Prepping for an EMP and Solar Flares: How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse

Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: September 5, 2020
Prepping for an EMP and Solar Flares: How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse

Editor’s Note: This resource has been revised and updated for 2018.

Of all of the reasons to prepare, one that we all need to take seriously is the possibility of a catastrophic EMP, or electromagnetic pulse. This is especially true right now, as we face a huge amount of solar activity the likes of which could send out huge solar flares wiping out communication systems and modern electronics.

To be blunt about it, an EMP, if large enough, would affect the entire planet. In an instant, civilization as we know it would change as we get swept backward in time by a century or two.

NASA Solar FlareMay 2013

WHAT IS AN EMP?

For those of you that only kind-of, sort-of understand EMPs, in the simplest of terms, an EMP is is an abrupt burst of electromagnetic radiation.

There could be many causes. To start with, certain types of high energy explosions, such as a nuclear explosion, will cause an EMP. Likewise, an EMP can be the result of a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field. Or, as I have mentioned before, it can be the result of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from solar activity. But perhaps most sobering of all, is the possibility of a man-made EMP weapon that is purposely deployed in order to wreak devastation on our planet.

Regardless of the trigger, an EMP can be devastating to the power grid, resulting in rapidly changing electrical fields that can create fluctuating electrical currents and wild voltage surges. Bottom line? The electronic gizmos we have come to rely on would be toast. The microchips would be fried or so severely damaged that they would become useless.

LIFE AFTER AN EMP

What would life be like following a massive EMP event or episode? There would be no power, no transportation systems, no communication systems, no banking, no internet, no food and no water delivery systems. This would truly be an End of The World As We Know it situation.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What if the power went out and never came back on? Could you fend for yourself?
  • Could you keep yourself warm in the winter and cool in the summer?
  • Where would you find food?
  • What would you use for money if credit cards and ATM’s no longer worked?
  • How would you get from one place to another without transportation?
  • How would you wash your clothes?
  • How would you keep yourself healthy if sanitation systems were no longer functional and medicine could no longer be manufactured?
  • And the biggest question of all, how would you communicate with the rest of the world?

An electromagnetic pulse could potentially fry the vast majority of all microchips throughout the world. In an instant, nearly all of electronic devices would be rendered useless.

Back in 2004 the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“No American would necessarily die in the initial <EMP> attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.”

WHAT IS “SOLAR WIND”?

Solar wind is a stream of charged particles that are continously released from the corona of the sun. The solar wind consists mostly of protons and electrons traveling 200-500 miles per second. This is different than a solar flare where a large amount of particles are released rapidly. Since any rapid ejection of particles can have an impact on life on earth, scientists try to play close attention to the solar weather and forecast future events.

MASSIVE SOLAR FLARES DO HAPPEN – REALLY!

We are risk right now; perhaps not so much from an overt EMP attack by our enemies (although that could) happen, but from at attack by Mother Nature and the sun. NASA readily admits that the number of solar flares increases approximately every 11 years.

Will it happen? All I can say is that it has happened before, with the “Carrington Event” of 1859:

At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington—widely acknowledged to be one of England’s foremost solar astronomers—was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw.

On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped. Realizing that he was witnessing something unprecedented and “being somewhat flurried by the surprise,” Carrington later wrote, “I hastily ran to call someone to witness the exhibition with me. On returning within 60 seconds, I was mortified to find that it was already much changed and enfeebled.” He and his witness watched the white spots contract to mere pinpoints and disappear.

It was 11:23 AM. Only five minutes had passed.

Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Indeed, stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.

Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.

“What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun,” explains David Hathaway, solar physics team lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

One of the scariest things about an EMP is that unlike just about any other disaster, this one can happen either naturally or due to man’s intervention. This is in contrast to most disasters are either man-made (nuclear, economic, war, etc.) or natural (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.). An EMP is unique in that it can be caused both ways.

EMPs can be caused by three things: lightning, solar storms, or nuclear explosions. In fact, many people have already experienced low-impact EMPs already, and may not have thought about it. This is because low-impact EMPs easily happen on a small scale during a lightning and thunderstorm.

Let’s walk through what happens.

