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Author Topic: EMP Government study about its effects on systems  (Read 12908 times)
KE6AEE
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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2010, 08:41:56 PM »

Worrying about your radio equipment or other electronics will be the least of a persons problem.  Try looking at no food production, no water, no gas, no electric, mass starvation, millions of dead from lack of the above.  

de Richard
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N8QH
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2010, 10:54:54 PM »

True. It would be a mess of biblical proportions that would make the loss of life during the Black Plague look like a minor flu outbreak. And I suppose some people would throw in the towel, in which case, a 45 caliber pistol and a single cartridge would be sufficient "preparations."

I don't think most Hams would give up that easily. As long as you can read a schematic, and know how to replace/swap fried semiconductors, you'll have plenty of employment. And you may be able to trade a working radio for a horse.  

I don't mean to make light of the situation. Anyone who's toured a food processing plant will appreciate how automated they are - and all of that automation will probably stop working. Our society is unimaginably vulnerable to a prolonged loss of technology. But if such an attack should ever occur, we'll need two things to reboot our society: communications, and information on how to fix what's broken and cope with conditions in the meantime. The two most valuable local resources could be the neighborhood Ham and the local library.
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N8QH
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2010, 09:47:50 PM »

If anyone would like to test the survivability of their own radios, there is now an outfit that is selling plans and parts for creating your own mini EMPs. Hopefully, they don't work as well as claimed...

http://www.amazing1.com/emp.htm

I'd write about all the nasty things one could do with one of those, but it'd be irresponsible.
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W8JI
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2010, 05:18:12 PM »

If anyone would like to test the survivability of their own radios, there is now an outfit that is selling plans and parts for creating your own mini EMPs. Hopefully, they don't work as well as claimed...

http://www.amazing1.com/emp.htm

I'd write about all the nasty things one could do with one of those, but it'd be irresponsible.

Most of the EMP stuff I see, including the two projects at that link, are just silly. The people have no idea what they are saying or doing, and probably do not care so long as they make a quick buck off some very paranoid people who are looking for a problem so they stay employed, look important, or look busy.

There was a long talk at the local Public Safety Training Center near me, and it was technically ridiculous. Of course when presented in a profession manner to a bunch of people who have no clue about energy conversion, electromagnetics, or component behavior..... it all sounds pretty good.

It all walks like, talks like, and smells like the Y2K hysteria.

Fools and their money are soon parted, sometimes with government ignorance or help.  :-)


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KE6AEE
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2010, 01:30:59 AM »

I wonder if anybody has heard of the 1859 Carrington event.  Which is a massive solar storm CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) that could have the same effect as a Nuclear induced EMP.  NASA has predicted massive up comming solar storms.

Richard
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AA4HA
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2010, 10:20:25 AM »

Another comms alternative would be to purchase a good mil-surplus transceiver that has already been tested to survive an NEMP event.

The incredibly fast rise-times of an EMP event do make it difficult to design a transient protection system. Single point low impedance grounding, shielding and a layered, hybrid protection system can mitigate much of the damage. "If" we had any advance notice we could always unplug and stash gear away.

If I was the villain I would cause a second event a day or so later to take out all of the gear that was squirreled away.

It does not take a PhD to design a decent system, nor would it cost an arm and a leg. There are several sources of information on how to design and deploy a hardened system. You do need to look at every input/output to your gear (including the microphone cord) and come up with an approach.

The good thing is that for DC power there are devices that are plenty fast (Transorb's, also called avalanche diodes) and can address the very fast rise-times.

You will recall that inductance in series slows down a fast rise time pulse. If you installed small inductors (RFI filters) on things like microphone cords, external speaker connections, keys, DC inputs/outputs and programming ports and also used a Transorb to divert the transient to ground you would end up accomplishing many of the things that the very expensive protector devices do.

I use several Harris RF-350K's in my shack and the design was accepted years ago as being acceptable for an NEMP environment. It is a microprocessor based radio with a Z-80 CPU, memory and synthesizers so it is something that should be very susceptible. Going over it with a practiced eye (I was an EMI/RFI compliance engineer for several years) I find a half-dozen things I would have done differently. (more fingerstock, ferrites, a mesh screen in front of the LCD display, more chokes and protection on the data ports). If someone was interested I could point you to some of the testing documents that the military uses for certifying gear.

If you try not to obsess about the low probability of an NEMP event then think about it this way; All of these measures are also excellent additions to improving your EMI/RFI filtering (emission and susceptibility), lightning protection and power conditioning. If you do it right then all of these practices are still a worthwhile investment and within the technical and financial means of most hams.

Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N8QH
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2010, 02:50:01 PM »

Excellent suggestions! What keeps the bad stuff (EMP) out, also keeps the bad stuff (RFI/EMI) in. The same is true for computer security: good TEMPEST* countermeasures also provide some good EMP/RFI protection.

Here are some other ideas: You can get very high quality and extremely durable aluminum foil from a company that sells it for radiant barriers in home construction: http://www.radiantguard.com/. The heavier "Ultima" product is practically impossible to tear by hand and is perforated to prevent it from forming a vapor barrier (which would soak your gear in a humid environment). The perforations also make it much easier to apply to surfaces using adhesives (no bubbles). You can get 500 square feet of it for about $75. A thin flat conductor like foil is just as conductive to RF as a much thicker material due to skin effect, and a wide flat conductor like foil has very low effective series inductance.

Many formulations of tinted glass are conductive on the tinted side. The tinting in the form of various conductive metals is electrically sputtered onto the tinted side in a vacuum chamber. Verify conductivity of the surface with an ohm meter. You can typically find tinted glass that's 30 ohms or less between opposite corners (of any size) of a square sample. You can use conductive tape with conductive adhesive such as 3M 1120 (aluminum) or 3M 1181 (copper) for edge connections.

Tisha, you make an excellent point: The measures taken to mitigate an EMP event are really just refinements to good engineering practice. Whatever one does to improve EMP survivability pays off in everyday benefits of reduced RFI/EMI emissions and improved survivability from lightning and power line transients.

I have often heard Hams talk about the futility of providing enough protection to allow their gear to survive a direct hit from lightning. When I was the assistant chief engineer at KLMS AM in Lincoln, NE, I would sometimes watch lightning split into five forks and strike all five of our towers simultaneously. It made some really loud snapping sounds and left the transmitter building smelling like ozone, but we would take dozens of direct hits every year with only rare damage to either the transmitter or co-located studio. We just followed good practices: a really good single point "common" ground and careful bonding of everything to that ground by the shortest possible path using adequately large flat conductors. All that effort paid off in terms of lowered noise and hum in our audio, and we escaped the problems that less well-engineered stations had of picking up taxi and police calls in their audio gear.

The same is true of EMP protection: it's not futile, and a small amount of effort and materials can go a long way toward mitigating the effects, while providing every day benefits.


* The NSA recently declassified TEMPEST - see this link: http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/cryptologic_spectrum/tempest.pdf. (And no, you won't have black helicopters hovering over your home after accessing the link). Since it involves RF and spycraft, the topic should be interesting to some Hams.
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WMCO
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« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2010, 03:28:13 PM »

On the topic of the likelihood of an EMP attack, please see the article at:

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43956

Quoting an excerpt from the above:

"Iran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America's technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world's lone superpower, say U.S. intelligence sources, top scientists and western missile industry experts.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I would NOT quote the nutcases at WND in a discussion by educated people. WND is run for nutcases by a nutcase and warmonger. Articles at WND are just as articles at the super market checkout...for entertainment purposes only. You may find .1% of truth and 99.9% of pure unadulterated fantasy tailored to right wing nutcases.
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K1JHS
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2010, 11:49:04 PM »

Having read all of the posts and studying the EMP effect since my post teen years Albert E. is my hero) the only thing I can say about this is if it were to occur the damage would be massive and the initial loss of life would be huge. After that comes the chaos, famine, etc. Regrettably I am in no position (which is about 99% of us) to have stockpiled gold, weapons, and food that may be needed for the months on end of problems one will have to face. I do however highly doubt that the US would be incapable of mounting a counter offensive. NORAD is hardened, the subs would be unaffected and we could easily land one of those lovely nuclear critters over every potentially threatening country within a day of it happening putting EVERYONE worldwide in the same boat. The "One Second After" article is a wake up call but I do not think the powers that be are not entirely oblivious to what could and might happen. For myself I am as prepared as I can be, My wake up call was named Katrina..... John
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N8QH
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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2010, 02:37:35 PM »

Having read all of the posts and studying the EMP effect since my post teen years Albert E. is my hero) the only thing I can say about this is if it were to occur the damage would be massive and the initial loss of life would be huge. After that comes the chaos, famine, etc. Regrettably I am in no position (which is about 99% of us) to have stockpiled gold, weapons, and food that may be needed for the months on end of problems one will have to face. I do however highly doubt that the US would be incapable of mounting a counter offensive. NORAD is hardened, the subs would be unaffected and we could easily land one of those lovely nuclear critters over every potentially threatening country within a day of it happening putting EVERYONE worldwide in the same boat. The "One Second After" article is a wake up call but I do not think the powers that be are not entirely oblivious to what could and might happen. For myself I am as prepared as I can be, My wake up call was named Katrina..... John

John, Kartina certainly DID show us how ineffectual the government can be, and how much we are truly on our own in a large scale catastrophe.  To their credit though, the government itself has told us repeatedly to be prepared for self-sufficiency and to not expect prompt assistance.

