From some recent correspondence with the Panhandle Rancher. Published with his permission. Thanks Panhandle!!
I performed a biennial check of H/T’s and marine VHF base units stored in the family bunker the other day and am enclosing a couple of photos of how they are EMP shielded (double ammo boxed, insulated inside the first box and outside with cardboard and metallic taped. I metallic tape all seams and weld points on the ammo boxes. Big electronics are stored in original packaging inside ammo boxes and smaller H/Ts are first packaged in foam bags wrapped in aluminum foil that in turn is wrapped in cardboard). I also have solar charge controllers, a FLUKE DVM, LED flashlights, NVGs, range finding Leica binoculars, NICAD and DEWALT battery chargers, several battery/solar powered scientific calculators, a 100W multi band amateur radio, and 150W Marine HF transceiver thusly protected. I back fill all containers with N2 gas before sealing. As the humidity is quite low in this region, I don’t use silica gel.
Some similarly protected electronics sealed in multiple 20mm ammo boxes are also metallic taped, insulated, and stored inside US Military aluminum medical chests for additional shielding. The large medical chests are placed on wood planks in CONEX containers for more protection and I plan to build a metal frame/aluminum skinned building around two of the containers, thus adding another layer of shielding. A John Deere diesel (no computer) M-Gator and spares will be stored in one of the CONEX containers and the other will be filled with force multiplying electronics including unused solar panels and GRUNDFOS water pumps. I’m thinking of throwing in several Apple laptop computers and a printer or two with supplies as well. Elsewhere I have a half dozen best office quality manual typewriters, spare ribbons, and reams of paper. I suppose I should throw in a couple of coils and ignition wiring for my 1974 Jeep we call TEOTEAWKI. Several one ton ranch trucks are older 4wd diesels. I cut down a JD wheat drill and disc into 5′ long units so they could be pulled behind a horse, the Jeep, or the M Gator. Will send you photos of these if you are interested. Not much way one could harness a team to pull a 20′ disc or drill.
If you think of anything I’m missing either in EMP protection or stores, please let me know.
– Panhandle Rancher
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Correct me f I am wrong but shouldn’t the metal boxes be grounded? I noted that you stated they were on wooden pallets, if they do indeed need to be grounded it would be simple to attach a ground wire to them with a magnet mount. Again, I am asking as I am no expert.
This will not work. You aren’t protecting any of those electronics from an EMP. If you do not provide a suitable shunt path to earth ground, the boxes are electrically transparent to an EMP and won’t do a darned thing.
Faraday shielding is not just putting something in a metal container and calling it good. There are some physical requirements that must be met if you expect any of those circuits to remain intact. Don’t think of it like a shield, think of it like a bypass; a faraday shield actually bypasses or shunts current away from what is inside. But to do that, it needs a very low impedence route to dissipate the current. If you wanted to try and shield the circuits, you might encase them in glass or plastic or another suitable insulator, but that is problematic as well.
Your protection for your electronics seems to be quite sufficient if not overkill, but the only detail I see that wasn’t noted is that somewhere near your storage area, there should be a copper ground rod at least 24 inches into the ground and preferably moist gound for optimal ground protection with a piece of sheetmetal on the floor, grounded to your copper ground rod. Then set your ammo cans on top of the sheetmetal. In the event of an EMP or CME, an elecromagnetic pulse or wave will travel the perimiter of a Faraday cage (in your case ammo box) and search for the next metal condu
The doubling of enclosures isn’t really needed if you connect your Faraday cages (in your case ammo boxes) to a copper ground rod driven into the ground near your supplies. Once you have a copper ground rod in the earth (preferably moist ground), run a single copper wire to your storage area. An easy and effective method is to lay down a piece of sheet steel, painted to prevent rust, with a sheetmetal screw in a corner to secure your ground wire, and place your ammo cans on top of the sheet. The sheet steel doesn’t have to be thick at all, just enough so that it doesn’t curl when you step on it. When an EMP or CME hits, it acts just like a lightning strike in that it will travel the surface of aything and everything electrically conductive and seek the closest ground. By placing your ammo cans on a grounded metal surface, your electronics will be more than sufficiently protected. Also you can protect your vehicles by purchasing some cheap jumper cables, split them apart and grab any grounded part of the vehicle (metal bumper or chassis component) and connect to an underground water pipe or spigot. You only need 1 jumper cable per vehicle and once a vehicle is grounded, any electronics or batteries inside should be sufficiently protected. In the event of a major catastrophic EMP or a massive X-class CME, the best vehicle to have would be one that has NO ELECTRONICS that the vehicle depends on to run. My personal choice is an M35A2 2.5-ton 6X6 commonly known as a “deuce and a half”. The truck uses a Mulitifuel diesel engine that operates on a mechanical injection pump and will run on almost anything from low octane gasoline to waste motor oil or vegetable oil. In the event of an EMP or massive CME, all I need to fuel my truck is a 3 foot piece of rebar sharpened at one end, a decent size hammer and a drain pan. Any abandoned vehicle is a potential fuel source as I can poke and drain the oil pan, transmission pan, and fuel tank, mix them together and strain them into my fuel tank. If transportation is of any importance after a SHTF situation, a truck like this is an invaluable asset.
re Faraday cage-now I am confused. I thought I could put my radio and batteries into the cardboard box into a
metal garbage can and that it would be protected.Do I need to ground the metal garbage can?Thanks.Arlene
To Panhandler rancher-great idea re the JD .We have a draft horse and we are currently seeking some horse drawn equipment- tough to come by.
Opinions are many and facts are few. The bottom line is no one knows exactly what will happen. It also depends on whether the EMP is from the sun or from a bomb (HEMP). I like the idea of multiple enclosures myself – the more the better.
Yes Arlene, a metal garbage can will work to protect the electronics inside. In order for the items inside the can to be fully protected, the can must be grounded. You could get away with picking up a cheap pair of automotive jumper cables, peel the 2 cables apart into 2 individual cables and hook one end to a handle on the garbage can, and connect the other to a water pipe that goes into the ground. If you need the extra length, you can connect the cables end for end to double the reach from the storage can to the ground source or pipe. If your supplies are in your basement, look for a green shielded copper wire you will find clamped to a water line and connected to the electrical conduits, furnace, or water heater. As long as you have your storage can physically connected to a good physical ground, the items inside should be adequately protected. If you have any trouble understanding anything I’ve indicated here, an electrician, phone repairman, plumber, cable guy, or HVAC technician can assist you in clarifying what needs to be done.
Great article, and great list of gear to protect. I need to add a backup submersible pump, NVG scope, and electronic ignition CDI/blackboxes for the tractor, chainsaws, log splitter, ORVs, etc. All my passenger vehicles are vulnerable (late models), not even going to try to store modules for them. We have other transportation if necessary. The only items I added that I didn’t see listed (but some might be included in your “force multiplying electronics” category) is a collection of motion sensors of various types, including a couple Dakota Alerts, smoke detectors, multi-voltage DC power supplies (tabletop/wall warts/12v auto/usb), solar lights, and a generator. Also some old (or just cheap) am/fm/sw radios that we no longer use, for trade.