A bolt of lightning hits a local transformer or nearby power line. A huge surge of electricity is sent through the lines to a small number of surrounding buildings. If that surge happens to hit your home, it may take out devices not connected to a power surge protector. Things affected are plugged-in televisions, stereos, microwaves, and other appliances. These items are easily replaced so no real harm is done other than a little inconvenience and a blow to the budget.

On the other hand, when an EMP occurs on a much larger scale, it is a lot more than an inconvenience. It is a disaster of major proportions because nothing works! All of the electronics we depend upon to live our lives day-to-day become inoperable. If this were to happen, we would have a major mess on our hands – a mess that could last for years.

Okay, so we know EMPs can be caused by major solar storms and even by a lightning storm if we are unlucky enough to be near a strike. But how likely is a man-made EMP that can cripple the nation or even the entire world?

Pretty likely. There really are real-life EMP weapons out there. According to the global intelligence firm Stratfor, the technology that is involved in creating an EMP attack will be a big part of modern warfare going forward.

Additional Reading: Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

In addition, there are also readily available and relatively cheap ways that localized terrorists, domestic or otherwise, can wreak havoc on target areas. Using explosives to take out power lines and send a big surge through them is one possibility. This type of attack could take out a big portion of the power grid. If an entire power plant is destroyed, power will be knocked out to entire cities or even large segments of the country.

Additional Reading: What Happens When the Lights Go Out for Good?

Think about that and consider the effects that go beyond not being able to charge your cell phone or turn on a television. Without electricity, anything plugged into the ‘grid’ will be fried unless it has been protected by a Faraday cage. But what else… your car? If it is less than 20 years old, it will very likely be rendered useless.

Do you think you’re safe with a generator for power? Think again. Many modern generators have electronic circuits in them to help regulate the flow of electricity. Bye-bye generator.

Getting back on point, seasoned preppers feel they are prepared because they have their own food resources and have practiced disconnecting from the grid to hone their off-grid skills. The less experienced of beginning prepper may not understand the effect of a total grid-down situation. Anything you buy, whether it is coffee, sugar, or household batteries and matches, is going to be in very short supply if a long-term disruption occurs. Consumables may not be available at all.

Transportation will be difficult over distances, and factories will not be able to function. If you still have money in a bank or other financial institution, it may be inaccessible and completely unavailable for a very long time. It may “disappear” and barter may become the currency of the day.

Alright, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Okay, okay, so people could cause major havoc with a nuclear strike or EMP weapon. And lightning can take out a local transformer. But nuclear strikes are a mutually assured destruction so they are not that imminent, and lightning can be recovered from quickly. Sure, terrorists can attack with a weapon, but there are protections up to help stop that… so?”

No matter what protections there are, those things can still happen, but solar storms are something we simply can’t stop or control.

Solar storms powerful enough to cause widespread EMP destruction happen roughly every 11 years. Consider this: if a solar flare erupts, it can take as little as five minutes for major damage to occur. Not pleasant to think about, but planes, helicopters and anything electronic in the air will fall to the earth when an EMP hits. Nuclear plants will melt down, and people will go to war with each other in the streets over food and supplies.

When thinking about the destruction a widespread EMP could cause, think “throwback.” Everyone will instantly be transported without the use of a time machine to the very early 1900s, or even the 1800s.

Skills, Strategies, and Supplies You Need to Prepare for an EMP

On the plus side, other than nuclear attack, most EMPs are small and are not deadly to people, only electronics. You are likely to survive a common EMP. That does not mean, however, it will be an easy life. If you are not prepared, the struggle will be very real and very difficult.

Skills

Learn how to purify water. No matter how much water you can store, eventually you will run out. When planning for an EMP, don’t think short term. A major EMP disaster will be longer-lasting than anything you can stock up for.

Learn to cook outdoors over an open fire.

Learn to cook from scratch using bulk foods, canned goods, and fruits and vegetables you have grown yourself or that you acquire from neighboring farms or farmer’s markets.

Practice and be prepared to be a leader. Family members, as well as people in your surrounding area, are likely to be distraught and scared. It will take strong leadership to develop a watch group to protect each other from marauders.

Develop old time, pioneer skills that allow you to continue to carry on life, even if it is not the same as before the EMP strike.

Additional Reading: 46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader

Attend flea markets, garage sales, or estates sales and learn the art of bargaining. This skill will be useful in a barter economy.

