devices like SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) we will get some amount of warning; but, unless you pay attention to such things, it could well be too late for our grid and other telecommunications infrastructure. These warnings are often use to reposition communication satellites; but, I don’t know what has been done for the power grid.
              A GRB (Gamma Ray Burst) of sufficient magnitude could be an ELE (Extinction Level Event) and all the prepping in the world may not help.
              If you happened to be in a deep mine somewhere at the time, you might survive the event; but, the entire atmosphere could be damaged to the point of allowing significantly increased ultraviolet to hit the surface, and causing DNA damage, an destroying many species of vegetation.

    • I will have to read Lights Out. My favorite book so far is Nine Meals To Anarchy The EMP by Farrell Kingsley. Actually I listed to the audio book. That got me to thinking about what might happen. I like his ideas for bugging on or bugging out. I also liked the idea he had for an old truck and a trailer packed and ready to go. Of course his was a 10×30 car hauler. Very enlighting book and entertaining at the same time.

      • I’ve read Lights Out by Koppel & loaned it to friends. It’s an overview written for the general population. If u’ve read other stuff about an EMP, u may not learn much of the science of an EMP, or practical ways of limited its damage (aka faradays) or ways to get ready for an emp. 3 things stood out to me – every former & current govt official he talked to (including every former Sec of Homeland Sec Dept) would not say how or if the govt was prepared to help Americans after an emp. 2ndly, at first, I expected Koppel’s book to have more of an impact, but few major new media even reported the book’s release, & from what I can tell, it had little if any impact on non-preppers -just another warning ignored. 3rdly, he does praise preppers & mormons as 2 groups who’d be mostly like to survive.

  2. For solar panels, I may make a box (2″ overlap), out of rolled sheet aluminium (sold in 2 ft x 50 ft rolls at any big box store, galvanized 3 ft wide), sealed with aluminium tape. Maybe a box in a box, with each insulated. Everything else, fits in a steel drum with a lever lock ring lid ($15- used). Thinking about upgrading to a drum in a drum. Time to act. Thanks for the wake up call.

    • Yup. The problem is — when will you feel safe to take your gear OUT ofthe faraday protection???? I think that is the $64 question.

      • PrepperDoc:

        As for me – how long to wait – I figure that in 3 days things should shake out. I also have several containers with radios & such so that if I’m wrong and there’s a 2nd or 3rd strike I won’t loose everything. The major items (those with expensive/few replacements) I will wait until I have to have them, so that will vary.

        • I use glavanized steel buckets (I can hang them from the rafters to save space) and chocolate/cookie tins. All are sealed with aluminum tape. My testing shows this works for radio/celluar signals.

          If I had the property, I’d look into a 20′ shipping container. Line it with wood covered shelves inside.

          • JP…I have a good sized shipping container…are you saying I could line it with something and turn it into a big faraday cage?

            • You’ll need to test it, but a cell phone is already a crude method. Does you cell phone work inside it with the doors shut? If not, it’s a good start. Get some conductive tape to seal the door frame, and you are probably good.

              • Hi Phelps….
                Uh well where the container is located I get no signal anyway, that whole area in my yard is a dead zone…so ya that wont be a good test! LOL!

                • TechQN,
                  You have a cell phone dead zone? Imagine that, LOL. You can also try an AM or FM receiver the same way and see if it works when the enclosure is opened and stops or gets very noisy when closed.

        • I agree on 3 days. The “ringing” of an EMP will persist for hours, and there are likely to be follow-ons in any situation that results in EMP (electronic attack, nuclear attack, natural phenomena, etc) so you want to stay hunkered down until it is over.

          The ringing won’t so much be dangerous as a pulse as it will make most radio comms useless (you’ll get nothing but overwhelming static.) In fact, a week or more might be a better choice, because it is very likely that any information you get as soon as the radio windows open back up will likely be insanely wrong from fog of war. Better to have no info than tragically wrong info.

    • Hi Pack..
      I came across a a link for a company with solar genertors, that have all the goodies you need, in a portable EMP bag.
      I think I saw the link on this site too.. from

      Not sure how good this company or item is, so wanted to run it by you all..

      Is it worth it? I have a generator already, but its not hooked up…and I was looking for a solar gennie too to have that ‘three is two’ back up of a backup…
      Looks like a decent deal…for the small items I’d need to power…if for anything than for piece of mind.

      But still wanted the packs input on it.

  3. Thank you, my friend, for bringing this topic up again. It truly is a significant concern. The military believes their Aegis missiles can sufficiently protect us….but I’m not convinced.

    I believe you are confusing the E1 and E3 effects. The E1 will be in only a few nanoseconds, but small gear — even transistorized — which has no significant wiring attached, should survive. E3 lasts for quite a long time — minutes — and this is what damages the power grid (and possibly connected household items) by causing saturation in the transformers and huge heating effects as a result. E1 can also damage these, but probably E3 is the concern there.

