Letter Re: EMP Computer Question


What laptop would you recommend for storing in an EMP proof environment, to be used after an event to retrieve electronic files such as Survivalblog/Mother Earth News archives? There are so many options, and choosing the wrong one could be frustrating to say the least. I have hard copies of some essential books, but there are just too many helpful things in electronic format to ignore if it would be possible to retrieve. Thanks for all you do! – P.H.

HJL Replies:

If the device is to be stored in an EMP resistant container, there are no special considerations that must be give for EMP itself. Rather, the considerations should be towards long-term reliability, since a replacement may be hard to come by after such an event. There are many options that are possible from rugged laptops or smaller rugged tablets. My preference leans towards devices … Continue reading

Letter: EMP Proofing a 1988 F250 Diesel


In the book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” a device for $20 is mentioned. Where can I get it? – H.P.

JWR’s Comment:

Go to your local Ford dealership’s parts department. Ask them for a spare “glow plug controller” for your truck (model and year.). If they have one on hand, ask them to see it. If they ask an exorbitant price, then look for the same part at you local car and truck wrecking yard.

Top Six Common Questions Concerning An EMP, by Old Bobbert

EMP blast

Maybe you, like many, have questions about an EMP. As a friendly, and hopefully a pleasing feature, this article is being edited as it is being typed so as to be read as though it were a friendly two-person, social conversation.

The Sit-Rep Situation That Initiated Research

The sit-rep situation would necessarily be two good friends talking about a recent article concerned about a potential EMP situation caused by a strong ego-driven leader of a small Asian nation with an attitude and an ego to match. We will call our two friends Bob and Ray. Actually Bob (Old Bobbert ), that’s me, did call his friend Ray about the Texas flooding disaster. Ray lives in Texas about seventy-five miles from Houston, and they are safely outside the coastal flood area. We did talk about the possibility of a sneak EMP attack for about forty-five exciting minutes. We have similar backgrounds … Continue reading

Letter: EMP Foil Wrap

EMP Foil Wrap

Good morning, Hugh and James,

I’ve posed questions before RE: EMP protection, and now I have one or two more.

Survival blog had a recent series of posts about how to EMP-proof steel ammo cans; I found them enlightening. but they sparked some questions.

A Faraday Cage

The purpose of a Faraday cage is to completely enclose the item one wishes to protect with a conductive material. This will not permit passage of electromagnetic energy of certain wavelengths. The usual approach to Faraday cages is to exclude all wavelengths of electromagnetic energy. Different electronic components may also be susceptible to energy of different wavelengths. An EMP event may include myriad wavelengths of electromagnetic energy. This creates the preference for solid material, rather than mesh, EMP protection.

Letter Re: Does EMP Affect Solar Panel Systems?

EMP Solar panel

EMP Solar Panel

Good day sir. The talk of EMP has greatly increased recently for many reasons you are well aware of. What would happen to either grid tied or non grid tied solar systems in this instance? What would happen to generators as well? – R.C.

HJL’s Comment:

Two of our Writing Contest sponsors, Portable Solar LLC and Quantum Harvest, LLC, both specialize in EMP hardened systems. You should check their sites out and also the videos that they have on YouTube. We have several other advertisers that sell Solar equipment and it would be worth your time to check with them as well, though they don’t specifically advertise EMP hardened systems. Generators are more robust (except perhaps for the modern inverter units), but if they are grid tied they are … Continue reading

Letter Re: EMP Protection Measures

Steel drums

Hugh and James:

I’m missing something regarding EMP protection measures, and I could use some help.

I have researched EMP, how it’s created, and the common frequencies of EMP. I’ve looked into its relative intensity based on creation mode, altitude (in the case of nuclear devices), and the extended effects attributed to conductive networks. I understand what a Faraday cage is and how it works. And I’ve read numerous articles, lots of forum comments, endless opinions, a quantity of engineering documents, and several much learned evaluations on protecting against EMP.

The Problem

So here’s where I keep running aground: Protecting from EMP is, at its base, a simple affair. You provide a conductive shell around what one wishes to protect. Grounding that shell, or not grounding, is a subject of debate. However, my experience with electronics indicates that if the shell is doing its job, grounding it is not a … Continue reading

Letter Re: EMP Telltale


Whenever the power goes out wherever I am, the first thing I do is see if my battery-operated watch is still working. I suspect one of these times, the screen will be blank or just chaos. – Sid, too near Niagara Falls

HJL Comments: As technology advances, the gate sizes grow smaller making such electronics more susceptible, but at the same time manufacturers recognize that they are more susceptible to static electricity as well. As a result, manufacturers almost always include some basic protection in the on-board circuits. Add to that the concept that the amount of energy absorbed by these electronics is directly related to the amount of “antenna” on the circuit board and you end up with practically no idea whether your watch will survive or not. The circuits are so small that the antenna lengths are negligible (unless you happen to be plugged in charging the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Using EMP-Hardened HF Ham Radio


I strongly recommend against using any Heathkit rig for an emergency radio. There was one solid state Heathkit but it was a rebadged, factory assembled Yaesu. All others were built by an individual, whose attention to detail you most likely have no idea about. They are known in the hobby as “GRIEF kits” for a GOOD reason. They fail – early, and often. They have too many disadvantages for the emergency backup purpose. Besides all the ones mentioned by the original author:

  • They have high (LETHAL) voltages inside.
  • They require 120V AC power.
  • They have no cooling fan on radio, nor power supply, and these digital modes are 100% duty cycle on transmit.
  • They have no easy way to “turn down the output power”, and hence avoid detection (OPSEC), and save precious (AC) power.
  • They are old, and WILL fail. (Did I mention that before?). Tubes are fragile, … Continue reading

Using EMP-Hardened HF Ham Radio to Send/Receive E-Mail During Nationwide Outage- Part 1, by PrepperDoc

There are multiple possible scenarios that may result in a regional an/or national combined loss of Internet connectivity and cell/telephone service, during which you would probably wish to maintain communications to loved ones and others. EMP may destroy routers, cell towers, and power sources; solar coronal mass ejection (CME) may remove power from all communications systems; cyber warfare may have similar outcomes. Travel in some of these circumstances will be difficult, or dangerous to impossible.