Strategies

Build a Faraday cage and acquire a “Faraday collection”. Place small electronics like radios, laptops, inverters, batteries, watches and even cell phones in a galvanized metal garbage can, or a popcorn can that is insulated with cardboard or Styrofoam so they can be ready and keep you connected to the outside world following an EMP attack. You can find out how to build a quick and easy Faraday cage here.

Note: Keep in mind that even protected electronics may not work following a blast depending. No one knows for sure what will work and what will not, with the differentiator possibly being their frequency range. For that reason, try to have multiples of the items you wish to have on hand. They can be old and outdated by today’s standard but that will not matter. What you want to do is increase the likelihood that at least one device of each type will work.

Have a long-term supply of food and water, or the resources to generate them without power.

Get a bike! There’s nothing better than pedal power when an EMP hits, and it beats walking.

Learn to grow food in whatever area you have available. If that is not possible due to locale or other reasons, develop relationships with others in your community that do have the ability to grow food. Offer to lend a helping hand in return for some of the bounty. There is not a gardener on the planet that will turn down an offer to pull weeds!

Be prepared to defend yourself and your property. You need to decide how you want to arm yourself whether with a firearm, pepper spray, a baseball bat, or a bow and arrow.

Seek out like minded folks that will barter for things they need in return for items that you have available.

Live a healthy lifestyle. If stuff happens, you will be much better off if you are healthy and not reliant on exotic prescription drugs or medical procedures. Eat healthy, natural and real foods and get regular exercise. This just makes good common sense.

Supplies

Create your own power with solar panels. Surprisingly, the sun is also the most powerful resource for surviving an EMP as well as one of its instigators. Solar panels themselves should not be affected by EMP bursts. On the other hand, the inverters and generators connected to the panels power may be destroyed by an EMP strike. Keep this in mind and keep a spare inverter in your Faraday cage so it is ready to replace the one you may be using that gets fried.

TVs, video games, and computers will no longer work. Stock up on board games, books (including coloring books and pencils for the adults), and puzzles to keep your mind occupied while you wait out the crisis.

Have plenty of emergency candles, matches, flashlights and extra batteries on hand at all times.

Make sure you have a generous supply of the prescription medications you use on a regular basis. Also, stock the first aid kit with lots of supplies, and plenty of over-the-counter medicines that will be impossible to get once local stores are sold out (or looted).

Store plenty of drinkable water plus some method to purify water. Locate supplemental water sources now and be prepared to purify the water on your own.

Stock plenty of basic, non-perishable food that will get you by while you are learning to survive under the most trying of circumstances. (See 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan.)

Recommendation: Bug In or Bug Out?

When an EMP occurs, your best bet is to “bug in.” Hunker down and deal with the aftermath.

An EMP, whether natural or manmade, is likely to happen quickly and it will be impossible to have enough notice for running off to a remote retreat or bug-out location. In addition, it is pretty likely that there isn’t going to be anywhere you can run to that is far enough away to not be affected by a major attack.

If you do have a bug-out location, and most of your supplies are located at a distant location, the first few days will be difficult. Getting to your bug-out destination, if you can even get there, will most certainly be harder than you had planned for. Conditions may be dire as the unprepared mob the streets and roads, willing to attack anyone and everyone that appear to have more than they do.

In that case, it is still best to hunker down in your current location for the initial days after an EMP strike. Wait until everything and everyone settles down a bit. Have some food and water on hand, and other emergency supplies to allow for several days of seclusion. Before venturing out, wait to find out if the EMP was caused by a temporary issue like a lightning strike, or if it was a long-term disruption that will not be solved anytime some by the local power company.

Once you are sure you can make it to your long-term bug-out location, you will likely be hoofing it to your destination. Be prepared to carry what you need and to take the time it takes to get there. It is also a good idea to be fully armed because you will be threatened along the way. Guaranteed.

THE FINAL WORD

We are all members of the 21st century prepper movement. We are learning to be self-reliant and to educate ourselves relative to the ways of old. We are stocking up on essentials and learning to prepare for the worst of times with a positive mindset.

As frightening as a massive solar flare and an EMP may be, we can only do what we can do but even a little bit is better than nothing. That said, I hope an EMP never happens. But if it does, I want to be ready to fend for myself and to continue to live a rich and rewarding life in spite of it all.

