The Old-School Forgotten Art To EMP-Proof Electronics


Even though we’ve all seen the effects of solar flares and their ability to knock out electricity and communications, some do not believe that an EMP attack will lead to social collapse. But it will…

As someone that loves to tinker with electronic devices, I am a firm believer in the potential for both natural (odds have increased substantially in the last few months because Earth’s magnetic field is weakening faster than expected) and human-made EMP attacks.

That being said, I also know that many of the worst problems that will come from an EMP attack can be reduced by using older technologies that rely on electronic components which are far less vulnerable to an EMP.

Electronic Devices Are Not As Complex As You Might Think

If you find yourself confused by electronic devices, simply remember that every component does one of five things with mathematical precision depending on the materials used:

  • allows electrons to flow through it
  • does not allow electrons to flow through it
  • prevents electrons from flowing until enough of them build up on one end of the component
  • allows electrons to flow if they are moving in one direction, but not if they try to go the opposite way
  • atoms within the component may change the organization of their own electrons so that the flow of electricity is accelerated, slowed down, or number of passing electrons increases

Once you understand what each component does, connecting parts in various patterns will create larger devices that meet specific goals.

All you need are the right components and a diagram that shows you how to arrange them.

Electronics Before Integrated Circuit (IC) Electronics

While Tesla and Edison were battling for control of how electricity would be produced and transmitted, most people were relying on oil lamps for light and cranks to start their automobile engines.

Interestingly enough, everything from the first telephones, victrolas, and radios, to televisions and nuclear bombs operated without the use of microchips and other semiconductor components that are highly vulnerable to EMP attack.

Therefore, if we go back to “old fashioned” electronics, we can both store and maintain EMP resistant devices.  Perhaps even better, when you go back to basic electronics, you can fashion components from the same kinds of Earth or nature/wilderness based materials that you might use for a fishing pole or some other survival need.

To Build Or Not Build Semiconductors?

electronicsAs you may be aware, a semiconductor is a special material that is selective in how to allow or denies passage of electrons.

When semiconductors are arranged in layers with insulators (materials that do not allow the flow of electrons) and conductors (materials that easily allow transmission of electrons), you can create all kinds of fascinating effects that take the place of older style electronic components.

This includes resistors, capacitors, relays, diodes, crystals, vacuum tubes, transistors and circuits (paths that arrange electronic components).

Many people today mistakenly believe that it is not possible to avoid using semiconductors in electronic devices. Further, there is also a belief that semiconductors will not be available because the technology will be lost to build integrated circuits.

That being said, you can still create some semiconductor based applications by layering glass and copper.  You can also use crystals, capacitors, and resistors to duplicate transistor effects. While they may take more power and require more maintenance, they will still be of use until other technologies can be recovered.

Simple Devices That You Can Build And Keep On Hand

Here are just a few simple things you can use to make fairly powerful electronic components.  Once you master making these basic elements, you can easily go on to building radios, transmitters, perimeter defense alerts, generators, and jury rigging for bypassing electronic systems in other gadgets.

  • salt water, oil, and paper based capacitors
  • wood and paper based resistors
  • speaker wire and metal rings for coils
  • simple grounds from wire and nails
  • earth batteries
  • solar power arrays that use heat to generate electricity
  • Tesla turbines and shell designs that run on moving water or air
  • quartz crystals for translation of sound to electrical pulses

Suggestions for Further Study

Not so long ago, you could visit your local Radio Shack store and pick up an electronics project kit that would easily teach you about electronic components and how to arrange them into useful circuits.

{adinserter emp}Unfortunately, if you walk into a Radio Shack these days, all you see are endless arrays of cell phones and pre-built devices while “old fashioned” electronic components are relegated to dusty bins in the darkest corner of the store.

To add insult to injury, project kits for kids these days are little more than solar cells, snap together robots, and an IC chip that do very little in the way of hands on educational building and exploration.

From that perspective, I recommend starting off with a used book on introductory electronics. Make sure the table of contents includes information on basic principles of electron movement, resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, relays, crystals, and coils.  There are also some good YouTube videos available if you would prefer that form of learning.  I also highly recommend the Mechanical Universe series if you are math inclined and want to delve into physics more than electronics.

