Solar Storms and Nukes Hidden in Container Ships

by David Morris on October 13, 2011

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by my new survival plan.

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about solar flares, Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), and Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs), and I wanted to touch on them again today. You’re going to want to read today’s article so that you know what they are, and what you can do to prepare yourself for them. There’s a lot of talk about CMEs and EMPs, and most of it simply causes people to be unnecessarily scared.

I want to start off by saying that, while these threats have the ability to partially or completely destroy the power grid, they shouldn’t cause you to worry or stay up at night. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…let me start of by explaining what EMPs and CMEs are—I’m going to start with EMPs.

You might remember Saddam Hussein threatening to use chemical weapons against both the US and Israel during the first and 2nd Gulf Wars.

You might also remember that we responded to the threat by promising to “respond with overwhelming force and extract a very high price should he be foolish enough to use chemical weapons on United States forces.”

Many thought that this meant dropping a nuke on Iraq and turning the country to a big pane of glass.

Wile this was definitely a possibility, it’s much more likely that our response would have been for us to use an EMP.

An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse which, in this case, would have been caused by detonating a nuclear bomb 100-300 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Buildings wouldn’t fall down, Geiger counters wouldn’t go off, and people wouldn’t die of radiation poisoning, but the EMP WOULD completely destroy the electrical grid and most unshielded electronic items in Iraq. In essence a wave of energy would emanate out from the blast in the upper atmosphere and cause power line transformers and integrated circuits in electronic devices to burn out or “fry.” In some cases, this would be permanent and in other cases it would be temporary.

An EMP attack like this is the basis for the book, “One Second After” part of the TV series, “Jericho” as well as an episode of “24” and several other fictional accounts. It makes for GREAT fiction, but interestingly enough, it’s seldom wargamed in Washington, because the far reaching events completely scrambles standard operating procedures as well as command and control.

Where this gets interesting is that in addition to China and Russia having the ability to attack the US with an EMP, North Korea, Iran, and any terrorist organization with deep pockets can do it as well.

In it’s simplest, most unrefined form, an EMP attack could be done with one of the many small nukes missing from the former Soviet Union placed on a SCUD rocket and launched 12 miles off the East coast from a container ship sitting in international waters. There’s even a Russian arms dealer who sells missile silos that look, from the outside, just like a shipping container that can go on cargo ships, trains, or semis.

It probably wouldn’t get up to the optimal altitude and wouldn’t knock out the entire country, but it wouldn’t need to…our economy is so fragile right now that any hiccup, let alone a major attack, would most likely bring down the whole credit default swap scam, as well as be the final blow to many of our country’s insolvent banks.

On the other hand, an ICBM with a properly configured nuclear warhead that detonated 250 miles over Lebanon, Kansas would partially or completely knock out unprotected electronics and the electrical grid from coast to coast.

How long would it take to recover?  Well, it depends on how you define recovery.  One of the casualties of an EMP attack would be the transformers that step up and step down voltage along power transmission lines.  The power grid as we know it may never recover if several large transformers in the same region failed simultaneously.  The transformers used in high voltage transmission weigh from 100 tons up to 300 tons for one particular transformer manufactured by Siemens.  They take a long time to manufacture, they’re expensive, there’s global demand, and they’re very difficult to transport. In the meantime, we’d have to figure out how to power everything from pumping fuel, water, and waste to implementing alternatives to electronic banking and electronic communication.

It’s somewhat easy for some people to dismiss EMPs.  On one hand, there’s a tendency to discount threats that are so huge that you don’t have any control over them. EMPs definitely fall into this category. They’re such a game changing event that most government agencies don’t even plan for them because they figure it would be next to impossible to actually execute a plan after an EMP.

On the other hand, many people simply don’t appreciate how much some people hate the US, our freedoms, our wealth, and our support of Israel.  They don’t know us, but they want to kill us.  They want us to live the same miserable lives that they live rather than to have individual liberty.

Things play out a little differently on a family level. While it may not be possible to quickly execute a plan after an EMP on a city, state, or national level, it’s much easier to effectively respond as a family and/or neighborhood. I’ll get into this more in a minute…

Well, even if you or one of your relatives are in this group who don’t want to face the threats we face from other countries, we’ve had several recent events that make the threat of EMPs very difficult to ignore.

You see, besides nuclear blasts, EMPs can be caused when solar flares happen on the sun that are big enough to cause Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).  CMEs are huge bubbles of electrified gas that are big enough and traveling fast enough that they’re able to overcome the gravitational pull of the Sun and go out into space. Since there is only one small section of the Sun that faces the Earth at a given time, most CMEs don’t head towards Earth. That’s not to say that all CME’s eject perpendicular to the Sun…just that there are a LOT of options of places for CMEs to go besides directly towards Earth.

CMEs dissipate/spread out considerably between when they leave the Sun and reach the Earth, and most of their energy gets absorbed in our atmosphere.

Recently, we’ve had a series of harmless wake up calls reminding us that solar flares/CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejection) DO happen, and DO hit Earth.  The recent ones that hit the Earth were tiny…the biggest effects most people saw was an interruption of satellite TV and pretty Northern Lights, but in February, China had significant communications problems as a result of a CME.

If or when the sun has a large solar flare that causes a large coronal mass ejection to come our way, it could be like a series of hundreds of EMPs going off every few minutes for days at a time, affecting every country on the globe.

Has it happened?  Yes.  In 1859, Earth experienced a CME so strong that telegraph wires shorted out and started fires from coast to coast.

Where a nuclear EMP or small CME would only damage electronics over a region, a powerful CME would affect the entire planet.

Far fetched?  Not really.  Unlikely?  400 years of data says an increase in CMEs IS very likely.  In fact, here is the chart of solar activity since 1610 from NASA.  I link to it at the bottom of this article.  You’ll see that there’s a peak every 11 or so years.  We were at the bottom of the current cycle in 2008 and are currently on the upswing.  The red arrow points to what some experts believe our next upswing will look like…fairly weak in comparison, but strong enough considering our dependence on electronics.

So, while the worst case scenario may not be likely, it IS likely that we will experience several solar flares of varying sizes over the next 1-5 years.

Right now, we also have a particularly active area of the Sun, called region 1302, that, because of the Sun’s rotation, is coming into direct alignment with the Earth.

The solar flares could simply cause pretty Northern Lights and bad shortwave propagation, they could cause regional blackouts like what happened in Canada in 1989, it could knock out satellites, or a major CME like the 1859 CME could knock out electronics and our electrical grid.

One major difference from 1859 is that our infrastructure is MUCH more interdependent and fragile than it was then.  Most of the world wasn’t affected by telegraph lines going down, but most of the world WILL be affected by air conditioning, cars, refrigeration, heating systems, communication, and banking simultaneously going down.

So, how do you prepare for this?  Well, it depends on where you’re at in your process of preparedness.  Some of the simple things that you can do is to make sure that your house has at least one solid ground.  In most areas, this means driving a 1/2″ copper stake 10 feet into the ground, but it could mean burying/driving copper as far as 40 feet into the ground, continually watering your ground rods, or periodically adding minerals to the soil near your ground rod.

I added a second ground rod to our house after we moved in and I put it at the end of a gutter runout that we don’t collect.

If you have a metal shed, you can ground it.  If you have a metal safe, you can ground it.  You can also create mini poor-man’s Faraday cages out of aluminum foil or mylar.

It’s VERY important to note that these improvised methods may or may not work. The strength of a pulse will depend on several factors concerning the blast, the construction of your house, how much dirt/concrete/metal the pulse has to go through to reach your items, whether they’re plugged in or not, AND the random nature of a large scale event.