For more information on solar flares and EMPs, visit the NASA website. It will make a believer out of you.

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80 Responses to “Prepping for an EMP and Solar Flares: How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse”

    • if your cellfone won’t recieve a call while in a closed,unplugged microwave then yes.

    • Actually a microwave oven is only designed to block small signals. An EMP will create big signals.

  1. My son- who has done the electrical engineer stuff- said that as long as there is not a circuit your things are good. Keep batteries out of simple flashlights. Batteries do not have to be stored in a separate place. BUT- all of your activated solar stuff does have to be stored because the circuit is in place.
    I have, seriously, looked at how to hook up a ceiling fan the “old way”. It gets mighty hot in the summer and sometimes the wind does not move. A good cord wrapped around and tied to my rocking chair may save me. 🙂 I have a watch and clock that wind. My main cooking is with propane- so that is good for at least a year. Solar oven and dutch ovens after that. We have lots of windows and ways of making inside shutters- so light and safety are good for now.
    i love to visit Victorian homes in the area and see how they did it. To me, this is not the worst case prepper situation…

    • Not sure what you mean by “leave batteries out of Simple flashlights”. And why?

    • I live in a house built between 1902 and 1904, and while it’s fully updated including a whole house fan in the attic, it’s obvious how the house was cooled in the summer prior to regular electricity. The stairwell goes from the cellar to the attic and opening windows in the cellar and attic just after sunset will create a chimney effect pulling in the cool night air from the basement, through the house and exiting at the attic. At dawn you close the windows and draw the shades to keep the direct sunlight out and the house will be as cool as it can be without power.
      A few other points: don’t use up your propane for cooking when you don’t need to. In a long term grid down situation, you may not be able to resupply easily or at all, so if you have a solar cooker, use it as often as you can to save your cooking fuel. Only rely on the propane when the weather doesn’t permit solar cooking….
      And I’d be concerned about the flashlight bulbs. Even incandescent bulbs might be susceptible to EMP damage, and I’m almost certain the LED bulbs would be fried by an EMP…so consider a small faraday cage for some spare flashlights. Take the batteries out to avoid leakage, wrap the flashlight first in paper, then in aluminum foil, then place inside a galvanized metal trash can lined with cardboard (making sure it has a tight fitting lid.) Once the can is full and assuming you don’t need to recharge any battery packs in it, you can then tape up the can with aluminized tape to improve the protection. The trash can can be stored anywhere and most folks won’t even comment on it unless they see the tape holding it shut, and even then it’s easy to say oh I store bird food in there and I’m trying to keep out the squirrels, chipmunks, or whatever varmints are in your area. 😉
      And finally, make sure you have not just a windup clock, but a windup alarm clock. Some medical treatments require regular dosing, and the ability to have an alarm go off after 2, 4, 8, 12 or some other amount of time could be critical (in case you fall asleep while caring for loved ones.)
      I drive my wife nuts with all the manual backups I have for things we can do easily with our modern conveniences, but given how easy it is for someone with nuclear capability to blast us back to the 1800s with a single EMP blast, I’m not only not sorry about that…I’m actively looking for more backups and tucking them into various nooks and crannies in the house.
      As the Boy Scout motto goes, always be prepared. 🙂

  2. With the increased use of LED lights due to low power demand I was just wondering if they were susceptible to an EMP?

    • I’ve always assumed that even light bulbs could be blown out by an EMP, and LED lights should be even more sensitive. I keep all my spare flashlights, LED lanterns or other electronic light sources in my faraday cages just to be on the safe side. If they didn’t need to be in the cage to survive, no harm done. If they should have been and weren’t then they are fried and useless…

  3. We (You) have proved that the microwave which was designed to not leak “Microwaves” will also block “radio waves” that cell phones operate on. Do we have somebody reading this that knows the wavelength of Microwaves, cell phone radio waves, and the wave length of an EMP. If they are all close it could give you a warm fuzzy feeling. If they are at opposite ends of the scale I am not sure how solid this conclusion would be?
    I still like to push the question of the value of putting the microwave in the basement. I remember a number or articles saying that the EMP will go in straight lines? They can’t go around corners? How about dropping down 6 or 8 feet below the surface. Question: is the EMP following the curvature of the earth or is it coming in at an angle because it is detonated at some distance (?50 km?) above the surface? Is the wide area of impact due to the EMP wave rolling over the curvature of the earth or a small area with direct EMP impact and a much larger area of electrical grid collapse?