If you do some research online, you will also find a few places that offer surplus electronic components.  You can get grab bags of different components to practice with, and then gradually move towards making your own parts.  For example, once you build a simple FM radio from basic parts, you can go on to make your own capacitors, etc as the next stage in your learning. With regard to tools I recommend the following:

  • a multi-meter that measures AC/DC, amperage, resistance, and capacitance.  It does not need to be digital or hook up to a computer
  • a good quality soldering iron with variable heat settings
  • circuit board etching kit
  • breadboards and wire connectors for practicing
  • grounding strap and non-magnetic tools
  • calming aides for your family members if they fear you will blow up the house or get into some other silly mischief
  • a place to work outside the house if calming aides do not work.

“Old fashioned” resistors, capacitors, relays, diodes, crystals, and simple wire can be used to build radios, transmitters, generators, and many other simple devices. While you may not be able to repair a cell phone or computer, these old technologies offer a starting point that can be used for survival, and ultimately, recapturing lost solid state and other technologies.

Perhaps even better, if you know how to create these simple electronic parts, you can also make them on your own from bits of paper, ore bearing rocks, natural crystals, and other items that you don’t normally think about in terms of building electronic devices.

This article has been written by Carmella Tyrell for

Written by

Carmela Tyrrell is committed to off gridding for survival and every day life. She is currently working on combining vertical container gardening with hydroponics. Tyrrell is also exploring ways to integrate magnetic and solar power generation methods. On any given day, her husband and six cats give thanks that she has not yet blown up the house. You can send Carmela a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • This article about EMP’s is very good and kind of goes along the book “Nine Days To Anarchy” by Farrell Kingsley. I learned so much from that book and I highly recommend it to any prepper out there. I got that book the day it came out and couldn’t put it down. He has another good book called “Anonymous Vengeanace” that is the same. They are kind of educational thrillers. But teach you allot about what an EMP can do and outlines what you need to survive. Carmen here takes it a bit further and goes around how we mass produce things today. Trying to make things smaller and using less metal and cheaper is the reason we are so exposed to the effects of an EMP.

    • Yes! Nine Meals To Anarchy is an awesome book.

  • There are many older tube type amateur radio receivers, lovingly referred to as “boat anchors” by some, due to their large size and weight, available on ebay for under $100..
    My personal choice is the Hallicrafters S118.
    These sets receive AM and amateur, as well as foreign, stations.
    I use the rain gutters on my house as an antenna.
    You will need a small inverter to power these from your car or other battery

    • If the tube radio was designed to acquire it’s power from 120 volt, single phase, 60 Hertz, AC (alternating current); then some where in it’s AC input you will find a step down transformer 120 volt to a lower voltage at single phase, 60 Hertz, AC. After that transformer there will be a bridge rectifier (four diodes in a diamond connection) with the reduced AC voltage connected on opposite corners of the diamond diode bridge and DC (direct current) voltage coming from the opposing corners of the diamond diode bridge. Where the DC voltage comes out of the bridge rectifier is where you need to observe the DC voltage (+,-) with your meter. This is the voltage you would need to operate the radio from a battery source. To make this radio operable with the AC source and a DC battery source you would disconnect the wires from the rectifier and take them to a “double pole double throw switch” ( two “common center, N.O., N.C.” ). You connect the radio DC (+) and (-) connections to the “common center” connections of the “double pole double throw switch” marking one switch as (+) and the other switch as (-). You connect the rectifier leads (+) and (-) to the N.C. connections of the “double pole double throw switch” (+) on the (+) switch and (-) on the (-) switch. Last you connect your battery input (+) to the N.O. (+) connection and the battery input (-) to the N.O. (-) of the “double pole double throw switch”. With this switch setup you can operate the radio from the AC it was originally designed for and from a battery source by toggling the “double pole double throw switch”. The necessary battery voltage will be what you viewed on your meter on the output of the DC rectifier while you were on the original AC input mode described in sentence three above. If the transformer in sentence one has a VA (volt / amps aka watts) rating then your battery will need that number of cells in series to produce that voltage needed and multiple parallel sets to provide the VA (current at that voltage) needed to run the radio. If the meter reading was 6 VDC or 12 VDC voltage then the battery selection would then require the VA rating of the transformer multiplied by a chosen period of time of operation ( Watt hours) to determine the battery size.