What I mean by “random nature of a large scale event” is to think about the effects of a forest fire going through a developed area. It’s not uncommon to have three houses of identical construction in close proximity where 2 burn down to a pile of ash on the slab and the third one have no damage whatsoever. Earlier this year, Personal Liberty had a tornado headed towards their office…it split before it hit the building, went by on both sides, and then combined back into a single funnel on the other side. In other words, you just can’t discount or account for random outcomes in large scale events.

On aluminum foil, most Faraday cages are made of copper…sometimes simply copper mesh. Aluminum has 60% of the conductivity of copper, so it’s still a very good conductor. The electrical engineers that I’ve talked with about this have had two major reasons why they think that aluminum foil makes a good field expedient Faraday cage.

1. The amount of shielding needed for an EMP blast depends on the size of the EMP, the efficiency of the EMP (whether it was purpose built to be an EMP or a “normal” nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude), your distance from the EMP, AND atmospheric conditions. In other words, aluminum foil probably wouldn’t work if a purpose built EMP went off directly overhead, but it might work great if you were 1000 miles away from it, if it wasn’t a purpose built EMP, or if it was a small blast.

2. It’s a guess as to whether or not aluminum foil will work as a Faraday cage in an EMP attack. We are fortunate in that we haven’t experienced enough EMPs to have a large enough dataset to make definitive statements on what will work and what won’t work in the real world. That being said, aluminum foil doesn’t cost much compared to full-on Faraday cages and still gives people a lot of potential bang for the buck. It’s a case where everyone can keep aluminum foil and wire on hand, but most people have more pressing things to spend money on than certified Faraday enclosures.

With an EMP, it’s unlikely that the general public will have any warning of an attack, but with a CME, we’re getting better and better at identifying CMEs and that means that we’ll have between 17 hours (as in 1859) and 3-4 days (as in August, 2010) warning to unplug, shield, and possibly even bury sensitive equipment.

Hold on a second!

Before you go off and spend a bunch of time and money preparing for one specific potential event, make sure you have all of your fundamentals in order.  What I mean is that instead of preparing specifically for an EMP/CME, you’re much better off taking steps that will help you prepare for ALL causes of breakdowns in civil order.

I’m talking about having months or years of food on hand, a way to supply yourself and your family with water, shelter, fire, security, and medical skills. These basics will serve you well regardless of what kind of a disaster strikes.

With a well thought out preparedness plan, you can be ready for disasters ranging from unexpected short term unemployment to short term natural disasters to catastrophic events like a collapse of the dollar to EMPs and CMEs, so focus on the fundamentals and you’ll be ready for WHATEVER disaster happens.

This is exactly why I focus SO MUCH on the core fundamentals of survival and preparedness in the course and my preparedness course. If you haven’t signed up for these yet, I want to encourage you to click on the links and check them out:

Survive In Place:

: http:///newsletter14oct

What are your thoughts on EMPs caused by CMEs and nuclear blasts? How about the period of increasing solar activity that we’re headed into? Have you done any shielding/hardening to protect items from EMPs? If so, what did you do? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

Stay Safe & God Bless!

David Morris

Here are some more resources you might want to check out to learn more about solar flares, sun spots, and coronal mass ejections.



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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Ken Davis
October 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

I researched this very subject and have found reputable electrical and scientific articles that indicate that a simple Faraday box should incorporate the principals of a simple capacitor. These facts would then be reduced to the following: A galvanized trash can lined with cardboard. Place electronics in aluminum foil in smaller cardboard boxes and place them in the lined trash can. Fill all voids with cardboard and foil. This would provide both inductive shielding and electro-magnetic shielding. Tell me what you think.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rob
October 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

That is a good idea, but no guaranty that it will work either. It all depends on where in relation to you and how strong. You may be able to protect your electronics, but how many took the same action?
If you are relying on Internet, that’s fried. Cell service, that’s fried as are 99.9% of everyone elses computers and phones.
Are you going to remove the coil, the computer and modules from you car and throw them in that garbage can as well to protect them in time?
Any car newer than 1979 is not going to run in the area if a strong hit, or hopefully a EMP was only strong enough to knock out only running vehicles at the time and not those parked.
I have studied EMP for years and was even going to build my own faraday cage for the vehicle’s electronics and yet all this effort totally depends on the strength and location of the EMP.
In other words, there is not much point in worrying about this, when there are far more guaranteed things to focus on.


Vote -1 Vote +1Looey Munn
October 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Cover the can with a conductive solid lid, preferably making excellent contact all the way around to the can. Have no openings or slots, or part of the EMP will penetrate.


Vote -1 Vote +1Carole Wood
October 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I’m not sure I understand the purpose of the Copper ‘stake’ in the ground. Is this akin to the lightening rod on a house? Is this just a rod driven into the ground? Does it need to be attached to anything or is it just to draw the ‘pulse’ to it and away fromthe house?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Calvin
October 14, 2011 at 10:40 am

I have only taken some very basic steps but I started a few years ago buy wrapping my emergency radios and walkie talkies in aluminum foil while in storage. I have provisions for placing my removable hard drives in a metal ammo container and I have molded foil over some of the more sensitive areas of my emergency generator. I have thought about adding a foil backed insulation to the attic of the garage to help protect the vehicles but not sure if it would really help that much. It might be cheaper and more effective to get 2 car covers and sandwich foil or Mylar between them.


Vote -1 Vote +1Paul
October 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

Aluminum foil will not protect devices from EMPs, aluminum is nonferrous, (say non magnetic) all such devices that you named need to be encased in iron or steel containers to be protected from an EMP.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Paul, I’m glad you brought this up because it’s a common belief, but not correct. Non-magnetic and non-conductive are two different beasts. Copper, silver, and gold are also non-magnetic, but ARE conductive.


Vote -1 Vote +1Carole Wood
October 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

So, let me be sure I understand this clearly. IF, you were to trying to protect items,
you want something like Iron or Steel (as they are NON-conductive), right? So what about burying items in a steel or iron clad safe in the ground?

But, maybe the best thing to bury is a short wave radio. There might be more chance of picking up a signal using that after such an event. Other than that, guns, food, water, safety, warmth/shelter. BUT ABOVE ALL…….FAITH IN GOD.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Carole Wood
October 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

How is a Faraday cage constructed? What at the best materials to use?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Carole Wood
October 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm

One lucky thing about those living in the rural areas,,,,with no cars, vehicles, etc. working, they won’t be ‘raided’ anytime soon’…. as they, many of them, are many miles away from any towns. But, they absolutely need to be prepared, i.e. food, water, guns, source of warmth/light, cooking source, able to secure their home and family.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Stewart Workman
October 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

I am concerned with a trend in storing firearms. Many people have their firearms stored in a heavy duty gun safe that makes it very difficult for thieves to obtain access to. While this is a good practice, it also places all of the firearms in one place, which is maybe not so good. The second aspect of this is in regards to EMP/ CME. The safe manufacturers seem to encourage the use of electronic safe locks. I would suspect these are not hardened for EMP/ CME. The result will be that we have such an event and nobody will have access to their firearms when society collapses afterward. You won’t be able to call a locksmith. Forcible entry attempts will only make future access to the safe even more difficult. The mechanical locks take a bit more time to open, but at least it will not be affected by the EMP/CME event.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barbara
October 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Fort Knox make safes that are manual. This is what we have and it takes me just a few seconds to open. These would with stand a tornado if we were hit by one, it might be out in some field or someone else yard.
Only a safe cracker could break into it and this would be with any safe.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I wouldn’t be so confident in the ability of ANY safe. Most safe’s will protect your valuables in a simple smash and grab situation. You get a little more protection if you bolt the safe down. You’ve got more protection if you have the safe in a basement. You get a little LESS protection if your family is home and can be used as leverage to obtain the combination. In short, if you’ve got a determined and/or semi-sophisticated thief, the only things that are “safe” are those that they don’t know about or find out about.

