A faraday bag is shielded enclosure made from metallic material that protects against the effects of electromagnetic energy.
Electromagnetic Shields can protect your electronics from exposure to electrostatic discharges produced from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), solar flares or lightening strikes.
If you can protect your electronics from, let's say, an EMP, you can continue to communicate or receive communications from others while those around you cannot. A Faraday cage works by three mechanisms: (1) the conductive layer reflects incoming fields, (2) the conductor absorbs incoming energy, and (3) the cage acts to create opposing fields.
Field cancelation occurs when the free carriers in the conductive material rapidly realign to oppose the incident electric field.
Yes, as long as the holes are small with respect to the wavelength of the incident electromagnetic wave. Yes, there are many conductive enclosures that can be used, including ammo cans, metal garbage cans, anti-static bags, and even old microwave ovens. Anti-static bags are readily available to protect electronic components against electrostatic discharge.
The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America! Does anyone know if you can use packing peanuts to insulate and keep the contents of the cage from contact with the exterior walls? Question about gaps: If I use an ammo can with a rubber gasket to make the ammo can (and radio equipment) waterproof, having to repeatedly re-seal the can with conductive tape seems like a real pain. I read on another blog that an old microwave oven (old plugged of course) could be used for small items.
I have several 30 gallon metal trashcans setup in a similar manner, except I don’t use any coffin locks, or anything else on the lid since its already tight fitting. An EMP is not a continuous event, it is a burst of energy that is released, the damage is done, and then it’s gone, unless it is caused by a solar storm which could last for several hours or even days.
As stated in the article, a solar storm is not likely to produce effects that will hurt small electronic items, unless they are connected to an external long wiring system, which could include the electrical grid, your landline telephone, your local cable TV provider, all of which contain long enough antennas to induce large voltages onto the system, and into connected devices. The Carrington Event of 1859 cause problems with telegraph offices because the telegraph wires between the offices acted as a large antenna system, which collected the energy and delivered it to the devices connected to it.
If vulnerable equipment is not in the protected enclosure during the event, then it could be subject to damage. The truth is that no one knows for sure what will work without knowing the exact characteristics of electromagnetic pulse and that is impossible to know in advance.
I know that lightning isn’t RF or an EMP but it is a huge energy source and I predict EMP will be just as unpredictable. As a EE I think that this article was spot on; although perhaps a little more complex in the description of the physics than it would have to be . I dont think you all got my point, You have explained what an EMP does and how long it lasts, but you, me and everyone here does NOT know when one will happen.
What you keep in your Faraday cage always are the spare electronic parts for your car or truck, your spare ham radio, your extra laptop computer, etc.
If you have a set of 2 way radios that work ok in your area, and you are happy with them, then buy a second set and put them in the cage. I keep hand held wallis talkies for communication on the farm and with my neighbors Ina faraday box.
But go ahead and use the garbage cans, the ammo cans, the aluminum foil packets, the coffee cans, etc.
It’s good that you do such important work with things for a living because if you had to interact with people you would be out of a job. As somebody else in the radio field, I am going to have chime in to state that your information is not correct, either here or your improved explanation below. Some articles I’ve read refer to super EMP devices, nuclear devices designed for maximum magnetic yield.
If it does happen, I figure it at least gives me a fighting chance, and if I do have a break-in, chances are that the burglars will overlook that antique.
You’re absolutely right about the multiple layer effects working better than a thick conductor.
I have a lead lined ammo box , that was originally used to transport radioactive pharmaceuticals in for small stuff . Instead of thinking of a faraday cage like you would an umbrella in a rainstorm, think of it instead like a sponge you are standing under. That is perhaps the best analogy I can come up with for how a faraday cage is supposed to work. I’ve had to harden communications sites, some of the most vulnerable equipment to emp, to survive direct lightning strikes. CB radio, for many people, is nothing more than a harmless fad that was popular in the 1970s. While the latter is less likely, solar flares do appear in regular patterns, and a large one can even be powerful enough to create an EMP.
Many people may not realize that a microwave oven is already designed to keep electromagnetic radiation at bay.