      • Absolutely not, for the majority of these radios. You need high B+ voltage, which is usually gotten from the ac line voltage, run through a tube type rectifier, usually a 35Z5 or 35W4 in these sets. The filament voltage is usually gotten from a series string arrangement, e.g. 35Z5+50L6+12SA7+12SK7+12SQ7= 35+50+12+12+12=121 volts. Since the “filaments” are actualy heaters, ac is ok.

        It is far easier to either buy an inverter for $25 or so at Walmart, or buy a 12 volt capable radio,(they WERE made back then) than to do all that you suggest.

        • Grintch, respectfully, your vehicle wont work if hit by an EMP, so the inverter wont either, without a power source. Please study more on the current events going on with the magmospear, understand it, if we are hit by EMP either the sun or man made, NOTHING will work, the gentleman is RIGHT, 100% right. Look deeper. A Faraday cage MAY work. In any case, unless your vehicle, is very old, and has no computer, an EMP will destroy its spark, one can make your own small EMP devise, that will knock out a vehicle, for about 5 bucks, its NOT science fiction.

          • My vehicle is a 1983 Ford Econoline with a Pre-electronic ignition system, as well as an alternator. off a 76 I believe,

          • My bad, nice truck.

          • I have at times looked for instructions to build a small EMP device, but as usual, I cannot find any. Maybe I am too lazy. Could you please direct me to a source? Thanks, Paul

        • Grintch, your alternator has a diode set in it that very well may be affected as the res of the semiconductor electronics. Even some of the tube type equipment can be subject to the emp burst. The windings in the transformers will pick up the burst and may create a pulse that can fry small resistors or capacitors. If we receive a pulse as they did in the late 1800s for the sun, very little of our infrastructure will survive. The key is the windings in the transformers and motors/ generators. As for high burst EMP device, while I am not a physicist, it appears that the energy released will be dispersed over such a wide area, as to minimize the damage. I assume I will be corrected if I am wrong, and I would like verification if I am.

      • I’ve never seen a DPDT switch with NO and NC connections


          • you can find dpdt switches at Grangers

  • If all the satelites and the grid is down or blown to bits. What good is any of this. Communications will be only within your imediate area and probably verbal. Every body should probably learn morse code and beat a drum. Might work better than any electronic ANYTHING.

    • “The natives are restless tonight” will take on new meaning.

    • Sharon –

      We had everything from radios, computers, phones, and TVs to nuclear bombs and airplanes long before satellites and solid state electronics arrived on the scene. Granted they were not as fancy as what we have now – but they offer a starting place after a crisis from which we can develop again if needed.

      Also – in our current arena of electronics, we missed many areas where we could have saved tons of energy and failed to do so because of poltiics and bad investments. I refer to the battles between Tesla and Edison, as well as the decisions to harness fossil fuels instead of steam, home based solar and wind, magnetic power, and a few other things. The more we preserve of this kind of information and learn to use it now, the better chance we have of building new and better after the initial stages of the collapse.

      • Carmela, why would we want those things back? So history can repeat itself at any cost in the name of “salvaging” that which led to our demise?

        The Internet hasn’t brought us closer, it’s created a reality in which neighbors no longer know each other – or want to. Radio has long been the tool of propagandists to spread their influence more efficiently in third world countries, and in more developed nations, television and social media have become drugs.

        That aside, the notion that people can read a couple of books (now there’s a novel idea) and start building electronic components out of garbage is idealistic at best, because without large scale power availability, even those few, random attempts will be nothing more than shots in the dark. Salt water batteries and solar cells are not going to save technology in a post-EMP environment.

        Not that it will matter anyway. Many governments are well entrenched. They are as “EMP-proof” as anything can get. I know this, because I’ve seen it. The technology won’t be lost, but it won’t be widely available any longer either. Anyone capable of generating a radio signal won’t go unnoticed for long – and if you can generate it, they can find you… so you’d better hope they don’t mind….