    Comm gear — even in use — can be adequately protected from EMP. If you do a bit of a search, you’ll find a recent text — selling well! — that gives a huge amount of information on lots of ways to protect yourself.

    Wish you the best! (and please don’t plunder my property)

    • Coronal Mass ejection is sort of like a very very long E3. CME may last hours/days. A recent development is a requirement — I hope it is enforced — for power utilities to at least figure out what damages would be expected as a result of a specified (standarized) CME-generated current plot across many hours. This is one of the few brightspots in this whole area….

      If you google — you’ll also find plenty of well-referenced articles on how to protect ham radio gear EVEN WHEN IN USE.

      Some of us plan to survive, and even thrive.

  4. You don’t need to ground a faraday cage that doesn’t have any penetrating wires (like an antenna connection coming in.) Since yours is a full cage, you are better off without the grounding wire.

    The purpose of the cage is so that the skin-effect causes the pulse to flow across and around the cage. By grounding it, you are just adding an antenna that causes the pulse to hit the cage extra hard where the ground connects.

    • Phelps,
      When you state in part:

      You don’t need to ground a faraday cage

      All I can say is Amen!!! I have had this argument on this forum many times over the years by those who don’t understand the basic physics.

      By grounding it, you are just adding an antenna that causes the pulse to hit the cage extra hard where the ground connects.

      Amen, Amen!!!
      Once years ago there was someone here who had taken an old computer power cord, cut off the computer end, and connected the green (ground) wire to his box and then plugged the power cord in, expecting the house wiring down to the final ground point at the breaker box to provide the ground. I couldn’t convince hismthat this was not a ground; but, actually an antenna. Good to see some additional knowledgeable and sensible people hanging out here.
      If you have for instance a new Baofeng radio that you want to keep as a spare, simply wrap the cardboard box it came in with several overlapping layers of aluminum foil and set it in a desk drawer. You will of course need a way to charge the batteries.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        True regarding grounding, never really considered that part, though to be fair my cages are inside a gigantic steel garage, separated and not grounded, ill have to discuss with the friends and their electronic safe/grounded copper…

      • Part of the problem is that we aren’t building a Faraday cage as EEs use them, but really building an EM Shielded Room. If you told an EE you wanted an EM Shielded Room, he would know not to ground it and build a Faraday cage like we are talking.

        But to EEs, a faraday cage is something they build around working electronics, not stored electronics. They are trying to shield some sensitive component from normal interference while still getting signals in and out. In that case, the cage has wires piercing it, and it does need to be grounded to be effective. So, someone goes and googles how to make a faraday cage, they find something some EE wrote about how to shield a microprocessor from a Ham radio rig transmitter, see that he grounded it, and assume that all Faraday cages need to be grounded.

        It’s an honest mistake, but still a mistake.

        • Phelps,
          I am an EE and have built, worked in, and repaired EM shielded rooms and rarely grounded them. All of our test equipment was battery powered with everything in the room; but, you are probably correct when non technical folks read a variety of information with no context or real understanding of the physics involved. We had rooms that could be grounded it required; but they generally were not, except in special circumstances.
          The one that comes to mind is when we were transmitting a high powered wide-band signal at the enclosure from the outside and were still receiving the signal in the room. If we grounded the room, the signal went away. All that really did was to give the signal a lower impedance path than the path entering the room. It took several engineers a few days of poking around to find the leak that happened to be a bad connection between two overlapping pieces of copper foil. If you pushed on the foil from the inside, the leak sealed and the signal was blocked. We flattened out some silver solder, slipped it in to the leaking area, applied a heat gun and some pressure, and all was well. The math and physics on this stuff is rather straight forward; but, sometimes implementation can have little gremlins that haunt you.

        • Well said, what people tend to forget when they talk Faraday Cages is that a typical faraday cage is built to shield RF equipment inside from causing interference outside and in some cases visa versa. In other words low to very low energy levels while an EMP event has exponentially more energy, a ground on a typical cage is OK but when the energy gets to that level as I have seen stated elsewhere causes all or most of the energy to that point.

          • Preped,
            Good to see that someone else understands the physics of the Faraday cage. The only time I’ve ever grounded one was as I explained earlier, when looking for a leak in the containment.

  5. I have been looking at EMP for quite a while. There are so many different opinions on what will be effected and what won’t (even posted here). I am doing what I can to protect critical electrical items, as we acquire them we look for ways to protect them.

    I don’t think anyone knows how a particular area will be effected. Too many variables.

    My goal is to be as electrical independent as possible. I like a propane fueled, 12 VDC kitchen. Spares for major components. ‘Bout the best I can come up with.

    • PrepperDoc says:


      None of us can TEST anything, and there have been only a limited number of unclassified tests from which we can learn, and we don’t know much about more recent gear.

      Protection against Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) for semicconductor products has gotten much better. Google it and see the devices for sale. However, don’t know exactly how it will respond to EMP.

      There’s a MIL-SPEC that gives a waveform/spectrum for testing — gives you a reasonable idea of what the government is preparing for, anyway. If you design to that in building equipment, it should help, right?

