Myths Regarding Electro-Magnetic Pulse

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N2NH, Feb 19, 2019.

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  1. N2NH

    N2NH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I cannot tell you how many times I have heard (quote):

    Myth: Popular Mechanics magazine says . . . "

    Fact: Popular Mechanics is a fantasy magazine and a major source of EMP myths from incompetent science writers. They won't even publish a retraction after they are proven to be wrong. To make matters worse, their errors are copied all over the internet. Don't believe anything that you read in Popular Mechanics without checking the information in an independent source that is not merely copied from Popular Mechanics. Articles in other publications that use information sourced from Popular Mechanics should also be viewed with suspicion.

    Here is a web page that has the low-down on the myths and misconceptions regarding EMPs. I learned a lot there and thought it would be good to share.
    N0TZU likes this.
  2. AA5CT

    AA5CT Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. K3KIC

    K3KIC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I participate on an industry EMP working group and have modeled NEMP effects on some of the equipment I develop for the cable industry. The group also has accumulated a considerable library of related materials including US military test data. There is much false information about the impacts of an NEMP and often included CME related surges. (An NEMP is an EMP event caused by a nuclear detonation. A CME is a solar event that can cause electrical impacts similar to some aspects of a NEMP event. There are three primary surges associated with a NEMP detonation. Labeled E1, E2, E3.)

    To make the discussion relevant to the forum, the US government tested some amateur radio setups with simulated NEMP E1 pulses (usually considered the most damaging) and found that if antenna feeds were protected with gas type surge protectors many survived.
    KA0HCP, KK5JY and N0TZU like this.
  4. K3KIC

    K3KIC Ham Member QRZ Page

    As part of my efforts described above I've also done some research on the impacts on the power grid. I also conclude that much of the talk about 100% grid down is exaggerated. Even more so with CMEs.
    And each year power systems are being further hardened against surges. Especially low frequency surges.
    KK5JY and N0TZU like this.
  5. AA5CT

    AA5CT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The simple addition of a series capacitor eliminates the slowly varying 'earth current', a GIC, (Geomagnetic Induced Current) causing a GMD (Geomagnetic Disturbance) that can push the magnetic B-H curve off to one side and allow transformer saturation to occur, followed by damage if it's in service and loaded to a good degree ... the 1989 Hydro Quebec event opened a lot of eyes ...
    N0TZU likes this.
  6. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Popular Mechanics along with the (even worse) Popular Science are debased shadows of what they once were. I'm amazed they are still alive.

    As for EMP? Yes, it's been exaggerated. Beginning with the effects generated by the Starfish Prime test...which, if you dig deep, weren't quite as impressively scary as some have claimed.

    A high yield hydrogen bomb exploded high in the atmosphere could destroy some devices, but kill every car's electronic ignition (like in The Day After)? Likely not. Same goes for a big solar event. Damage, yes. The destruction of every transformer? Probably not. ;)
    WA8FOZ and N0TZU like this.
  7. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    This ARRL web page has a series on EMP that describes how to protect your station. While old, rigs back then used dual gate MOSFETs that were quite easy to damage. Current radios are less susceptible to damage.
    KK5JY and W4NNF like this.
  8. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    EMP is the worst thing! Didn't you see when the Martians beamed down to their underground machines and Ton Cruise couldn't start his car?
  9. K0MB

    K0MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's not even a "pulse," it's a wave.
  10. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    My station is fairly well protected against nearby lightning events with a proper ground system and antenna discharge units. So it's likely to survive a NEMP.

    Besides, any adversary that did it would be destroyed, the same as any other nuclear attack. So, the probability of it happening is essentially zero compared to the likelihood of normal everyday hazards such as a fatal traffic accident or a fatal fall off the roof while working on antennas.

    There is an entire cottage industry of fear mongers eager to sell all kinds of things to the gullible or paranoid and they advertise in such publications as Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, etc.
    KA0HCP and KK5JY like this.

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