        • The universe does not operate on copper wire and silicon chips… Only the people of Earth do. What I’m advocating is evolution. You are advocating insanity.

          • The universe runs on insulators and conductors of electricity and other forms of energy. We just mimic that with copper wires and silicon chips to achieve localized goals.

            I think our species has evolved well past the time when the “sane” said it was impossible to fly or talk to people living miles away. We are ready to stop living in small groups that know nothing of each other beyond what leaders tell us. There is no going back to that, we can only move forward now.

        • Random,
          There are many electronic devices that are far more than a matter of convenience. Glucose blood testing meters help diabetics regulate insulin and diet; autoclaves help deliver sterile surgical instruments, radios provide vital infromation about storms, traffic snarls, earthquakes, and other important news. As for cell phones – I carry one for emergencies only.

          I think expanded communications are always important. Like guns and knives, however, it is up to the person that owns them to use them responsibly.

          Some studies show that human interactions are on the decline because of the internet; however I beg to differ. My closest family member lives over 100 miles from where I am, and others live overseas. Without Skype it would cost me a fortune to call by cell phone, and days on end to send a letter via post office. I still have close neighbors and friends and spend a good bit of time with them. However, I also appreciate having friends around the world and learning as much about them as I can from their own mouths instead of relying on media hype and brainwashing.

          With regard to building electronic equipment out of garbage – it was done before and can be done again. Also – I have a suspicion that many technologies have been lost, and those technologies revolved around using natural insulators and conductors found in the local terrains. It is my goal to prove that large scale power is not needed for global communication or other forms of technology for the masses. Rather, it is my contention that Edison put us on the track of essentially cracking eggs open with sledge hammers. There are far more elegant solutions available.

          Yes – I’m sure gov is prepared to deal with many emergencies and to protect itself. However, as my mom always said “you can never be too smart”, and God is always watching. So – no matter how assured gov may be of its own preparedness, you just never know when David will slay Goliath.

          Weak radio signals can be disguised with background noises from the planet itself. There are ways to hide signals and their origin. Beyond that – once a collapse happens – don’t bet on gov having the money, people, or resources to keep on trucking and go after everything they hear. Social collapse is just that – collapse – and that means gov goes with it.

          In closing – I do not wish to imply I make light of gov and its power, however, I refuse to live in a state of apathy, and I will use all resources and knowledge available to survive and give the best possible to the next generation. If gov turns out to help foster those goals – I will keep an open mind about that as well. In the end, they all have to come down to equal anyways.

          • Lol… Idealistic to the bitter end…

            Yet these are ends which can be avoided.

            Diabetes can be reversed – in many cases cured – through diet.

            Weak radio signals are not going to foster wide scale communications. Any device which transmits can be traced and found rather easily. It will be even easier in a post-EMP scenario because these signals will stand out like beacons in the absence of normal daily man-made EMF’s.

            You have brushed aside my statement on just how prepared some governments are for such an attack. It is a common mistake for people to underestimate what capabilities these entities will retain in such an event. No, government will not go down with social collapse, at least, not our government. I suppose unless you have glimpsed just how prepared they are, it could be difficult to fathom. I should also point out that our go ernment already operates without money, and in a post-collapse scenario, any entity that can create the impression of being able to offer shelter, basic security, food, water, etc… won’t need any currency in order to keep their operations intact.

            There are reasons for some technologies to seemingly have been “lost.” First, I would disagree that anything has. “Removed” would probably be a more appropriate word here. Some technologies have been removed from every day thought and or access. Reasons vary from issues of general personal safety to issues of widespread public safety. I am referring to everything from small, unintentional fires and possible explosions, to weapons of mass destruction and mind control. For example, humans already possess the technological ability to simply extract electrical energy from the time/space continuum, but if 7 billion people begin to employ this technology as an “energy resource,” what is going to hold together the molecules which make up the “fabric of the universe” as we know it? When your little DIY electrical project starts your dwelling on fire in the middle of the night, with no smoke alarm to warn you, and no fire department to respond to a call that cannot be made anyway, where is that going to leave you in a post-collapse scenario?