      The E-field does progressively become weaker as you leave the central area, so it sorta depends on where you are relative to the burst. 50kV/meter is considred the peak. I have not read the physics explanation for why. Maybe breakdown of air? Anyway, for devices that are ony a few centimeters long, this limits what voltage they might have to deal with.

      Design antenna systems NOT to have wide wide band response. Add as much filtering as you can easily. Put in gas discharge surge arrestors (NOT MOV) set a bit above the highest voltage your power and SWR suggest they would have to NOT flash over for….. Then have spares. In Faraday cages.

      But that’s just comms. Obviuosly there’s food, water, medical care, and on and on and on.

  6. I have heard that an emp may cause the electrical wiring in your home to cause fires. But what really scares me is think about the nuclear power plants are they hardened. In Pennsylvania no hiding from the fallout from them melting down.

  7. Dave Fiebig says:

    Question: Would a lead dental apron, which protects for x-rays, work for protecting electronics from EMP? Could you drape one over a motor bike and protect the wires?

    • No. A lead apron won’t do you any good unless it actually surrounds what it is protecting. This isn’t ionizing radiation like X-rays, this is radio frequency. The good news is that a motor bike has a good chance of still running after an EMP event.

      Your electronic gauges and any radio/intercom will likely be shot, but it will probably crank up and run. It may idle roughly depending how new it is and how electronically controlled it is, but even a rough running bike is better than no bike. If it has an ECM, you might want to pick up a spare and keep it in a faraday cage, but things like the ignition wires will be fine. (They’re designed to carry high voltage, after all.)

      • GeorgiaPeachie says:

        Are you talking about a motorcycle or an electric bike? I’ve got a few electric bikes on my list. Hopefully they won’t be as big a target as a car that is still running.

        • GeorgiaPeachie,

          Hopefully they won’t be as big a target as a car that is still running.

          That might depend on how bad things get. If I’m walking, and have a weapon, and have ill or selfish intent, I might be interested in anything from a bicycle to a horse, so I wouldn’t count on keeping any form of transport easier than walking without being able to defend the same.

  8. Jesse Mathewson says:

    Great article, definitely a good possibility of this occurring. Thank you for the information

  9. Not that this is a subject I know that much about but if I was a hostile nation or group I’d follow-up with second strike in a week or two just so everybody who had cages would feel protected and safe. I’m thinking that our PTB would move against everyone who could have caused it or who could benefit from it to level the playing field. The problem I see it is the more advanced the target civilization is the further they will be knocked back by the effect. Subsistence farmers in Asia and Africa won’t be as effected as ag-businesses in the USA.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      And the homeless in America won’t hardly see any change for quite a while…until ALL the food is gone. And even then, they may survive. Someone wrote an article here once about how they survived being homeless.

  10. Ronald Beal says:

    Good comments! The purpose of the EMP is not to send us back to 1870, or earlier, it is intended to neutralize our defenses as well as our planned offensive weapons. The EMP will do all of that. Satellites, GPS, radar plus all other conventional electronic systems will be fried. Then, the real attack comes- all of those “we”have attempted to control will flood ashore and it will be door to door fighting- every man for himself, literally!
    N. Korea fires the missile, Iran follows up with Nukes over major cities, and the middle East and Africa flood in.
    Several times recently, Russia has flown jets over US Carriers and battleships in the Black Sea with all electronics on the ships dying immediately, having to tb towed to port for repairs.
    A recent movie have drivers out of California hearing thunder, then all vehicles lost power. That is all you will hear, if you hear that. Everything stops, except your body…

    • What was the movie? Sounds interesting. Wondering about your name. Did we work together at an Indian place in a green town around 15 years ago?

    • Dave Fiebig says:

      I can understand taking us out with an EMP, jealousy of our standard of living, great Satan, etc. But, why follow up with nukes or an invasion. Soon after an EMP we will have less food than anywhere the invaders are coming from. So, if I were them, I would stay home. And who would want to invade a country where there are more handguns than people? Door to door battle is very costly in casualties. If I were them, I would sit back for a year or two and then start to sell us what we need in exchange for our natural resources.

    • Ronald Beal ,
      Your scenario is as full of holes as a sieve.
      First of all, I’m not sure the satellites in orbit, including the GPS constellation will be affected, since they are space hardened against a much more harsh environment than a single EMP, such as continuous onslaughts from multiple and various strength CME’s on a nearly continuous basis.
      I suspect that other WMD’s in the arsenal could still be deployed from other countries as well as our boomers (nuclear armed subs) at the very least. Iran would easily be disabled by Israel who has numerous functional nuclear weapons.
      The Japanese invaded the Philippines; but, did not invade Hawaii or the mainland U.S., because as Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is reported to have said: “In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.”
      “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” “I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
      He was a wise tactician and I suspect there are similar tacticians amongst our other foes today.
      We could easily strike back; but, only if we could determine who the enemy was that caused the event.


        p163. The GPS birds are toast in a significant EMP event. They might be up a few weeks, but even then, they won’t be usable for the first week or so until the atmospheric noise dies down enough for the relatively weak signals to get through from orbit.