You can open many electronic safes in a few seconds with a shoe or small hammer. You can open most 10-20 gun safes in under 30 minutes with a sledge and a pry bar. You can use a sledge to put a hole in a wall, run a chain through it that you hook one end up to a truck and the other end to the safe and pull the safe through the wall to make it easier to load.

Even fire safes have limitations. A reader recently emailed me about something he saw after the 35,000 acre wildfire in Central Texas. There were numerous fire rated gun safes in houses that got burned down. Most were rated at 1/2 hour, which means that they can sustain exposure to a 1830 °F fire for 30 minutes without the temperature inside reaching 131 °F. What happened was that the fires were well over 2,000 degrees, and are estimated to have sustained those temperatures for 45-60 minutes.

The end result was that coins got hot enough to be a blob of metal. Paper was charred black. In non-fire safes, ammo cooked off (without going through even the thinnest metal), polymer guns melted/burned, wood hardware turned to ash, and some of the metal components melted and fused onto the shelves/floor of the safes.

Do I like safes? YES! Do I suggest that people use safes? ABSOLUTELY! Do they have incredible limitations? Yes. Safes are definitely one instance where, for the most part, you get what you pay for, but I wouldn’t go without one waiting to be able to afford the best on the market.


Vote -1 Vote +1isBubba
October 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm

The point about EMPs and electronic safe controls is valid. We own a bank building with a vault with greenleaf lock mechanisms and which have electronic timer controls. These would possibly be toast.

But what about humans? We have electrical systems, too. Why are our brains not fried in CME events like in 1859?…or were they?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1isBubba
October 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I did some checking on CMEs and their effects on the human nervous system.

Here is a block of one very interesting study on CMEs from 2007 that I found –
Adverse Effects on Human Judgment and Behavior

Geomagnetic storms appear to affect human behavior, judgments and decisions about risk. Research has
documented links to depression, enhanced anxiety, sleep disturbances, altered moods mainly affecting abstract
judgment especially judgment of risk, overly cautious behavior, and greater incidences of psychiatric admissions. A
study by Kay found a 36.2% increase in male hospital admissions diagnosed with the depressed phase of manic-
depressive illness correlated with the second week following geomagnetic storms compared to quiet periods. A
study by Novikova and Ryvkin found geomagnetic storm correlates to psychotic outbursts in patients in a Moscow
mental institution and to reports of hallucinations. Other studies showed that pilots experienced high levels of
anxiety and decreased functional activity of the central nervous system resulting in a sharp decline of flying skills
during geomagnetic storms. A study by Kuleshova et al. showed the daily number of hospitalizations of patients
with mental disorders during geomagnetic storms nearly doubled when compared to quiet period.

To put a human face on this effect consider the plight of a bright young girl in Ottawa County, Ohio who witnessed
first hand the effects of the Great solar storm of September 1-2, 1859.

The Columbus, Ohio Statesman newspaper had run a short article about a sixteen year old girl ‘of
considerable intelligence and prepossessing appearance’, who had been taken into custody by the Sheriff of
Ottawa County. Her agitated state necessitated that she be moved to the lunatic asylum. The conclusion
drawn from this, and no doubt her utterances, implied that she had become deranged from viewing the
aurora borealis a short time ago. She was convinced that all of this spectacular auroral activity meant that
the world was soon to come to an end.

The geomagnetic storm signature can even be found in financial decision making reflected in stock market
transactions. In an innovative study by Krivelyova et al., evidence of substantially lower returns around the world
during periods of geomagnetic activity was uncovered. The small capitalization stocks being affected by
geomagnetic storms more than large capitalization stocks. Small caps are held primarily by individual investors.

Harpers Weekly, October 8, 1859
Seems the poor girl *did* go a little daffy.


Vote -1 Vote +1tim
October 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

I have heard emp’s only affect running electronics not those that are turned off, also it will not affect basic electrical components, your starter on your car,a drill,saw,blender,etc. god willing I will have a manual shutdown diesel vehicle shortly. these will be unaffected.

I already have a well,pump,secondary heat source,diesel generator,gas engine backup generator and I may get a natural gas valve for it. at least 1 years supply of food and several ways to cook it. firearms and ammo to keep me happy and hunt if need be.

god help the unprepared, I dont think mercy will come from anyone else.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dan
October 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

If an EMP or CME occurs that is strong enough to destroy all my electronics then it’s certainly strong enough to destroy the power grid around here and without a power grid then all my electronics are useless anyway? Except maybe a small radio/TV/DVD player I can run off solar/wind power. Anyway, I’m still working on a years supply of food for our family and the means necessary to protect them.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barbara
October 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Your best communication will be a CB or ham radio or emergency radio. At least this is what I’ve read to have on hand.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rett
October 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

How far apart do the wires need to be for a Faraday cage? I was wondering if a bird cage would work.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ken Davis
October 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Most of us have a Faraday box in our homes. The standard microwave oven is a simple Faraday box. The oven door gives you your answer, look at the wire mesh in the window class. The object is to have the entire box encased in a wire cage that is connected on all sides. An old microwave oven can be used as your EMP safe box after the power cord is removed so the cage is not grounded.


Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
October 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I thought faraday cages Needed to be grounded. Am I mistaken?


Vote -1 Vote +1Richafrd Salo
October 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

Guys; Have you considered using metal file cabinets instead of the faraday boxes? All you have to do is wrap your electronics to pad them and close the drawres.


Vote -1 Vote +1Looey Munn
October 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

The drawers often have a slot where they do not make good unpainted contact. EMP can penetrate where there are even short slots, depending on the frequencies involved. Slots make good antennae at the frequencies they are tuned to my their dimensions.

You can prevent this by using silver-plated finger stock to make full and frequent contact around doors. Or sliding drawers.

Be careful of antennae of all sorts, as EMP can cause very high voltages, and severe burns if you get between ground and something that acts as an antenna. Would be nice if you built a Faraday cage to retreat to yourself to protect you from the high voltages during the EMP duration.


Vote -1 Vote +1deb
October 14, 2011 at 11:12 am

Okay, I’m a “newbie” to preparing for EMP’s/CME’s. Could someone give more information regarding driving copper stakes into the ground? What is the purpose for this?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
October 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

David make sure you ground your galvnized interior trash can using a copper wire out thru the exterior wall to your 10′ copper grounding rod . An easy trick to driving the 10′ rod is to use a 1/2″ rotary hammer drill and incert the grounding rod into the chuck and pull the trigger. It will vibrate the rod straight into the ground! I aso used metal foil tape to seal the lid.


Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
October 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I have used a T-post pounder to drive numerous ground rods. Saves alot of swearing down to about two feet above the ground. I like the idea of the hammer drill, and will definitely give it a try.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn Finley
October 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

Tim, what you have heard is completely wrong. It makes no difference is the device is powered or not. Modern electronics devices are, for the greatest part, quite fragile, built with multi-layered semi–conductors, and circuitry is so small that just the static from your hand can ruin many devices if they were not either protected by their enclosures or grounded while plugged in.