    • Cellular phones work on any of a number of frequencies depending on which carrier your phone is set to use, as well as the generation. A list of bands with links to specifics is available on Wikipedia:
      //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_frequencies

      Microwave ovens operate at 2.45GHz, right in the middle of the 802.11b/g/n WiFi band (2.4GHz to 2.5GHz), and they are designed to keep the microwaves inside the unit to heat the food rather than letting them out into the environment to interfere with your home electronics. That said, the shielding may be effective at a wider range of frequencies depending on the construction of your particular unit, but it’s not a great idea to depend on that. If it’s all you have, then wrap your items in foil, then put them in the microwave (unplugged!) on something non-conductive…the glass rotating dish would be fine. But if you’re planning ahead of time, the gold standard is a galvanized metal trash can with tight fitting lid. No wasted space inside the can, it’s cheaper than a microwave, and until you tape it up it looks like normal household stuff (for those worried about OpSec.)
      To truly test your particular gear requires some fancy electronics as can be seen in this YouTube video of someone analyzing RF reception inside a trash can with and without aluminum tape:
      //www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYWhTMmv6bs

      As to putting things underground, the situation is even more complicated…
      from //www.futurescience.com/emp/EMP-myths.html
      Myth: When an EMP hits the ground, the induced electric currents either head directly toward the center of the earth or they just vanish from existence.

      Fact: When EMP (or lightning) hits the ground, the currents tend to spread out horizontally. These ground currents can do great damage, especially to underground cables of all kinds. Metal conduits are of little help, and may actually make the situation worse by providing a path for underground currents which can, in turn, induce large voltage spikes on the underground lines inside of the conduits. A large amount of damage has actually occurred due to these underground currents, due to both lightning strikes and nuclear EMP. This is one reason that so much of the information on the internet on grounding and on underground cabling is pure nonsense. Large variations in soil conductivity makes the ground current situation even more complex.

      So I tend to rely on sealed containers, in my case galvanized metal trash cans in order to keep as much energy outside of the container as possible and hoping that my gear survives. I do keep them in my basement, but more for aesthetics then additional shielding. Of course I have non-electric ways of doing all essential tasks just in case my precautions weren’t enough. But I have no way of knowing if my precautions will be enough until an event.

      Sorry for the long-winded response. I hope some of the info is useful.

    • You seem to have a better than normal understanding of EMP type energy and wave theory. This makes me want to push the envelope just a little. How much protection would you have for your NEW car electronics if at the time of the EMP it was parked inside a garage with Al siding? Parked in an underground garage? I have such a garage and if I am downtown I often park in the underground garage.

    • I’m not an electrical engineer, although I did take all the basic courses before I shifted majors since higher level math was just too annoying for me to slog through. But I learned enough so that when I’m reading what other folks have written on a subject I can tell if they are talking nonsense, or if they have a clue.
      All that said, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to figure out if your vehicle will survive an event. Best thing I can suggest is that you have a foldable bike or some really good walking shoes in addition to your GHB, since until an event it’s unknowable how cars might work or what could be wrong with them.
      I suppose if you had a spare computer in a faraday cage inside the car then you could theoretically replace that and drive home with burnt out sensors, but there are so many variables I’d just plan on getting home with muscle power (on foot or on a bike) and if the car works, great, but if not at least you’re ready. Personally I’m not willing to bet on my ability to replace a car computer in the dark or with minimal light, and would rather spend my time walking home or making preparations to do so…
      I’m fortunate that I work within 6.5 miles of my home and my wife is about the same, although in another direction. So we have good walking shoes in addition to our GHBs in case the cars get fried in an EMP so we can walk home easily. Once home we have access to all our preps, including a lovely garden cart that can haul 400 lbs of gear if necessary. Even if my car survives an event, I’m not willing to bet on how long fuel will be available, hence the cart.

  4. We had an microwave that stopped working. It was a larger one. Tried putting the cell phone inside and called it. We were not able to call the phone, it went right to voice mail. I assumed that this microwave would work as a faraday cage. We have some items in there now. Any other things to try/test?