Ham radio VHF/UHF repeaters may go down, due to power outages or EMP. Direct, point to point simplex VHF Ham radio will still work (even after an EMP, if hand-held radios were at all hardened or protected) over modest distances. Long range HF direct Ham radio communications will work (possibly after a delay of any EMP), presuming you had protection (if EMP) and have your own power. However, they will be of less usefulness … Continue reading

Letter Re: Shielding Electronics From EMP

Another point on electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and Faraday cages is even something simple can be protective. There are 30 Gallon galvanized steel trash cans with lids (made in the USA!) available at my local farm and ranch store for $22. This makes for affordable and easy storage, and you can wrap things in common aluminum foil. Or even something like a steel cabinet or vault, but generally try to avoid gaps or spaces. It doesn’t have to be zero signal, but reduce the field strength enough to prevent damage.

Vehicles have some protection for many years. In the early days of electronic ignition systems, truckers with CB linear amplifiers were causing police vehicles to stall. And driving near powerful radio towers also caused some glitches. The protection added since the early 1970s isn’t military grade, but realize if your vehicle doesn’t even hiccup when it is next … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: EMP Effect and Pacemakers

While case-by-case circumstances can effect the practicality of many alternatives, there are external pacing and monitoring options. The Zoll Company for example has just released a type of vest, worn similar to a brassiere with a fanny pack (battery pack). This device consistently performs cardiac monitoring and when a shockable rhythm presents itself the device does just that. More archaic methods would involve adhesive defibrillation or subcutaneous pacing patches and a cardiac monitor, while the monitors can be significantly expensive, older models are available at online auction sites. Both the aforementioned devices can be recharged, and more importantly, stored in a Faraday cage to protect them from an EMP. Neither would be as convenient as implanted devices but in a pinch could be just the thing to keep that ticker going.  – John, EMT-P.

Dear Editor:
You aren’t safe even when it is not an … Continue reading

Letter: EMP Effect and Pacemakers

I have an implanted cardiac device (a pacemaker and defibrillator) and, after reading the letter about possible effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) on batteries, became curious as to how an EMP or maybe a strong solar flare could affect my device. I searched SurvivalBlog’s archives and saw that such an event could possibly damage the implanted cardiadefibrillator (ICD). Is there any firm evidence as to what may actually happen to an ICD or similar device in the human body and anything that can be done to counter the effects? It seems it will be a bleak future for the millions of people whose life depends on some form of technology in the event of a worse-case scenario, but, God willing, I still plan on having a long life. Thanks. – J. “Doc” Holiday

Hugh Replies: Yes, this is a troubling issue. Integral pacemakers with defibrillators have leads … Continue reading

Letter Re: EMP Question


I’ve asked Matt Bracken this question, and he didn’t know. I’ve read all of your EMP-related data, but none of them answer the question of whether batteries, particularly the small D, C, AAA, AA types need to be shielded to protect them from EMP. All authors make much of electronics in devices but never mention separate stores of batteries or the dangers of batteries stored in electronic devices like radios, sights, et cetera. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. – S.D.

Hugh Responds: There is much FUD in the online world (and in books) about EMP. Some of it is well deserved, and some of it is simply because of ignorance about how such forces work. There are two interrelated factors that are critical in determining how destructive an EMP would be towards electronics:

  • Peak impulse energy
  • Length of the reception antenna
  • The peak impulse … Continue reading

    Surviving EMP: Suburban Circle Garden- Part 2, by Northwest Native Elder

    Step 3: Buy the best of plants for surviving

    I have listed the vegetables below that I have planted and that have proven successful for me. Also, I have ordered the following plants from 1-5 with #1 needing the most sun and #5 needing the least sun. They will all benefit from the most sunlight they can get, but tomatoes need full sun and heat. It is a short list but an important one. These are the plants that you, as an inexperienced gardener, will have the best chance at growing, storing, and surviving on. You may have to supplement your diet with animal protein of some kind, but remember “any food is better than no food”. When it is time to buy seeds, you may want to think about buying enough for your neighbors who surround you. This is inexpensive insurance to protect your own garden. If they plant … Continue reading

    Surviving EMP: Suburban Circle Garden- Part 1, by Northwest Native Elder

    Being descendants of Native Americans and Swiss/German immigrants, my family has survived and thrived off our land for generations. We hunt and gather an abundance of local food– venison, salmon, elk, smelt , crab, clams, acorns, huckleberries, and seaweed– from the Redwood Forests, Wild Rivers, and Mighty Pacific Ocean, and we cultivate our “civilized” gardens and orchards, grown in the manner brought by our European ancestors. Having the best of both worlds so to speak, we have never really experienced a lack of food in our area. The art of gathering, growing, and preserving food for winter has always been the top priority for us. Preparing for disasters has also been a full-time job around our home, and believe me where I live in the Pacific Northwest there are plenty of disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, wildfires, drought, economic collapse, foreign invasion, and/or EMP to prepare for. While all … Continue reading