Letter Re: Preparing for EMP and DEW — A Layman’s Guide

Dear Editor:
In answer to Norm’s question: Yes, insulating items that are already inside a Faraday shield appears to be superfluous. As long as the shield works (is unbroken and made of the right materials and configurations to counter the frequencies targeted), the overwhelming vast majority of the energy does stay outside. This has been verified in our tests and is a basis for the products we make. For example, we tested our laptop EMP shield against an EMP simulator made by APELC in Texas – no visible upset was observed despite their machine throwing over 150 kV/m at our shielded laptop. An unshielded computer next to the shielded one was reset – had we attached cables to provide a pathway into the unshielded computer, it’s likely that computer would have been permanently destroyed.

To give you an idea of what “overwhelming vast majority” means – we also covered their probe with our shield to protect it from being damaged. At a field strength of roughly 150 kilovolts/m or higher, the probe measured 15 volts – and the closure around the probe was not very good, so it’s very possible the probe would have measured even less with a good seal.

We have some videos of the testing on our web site and Youtube channels (EM Starfish Defender) that you can see – while we don’t provide the field strengths, they should all be  50,000 -150,000+ volts/meter. Our Marx generator and the APELC device are roughly equivalent – the major factor is the APELC device (outdoors version) uses much more power because it generates a pulse at a distance whereas ours is up-close (and therefore needs less energy to achieve the same field strength). Their machine also produces a spark in a shorter time frame than ours.

I have received a lot of questions being tossed my way. I was hoping to clarify a couple points that I could have written better.

Point 1: I had written that E1/E2 is not significant over large distances. I failed to clarify that this is true on an INDIVIDUAL level, not a societal one. According to Army graphs, field strengths of up to 25,000 v/m of E1 energy can be generated across most of the United States. A field strength of 50,000 v/m covers a far smaller area. The EMP Commission report stated that radios and personal computers require strengths of 50 kv/M or more on average in order for anomalies to start occurring – even then, most of the time these small electronics can be fixed by resetting them. (All numbers are approximate and the report should be consulted for the exact statements). Our own testing results are consistent with this finding – so most small/personal electronics are safe from E1 to start with – UNLESS a “super-EMP” is used. In a Faraday cage, they are definitely safe, even from “super-EMP” weapons.

HOWEVER, societal-scale electronics such as traffic lights, railroad switches, etc can exhibit anomalies, according to the EMP Commission Report, in field strengths as low as 6-7,000 v/m – these are approximate numbers and the full report should be consulted. That said, anomalies does not equate to destruction. A simple manual reset should fix most problems. Repair times are estimated to be relatively short. The main problem is attempting restoration with communications, electricity, and transportation all being down – nobody has tested out the theory, which is the problem with EMP.

Credit to D. Gore for pointing out that this needed clarification.

Point 2: I had stated that one of the biggest fears that we have are that the backup systems at nuclear power plants are not EMP-proofed. According to Ralph Machesky (who works at Applied Research Associates), they are not. This makes sense from our perspective, because the backup generators are supposed to be there in case the primaries fail, which is not supposed to happen; EMP-proofing the generators seems beyond the minimum standard. We also believe this to be the case. However, if any readers work in the industry and have first-hand knowledge of whether this is true or not, they should feel free to chime in.

Thanks again, – Joel Ho