Rett, a bird cage, if made of material that would conduct electricity well, like copper, bronze, or aluminum, would almost be good enough. If you covered the bird cage with sheets of aluminum foil about 1 foot square, folded twice into long strips, and attached to the cage all around with no more than 1 inch between the strips, you would probably have a decent Faraday cage.

My comments are only the minor knowledge I picked up in 35 years of working in communication electronics, and certainly not definitive, but a good starting point.


Vote -1 Vote +1Nathan
October 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

I have a metal roof, aluminum foil in the attic (originally for keeping the heat out), and have put aluminum on the ceiling of the basement. 3 layers of metal. I also keep walkies, chargers, batteries, renewable energy equipment, etc either in ammo boxes or wrapped in foil. Make sure that the foil is insulated from the device. This is from many hours of researching the subject. I also have a 1984 Toyota pickup with no electronics. I don’t know if this is a fool-proof plan, but it is the best I have come up with on a budget. I would love to find a source that can tell me what to do beyond a shadow of a doubt, but I am still looking! Good luck!


Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Crockett
October 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

Dear David,

I’ve been carrying articles not nearly so clearly written as this to my son Barton for a couple
of years…and I’m now working on the discussion points I need to bring this up with my smart
banker friends at Darien-Rowayton Bank that’s located blocks from my CT house and receives all my income for deposit?

Can you help me with talking points that would bring clarity and great planning to the
bank? I moved all my money to this bank because they are the brightest guys I could

I’ll put this article in my son’s mail box today, David. This is the finest, fastest, clearest
explanation I’m ever read in the library.


Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Crockett
October 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

Best, shortest analysis of the biggest financial problem looming over the world today
that I’ve ever read!


Vote -1 Vote +1Nathan
October 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

Deb, the purpose of the ground rod is to draw the large spike in electricity, (such as a lightning strike or power surge) to “ground”. Electricity, (and supposedly, but not proven, EMP waves) will always take the path of least resistance. Electricity is like water. If you start out with a 3″ pipe and reduce it to 1″, you will have less water at the end. Same with wire sizes. Your light fixture has #14 wire (the higher the number, the smaller the wire size). Your oven has a #6 wire. The oven uses more electricity than the light bulb, thus requiring a larger size of wire. A #14 wire is about 1/16″ thick. A #6 wire is about 1/4″ thick, allowing more electricity to flow through it. A ground rod is 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick, allowing a lot of electricity to flow through it, straight into the ground in which it will dissipate. Hope this helps!


Vote -1 Vote +1Looey Munn
October 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I have done lots of work with RF, and the steep wavefronts of most EMP are RF in nature.

RF requires large surface areas, and wide and thin strapping is better than thick solid wire.

I have some questions on the aluminum foil of commerce, and wrapping something in it may not work as well as one might think, unless there are no slots to let the RF part of the pulse through, acting like a waveguide..


Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick
October 14, 2011 at 11:45 am

A HUGE FARADAY CAGE; We are considering burying 20′ to ~40′ shipping containers, however we can not get city council approval. Now we are looking for property outside city or township jurisdiction to purchase. These are all metal and provide serious protection against EMP. Many of us have buried small metal boxes and larger with gear, emergency materials, com units and other electronics in them. This is sanity NOT insanity. Containers are cheap and burying them with protection and access is cheap also. Check it out you will not be disappointed. If you decide to bury anything make sure you GPS mark the location also use geo-physical markers clearly identified to find these at a later date.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 14, 2011 at 11:57 am

Keep in mind that shipping containers are meant to distribute loads across the bottom and focus it on the edges and corners. The roof is not made to handle a load and will collapse with as little as a couple of feet of dirt on top.


Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick
October 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for the heads up David. Structural reinforcement, Sealing against water, Counterpoise grounding, engineered access and escape, connectivity between units, camo and site normalization, communications, defensive positions, force multiplication, etc. are all required for minimal success of the network. Thanks again!!!


Vote -1 Vote +1Nathan
October 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I like your idea, except for the last part…GPS? What, you’re going to use your Iphone to find your stash after an EMP?


Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick
October 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

That could very well be a point well taken. Thus geographic dead reckoning is your back up. All satellites are not geostationary, also it is possible to still have GPS w/o cellular service being available to an iphone. No plan is 100% thus always have B & C plans in place.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Jim
October 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I have taken the idea of a faraday cage to heart and have grounded my metal shed in my back yard. That way not only is my generator protected but I have the room to put any other electronic equipment that I want to protect in there as well. The thing is, if the grid does go down from such an EMP/CME event it probably won’t matter that my computers don’t work. My survival/shortwave radio , on the other hand, will be safe(?) and will be more important that any other equipment I have. I also keep my walkie-talkies in the shed along with their batteries. I have always felt that the sun was probably our greatest threat along these lines but with the current problems in the world and our country I feel it best to be as prepared as possible for any threat. Stewart makes a very valid point about the gun safe issue, and one I have never considered. Looks like its time to sell the electronic ones and go back to the old standby mechanical systems. The other thing is to make sure that you have a pre 1979 vehicle(no electronics) and a good hand pump for fuel. That way you can still get gasoline or desiel fuel out of tanks that will be abandoned because of the lack of electricity to pump them out. To all I say ” prepare for the worst, but Pray for the best.”


Vote -1 Vote +1craig
October 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I was wondering how much protection a steel sided house would provide if grounded at several points? I know I have problems with cell phone reception inside.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ken Davis
October 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

You have hit on it. If radio or cell signals can’t get in, your good. The electrons from an EMP are traveling in waves like a radio signal but at different frequencies. If what you have built stops radio, shortwave, cell etc. signals then you pass the basic test of a protected environment. Check your reception around areas like windows and doors to find the best location to put your gear.


Vote -1 Vote +1Elizabeth
October 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Interesting point, I have noticed that my building has issues with receiving cell phone and internet and had wondered if I might turn it to my advantage. It’s a 50 year old building with a basement and I believe a sub basement. I don’t knowknow if it’s been reinforced to meet earthquakes and need to ask.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barbara
October 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm

We have solar powered, crank emergency radios this way we don’t have to worry about being able to charge it up or have batteries. Plus it has a flash light on it.


Vote -1 Vote +1Nathan
October 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I bought the ETON Red Cross one for $30 from I tried it for a couple weeks before I buried it in an ammo box. It works very well for $30, and much better constructed than others I have seen for more money.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barbara
October 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I would hope that with knowing we are at risk for being attacked by these means that our government would take all precautions by having enough transformers and the means to replace them in a safe place.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

There’s not a chance of that happening. To begin with, it costs too much. Second, most utility companies are public utilities and not completely owned by the federal government…therefore it would be each individual utility company’s responsibility to buy spare transformers. Since most utility companies are operating at 85-95% of capacity, this just isn’t a smart allocation of resources.

What you’re doing is taking self-reliant thinking and applying it to a utility. It makes PERFECT sense to have redundancy on a family/household level, but public utilities have to answer to a board of directors, bondholders, and customers. This is why it’s so important to make continual steps to be more self reliant and not fully dependent on centralized solutions like utility companies.


Vote -1 Vote +1Tom
October 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

I would not count on the government to have much of anything in place for the private citizen in a situation such as this. You never know they may be in on it.


Vote -1 Vote +1Elizabeth
October 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I believe that is the rational, or one of them, behind H.A.A..R.P.. Don’t quote me on that but I seem to remember reading that somewhere.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jim
October 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I have an old Cast Iron bathtub standing on Shale floor tile. With the padding and possibly a Foil Emergency Blanket over the top would this work to shield my electronics????