        We have 31 SVs up right now. 12 of them are block IIR, last launched in 2004 (so 13+ yo.) 7 are IIR-M (last launched 2009, so 8+ yo.) All of these (60% of the constellation) have accumulated considerable exposure.

        Use these for your failure baseline (since some of the newer ones will fail, and some of the older ones will keep chugging.) Now you have 12 SVs covering the whole planet. You need 4 in LOS for a position lock. This is going to make GPS positioning transient and fleeting (You’ll only have LOS on 4 SVs at certain times of day, and it won’t be regular.)

        As for counter-strikes, I honestly don’t think that we spend too much time figuring out who hit us. We just hit everyone back with orbital bursts to give them their own EMP and be done with it. If anyone else is unaffected, it’s just a matter of time before they invade us anyway.

        • Phelps,
          I think you’re correct about the GPS being spotty or nonexistant after an EMP and anyone who does not yet know how to use a map and compass for land navigation should well be thinking about it. Prior to the 1990’s when Clinton turned off Selective Availability, no one but military and surveyors use GPS, so I spent the first 40 odd years navigating with a map. It’s not all that hard a skill to learn as long as you have some maps in your stash.

          If anyone else is unaffected, it’s just a matter of time before they invade us anyway.

          Perhaps; but, we still have a large land mass, a lot of firearms, and big ponds on either side of the country to cross over first.
          I’m not sure that any current powers in the world that might want to invade us have a naval capacity to get here with enough resources to be a large threat. What that means I suspect depends a lot on where you live.

        • GeorgiaPeachie says:


          Luv the way you think! Also, hope that whoever is in the WH at the time does exactly that…knock all of the countries back into the 1800s! It’s the sure fire way to keep them from invading us!

  11. I think this is the only article I’ve ever read that mentions chainsaw coils. I’m no electrical engineer but I was always under the impression that small engines that didn’t use an electronic ignition system were safe. After reading a little about “low tension coils” which are used in a chainsaw I think that assumption was shattered. In fact if I understand what I read correctly a low tension coil may intact be VERY susceptible to EMP. If this is the case even pull start generators with no electric start would be susceptible too. Thanks for the article will have to think of a work around like extra coils (probably the easiest) or shielding.

  12. if sorry WHEN an EMP hits i would think the cell phone towers be blown?

    am i wrong?

    • Cell phone towers and cell phones. Assume anything with an antenna that isn’t entirely in a faraday cage is toast. Also assume that anything plugged into a wall is toast.

      • Phelps,
        Agreed. Unless they are plugged in to a charger that is plugged into the wall when the event happens, most cell phones will be unharmed; however, the infrastructure that supports the phone will be gone, so if you can keep them charged, you may still have a camera and an mp3 player.

        • PrepperDoc says:

          OhioPrepper — some of the phones can do wifi and I’ve seen people write software that creates a comms network over the phone/wifi. I hven’t tried it myself.

          • PrepperDoc,
            Yes, most Smartphone’s have WiFi and with a simple access point in bridge mode and the TeamSpeak app for Android or iPhone, you can configure communications over a short range. I’ve played with it; but, we haven’t tried it over any long distance with more than 2 users. Once again, height is king and the higher you can place the access point, the more range you will have.

  13. EMP will take out just about everything electronic, whether it is connected to the grid or sitting unplugged on the kitchen counter.

    I have to disagree with that statement. Since the energy has to be collected and transferred into the device, it will depend on a lot of factors. If for instance you simply coil up the power cord on the counter, you decrease the cross sectional area of the “antenna” often to the point where it cannot collect and deliver enough energy into the device to damage anything.

    Electronics with transistors or integrated circuits are extremely sensitive to static electricity and can be destroyed by as little as 100 volts.

    While there is some truth here for individual components not interconnected on a circuit board, devices I’ve been involved with designing even at the circuit board level are vary electrostatic tolerant. One of our ESD (Electro Static Discharge) tests conducts a short charge of 15000 volts as a spark to any point on the circuit board. Yhis will generally reset the system or scramble the operation enough to require a reset or power cycle; but, no components are damaged. Most consumer electronics have to endure these tests; otherwise, the rate of return for a simple static discharge from a finger (8-33K volts) would have too many warrantee units being returned.
    Finally, if you actually run 100 volts of power to a unit designed to run on perhaps 12 VDC, you will destroy the unit; but, this is a test unlike any realistic ESD testing I’ve ever seen.
    Your description of the Compton Effect is pretty true; but, it misses the primary causation. When you say interaction, what actually happens is that all of the electrons which are magnetic particles, line up in the magnetic field of the earth, until the effect of the gamma rays goes away. At that point, all of the stripped air atoms and molecules that have become positive ions, attract those electrons back to them, and those large movements of electrons, first to the magnetic fields and then back to balance the positive ions, create the pulses, since any large movement of current creates a magnetic field, and these currents are both high in value and short in duration.
    When you mention the 1962 Starfish Prime test, you fail to mention that the reason for the damage, especially to the streetlights, was the tens or hundreds of miles of antenna (the power lines in the power grid) strung up to collect the energy.
    The surges and ripple in the power system is pretty common for any power grid when pieces of it fail and the other pieces try to keep up.