I agree that our military will certainly retain some retaliatory capabilities. But if the attack follows a 9/11 scenario, then who do we retaliate against? While military command, control and communications will probably be only disrupted - not disabled, I have a much more pessimistic expectation of the post-attack intelligence capabilities. After 9/11, the FBI had photos of the perpetrators on our TV screens within hours. But after an EMP attack, the disruptions may prevent identifying the culprits. If we lash out at "all the usual suspects", we may very well be playing into the hand of the attackers - who are likely in my mind to have visions of a post-apocalyptic Utopia. Something like: "Revenge of the Luddites" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite) where we are all supposed to live harmoniously in a simpler (and much less populated) world, governed by insert-fundamentalist-religion-here laws or overly-simplistic economic model. (In other words, where the Bad Guys are firmly in charge of everything.) Some societies feel very threatened by the "cultural pollution" brought on by Western communications and transportation technologies - which a NEMP will quite effectively shut down - and we won't be helping our own cause by further facilitating that apocalypse. Shutting down any legitimate government's ability to suppress these people near or within their own borders isn't going to help. I just don't see any wisdom in dropping "buckets of instant sunshine" over the stratospheres of those countries. I fear we'd likely find ourselves at a diplomatic impasse, and worse, I suspect the Bad Guys know that.

I also have to ask myself what kind of society we would have - where only the military retains the ability to communicate. Past societies haven't exactly flourished under that model.

I agree with AA4HA: The attackers will get the greatest result by launching a "one two punch"  attack: zap us once, wait for us to dig our spares out of storage, and then zap us again. So even if there is no warning, grabbing your gear (working or not) and shoving it in your oven at home (a fairly effective shield that everyone has near at hand) immediately after an EMP attack, and waiting as long as possible to remove it, might leave you with either working gear, or at least something that can be repaired. A microwave oven offers fairly good shielding for smaller VHF/UHF HTs. Don't believe me? Toss your cell phone in the microwave oven (BUT DON'T TURN THE MICROWAVE ON!) and watch through the window as it switches to "no service". Switching the oven on may be a reasonable simulation of the effects of an EMP, which will probably cause the phone to display "no service"... permanently. Don't try that experiment on anything you ever intend to use again.

To the poster here that surmises all this is just a Right Wing plot: none of the political players have control over the laws of physics. I concede that the effects have been exaggerated at times. In the book "One Second After", ALL of the late model cars quit running - even though the Commission report (referenced above in this thread) found that most of the cars they tested either continued to run, or could be immediately restarted (though you might have to suffer through some annoyance like the windshield wipers running continually). However, if you've got an antenna stuck in the air that connects to a commercial grade solid state radio - it's probably gonna get toasted.

If I were to stockpile anything, it would be the most popular transistors used in receiver front ends (wrapped in aluminum foil). That, a butane soldering iron, and some rosin core solder will be worth much more than its equivalent weight in gold.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 08:26:42 PM by Patrick Bryant » Logged
AD6KA
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« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2010, 12:20:08 PM »

[quote author=N8QH link=topic=45074.msg420031#msg420031 date=126168066

In an intelligence coup for the west, on September 6th, 1976, a MiG 25 Foxbat of the Soviet Air Defense Command flown by Lt. Viktor Belenko landed at Hakodate airport, Japan. Belenko was defecting to the west and gave them the first in-depth look at the aircraft. It was carefully dismantled and analysed by the Foreign Technology Division of the USAF, at Dayton, Ohio. Our military was highly amused when they discovered that all the avionics on board were based on vacuum tubes. They were surprised to find the Soviets design was so "primitive" -- that is, until they realized the vacuum tube technology was inherently immune to EMP. From what country do most of our vacuum tubes come to
[/quote]

I've always found Belenko's story to be fascinating. More as a socio-econiomic-political portrait of the Soviet Union at that time. Belenko was a skilled fighter pilot, with far more privileges than the average worker. Yet the first time hewas taken to an ordinary grocery store in the U.S., the though for sure it was a CIA setup. He had never seen so much food, or so much variety of food in his entire life. The place was spotlessly clean and there wre no long lines. Yup, this can't be for common floks to shop!