Vote -1 Vote +1Freeman
October 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Aluminum screen wire will do just fine.
For added protesction, use #10 fence wire rolled into the bottom of the screen, and ground it.
It is not necessary to use extra grounds, IF your electronics are in one general location/room.
IF you have a good ‘earth ground’, grounded through your electrical system, that will work on most of the medium to lower high range of EMP’s.
A real extra high impulse will penetrate anything not ‘fully’ protected.
In order to ‘fully protect’, use the best available area insulator available, a wood frame, and a double layer of screen*. Each layer (one inside, one out) need to be independant of each other, their own ground, etc.
A surge protector on the inside one/layer* IF you are hooked up, plugged in, etc. AND another one for the devices themselves.
The best course of action is a ‘real’ faraday cage.
This consists of the screen cage but with the addition of a power generator at a small DC reference/level. Couple the cage wire itself directly to ground by way of the largest capacitor you can get, 10 – 50 farad.
This will allow a combination protection not found in the ‘standard’ capture type unelectrified cage.
A simple AM radio will forwarn of a coming impulse. Use an on switch system (for the DC) and locate the switch close to the area you occupy the most.
Whetting the ground will not help as much as some would like you to think it does. Just drive it into the ground four(4) feet minimum, and that should work as well as it is going to.
That said, the basic problem is the strength or amplitude of the surge/impulse.
IF it is what has been foretold it is going to be, a basic cage will do fine.
IF it is extreme, the second design will protect to an extent and mostly.
Extraordinary, and forget it all…
I suggest everyone think about themselves instead of their stupid puters, or as well as, etc.
A persons nervous system is electronic and subject to these same impulses.
Might sound funny, but, I recommend at least a tinfoil hat…use a long ground/attachment wire (very flexible) between the ‘hat’ and your cage. The ‘hat’ can be screen wire over a regular hat, etc.
Location in relation to a ‘true’ EMP and a ‘partial’ (high altitude detonation).
I have mountains between my location and major targets. Most EMP nukes are detonated at the radius of the area to be affected. Look on any map, say DC, draw a circle around the targeted area, and that is the height of detonation…usually 5 – 10 miles tops. Think control points, military command, data centers, and any other grid or personel gathering areas.
Thank you NIKE and Redstone Arsenal for the training.


Vote -1 Vote +1janice
October 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

David To go along with what you’ve written I would highly suggest people read “The last page” in the Nov.-Dec. issue of Countryside magazine.It is a very concise article on CME and EMP events that could take place as well as describing how they work.It doesn’t give solutions only castigates the gov. for not doing what they should.I find it very interesting that there are 2 articles in one month from such diverse people.Janice


-3 Vote -1 Vote +1Randal
October 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm


I consider myself a prepper, and I appreciate anyone who provides me with some practical survival information.

When you stated that others “…hate our freedoms, our wealth…,” and “They want us to live the same miserable lives that they live rather than to have individual liberty”, you reveal an alarming amount of political ignorance. I cannot let that comment and apparent belief left unchallenged. What an idiotic thing to say.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1isBubba
October 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm

@Randal – Explain yourself. David makes a whole lot more sense than you do. So where is your challenge? Are we supposed to believe that things are not as David has supposed, just on your word alone? My worldly observations coincide with David’s, far more than they are opposed.

Those that would like to see the demise of our country, and there *are* many, may propose or even believe that they have some less banal goal. They are, however, belied by their own histories, in the case of leftists/socialists/communists and those dictatorial regimes which openly profess their hatred for us.

And in the case of militant Muslims (and the vast majority of Muslims in general, who openly or tacitly support their respective militant factions): though they may have a higher goal in principle (ie: “god”), they are simply misguided as to God’s interests. (And for argument’s sake, supposing they aren’t misguided: then, may the devil help us, because their god, sure as his hell on earth, won’t.) Based on their professed beliefs, they might argue that they don’t “hate” us. But if we should choose to not abide with their beliefs, then, I suppose, you’d argue that calling us “infidels” and beheading us is not the same as hating us?

Come now, Randal. We have leftist enemies within who are attempting to destroy our country as we speak. Ultimately their hate for this country is because they do not control us, they hate our Constitution for it’s protections and freedoms it provides us, and they hate God because he gives us ALL of these things along with our success. They know it, and they know *that* is what the Constitution is based upon. Their leftist ideology dictates that the [collectivist] government should be the highest power, having power over the people. They do not like the concept of Sovereign Persons with God-given power over the government. If God is the highest governing power, then government can not be. Thus Leftist/Communist/Socialist/Progressivist governments always suppress God: They are atheistic. With Him, there are God-given rights that individual Sovereigns are born with. The hierarchy is: God – Sovereign Persons – State Governments – Federal Government.

Egregious Tea Party Promotion and Defense statement:
It’s also why they hate the Tea Party: the above is what IT is all about. And despite those who have tried to paint it to the contrary, the “Tea Party” is an all-political, all-racial movement that accepts all who believe in this country and its Constitution as it was originally conceived and written, not as it has been perverted and usurped.
If you fall in that group, you should check it out. If you believe in the ideas above, you should check it out.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
October 16, 2011 at 4:35 am

But don’t package-deal. Don’t assume that religion is the only possible foundation for inalienable rights. There are atheist Tea Partiers — like myself — who view nature, not some alleged God, as the source of inalienable rights. Thomas Jefferson thought (correctly) there was nothing morally wrong with being an atheist; see the letter of advice he wrote to his ward and nephew Peter Carr, dated August 10, 1787. It is reprinted in “The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson,” (Modern Library, NY: 1944) pp. 431-433 and is also available online at Project Gutenberg, in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, volume 2 (original title: “MEMOIR, CORRESPONDENCE, AND MISCELLANIES, FROM THE PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON. Edited by Thomas Jefferson Randolph.”)


Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
October 15, 2011 at 2:59 am

On the contrary, David reveals a great deal of common sense, and does not have his thinking warped by Political Correctness, as some people obviously do.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Hi Randal,

I respect your opinion and I really wish it was correct. What you did was simply call me an idiot without basing the claim on anything whatsoever. Would you mind substantiating your statement?


Vote -1 Vote +1Woolval
October 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Would a metal file cabinet protect electronic equipment? I have a 5 drawer lateral file cabinet made of steel… if I were to ground it, would it protect electronic items I place inside? I have a portable radio, a digital camera, a laptop computer (what good would THAT be after an EMP?) that I keep in there. I may also get some of generator and my car ignition parts to store as a backup.

Thanks for anyone who has input on this…



Vote -1 Vote +1Looey Munn
October 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Pretty well, if you can seal around the drawer edges with finger stock to make a wide continuous conductor. The EMP currents will flow on the outside unless there are breaks in the electrical continuity.

In radio transmitters we buy silver-plated finger stock to make the electrical seals If you do not use silver plate and corrosion starts the EMP will penetrate through where the continuity is corroded away.


Vote -1 Vote +1Gab
October 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Great inFormation, my question is how an Emp or cme would affect
an off the grid home with inverter,battery bank, solar panels, and generator . The generators are in a steel connex . Everything else is inside a log home with standard roof. The solar panels are outside on a pole.


Vote -1 Vote +1Looey Munn
October 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm


The inverter is vulnerable and solid state so it will blow with only a little EMP, and run the batteries down rapidly. A solid short would blow up and perhaps cause a fire.
Solar panels could be expected to be shorted or open, and unable to function.