            All of your arguments in favor of preserving current technology as it is currently employed center around one thing: convenience. What I am attempting to point out is that convenience is not a necessity, and in a greater, more philosophical sense, that the notion we should strive to preserve this convenience is misguided at best.

            I work in this field. I’m an electrician who specializes in automated control technologies. My résumé includes work on power grids, pipelines, mineral resource mining, and UPS systems that are large enough to power small cities. I know exactly how all of this technology works, and I see how it is employed. I also follow world news, which means I am fully aware that thousands of people are dying every day for nothing more than the continued sustainment of these technologies… this convenience.

            So yes, we’d be better off starting over.

          • Random,


            Interesting thoughts, however I do not and will not ever succumb to “resistance is futile”. Gov was made by humans and is therefore mortal. It will be destroyed from directions they can never dream possible – that is just how the cycles of life and death go. Death comes out of nowhere.

            I agree with you 100% on Diabetes Type II. Don’t get me started on the ills of metofromin and other drugs that blow people’s kidneys, cause vitamin B-12 and other deficiences that lead to nerve damage, and many other problems; including being justification for this crap Obamacare being shoved down everyone’s throat to pay for state sanctioned death panel quackery that bears no resemblance to the good things real doctors do when left to their own devices.

            Weak radio signals can be used to transmit from one location to another. Beyond that, there are also other signal types that have not been explored at the consumer level that may become viable with better power sources and more attention to natural geography.

            My goal is not to recreate what we have now in exact detail. For example – I do not advocate use of fossil fuel, coal, nuclear power, large scale solar, wind, or hydrothermal. Rather – I advocate for home based power in which consumers are 100% in control of the energy they use. As far as that being dangerous – virtually everything we do in life is fraught with danger. Hundreds, if not thousands of house fires happen every year because of faulty wires, oil splatters in the kitchen, and camp fires not tended correctly. Large scale enterprises are no safer – just ask the Japanese about Fukushima. Millions of people right now are running around yapping on cell phones while driving GM suicide machines -and of them – 25% are on psych meds that lead to depression and suicide. Then you wonder why a car crash happens every 45 seconds in this country alone. I’m not about to give up on energy independence and energy generation in a time of crisis because it may be “dangerous”. If anything, I’m more determined to look for new energy generation methods that will lead to safer gadgets and the capacity to build a healthier society.

            There are plenty of ways to disguse signals. How do you think terrorists communicate? Trust me, they aren’t using carrier pigeons or love notes transported on the back of yak! My bet – they are using radios and taking advantage of geographic anomalies to hide the signals.

            As for the government being prepared for anything – I mererly say they cannot account for everything. Yes – right now they run without US generated money – but eventually the foreign piper must be paid. There will be famine in this land well within 2 years now and nothing gov can do will stop that. There will be foreign soliders shedding our blood in about 3 -5 years – gov will run and hide in its bunker – because there will be nothing they can do to stop it. China has the means to crack our satellites, Russia has the weapons, and India has the population for soldiers.

            Removed is an interesting word for technologies not being used these days. It’s like saying there is a secret cure for cancer. I beg to differ. Humans by nature will show what they can do and aim to do better. There are many things lost, but we can still rediscover them.

            Removing energy from time/space is a prime example of what I call trying to crack an egg with a sledge hammer. We don’t need much of what is currently termed “energy” for moving heavy objects, etc. Lookup Leederskalin’s Coral Castle…

            Generating energy for communications and other advantages offered by electronic devices is not a convenience. It it is a necessary tool we will need in the post-crisis world. Our species is not the same as it was even 50 years ago. We must go forward for better or worse.

          • Most of the thoughts you’ve expressed in your last reply do not differ much with the way(s) in which I used to view things. My thinking has changed…

            I won’t dispute that millions may die. Our government is a signatory supporter of such a plan… A plan which is literally carved in stone; which has been exposed for what it is numerous times; and yet it will still take most people by surprise if it does indeed come to it’s own fruition.