    When you state:

    The U.S. Senate recently stripped funds for hardening the country’s power grid against EMP from a homeland security bill.

    I saw that and think it is one of the most shortsighted things the congress has done in a long time.

    • When did this happen and do you know the name of the bill?

      • believer,
        Here’s an article with the information: EMP: Technology’s Worst Nightmare
        And from the article:
        Three bills have been introduced to protect the grid. In 2011, Congressman Trent Franks, backed by a broad bipartisan coalition, introduced HR 668, the SHIELD Act. The SHIELD Act was virtually identical to the earlier GRID Act, except it focused on EMP threats, in an effort to avoid the jurisdictional controversy that dead ended the GRID Act. In October, Rep. Franks introduced a new, bipartisan backed bill, Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) to prevent widespread power failures. Like its predecessors, CIPA has found itself trapped in Congress.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      Thanks. Good info.

    • I think it was Sandia National Labs that did a forensic analysis of the Starfish Prime streetlight outages in Hawaii. Sorry I can’t find the link to the .pdf again, but from memory:

      The Hawaiian streetlights were all series-fed from a high-voltage loop. For background, think of the mini Christmas tree lights of the 1990s.

      The Christmas mini light strings have fifty 2.5-volt bulbs in series across he 120-volt supply. Most strings had two sets of fifty bulbs for 100 lights. Each bulb in series is protected from over-voltage and over-current by the resistance of the other 49. If one bulb burns out, the series chain is broken, and all the bulbs would go dark. But unlike the old series bulbs of the 1950s Christmas lights, there is a fusible link in the bottom of each mini bulb. When the electron flow stops, the voltage across the burned out bulb rises to the full line voltage. The higher line voltage causes the internal link to short, bypassing the failure. The other 49 bulbs re-light, each now getting 2.55 volts until the dark one is replaced.

      On to Hawaii. The street lights on the side streets with shorter poles were a medium voltage series string, with fusible links in each fixture in case the bulb burned out. The side streets were fed as part of a high-voltage series loop running along the main streets with taller poles. In addition to the fusible links for the main street high voltage fixtures, there was a link for each side street to bypass it in case two or more bulbs went out at once. These links would bypass the entire side street, instead of having the city go dark.

      When the wave from Starfish Prime hit the miles of series wiring, it raised the voltage in the system, and some of the fusible links properly shorted into bypass, as they would for a burned-out bulb or neighborhood in trouble. The fixtures or side streets that were in bypass went dark, until the links were replaced. The study traced old municipal records, and concluded, if I remember correctly, that 30 streets went into bypass that day. They stated that on average, about 3 streets would go into bypass during a normal thunderstorm.

      So my semi-scientific conclusion is that a distant EMP event is like 10 thunderstorms happening at once.

      p.s. Amen! Amen! Amen! to not adding a ground wire antenna to a portable Faraday cage.

      • I should have said, ” The side streets were fed by step-down transformers as part of a high-voltage series loop . . .there was a link for each side street transformer

        • Salem,
          Yep, that sounds pretty much like standard distribution.
          Here at the house we have a 16KV line out and across the road, with a 16K to 240V center tap that feeds our place. The connection from the 16KV line to the transformer primary has a fusible link. Where it connects to the weatherhead, there is a run to an unmetered security light that we pay for as a standard monthly charge on the bill. The wiring then runs through the meter, and the metered side goes to the basement where it enters the transfer switch and then on to the main breaker box for the house.
          I’m in process of placing transient suppression devices prior to the transfer switch to help stop incoming transients; but, only time will tell how much those multiple thunderstorms are abated, LOL. If the transient devices are destroyed as MOV’s often are; but, the generator still runs, then we’ll be OK at least for a while.

          • If you haven’t already, put a disconnect switch with fast-blowing cartridge fuses between the meter and the generator transfer switch. The MOVs should clamp a surge and blow the fuses, leaving the rest of your system intact.

            • Salem,
              That’s the plan; but, I don’t think I need the disconnect, just the cartridge fuses in a holder. The funny thing is that one of the 240 VAC branch circuits feed an old Main/Range, Edison fuse style panel already containing those plug fuses that feeds the old part of the house. Multigenerational wiring at is best?/worst?
              Right now I’m trying to find a schematic for the Generac built transfer switch, since it already contains several fast blowing plug fuses and I just need to see what they are protecting before I add anything else.

  14. It never crossed my mind about chainsaws.
    But I’ve got to ask a question that may show my layman understanding of EMP.
    What about my manual combination locked gun safes?
    Would they act like a faraday cage ?