Vote -1 Vote +1isBubba
October 14, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Real badly 🙁

Unfortunately, the solar cells, inverter and generator if connected to the
rest of the circuit (or if the connex box is not grounded or not sufficient)
would all be fried with a sufficiently-sized CME or EMP.

You would need to disconnect and protect all the components of the system, including the solar panels. Solar panels are effectively just big “chips.”


-3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim
October 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

David, thanks for all you do, but I feel nearly forced to tell you all what Ron Paul has taught me. Canada and the Swiss and Chile are free, but they aren’t hated. The idea that we are hated for our freedoms is crazy talk (though I once drank the koolaid too). We are disliked by much of the middle east (and other parts), because of our foreign policy. Iran..1953 our CIA w/the Brittish over through their DEMOCRATICLY elected president in a coup because he didn’t want to allow BP to keep stealing there oil. So we put in a harsh dictator instead who would do what pleased us, screw the Iranian people. This is the same story for much of the middle east and it continues today. I know the weapons of mass distruction were terrifying (i voted for him). But can we think out side the (Fox) box for a bit, and come to our senses?


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1isBubba
October 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm

@Tim – Please explain away why leftists / communists / socialists / progressivists DO hate us, want to “fundamentally change” us, hate our Constitution, and want our country to collapse.

Some of what you say are *rationalizations* those areas of the world you mention have given for hating us….and they DO hate us….unless you call desiring to annihilate us *not* hating us. And some of those rationalizations are even truthful. Most good rationalizations *will* have some “touchy-feely” truth in them, or no one would even listen.

In most cases, though, in the case of leftist regimes, they are simply excuses for their ideological hatred of us. In the case of muslims, it is their misguided religious beliefs that fuel their hatred. There is no such thing as “moderate” muslims (certainly in the mideast, and arguably, in the west). They believe that lying and obfuscation is proper and their duty, in the line of their god’s work. I know this first hand, and many others with experience with them worldwide, will corroborate this.

Anyway, if you want to take things away from Ron Paul, and I commend you for doing so in many cases, this area is probably his weakest point because he’s too gullible…nice, but gullible. Our country should *not* contract to operation solely within our borders. Though at this point, our economy may well dictate doing that, we should not do it for his ideological reasons. The federal government’s primary purpose is to protect the People and their states. We *should* fight our battles overseas…it’s a *whole* lot better than on our soil. We just need to do it rationally and only when the situation truely warrants it. This is not an easy task to determine, but certainly a good offense is often the best defense. It’s like using a gun…take it out only when necessary and if you’re committed to absolutely using it when called for.

Lest you think I “hate” RP: right now, RP is my choice if he makes it to the primary.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
October 15, 2011 at 3:18 am

In fact, Moslems from the Middle East were attacking us (and Europe) TWO CENTURIES AGO, long before we had anything to do with the Middle East — long before they had the phony grievances you mention! Have you never heard of the Barbary Pirates?? Of the thousands of captives they seized, and the ransoms they exacted from European nations–and of all the fighting it took to put down their jihad?

They hated us then, as they do now, because we are NOT MOSLEM.

P.S. Ron Paul evidently taught you a few things that aren’t true. I don’t know about the Swiss or Chile, but there have been a number of Moslem terrorist attacks and plots in Canada — not to mention dozens of other countries. Are you going to claim that Moslems beheaded Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia, because of U.S. foreign policy?? Last I heard, there have been over 15,000 fatalities around the world from Moslem terrorists since 9/11.


-2 Vote -1 Vote +1arwen_in_nj
October 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

and could THATpossibly be related to a little adventure vacation called the Crusades?


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm


The crusades happened 700-900 years ago. Muslims were attacking us over 200 years ago because they believed it was their right/obligation to tax, plunder, enslave or kill anyone who was a non-believer who didn’t convert to Islam. They were VERY pro-active in their approach and weren’t reacting to events that happened almost 500 years prior to the United States even existing.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Hi Tim,

I love a lot of what Ron Paul says, but I believe that he’s separated from reality when it comes to foreign policy. Canada, the Swiss, and Chile aren’t hated as much for their freedom for several reasons, but here are a few:

1. Their economies are a fraction of the size of ours.
2. Their militarties are a fraction of the size of ours.
3. Their pace of media creation is a fraction of ours.
4. The reach of their media is a fraction of ours.
5. WE are the ones who stood up to the Barbary Pirates who claimed that it was their right, according to the Koran to plunder and enslave all non-believers.
6. We are the only country that has had only one governing document since then.
7. In the 80s, Bin Laden considered the USSR and the USA to both be enemies that needed to be toppled. When the USSR fell, Bin Laden told his followers that it was because of their efforts in Afghanistan and that they would make the US fall, just like they made the USSR fall.

I can go on…in book length if you’d like, but suffice it to say that Militant Islam has been at war with us and has felt that it was their right/duty to convert/tax/kill us since before we were a country.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1John the Libertarian
October 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

Tim, as a Ron Paul supporter, COULD WE PLEASE TRY TO STAY MORE ON TOPIC about CMEs and EMP?


Vote -1 Vote +1Walter
October 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Ty everybody for your knowledge… My questions- What should i do for my 20kw natural gas generator, to protect it? 2- would their be natural gas service after an EMP? 3- What is the highest probability:: that an EMP would be launched from a container ship 20 miles out to sea and only have a range of less than 500 miles, thus leaving the midwest untouched directly vs an Intercontinental Ballistic missle from a major player in the world? Thoughts- Gold or silver for pay offs to get past check points, a place with woods for fuel in winter, some land for crops and hunting and a spring fed lake, a vehicle that is running but you must have a manuel pump, to obtain fuel from gas stations which dont function without electricity to get to that place, we must carry all of this food we all talk about to some safe place, so the car should be an suv.. I suspect most will try to ride it out where they are.. I need a manuel pump for my well, i must now obtain wood for my fireplace, or is their a better choice. Is their a state that is best for us all to be in, given this scenario? God Bless to you all.. Indiana


Vote -1 Vote +1John the Libertarian
October 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Several points, Walter… 1) Iran’s shahab 3 ballistic missile now has the range to reach the middle of the US from a container ship off our coast (though whether a suitable warhead has been developed or whether they have a clandestine centrifuge plant somewhere enriching enough uranium is not [publicly] known)…2) Iran test fired a scud from a sea launched platform in the Caspian sea (off their NE coast) in either 95 or 99…3) Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu challenged Putin about the 100+ Russian nuclear warhead scientists (you read that right) working for iran…4) Natural gas pipelines pump with and are controlled by electricity and electronic controls, subject to getting knocked out with a suitable EMP or CME event… 5) iranian prime minister ahMADinejad has been quoted as saying that “a future without the United States could be imagined”


+6 Vote -1 Vote +1Gordon
October 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I lived in the Middle East for over six years, studied Arabic, studied the Koran. I worked with Muslims of several nationalities. I went to their homes, attended weddings and dinners.

I can assure you that a large percentage of the Muslim population of the world do hate the Western world. Most facets of the culture, freedoms, religions and morality of the west violate Islamic teachings. Islam teaches them to conquer infidels and bring Islam to rule the world. It matters not what our foreign policy is, they don’t like us.

I suggest you quit getting all you information from the major US media sources and start studying Middle Eastern sources to see what they are thinking and saying.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Thanks, Gordon.


-1 Vote -1 Vote +1BJO
October 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

It is rumored that the Iranians are working on an EMP device as we speak. Don’t know if they hate us because of our freedoms or not, but its a cinch they hate us for one reason or another. Hell, who wouldnt hate our government for their stupid policies? just sayin..