  5. No. Any reactor can be SCRAM’d, which shuts down production of fast neutrons to stop fission and eliminate heat build-up. The containment vessel remains full of extremely radioactive radionuclides, but even if those leak it’s a localized problem.

    //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scram

    • Short answer: the diesel generators were within the flood plain for a tsunami which wiped them out, eliminating power to the reactors and virtually guaranteeing a major disaster. Coupled with the direct earthquake damage, they didn’t stand a chance.

      Decent article on the mistakes before the disaster: //news.usc.edu/86362/fukushima-disaster-was-preventable-new-study-finds/

      A more complete report on the disaster: //www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx

  6. we also can’t forget that any time the electricity goes out for two weeks or more, the nuclear power plants will start to melt down. the law only requires the plants to keep two weeks’ worth of diesel fuel on hand, although a few keep more than that. once the diesel generators run out of fuel, the rods can no longer be kept cool, and the meltdown starts. also, it doesn’t take an emp to wreak havoc on our lifestyle due to loss of power. during superstorm sandy, central and eastern long island had little or no damage from the storm itself; my apartment complex only lost power for a few hours. but most of the gas stations in the area didn’t have electricity for another two weeks, so there was very little gas available. if i hadn’t had enough food and water stored, those two weeks could’ve been a lot longer than they were!

    • The reactors can be made safe fairly easily if the personnel are ok, but it’s the cooling ponds that will be a problem if the plants don’t get diesel resupply before they run out. Cooling ponds keep the spent fuel rods from melting by keeping them submerged, but if the water evaporates too much exposing the rods…bad things happen. And experts that I’ve read say that it would be at least six months before the rods were cool enough to survive exposure to the air. Maybe the Trump administration will finally get a spent nuclear fuel depot setup so as to reduce the risk at all the nuclear power plants scattered around the country.

  7. I have read many articles about different ways to make an EMP proof storage container, faraday cage. have not found an answer to a question, if a microwaveve is designed to keep the microwaves (similar to EMP) inside the microwave, could you use a broken microwave (functionally broken but the door still seals) as a Faraday cage? Sounds like it would be more reliable than many of the garbage can home made faraday cages?

    • An internet search will turn up many references to using a microwave oven (old or new) as a Faraday cage. When I wrote my article on putting together a Faraday cage, I decided to test this myself. I put a cell phone in the microwave oven then called it. It rang. This told me that as a Faraday cage, it was not reliable (plus it made me wonder if I was getting zapped by microwaves). Here is the article: //www.backdoorsurvival.com/how-to-build-a-simple-faraday-cage-for-emp-survival/

    • I like the test but wonder of its applicability. Did you try that same test on the home made faraday cages? Put a phone inside and call it? I am not sure that the wavelength of a cell phone connection would be the same as an EMP pulse?

    • Yes, I did. Nothing. I could not hear a thing plus it went to voice mail right away, acting as though it was offline.

      At the end of the day, no one knows for sure. That said, do you know of other tests I could have run?

    • Sorry but I finally made the time to read the article mentioned above. Good article. I guess I am always looking for the easy way out. If the over lap on the lid of the garbage can lid provides protection because radio waves travel in straight lines (don’t bend easily) how much protection would you get if you put your bug-out-bag and associated electronics in the basement? 5 to 7 feet below ground???

  8. Not to rain on anyones parade but, what if someone else is at your BOL?

    I am reminded of a close family friend that had a farm near a lake. The house on that farm was broken into on many occasions. Some suspicions was aimed at other neighbors that knew the property was easy pickings since they knew nobody lived there full time.

    • Break-ins at a BOL have been the subject of many novels in the survival fiction genre. I agree that security can be a real concern. Many preppers geocache their supplies but as of now, I have not done so. Shelly, however, has been making noises about burying an old shipping container full of supplies at our cabin location. No definite plans, however.

    • As a general rule of thumb no. If it’s truly a battery and not a battery pack then it’s safe left on a shelf. But any lithium ion or lithium polymer battery packs (generally things with LED indicators on them) have some computer chips built in and those chips are susceptible to EMP damage. So I leave my NiMH and alkaline batteries on a shelf, but all my lithium battery packs with USB ports are safely in a faraday cage, although I do take them out once a month to top them off…they need to be kept from zeroing out charge wise, otherwise they might not work right when I need them, hence the monthly charging cycle just in case.

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