    • Richard,
      First of all, I don’t think EMP will affect most chainsaws. The two that I own use a magneto based engine with no battery or eletronigs and should be fine.
      On your gun safe, the answer is the same as any Faraday style enclosure, and that is maybe!!!
      It depends on how electrically tight the safe is around the gaps in the door frame and hinges or other openings perhaps for humidity control. You could place the AM & FM battery radio and the cell phone in it and see if they are affected; but, even if they are (as in non functional), it still may not do the trick; but, would no doubt be better than nothing.
      If the radio and cell phone test fails (as in they still work locked in the safe), you could start looking for places that allow RF energy into the safe and start closing the gaps with aluminum or copper foil tape. There are no guarantees; but, anything that provides any shielding can potentially help a lot.
      Even a drawer in a metal desk or a metal filing cabinet is better than sitting out in the open.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        An easy way to protect your safe, use copper mesh (sold for moonshining on amazon) and a thick copper wire extending outside into the ground about 3 ft or so-

        Mesh the top, connect the safe and mesh to the wire and run it out…may not 100% but definitely better than nothing.

        • You do not need to ground Faraday cages. In fact, you shouldn’t ground it unless you are using it to shield active electronics that have connections that pierce the cage. If there is no connection going from inside the cage to outside of it, you are actually hurting the protection by grounding it. Faraday cages do not ground out the pulse — they use the skin effect to let the pulse flow over and off the cage (rather than inside it.)

          The current in EMP is generated locally when the magnetic disturbance hits the conductors. Adding wire to the cage simply increases the charge on the cage. The EM wave itself doesn’t have a charge that needs to be bled off. The charge is generated by the length of the wire — and you are adding length.

          That said, the design of most safes will lend themselves well to acting as a faraday cage. The door overlaps the frame, and the entire thing is a box of conductive metal. This is where grounding does come in — you want to make sure that both surfaces are electrically connected. Most safes are painted in thick paint or lacquer, and that will keep the door from connecting to the body. If you want it to act as a faraday cage, you should sand/buff off the paint or varnish and use some thick stranded wire to electrically connect the door to the body. That will ensure that it all appears to be one piece electrically.

          • Phelps,
            I wholeheartedly agree. You need a contiguous, continuous unbroken conductor, and thus the reason for stripping paint. Also grounding it is not only NOT required; but, could easily introduce problems, since it potentially adds another antenna to collect and deliver energy to the system.

          • Phelps,

            This is where grounding does come in — you want to make sure that both surfaces are electrically connected.

            I think your mixing your metaphors here. Connecting all surfaces to become one contiguous conductor is not grounding anything, just connecting it, and I want to make sure no one misreads the intent of this statement.

        • PrepperDoc says:

          Jessee — don’t ground the safe. Waste of time at best, and may worsen your problem.

          Ohio Prepper is right on target, Phelps is helping.

          An EMP doesn’t send a “magnetic” field down in the E1 (that comes later in the E3….see below) — it sends an ELECTROMAGNETIC wave (EM) (Radio) —and wires act like ANTENNAS. That how the voltage is developed.

          But wait — the Radio wave isn’t infinite. Its energy is highest at the lower frquencies (below 10 MHz) and declines by 100 MHz, and even more by 1 GHZ. That is key. Your cell phone is up towards or beyond 1 GHZ — gaps that allow your cell phone to still receive signal MAY NOT ALLOW ENOUGH EMP IN TO BREAK EVERYTHING. So don’t get too ObsessiveCompulsive Here! Connect the gaps the best you can — but have the best all-around conductor you can. Trash cans are good.

          The E3 wave is where the magnetic effects — on the earth”s magnetic field, which is already around us — comes in — and this is where MILES of wire begin to pick up voltage (feet of wire get big voltages from the E1) — the damage here is not to a transistor radio, but instead to a 345kV Transformer.

          Believe it or not, there is a BOOK ON AMAZON that explains a lot of this in great detail…….

        • Why would you need copper mesh to make likker? I have been fooling with stills and likker for 40 yrs and ain’t never seent no one use a copper screen.

          • Jesse Mathewson says:

            My family has been doing it for centuries…different strokes different folks. The use of thin mesh for packing instead of rings or glass beads, allows for a higher proof and better taste personally.

            I dont make pure corn shine, much prefer sugar shine.

            • Hey Jesse,,,
              A little hillbilly humor in the previous post with the bad grammar and slang…everybody inthe country this all residents of NC and TENN sound like that…..we call that kind of shine”sugar head”. Always enjoy your reviews and comments.
              Being a fellow disabled back problem sufferer, I understand your posts on pain. Best to you and your tribe from the mountains of western NC.

            • Jesse,
              I don’t know if this has anything to do with the process or the taste; but, copper is a natural antimicrobial. Door handles have been made of it for centuries to stop passing bugs via the handle and strips of it spliced onto standing seam tin or steel roofs can stop fungal or algal growth.
              Back again to basic physics and chemistry.

        • Why would you need copper mesh to make likker? I have been fooling with stills and likker for 40 yrs and ain’t never seent no one use a copper screen.