I think enemy EMP’s, solar flares, and economic collapse are our greatest threats. I have seen scenarios about emp’s… it WILL be at least a YEAR before anything comes back up… and buy a shovel too.. there will be lots of burying to do.. they estimate up to 90% of American population to be gone within 6 months. This is due to starvation, dehydration, and disease. So, out of a nation of 312 million, only roughly 34 million or less left.. an unthinkable scenario. By the way, hear the latest news? the prez is rattling his sabre.. saying we should attack Iran because of this stupid assassination attempt. God help us all.


Vote -1 Vote +1ron
October 15, 2011 at 1:00 am

first, i thank all of you for sharing some great idea’s and knowledge, thank you.
i am trying to understand what you are talking about and how to protect my family and
anything that we may need to survive. where we live the ground is solid rock all the way down andi i don’t know how else to make a grounding rod, so if anyone has any infor. we
would greatly appreciate it very much.
also, i like the idea of a metal trash can and insulating it and seems to be our best option
again, thanks to all of you for the great information.
take cae, gb. ron


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
October 15, 2011 at 1:06 am

I wanted to help clarify what a lot of people have said about having a pre-79 car to help counter an EMP frying the electronics of modern cars. First of all, starting in about 1973, cars were upgraded to the first gen points free ignition systems utilizing induction coils in the distributors to send a signal to a transistorized module to fire the ignition coil and hence the plugs. While this system is super simple compared to the high tech systems in present day cars, its not gonna be EMP proof as the modules still use semi conductor components that are subject to damage. Same goes for the voltage regulators that are external from the alternators.

The better bet would be to find a car/truck that has an engine that has been in use since the 60’s. The domestic three all used engines for umpteen years, well into the EFI years. With that in mind, you can take a car/truck from the middle 70s (little easier to find) and remove the points free distributor and replace it with a breaker point distributor and wire it accordingly. The most you may have to do is change the drive gear on the distributor’s shaft to match the camshaft, very easy to do. I’ve upgraded my breaker point cars (60’s muscle cars) to the electronic distributors so its easy to do the reverse of this. Many cars/trucks going into the early 80’s still used manual (non feedback) carburetors along with the simple electronic distributors so after changing to a breaker point distributor, you can take any early 80s car/truck and set it up to be EMP proof.

Another thought is also for those cars that were converted to EFI but still used the same old school engines. Most of the blocks, having the same bolt patterns as their pre EFI counterparts would mean that you can probably swap the EFI intakes for carburetor intakes, along with the distributors to set them up as a non EFI powertrain. This will of course work better if you have a manaul tranny vehicle as the electronically controlled trannies will pretty much be non functional w/o a brain box to control them. In the worst case, with the same bolt patterns, you should be able to pull the EFI engine out and replace it with a non EFI version of the same engine, bolted to a manual tranny or a non electronic auto tranny. As long as you don’t live anywhere where vehicle emissions inspection exists you could have a vehicle set up like this for everyday use, otherwise, you may just choose to have such a vehicle as a standby, unless you happen to just find a pre 80’s car/truck that suits your fancy.

Worst case in all that would be to keep a few of the little ignition modules in a Faraday box along with other electronics, same for voltage regulators. In the worst case with the alternator, you could switch to an alternator with the external regulator and just manually switch the alternator on and off as your battery drains since w/o a regulator and your alternator directly wired to your battery, its gonna hot charge the battery with some high voltage at high engine rpm’s. If I’m not mistaken, the voltage regulators from early 60’s cars were not solid state, so that might also be a possibility too, some electronics know-how required.

Another thought I had was with the possible vulnerability of solar panels, being made of a semi conductive material, would it be possible for a hard core EMP to hit solar panels hard enough to crack them or otherwise damage them beyond use? Its a thought for those of us who are wanting to go solar or already have, would hate to think that we would have to have a whole set of replacement panels EMP shielded….


Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
October 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

MP, sounds like you are the go to person re: EMP and Vehicles. I just obtained a 1970 F-250 in remarkably good condition. Appears to be a great EMP vehicle once I have some mechanical repairs completed. Do I just need backup points, condenser and rotor? What else would you suggest. Thanks, Marty


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
October 17, 2011 at 12:08 am

A 70 model truck, cool, I’d love to get an extended cab F series truck in the middle 70s year, but those things are super hard to find. But the only things really to stock up on in terms of EMP would be the voltage reg for the alternator. Points, condenser, etc are good to stock up on just cuz they’re small and for all intents, tend to be burned through more frequently with rough use. The bigger question still is if an EMP could be strong enough to fry components that are nothing but coils of wire (ignition coils, alternators, etc). Not that its an improbability, but it never hurts to have spare coils, and hell, coils for 70’s cars/trucks are a dime a dozen, compared to the coil packs and coil on plug setups for the newer stuff. The old mustang that I drive everyday (200ci 6 cyl) has a milk crate in the trunk with spare cap, etc for those possible road side issues. Right now its set up with the duraspark electronic ignition (1st gen) so all it needs is a spare module and for EMP issues a spare induction coil for the distributor. I do still have the breaker point distributor in storage for just this purpose, it wouldn’t take long at all to re-convert back to points in this situation. So the parts to really look at having would be the distributor parts (cap, point, condenser, rotor), voltage reg and ignition coil. All could fit in a small box in your truck’s toolbox or in a milk crate along with spare fluids, etc. Hope this helps.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
October 15, 2011 at 1:49 am

Are you guys sure the important thing to debate here is “why” other people hate us? They just do. They hate that we exist. They hate that we are not the same religion they are. They hate that Hollywood makes dirty movies. They hate that our poor are more wealthy than their middle class. They hate that our women allow their ankles to show. They hate that they have a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling and YOU have a big screen TV. They really don’t have a reason, or need one. Just prepare for the event, not why the kooks want to bring it on. If you fixed everything that bothers them, they would just make up something new.


Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
October 15, 2011 at 4:33 am

Thanks, everyone. Any comment for Woolval? I’d like to know, also.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Russell
October 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

EMPs and CMEs effect electronics, but do they also effect DC solar panels and wind generators..


Vote -1 Vote +1arwen_in_nj
October 15, 2011 at 9:02 am

I see a couple of people saying “what good would my laptop be after an EMP?”. If you are only thinking of a laptop in terms of connection to the Internet, the answer is it is not going to be any good at all.

However, you can store a great deal of information- books, articles, building plans, recipes- on CD’s and DVD’s to have as reference after TSHTF. I think the entire Encyclopedia and 40 years of “Mother Earth” magazine would be very handy to have. Plus, there is the entertainment value of watching movies. A laptop is portable, should you have to move- much more so than a library of books and a TV and DVD player.

I intend to protect mine….