            I don’t view an EMP attack, a nuclear bomb, or a plague as weapons of mass destruction in and of themselves. It is the social destruction of which we speak that is the real weapon of mass destruction. I also don’t view man made atrocity as evidence of biblical prediction.

            What we are talking about here isn’t control of the Earth, or of natural resources.. What we are talking about is a plan to destroy human free will. It is a plan being packaged and marketed as “human nature,” “inevitable,” “Eco-friendly,” “morally just,” and “the next step in the evolution of the human race.”

            Real science – truth – has been stagnant for 100 years or more. Despite all of these “wonderous technological advancements” we see around us today, we’ve done little more than reinvent the wheel over and over again for the past century. With this, American pop culture has become little more than a grotesque display of self contempt, fed by selfish delusions, and a celebratory attitude toward abusive behaviors.

            We are already living in the midst of social breakdown, where racism is promoted as the answer to racism, and the total lack of personal responsibility is touted as a “fundamental human right.”

            Yet as far as this plan has managed to progress, and as alarming as that may seem, I’ve become skeptical of it leading those who feel their interests are served by it to any success – at least within my lifetime.

            That’s a good thing. Americans don’t have the stomach for a true revolution, and they couldn’t even confront their enemies if they did. Cities, with full medical capabilities, sustainable power, sustainable agriculture, airports… All hidden in mountains, islands, glaciers all over the world, in places that technically don’t exist. If this government falls, it will have to fall from within… and that very well could happen…

            But in the meantime, if they choose to start eliminating 9 out of every 10 people on earth, well then, that’s what going to happen – and a widespread collection of preppers with a few thousand rounds of ammunition apiece, and some home made radios aren’t going to stop them. They’re just going to be target practice for the next generation of computer piloted drones… you know, if the final push is really made, and as they know, time is running short.

            What seems grim begins to seem hopeless as truths emerge and acceptance sinks in, but what still goes largely unmentioned are the people in government who aren’t onboard with such scenarios. People who also pull some strings, and carry some weight. People whose names you and I will never read in the press. Not all of these people are “good guys” in the sense of the term that we all may share, but some are. Some simply understand that there will be no juries when it hits the fan. Civil insurrection will target everyone in government, regardless of whom is responsible. Whatever their reasons, they comprise a group within government with interests that directly compete with the current, silent agenda.

            Western power rises, western power falls, western power rises again, western power falls. This is the history we have been given. I ask you, what has changed? Every time man declares himself “more civilized,” the reality which is manifested is simply that he has become more efficient at killing his own species. 2,000 years later, and the Senate is still corrupt, and the Emporer is still insane. Therefore, change is modal… THAT is your technology. The human race had brain surgery long before it had democracy…

            We have been conditioned to think and to talk about fossil fuel dependency as though it were a fact. It’s no more a fact than the nonexistent global warming that it supposedly created. Technology gives us the answer. Technogy tells us the answer was wrong. Technology exposes the truth behind it’s own lie. Technology is the new whip being taken to every day slaves. Technology is what is holding us back.

  • Greetings. was just wondering if you were up on producer gas as was used to supply gas to cities that had no source of natural gas in the past. every city had its own gas house where garbage that would smolder was burned to produce carbon monoxide that was then piped through the city to power the street lights, the gas stoves in the homes, the lights in the homes before there was elecricity available. are people now converting veicles, pick ups, tractors, generating plants etc with monoxide as the fuel. I grew up in Detroit Michigan when it was still a city with a health auto industry. the houses usually had gas lines in all the rooms for the old sock mantle gas lights. the hot water heaters were the old side arm gas models that originally ran on monoxide. it was done in the past and there is no reason that the basics from then could not work now. all that is necessary is to study how it was done before. and do it again and maybe even better.

    • I recall the “producer” gas in Jersey City, NJ being made from coal. There was a large Koppers Coke plant in South Kearny, just across the river, and several large pipes came across to the PS of NJ Marion gas works, which had those large telescoping storage tanks. The gas by products from the coke making was used as “city gas”. They converted over to natural gas in the late 50s or early 60s.