  15. my four sons says:

    Keep in mind I certainly do not claim to be an expert, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. But in a lot of reading I have done there are alot of differing opinions some say that cars won’t be affected based on direction and relative distance from the EMP Blast as well as some other pieces of equipment depending on where it is stored etc. I don’t know what is really true and honestly I am not sure who if anybody really does. No matter what it is going to be world changing and probably a minimum 50% national die-off with in 6 months.

    • my four sons,
      The tests I’ve seen say that many vehicles will survive, again based on their position, direction, and distance from the event center.
      As for the die off, I suspect you could be correct, since even with FEMA (, and Red Cross, and a lot of prepper advertising, too many people have their normalcy bias and just ignore it and go on with life.
      I actually see three broad camps. Those in the middle like all of us, who realize that there could be a problem, and do what we can to mitigate it.
      Those on the conspiracy side who have seen too many mad max style mmovies or are trying to sell you something.
      And finally, the worst culprit, the government that seems to be putting its head in the sand and not appropriating the funds or promulgating regulations to do something about it.
      In any case, welcome aboard.

      • GeorgiaPeachie says:

        OP, the government isn’t putting their head in the sand when it comes to them and their families being prepared and protected — on our dime naturally. If one had an active imagination you would think they are overlooking the grid failings on purpose!

        • GeorgiaPeachie,

          f one had an active imagination you would think they are overlooking the grid failings on purpose!

          To what end?
          Most of these people are as dependent on the knowledge, skill, and effort of others as any of us.
          Wven in their well stocked bunkers on the taxpayers dime; they will eventually run out of resources.

  16. I was only looking at this very problem in tweaking my own basic cage, much youtube videos ensued and one video stuck home.
    It seems an American lab has upped its game and has a really powerful discharge generator built for the study of EMP and the additional particle waves that accompany the traditionally viewed EMP wave.
    The video pointed out the weakness in electric grid insulators and the potential for even the labs own super insulators to register potentially destructive waves inside the protective shielding of the test equipment.
    All very interesting stuff and something I feel the need to dig deeper into to protect my radio and cooler electrics in such an event as a EMP or CME.
    I am deeply interested in finding out how to harden ‘in use’ radio equipment, shall be looking into that today and over the next few if it seems I can build such a creature.

    I don’t run a grounding wire on my box but I have also read, and heard, that you do need one and then that you don’t need one.
    All-in-all I think that it’s better to have a cage to protect your transistorised/IC electrics than not.
    Tin foil and adhesive metal joint tape works well. Double wrap your box with foil and seal the edges with metal joint tape. The equipment inside should be put in a sealed plastic bag and then that itself should be covered in foil and have its edges sealed with metal tape. That will do for a cage you can put away and forget but a bit of a problem if you need stuff from inside the box now and again.

    Be well and keep safe,

    • Speaking of gun safes, will a keypad safe be operational after an EMP strike?

      • Don’t know. Better figure out if it fails to locked or fails to open, and what the manual override procedure is.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        I actually wrote an article on how to ATTEMPT to protect your digital gunsafe lock. It is published. Google-fu, my friend.

        In my opinion, my gun safe lock will still work because of what I did. (THat’s just my opinion, but I have 40 years of experience and 2 degrees behind it)

      • believer,
        It really depends on a lot of factors. If it’s battery powered and you are lucky, then it may well work OK; but, you should always know how to open it via some alternative method, since even without an EMP, batteries die and electronics can get cranky. All of my safes / boxes use a key, and if I need a firearm ready at hand, then it isn’t locked up anywhere. As I type this, there is a handgun in a paddle holster on my belt. I don’t know if I’m paranoid or prepared; but, in any case, it’s ready at hand.

    • For hardening in-use items, you will need to delve into the things the military developed for NBC hardening. Short answer, it’s really, really hard. If you intend to be using the equipment through the event, you have to account for the weird crap that ionizing radiation does to ICs (when the rays hit semiconductors they often throw off random charges and will bork whatever software is running) and you tend to be stuck with bleeding off the charges generated by the EM wave rather than avoiding them in the first place (like a faraday cage does.)

      It you are into electronics and sufficiently geeky, it’s a hell of a fun exercise, but if you aren’t, it’s just a giant pile of frustration that’s easier solved by a spare in a faraday cage and a couple of days of waiting.

  17. Patriot 30828 says:

    The fact is that no one knows what real effects there will be, in some lab test all electronics are not affected.
    An EMP attack most likely come from with in, after all what better way to get total control, and a CME is beyond anyone’s control.

    • Patriot 30828,

      An EMP attack most likely come from with in, after all what better way to get total control, and a CME is beyond anyone’s control.

      Get total control of what? King of the smoldering hill is not really a king.
      I think our biggest EMP threat comes from either Iran or North Korea, both of which are actively testing ICBMs. The North Koreans have had some reported failures; but, close analysis of those failures show them to be a good trajectory to deliver a small nuclear weapon over the center of the U.S. from a ship or barge off the east coast or from the gulf.
      As for CME, the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) satellite will give us quite a bit of warning for any major CME. And for some pieces of infrastructure like our communication satellites, we already have effective countermeasures available.