Vote -1 Vote +1david
October 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

This has all been very educational. Some comments veered into what I will be asking but did not go all the way.
What electronic parts would I need to have on hand in order replace the fried parts in my car if an EMP hits? What chips, computer modules, etc? I would need to make sure it starts and continues running. I have a friend who runs a salvage yard so the parts are relatively in expensive to obtain in storage.
Thank you.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
October 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Well depending on the year of the vehicle you’re looking at, you may need a couple of things. One foremost is the main ECU computer. On newer cars its the main solid state device to be concerned with. On slightly older cars, like late 80s/early 90’s cars, you’ll also have an ignition module hooked up to an updated distributor, controlled by the ECU so you’d have to have one of those on hand as well as the ECU. Most of the other sensors in the car are nothing more than variable resistors controlled by whatever (air pressure, vacuum, mechanical levers, etc) and so are probably pretty safe. Its the solid state IC/transistorized components that are at risk. Oh, there’s also the alternator, newer cars have internal regulators in their alternators, so you would have to have one of those on hand too as you really can’t get a spare regulator module for the alternator (unless you work for one of those places that rebuilds alternators for auto zone, etc). As far as the most up to date trannies, I’m not sure if there’s any solid state hardware inside. I know there’s solenoids that are controlled by the ECU but that shouldn’t be a problem for the most part. I would hate to think of an EMP or CME that’s strong enough to fry wire coils cuz that would fry ignition coils, solenoids, etc, would be a big problem. Also on the newer cars many of the gauge panels have some solid state hardware in them too, would probably be history, you won’t be able to tell your speed, etc. Also some newer cars use speed sensors that are essentially Hall effect sensors, could also be in danger so that might be another one to add. For all intents, and this is from my biased automotive point of view, it would be better to just get an older vehicle (late 80s and back) and put a few bucks into it to get it running just as good as any new car and dedicate that to being your post SHTF vehicle. You may not care to drive an older car all the time so a spare for this occasion would be an alternative. Besides, most new cars are throwaway items anyway, many people trade new cars in after only a few years, the first question to ask yourself will be if you plan on keeping your vehicle for the long haul, in order to justify spending the money on the parts. Now if you already have an older vehicle that’s late 80s/early 90s or older, then you’re already doing good.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ed Phillips
October 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Hey David, Don’t listen to those idiots who complain about what You have to say. There’s a lot of us out here who need the info you put on your website. I wish a lot of us lived closer together. Most of us are like minded and could be of great benefit to each other, and it would make a safer place to rebuild a community once things settled down. But back to reality. Be safe and God bless. It won’t be long, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Ed


Vote -1 Vote +1SpecOpsWarrior
October 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I think that the best thing to do is to prepare for any and all situations simultanuously by having enough food and water for a year, enough seeds for a large garden, etc. Also, learning the more primitive skills for basic life support, such as cooking and living without gas or electricity will do more for you should an EMP or Solar Flare occur and fry our electronics. Even if your home-built Faraday cage works, who are you gonna call? Will there still be an Internet? I have downloaded a lot of manuals, etc. from different forums onto my computer, but I have also printed hard copies out in case I can’t use my computer, and I do have an old car that will at least get me to my bug-out location should that become necessary( or possible).
I really believe that all basic survival skills work for any and all SHTF scenarios, and the planning and acting on those plans add to your skills. I have communicated with like minded people from all walks of life in my town, from farmers to doctors, and we have made an agreement to prepare, plan, and then to gather and help each other should the worst happen. Each is responsible for their own families but, should IT happen, we plan to gather and support the group with our own skill set and supplies and/or equipment. IMHO, I will be better off being prepared for any EOTHAWKI events than spending too much time and money on specific threats. I am always working on planning for life without modern technology and passing that knowledge on to my kids, so those skills do not die but are carried on to the next generation.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ernie
October 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm

An EMP doesn’t have to be nuclear. It can be made using a hard form of c-4 plastike and a coil of cooper wire. As the shaped charge explodes it compresses the coil of Copper which generates a huge magnetic spike in a downward direction due to the shape of the c-4 plastike. It can be used for a very local area as it looses power with height. It could be used on a city, a military base etc.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ernie
October 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Anything that has a coiled wire is vulnerable to EMP and CME discharges. Any coiled wire will generate a voltage spike when a magnetic field passes it by. A small engine magneto can produce a charge of 50,000 volts but with small amps. It dosen’t takee many amps to tingle your nerves.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
October 19, 2011 at 1:01 am

That’s another thought for those of us with small spark ignition engines for generators, etc. Between the magnetos being possibly vulnerable to EMP’s what about the newer solid state ignitions used in these small engines? That would mean that those of us with generators hoping to use them after an EMP might be SOL. We would have to have backup parts for these engines as well, isn’t a big deal as magnetos and ignition modules are small but its just another thing to look at. It would make the idea of using a diesel generator more inviting, especially if you set the engine up to run on veggie oil or biodiesel, since these engines don’t use any electronic or coil devices in them. I built a small genny using a Chinese made 6hp diesel engine and a stand alone genny head built on a frame made from bed rails, loud as hell but does its job. Another thing that we should also look at are our LED lights, as awesome as they are, they’re toast after an EMP so it would be a good idea I think to stock up on those for storage in faraday boxes, even the cheapo lights you get from harbor freight or the auto parts store for a couple bucks.


Vote -1 Vote +1Herbert
October 17, 2011 at 5:15 am


Suggest to your readers that are interested in shielding to search the net for “Mu metal” and to follow the trail. Mu metal is pricey but not out of reach.

Basic Tips for shielding cable, both outside and inside the box: (1) use twisted wire pairs with a copper shield for signal input lines. To obtain the Faraday cage effect, ground all signal cable shields together on one end only at the receiving end and then ground end of wire to the box and box to an earth ground. If shielded cable is used inside the box, ground the shields at the point as the outside shields. Keep wires as short as possible. (2) Do NOT mix signal wires with power wires. (3) Run power wires at right angles to signal wires to minimize cross coupling.
An electromagnetic pulse is comprised of an infinite series of harmonics with the greater energy in the lower frequencies; blocking and absorbing them can be a real challenge. Feel free to experiment. Blessed are those with a well equipped lab.
It was in 1970 that I last worked with shielding. Needless to say, I am hopelessly out of date. I am not available as a Consultant. I will NOT answer any inquires. You now know what I know. Your readers must do their own research.



Vote -1 Vote +1david
October 17, 2011 at 6:30 am

Thanks MP. I own a 2000 Excursion with low mileage. I was hoping to keep that operational due to it’s towing ability even though it has poor gas mileage. With your information I will definitely consider an older vehicle for this purpose.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
October 19, 2011 at 1:07 am

No prob, glad to help, I’m not an expert but being a car nut it’s something I did look into quite a bit. In my own eccentric personal opinion, older vehicles just seem to have more character anyway.


Vote -1 Vote +1Tracy
October 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

David, Love your blog, love your work, but give me a break about why the US is hated. Do other readers of your blog believe that the world hates us for our “freedoms” ect? I seriously doubt it, and I was surprised that you wrote it.

That said, I learned a lot from this article and appreciate your sharing your knowledge.



Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
October 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

Hello Tracy,

Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, a good part of the world does hate us for our freedoms. I wish you were right.


Vote -1 Vote +1Clay Riley
October 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Interesting data.

Best cheap protection to EMP is being turned off. Metal case grounded. Magnetism creates electricity by the fields crossing conductors like copper/aluminum wires. Most electronics will not fry unless active and voltage applied. If power cables are not connected, item is further protected since EMP uses the power conductors to create surge voltages which fry transformers and electrical wiring like in power systems. Greatest danger to user is being attached to power grid. Massive corona events overload power line distribution systems and surges fry the network and things attatched. If you are not using it, just unplug it and if possible ground the connectors.
Major area of concern is airline safety. Most commercial jets are controlled by computers. Pilots fly the computers. If their electronics is fried, guess what the aircraft is going to do?
The old saying about a Bill Gates moment isn’t very life sustaining on an airplane.
You may want to start asking Boeing, Focker, Italia and the other manufacturers, what are they doing to prevent air disasters if we get an EMP from any source.


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