I've read most of the books about him and there are several interviews with Belenko that you can read on the net. Won't post them, y'all can Google. Just a short excerpt I liked:

Belenko:  And when I came to U.S. I behaved like someone from outer space. I put myself in very funny situations. Americans were laughing at me. I behaved worse than Mork in "Mork and Mindy".

Question: Like what did you do, for example?

Belenko: Belenko: First of all American super-market, my first visit was under CIA supervision, and I thought it was set-up; I did not believe super-market was real one. I thought well I was unusual guest; they probably kicked everyone out. It's such a nice, big place with incredible amount of produce, and no long lines! You're accustomed to long lines in Russia. But later, when I discovered super-market was real one, I had real fun exploring new products. I would buy, everyday, a new thing and try to figure out its function. In Russia at that time (and even today) it's hard to find canned food, good one. But everyday I would buy new cans with different food. Once I bought a can which said "dinner." I cooked it with potatoes, onions, and garlic-it was delicious. Next morning my friends ask me, "Viktor, did you buy a cat?" It was a can of chicken-based cat food. But it was delicious! It was better than canned food for people in Russia today. And I did test it. Last year I brought four people from Russia for commercial project, and I set them up. I bought nibble sized human food. I installed a pâté, and it was cat food. I put it on crackers. And they did consume it, and they liked it. So the taste has not changed. By the way, for those who are not familiar with American cat food. It's very safe; it's delicious, and sometimes it's better than human food, because of the Humane Society.

I bought a box of Freedom with the picture of nice looking lady. I did not know what it was. (I'm talking about maxi-pads.) I brought it to my apartment, I opened it, and I tried to figure it out. I thought well it's probably some cleaning device for the kitchen to give these American women freedom in the kitchen to clean up and absorb everything, because even today Russian women do not have this convenience.

The Soviets DEMANDED the return of the Foxbat, it was afer all, their property.
The US eventually complied and returned the jet.
All nicely and neatly packed into 30 crates of parts!  Smiley
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N8QH
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« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2010, 12:27:18 PM »

(quoting)
Belenko: Belenko: First of all American super-market, my first visit was under CIA supervision, and I thought it was set-up; I did not believe super-market was real one. I thought well I was unusual guest; they probably kicked everyone out. It's such a nice, big place with incredible amount of produce, and no long lines! You're accustomed to long lines in Russia. (snip)


Belenko has obviously never seen the check-out lines at my local Safeway ;-)
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N8EKT
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« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2010, 08:14:27 AM »

A Faraday cage is a very effective weapon against EMP attacks.

And if you live in a 14x70 faraday cage, all the better  LOL!
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N8QH
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« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2010, 12:25:13 PM »

A Faraday cage is a very effective weapon against EMP attacks.

And if you live in a 14x70 faraday cage, all the better  LOL!

It wasn't very long ago, while I was performing an information security assessment, that the IT Director proudly walked me into his: "TEMPEST proof, faraday shielded, server room." As I was standing there looking around, his cell phone rang. While he talked on the phone, I glanced at my cell phone and saw that I also had service.

When he finished his call, I pointed at the "one bar" on my cell phone display and asked him: "what's wrong with this picture?"  IT geeks seldom know much about RF, and he needed a detailed explanation. If your cell phone works inside, it's not a very good faraday shield.

The best "live aboard" faraday shield I've seen so far supplied AC power with a motor connected to the commercial power on the "outside" -- coupled through a big wooden pole to an AC generator on the "inside". The only bridge in the "air gap" was the mechanical coupling through that hunk of wood.

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KD6KWZ
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« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2010, 10:05:55 PM »

Debate is still on about EMP's effects. Hawaii didn't have 100% of their power or phone grid go down from the Starfish Prime detonation, yet, they did have some failures. Telephone systems then were dominated by relay type switching stations.

The USSR also did their own nuclear space detonations:

http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/03/emp-radiation-from-nuclear-space.html

I do think Military communications has EMP in mind. I know they do keep older tube based legacy equipment around just in case. Air Force One has EMP safeguards, per published reports.

An EMP attack would be treated as an act of war, no doubt. Terrorists, while to hardest ones to retaliate against, would be the least likely ones to launch such an attack, for they would have difficulty in getting an effective EMP generating device AND a launch vehicle. They are not likely to be able to put together a plutonium based boosted device that has the necessary fast X-ray pulse to fire a fusion secondary, all needed for a big EMP bang. They would probably be much more interested in destroying cities. A crude U235 device is much more doable for them. It's doesn't have to be sophisticated to wreck havoc to a city.

And, I do agree that the strategies for dealing with EMP on our equipment will also help with lightning strikes & power spikes.

Found a piece on the 1989 solar storm:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1205
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