EMP Myths

There is a lot of speculation out there on what will happen from an EMP attack. This has caused a lot of myths to surface about EMP.  Below are some clarifications.

(You can also listen to the podcasts about EMP and EMP Protection here.)

Be sure to check out the videos I did that demonstrates shielding against a 50,000 watt AM signal, and the Surviving EMP Mini-Guide:

MYTH: You need either a very large bomb or a special EMP-tuned nuke in order to produce enough EMP to take out the country.
FACT: ANY nuke will create enough EMP to take out the country. While you will get varying degrees of E1, E2 and E3, all nukes can create an EMP.

MYTH: All cars will stop working.
FACT: Currently, it is thought that only some cars will be totally inoperable. Even though more and more vehicles have electronics in them, which you think might make them more vulnerable, these electronics need to be shielded very well for safety reasons.  Since the construction of the vehicle is mostly metal coupled with the fact there is no long cable attached, this should act to shield a lot of the pulse.

MYTH: Watches will stop working. This is often depicted in movies.
FACT: watches are too small to be affected, as there isn’t enough metal in it to collect the voltage.

MYTH: Gear that uses vacuum tubes is EMP proof.
FACT: Sadly, no. There was vacuum tube equipment that was damaged in the 1962 tests.

MYTH: I’ve heard from several people the notion that as long as your gear isn’t connected to a wire or antenna that’s under a specific length, it’s safe.
FACT: Shorter is better, but if it has an antenna or connected to any sizable piece of metal, it’s probably at risk.

MYTH: You need to ground your Faraday cage, otherwise it’s not protected against EMP.
FACT: When the EMP hits the ground it induces large voltages in anything metal under the ground; wires, cables, pipes, conduit, etc. This induced voltage flows just like electricity in power lines. If you ground your Faraday cage, you’re connecting the box to this induced voltage.

MYTH: A microwave oven is an excellent Faraday cage.
FACT: A microwave oven is designed to keep the microwaves from leaking out of the unit. The protection employed is tuned for microwaves, which is about 2.4 GHz.   It will shield a cell phone from receiving a signal, but if you put an AM radio into it, it will still receive the radio signal.


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4 Responses to EMP Myths

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