  • Interesting discussion but irrelevant. First, I don’t believe in mass conspiracy theory because our government is too large, too bureaucratic, too mobile to keep huge secrets for generation upon generation. (Certainly there are secrets, and some of the “secrets” are hidden in plain sight.) But I can’t believe that the government plans to wipe out 9 of 10 Americans. (That 9 of 10 are vulnerable I don’t doubt. 10 of 10 are, because there is a randomness of mass events.) It’s just not a plan.

    Secondly, yes, we can build and power radios and other devices from scratch. We have the knowledge. It only takes time and a safe environment and a bit of education to go along with manuals and text books. However, the end product is big and bulky, and if we have an EMP type event, we won’t have a lot of time or a safe environment for quite some time. While having a “boat anchor” up and running might be a real bonus for find out what is going on, it has little tactical significance. A dozen HTs, even one watt FSRs would be a huge force multiplier, as would be EOTech sights, night vision equip, vests with proper plates, etc.

    For the short term, Faraday Cages should not be scoffed. They offer our best alternative for sensitive stuff. A solid conductive barrier works best (against all frequencies). A mesh’s effectiveness depends on the frequency of the emission.

    Learn the theory. Built the stuff. But be prepared for the first year. It will be the toughest, and I’ll bet food becomes more important than figuring out the resistance of a wooden resistor (which by the way will carbonize with heat and become a conductor) with some old analog meter you hope has survived (assuming of course you have the right batteries for the meter.)

    • All of the WW2 stuff was boatanchor technology, some of it quite miniaturized, and lot of it still around if you look hard

      • WWII HF equipment was composed of single band transmitters and receivers (at least talking about AAF equipment). I used to have a ton of it. It was almost all CW equipment. Bombers had a “radio operator” who sent and received messages. (By the end of the war, some of it was upgraded, but if you watch WWII movies (the realistic ones) you see people launching flares to signal that it was time to take off. There were “Walkie Talkies” on the ground but they were huge by today’s standards– but a marvel at the time. They were common in Korea, and voice radio was in aircraft by then. In Vietnam, the field radio was a backpack and the operator lived by the unit commander so he could be handed “the phone” when necessary.

        And again, I’m not anti- “boatanchors”. I’ve got a couple of Kenwoods that I love, but you have to know how to use them. It’s not like a FRS HT. Pick up a modern VHF-UHF HT. I bought a new one and I’m still having to learn how to use it. It’s got buttons and slided and one side, the top, and the front, with input jacks on the other side. You have to push a button and hold it while you turn it on to shift from channel mode to tunable frequencies. You have offsets that may be on, off, or reversed. You need to know the tones that are set for various repeaters, or even to another HT that’s just like it. Handing the thing to a newbie is like giving a toaster to a goldfish. My FT 817 is a QRP rig. Don’t know what that is? It’s a 5 watt or less HF radio. I was in contact with an operator in Palermo, Sicily on Sunday night, with an antenna I set up in my backyard when my brother (another Ham) came over. It was the first time I’d had the antenna or unit on the air.
        However, it took us 15 minutes to tune the antenna and then fine tune it with an electronic tuner. (FOr those interested, I was on 20 meters 14.273 LSB when we found each other). I’m in the middle of Texas.

        If the SHTF, I want my 2 pound radio, 1 pound tuner and my six pound portable antenna and my 3 pound solar panel, eight pound battery and 8 ounce charge controller. They all can be packed in two realitively small bags. The radio, turner, coil for the antenna and the charge controller live in a 20 MM modified ammo can. If I can get it through an EMP, it’s a lot better than reinventing the wheel. Also in the box are several 2 m/73cm HTs and a half a dozen FRS usuable by anyone HTs. a couple of meters and an antenna analyzer.

        I’m an old fart with a bad leg. I’m not going to do a lot of humping the bush, but I can make a contribution.

        • In a SHTF scenario, you’d be best served by sitting on that equipment until there is a real reason to try using it.

  • About the falsehood of conspiracy theories. Look at the situation on the border now. Recently published are photos on the interior of a ‘warehouse’ where nearly 1000 minors are housed (per the report) I’m in commercial construction in management of projects just like this ‘warehouse’. I know the infrastructure needed to house this many people. It took years of planning to secure the funding, contracts, materials, and construction. This was planned well in the past. Yet we hears nothing about it. To claim the government cannot hide plans is simply false. They did it with D Day. Obama is doing it now. It happens everyday.