Since a Faraday cage is a relatively simple concept, one can make a similar object with a simple garbage can made of anodized aluminum. In situations in which it is impossible to properly ground an EMP safe with a cold water pipe, one may simply bury it.
The nature of many CB radios is such that it is important to make certain that an antenna is connected before using it. Since the antenna is such an important part of a CB radio, it is important to keep it in good condition.

It is important, especially when installing a  CB radio in a car, to make certain that the antenna is not damaged. A short circuit is when the voltage moves toward zero because the current is limited by internal resistance. Conclusion A CB radio is a powerful tool that can bring people together in unique and interesting ways. There are a number of ways to protect a CB radio, many of which involve shielding it inside a device designed for that purpose. All trademarks and registered trademarks on this website are the property of their respective owners.We claim no ownership of any content that we do not explicitly denote as ours.
This site is in no way affiliated with youtube although it depends heavily on youtube's api. A better precaution against solar events is to unplug electronics and use quality surge suppressors. If the cage is made from something non-conductive, the free carriers are not mobile enough to realign and cancel the incident field.
The conductivity of nearly any metal is good enough to allow the carriers to easily realign to cancel external fields. Each has its own level of effectiveness as covered in my book, Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. They can be purchased in many different sizes, including some large enough to hold radio equipment.
Engineers who work in electromagnetics often use “shield rooms” to conduct experiments because they do an excellent job of filtering out interfering signals, providing in excess of 100 dB of shielding.
There can be no conductive penetrations into the room, or it will seriously degrade the shielding. A steel trash can with a very tight fitting lid does a pretty good job of acting as a Faraday cage. I tested ammo cans for my book, and they didn’t do great because of the less than perfect seam going around them. Yes, your cell phone may get fried — but, as you said, the rest of the network may get fried, too. A ground provides a safe place to direct excess current from lightning strikes, power line surges or static discharge to protect your more delicate electronics. A high altitude nuke EMP will generate upwards of 25,000 volts per meter within a close distance and 5000 volts per meter out to around 1500 miles from zero.
Some where around 200,000 volts per meter of wire at zero and 100,000 volts at the horizon. I don’t expect to have a serious auto accident, but that doesn’t mean I don’t buy coverage for it.
I didn’t have time to talk about that in this article, but it is discussed in a youtube video that I did.
You want do dump the energy ASAP, longer lines introduce delays and resistance to the energy moving away. For others, the CB radio is a powerful tool that should be kept in every household, as a CB radio can provide a means of communication even when traditional communication methods, such as the Internet or telephone, are out or otherwise unusable.
Fortunately, there are several methods one can use to protect a CB radio from such an event.
While in some ways similar to a regular safe, an EMP safe has some significant differences, for example, a Faraday cage. Simply placing items in the garbage can and grounding it is not enough, however; items stored inside must not touch the metal walls, lid, or bottom of the garbage can. While the type of wire used generally has little effect, the size of the wire is important. Many sellers also offer supplies that can be used to enhance a CB radio or that function as an EMP safe. When buying CB radio supplies or any other product, it is important to examine the product description before making a purchase. Along with protecting the radios from an EMP and from harsh weather conditions and other damage, it is important to ensure that a CB radio transmits only with a properly attached antenna antenna that is properly attached. As long as the conducting layer is greater than the skin depth, it will provide excellent shielding because the absorption loss will be large.
For example, if silver (the best conductor) is used in place of aluminum, the skin depth at 200 MHz is reduced to about 4.5 microns. A poor-man’s shield room can be made by lining a small closet with heavy-duty aluminum foil, covering all four walls, the floor, the ceiling, and the inside of the door.
I tested this as part of my book, and found that it varies greatly depending on the fit of the lid.
It would be fine sitting inside a Faraday cage as long as you’re not scrubbing your bare electronics against it. An EMP is a high frequency radiated event (not conducted like a bolt of lightning), so the goal is to simply shield the sensitive electronics from the high electromagnetic fields. EMP is a high energy radio wave, but radio waves are not current flow, otherwise they couldn’t go through air which is an insulator. I only have a couple walkie-talkies, a transistor radio and a couple flashlights in it, with no batteries in them. Check out disasterprepper videos (or my name) and you’ll find one on Faraday Cage testing.