  18. Arthur Bradley, PHD has numerous books published on this EMP subject. The man works for NASA or some other alphabet agency & knows his stuff. His books, both fiction & non-fiction are excellent. Personally, I believe this is the most devastating threat the civilized world faces.

    • Nanook,

      He has also written several articles on EMP for too.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        And I used him as a reference also. He has much better equipment for testing than I have currently. I do believe he makes too much of the near-Ghz risks, however. But you will NOT GO WRONG following his advice!!!

    • Nanook,,
      When you state:

      Personally, I believe this is the most devastating threat the civilized world faces.

      I would reword it to:
      Personally, I believe this is the most devastating threat the technologically dependent world faces.
      I suspect that many of the local Amish would be rather unaffected and are as civilized as much as anyone.

      • National population estimate is 320,000,000 to 330,000,000. National Amish population plus Mennonites is what? Maybe 1,000,000. I don’t think that matters a whole lot in the short run. I hate to say it, but the hoard of offal surrounding them (Columbus, Pittsburgh, Louisville, etc.) will/would wipe them out in short order for their supplies on hand. And, GOD bless them, I don’t think they would/could fight back. Realistically, the great die off is estimated at 90 to 95 percent with-in a year.

        • Nanook,
          I don’t know how well you know any Amish populations. Around here there are many and they are a bit clannish, as in large populations in specific areas.
          They in general do stay away from technology; but, many do use modern conveniences, knowing however full well that they are just that, conveniences and not necessities.
          As a whole, they are a hard working and religious lot; but, do not confuse that with being pacifists. Most are hunters and shooters, and many I know are crack shots, as in sniper grade. They do use muzzleloaders for hunting, as do many of us; but, many also have numerous modern cartridge firearms, and anyone trying to take their stuff might be in for a huge surprise, since their communities are by definition a MAG. Crossfire from even only 50 caliber muzzleloaders would not be a fun thing to be involved in.

          • Jesse Mathewson says:

            As with some of the mennonite communities out here, people underestimate them severely- they have effectively remained apart from both government and our society for almost 300 years now (counting England) that doesnt happen without some conflict.

            Though they are not Quakers, they do prefer trade over violence…as do I and most rural folks. (Something it seems people continue to ignore when I respond on other threads, though I am quite clear)

  19. I use a metal garbage can lined with cardboard.

  20. vocalpatriot says:

    toasters are NOT if they were then we would quite literally BE toast (pun intended) due to all the wire around us at all times..

  21. I have several cages. they are 50 cal ammo cans with cardboard inside and metal AC duct tape covering the top overlap to the sides. I keep a Baofeng with the charger, a couple of flashlights, batteries and a wind up radio in one for each truck (2)

    • I have quite a few 30 and 50 cal ammo boxes and need to do that. Currently I’m using an unplugged microwave oven with the inside lined in cardboard, or aka… slightly better than nothing at all.

  22. …50 cal ammo cans with cardboard inside and metal AC duct tape covering the top overlap to the sides

    I have quite a few 30 and 50 cal ammo boxes and need to do that. Currently I’m using an unplugged microwave oven with the inside lined in cardboard, aka… something slightly better than nothing at all.

    • I have been prepping for 9 years. After reading hundreds of articles on CME, EMP AND HEMP I feel that I am more knowledgeable than most people. One thing I do not understand is why many people feel the need to install cardboard or some other insulating material inside their Faraday cage. We all seem to agree that the mechanism is a skin effect on the outside or the metal Faraday cage.

      • BMFC1939,
        While the skin effect does keep the energy from directly entering a closed conductive space, the magnitude of the energy can possibly introduce currents and voltages in the skin that would arc over to things stored inside. The cardboard or other insulation puts a barrier between any potential arcing or induction and the items stored inside.
        While grounding an enclosure is also not recommended, it is possible that a large ungrounded enclosure would give someone a shock if they were touching it at the moment of the event.

  23. The shielded box is fine. The notion of connecting it to “ground” is bunkum. All you need to do is establish and maintain a unipotential surface; it doesn’t make any difference what that potential is or how quickly it ramps up and down as long as everything inside the box is affected equally. An earth ground is not some magic vacuum that sucks down all applied EMF to zero, especially not the typical household eight-foot ground rod pounded into whatever soil there is, and a #10 wire is laughably small for the kind of transient currents an EMP will produce. It is likely to create more problems than it solves.

    I deal with lightning hits on and near very tall towers, about as close to a real EMP as you can get without H-bombs. Bonding and shielding is the way to deal with it, providing the hit a path that goes around rather than through the equipment. Build you well-shielded box. Solder the lid on, or at least make a very good mechanical connection; then stick it in a corner of the basement, away from the wiring and plumbing, and forget about it until you need it.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!