    • It’s called the browning of America.

  • I lived in Northern Nicaragua for a couple of months in 2006 working on my Spanish. My teacher was in her upper 20s and studying English at the University. We worked on my Spanish during the day, and then she would come over and we would work on her English at night (with her 10 year old daughter– it’s not proper in Nicaragua for women to be out in the evening with a child or two). At every opportunity, she would ask me questions about Texas– about rattlesnakes, about how to find water on the border region, about “La Migra”. She was ready to make her break to the north. There were three women for every man in Esteli. They would try and blame it on the war, but they were a couple of generations late. The men were in the US or Canada or Australia or Costa Rica (and some other places but those four covered most of them). The widow I stayed with sew blouses for 17 cents a piece (24 if they had buttons). People would furnish the patterns, the material and the designer labels and women all over the country were making garments on pedal powdered sewing machines. If they protested or organized, industry blatantly threatened to move the whole thing to Indonesia. It didn’t take Obama to lure them north. People were leaving as fast as they could garner enough resources for the trip. This is a long way from HAM radio and EMPs, but it’s relevant. Now I’m no Obama fan, and I think he ought to be impeached for the fast and loose way he plays with the Constitution. He may be responsible for hastening the migration, but he is in no way responsible for it. BTW, the Sandinistas (essential socialists) were re-elected to power while I was there, and you might notice that Nicaragua is NOT on the list of CA countries with all the child refugees. I would say that Nicaragua qualifies as a Constitutional democracy because power has changed hands more than once through an electoral process. Elections by themselves mean nothing if the loser doesn’t relinquish power. The Sandinistas did.

  • I do have a question. If the E M P affects the radio towers, then what good is the radio?

  • Because of the book “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Pierre Bollet(?) and another (Niven), I bought the series of 4 books called “How Things Work” I placed them where I might get to if SHTF. It is a good idea for how to rebuild a society.
    This book was the basis for the movie Meteor with Sean Connery.
    “Childhoods End” by Arthur C Clark is great as is “Sunrise West”, all good books for if or when happens

  • Wouldn’t all the transformers be destroyed as well as the semiconductors?

    • Bottom line: Nobody knows! I suspect a Carrington level event would leave us a terrible mess. On the other hand, we have solar magnet storms on a regular basis. Same thing as an EMP. It all depends on the strength of the magnetic field. The issue is opposite issue from inductance. When electricity flows throw a wire, a magnetic field is generated around the wire. (I bet a lot of people remember making “electro-magnets” in their youth. Take a 6 volt lantern battery (do they still make them anymore?) and get a long piece of insulated wire and a nail. Wrap the wire tightly around the nail and then hook the ends of the wire to the poles of the batteries. If you want to be sophisticated, throw a switch in the circuit. When the current is flowing, the nail becomes a magnet. In theory, and in actuality, if you take two wires in parallel, and run a current through one of them, a current will be induced in the other wire in the opposite direction. This has been done in the attics of houses under powerlines and they have run their homes off of induced power. It is inefficient and unlawful and the technology now exist to find where the power is going in a very short time, but back in the day, it caused a real headache for some power companies.) In an EMP or CME (Coronal mass ejection), creates a magnetic field of some strength. The stronger the field, the stronger the current. A current will be generated in every wire placed in the field. (Now another digression. A fuse is a conductor meant to burn itself out if the current passing through it exceeds it’s design level. The higher rated fuses use thicker conductors. The lower rated fuses us thinner wires. But think of it this way, every wire is a fuse! If it’s capacity to carry current is exceeded, it self destructs. Thus, in an EMP/CME even small things burn our faster than big things. An exception to this is very long wires passing through very long magnet fields. Here, I’m talking about transmission lines. Current is induced all along the length, and all that current is dumped into the transformers at the end of the line unless fuses kick out first, or the lines themselves burn out.) The only way to protect equipment is to keep them out of the magnet field. That’s what a Faraday cage does.

  • Is there a resource I can refer to on how to build these components?