It is also important to protect a CB radio from short circuits and other technical issues by ensuring that all equipment is functioning properly. A true EMP safe makes use of a Faraday cage, a simple device designed in the 19th century by a scientist named Michael Faraday.

This is particularly important for CB radios that are installed in a car, as they are often harder to access and to repair. Wire with a larger gauge creates a larger bandwidth, which in turn creates a stronger signal. As a means of protecting a CB radio, it is helpful to examine the antenna for both shorts and opens before transmitting. Once one determines what kind of CB radio is the best fit for a given situation and what kind of protection it may require, it is time to look on eBay. The product description describes a product's history and provides information about any damage or other issues. In the event that a solar flare makes traditional methods of communications impossible, a properly protected CB radio would be a major asset.
Failure to attach the antenna properly can cause short circuits or other problems with the radio.
Arthur Bradley, author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, answers a few basic questions and perhaps debunks a few myths.
The enclosure itself can be conductive, or it can be made of a non-conductive material (such as cardboard or wood) and then wrapped in a conductive material (such as aluminum foil).
The bottom line is that an ungrounded cage protects the contents from harmful electromagnetic fields as well as a grounded one. It resides in my basement and the electronic items in it don’t seem to care if it looks dated. I am not sure of your experience, but I say this as a NARTE certified EMC engineer who has worked in electromagnetics for 20 years.
This phenomenon, also known as an EMP, can result from a number of factors, from heavy solar activity to a nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere. Faraday realized that items within a mesh cage made of conductive materials were protected from electromagnetic radiation. While any microwave oven can do the job, it is reasonable to use one that no longer functions but is still sound structurally.
A popular choice is Styrofoam, which comes in a variety of forms including packing peanuts, which are inexpensive and easy to use. In order to be fully protected against an EMP, a safe must come no higher than 18 inches below the surface. For antennas mounted on a vehicle, it is helpful to remove the rubber o-ring that is often included, then secure the antenna with a wrench. If there is a connection between the center pin of a connector and the outer housing, it is likely that there is a short. For peace of mind, it is advisable to check out the seller's feedback before buying or, better yet, shop from eBay top sellers. With some protective measures for the antenna and the unit itself, the CB radio can function for a long time to come. As an example, consider that for a frequency of 200 MHz, the skin depth of aluminum is only about 21 microns. The results from testing three different types of bags are provided in Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. The materials in the mesh keep radiation from penetrating the interior of the cage by spreading it through the cage. It should be emphasized that a microwave oven must be grounded in order to protect electronic devices. If none of these products, it is possible to use makeshift lubricants, such as butter or cooking oil.
It is also helpful in keeping the signal from being blocked by a trailer if the radio is installed in a truck or other vehicle with towing capacity.
Greater heat loss better protects the antenna from damage from heat, an important consideration especially when the radio is used in hotter climates.
In many cases, a similar approach can be used with antennas that are intended for a home CB radio setup, keeping them from being damaged in strong winds. When selecting an ESD bag, consider not only the shielding effectiveness but also the physical ruggedness of the bag.
Also, lay a piece of plywood or cardboard on the floor so that it can be walked on without damaging the aluminum foil. The author directs you to his book to find the effective shielding of the various recommended containers, but this is at pretty much the lower end of shielding effectiveness. I want to think I can get around when TSHTF happens without the dependence of a cellular device,Who are you going to call?
A dummy load is a device that simulates an antenna but does not broadcast or receive any signal. When installing an antenna in a home, it is important to keep it away from tree branches with which it may come in contact during a heavy wind. Therefore, wrapping a box in a couple of layers of heavy duty aluminum foil (typically about 24 microns thick) provides the necessary conductor thickness to protect against high-frequency radiated fields. Rooms built in this way have been shown to offer more than 50 dB of shielding up to several hundred MHz. It is also helpful to keep it away from eaves, where large masses of snow might fall on it during winter months.

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