This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I’ll receive compensation at no extra cost to you.
EMPs are electromagnetic pulses, which can happen naturally or be man-made. EMPs that are natural can occur from a solar flare called a coronal mass ejection or CME. A nuclear weapon that is detonated up high in the atmosphere can set off an EMP. It can be massive enough to wipe out not only the power grid but also other electronics in the house. These are high-altitude electromagnetic pulses—HEMP. Either way, learning how to protect your equipment from the ravages of these and/or finding alternative methods of communication—since cell towers will probably be destroyed—is important.
One method that works for those within a 30-40-mile radius is two-way radios. In fact, if planned thoroughly, you can create a chain that can communicate even further, with people transmitting messages along the chain. Two-way radios must be on the same frequency and a plan of action should be in place, which designates the time you will all be broadcasting, and an alternative time if all the airways are busy. Creating a plan before a problem occurs is important.
Just because you’re prepared with radios doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use them after an EMP. EMPs destroy electronic devices. That’s why building a Faraday cage is important. Michael Faraday created the Faraday cage to shield electronics from electromagnetic waves. You can build a simple one at home with some very inexpensive items such as a galvanized steel waste can and aluminum foil to block the electromagnetic radiation. Store your two-way radios in the Faraday cage until you need to use them.
You can test the effectiveness of the Faraday Cage by putting a radio in it turned on and seeing if it picks up AM or FM stations. If it doesn’t pick up a signal, it should block the EMPs. Make sure you test it in an area where you get a good signal or you will never know whether it was just a weak signal or your Faraday cage actually worked. One method that seems to work is wrapping your electronics in several layers of tinfoil and then putting them in a metal garbage container to add further protection.
To improve your ability to communicate, get a powerful antenna. The antennae can expand your range of communication. Don’t forget to pack the antennae in the Faraday cage too. Most of all, make sure everyone has a written copy of the plan. Don’t store it as a text on the cell phone, keep it in your email or store it on a flash drive. Those will all be useless when an EMP hits.
The radios that we have and recommend are the BaoFeng GT-3TP Mark III Two Way Radios. You can view all the specs on these radios here.