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Electro Magnetic Pulse - Coronal Mass Ejections

2349 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Methos
I just got through reading the book "one second after" by William R. Forstchen. Its about the events following an EMP event - power failure, food shortage, looting, breakdown of civil order. Very interesting reading.

If you are unfamiliar with what an EMP is and what it can do, basically, it fries computer chips causing failure of the component whether its controlling the computer and ignition in your truck, a nuclear power plant's controller systems, or radios, tvs,...etc. They are produced by nuclear detonations. Wikipedia has a very good article on the subject.

The sun can also produce this same effect as an emp that can fry solid state electronic components as well. These events are called coronal mass ejections. They are rated on an intensity scale by nasa. The earth's magnetic field can shield from most of them, but it is possible that an extraordinarily intense one can overcome this and cause major problems. We just had a big one a few weeks ago that was right in the center of the scale, which is a rather large one compared to normal sun activity. It was such a cause for concern that they wrote an news blurb about it; but as it turned out, the earth took care of it fine.

IMHO this is probably the most realistic event that could actually cause the sort of SHTF scenario we see in the movies. It would place us back into the 19th century overnight; as well as cause the demise of millions and millions of humans in a 1st world country like ours. The scary thing is that one of these massive ejections could have happened at any time before the advent of solid state electronic components (maybe around 1970) and we'd have never known it happened because it wouldn't have had any observable effect on anything biological. Today we have the SOHO, which is a set of two satellites that monitor the sun's activity 24/7 and can detect and measure the intensity of these CME's. When one occurs, we have about 4 days notice before the wave gets to earth. Just enough time to go to town and get some provisions and gas, and kiss your air conditioning goodbye -- IF they announce it to the public, that is.

The only protection I've read about that can protect your personal electronic equipment is to create a faraday cage around the items. A metal trash can is what I use for my radios and gps unit. Just FYI.
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sidroski said:
How would you know when it was safe to bring your devices out of a faraday cage? Talking on the lines of hand held radios and things you would need keep in touch with other members of your area and such if you went out to check your land?
I would not remove my equipment from protection until I found out if it was an EMP or a CME. If a CME it will be over pretty much as fast as it started with no after effects, so you can fire up radios for info right afterwards. If its a EMP then there is the possibility of a secondary strike that could happen at any time after the first. Its an unknown and only a guess but after a week or so, I'd think the enemy would have probably fired his secondaries by then, and even then, those secondary strikes may be warheads intended for ground targets, causing a localized emp effect, and not intended to cause emp over a vast area like a high altitude detonation. The affected area is related to detonation altitude and bomb yield.

As far as satellites, I'm not sure on the military ones. (gps) They are likely "hardened" from emp. Don't know for sure. If I made and launched any sat, commercial or military, I'd build it within a f-cage due to the chance of various radiations including CME's.

I'm also not sure if a faraday cage has to be grounded. I've always been under the impression that earth grounding is not necessary - but it probably couldn't hurt. Military vehicles of all sorts are likely hardened, but are not earth grounded.
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Ok, I pulled my can out, removed the stuff, and took some pics. This is my poor man's faraday cage. All the wood was scrap, can came from lowes, and the inside liner is a walmart camper's mat. About 30.00 of stuff. I can store all my handheld radios, hf radio, 3 cb's, tuner, 2 shortwave radios, gps unit, NV scope, portable hard drives, thumb drives, and a spare laptop in this device and still have room for another shelf layer for more stuff on top. The large ammo cans can be done like this too by removing the rubber seal but this will hold so much more. :tophat:

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sidroski, the can is not grounded. Don't know about the safes. I would think that since the hinges and crossbolts are a metal to metal attachment of the door to the body that it would serve the purpose just as well.

I did put the cell in the can and peeked in at the signal level. It went down to one bar or no bars but never went down to the level where it said "no service". Have not had anyone call the phone while in the can yet though. I'm also not totally sure that a 800-900mhz range radio signal is comparable to an em pulse since the pulse is more like a 360 degree wave of electric voltage that goes out. Their intensity is measured in kilovolts per meter. The burst radius is dependent on altitude and the effect on your equipment is related to your distance from ground zero.

Here is another interesting article on emp tactical bombs that covers a lot of stuff.


In it, it says that the most effective method is to wholly contain the equipment in an electrically conductive enclosure, termed a Faraday cage, which prevents the electromagnetic field from gaining access to the protected equipment.
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