EMP aka electromagnetic pulse Question?


I am interest in the availability of the mesh after a possible EMP event, whether it be NK (or other players), solar flare, etc.?

Any thoughts as to the toughness or hardening of the Mesh devices?

it appears that mobile phones would be also damaged,

Thank you


PS: I hope this isn’t on here already, I searched and didn’t find any topic

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I would thing that anything with a radio will be affected worse than other electronics. Radios and antennas by design are made to easily receive EM waves.

I am interested in hearing what other folks with more knowledge in this area have to say. In regards to effects of an EMP on electronics, I’ve heard everything from the device simply shutting down to totally frying the circuit board.

Check out Starfish Prime test that the US conducted in the Pacific. Electronic watches were not effected. US automakers have been allowed access to military test facilities to ensure they will not be effected (note ECUs are all in metal cases now) Vehical’s metal would allow for accumulation of electrons to result in a charge.

Long range no, short range yes. The linear distance of the circuit paths are not long enough (tuned) to receive an accumulation of a charge that would be an issue for the second and third waves of energy.

This report to congress makes the case for fiber optic cable:

Effectiveness is increased if the electronic devices are
connected to any metal that could also act as an antenna. Because infrastructure
computer systems are interconnected, a widespread HEMP effect could lead to
possible long-term disruption of power, fuel distribution, transportation systems, food
and water supplies, hospitals, and law enforcement communications, as well as
military communications systems which utilize the civilian infrastructure.

The greatest threat is energizing the Van Allen belts. In attempt to blow away the belts, with project Starfish Prime, they loaded it up with energy and supercharged it knocking out the first generation satcoms. Because of this, all countries had no problem agreeing to drill holes and test underground.

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As pointed out by @maingear I don’t expect damage to most devices like the Gotenna mesh or cell phones during an EMP. Many sources will point out tiny surface mount circuitry is more susceptible to EMP and solar flares which is true under the right conditions. What they fail to mention is that that something in the device, attached to the device, or near the device must be large enough to act as an antenna to build up the charge. It would likely need to be MANY wavelengths greater then the wavelength of the electromagnetic disturbance unless it was VERY close to the origin. The Gotenna is a fraction of the wavelengths that will be generated. I’m not going to do the math but others have and you can find it with a search.

If plugged in the vulnerability will be increased because of surges in the power grid. The movies got EMP and solar flares all wrong. I think William R. Forstchen got a lot of things wrong too although his book “one second after” is a good read if you’re interested in the effect an EMP could have on society. I don’t believe cars will be as susceptible as he suggests aside from no gas being available.

Of course the cell towers will likely be dead immediately or soon after so you might want to download the gotenna APK in advance so you can sideload it in an emergency.

Gotenna really should add the ability to share the app over WiFi or bluetooth as a feature in future releases.


I’m sure apple has a dedicated crew to ensure this doesn’t happen. Not even sure if jail-breaking a phone is an option any more.


You may be correct but that’s one of many reasons I got off that train. However Android phones are everywhere. I bought one at a big box store for $10. People have old phones in their junk drawers. An Apple user might find it useful when they can’t find a proprietary charger to charge their Apple device. Then they can use there Gotenna with their smarter and more attractive friends that already use Android. :wink:


OK, I am not “smart” in the detailed theories of all this, but it sounds like there may be lack of consensus, let alone unanimity, on the EMP effects on small electronics. Now, since we can’t blow a nuke above a major US city to perform a “live” test of the theories, it would seem like a simple (naive?) idea to me for prepper type folks to add a cell phone/goTenna Mesh pair to a Faraday bag/box. You could take it out periodically to get updates to the app and firmware and to check/charge battery levels and then seal it back up. Not an inexpensive solution, and it mostly likely has some flaws, but… To those of you smarter than I am about all this: is that too simplistic, or does it make enough sense to be viable? Problems/flaws?

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Unless goTenna has a special “prepper” edition gTMesh that is tube-equipped planned, I would consider it vulnerable. Anything that is transistor-based is vulnerable.

That said, EMP effects are dependent on distance from the explosion and the height of burst. YMMV, to say the least. The antennas involved do have some effect on how vulnerable a device may be, but if you’re close enough such distinctions are lost in the scramble for survival.

Yes, a Farraday cage of some sort is the solution. Throw a few goTennas in and save 'em for later. But effectively, this could be an old metal ammo can or other metal box that could shield the protected items.

This sort of protection has some more everyday application. The Air Force uses EMP detection as part of its nuclear intelligence and surveillance system. The technology involved was eventually used to set up the networks that detect lightning strikes for weather purposes and inthe hand-held detection and warning devices used by some backcountry hikers. Pairing goTenna use with at least one person in the party having a lightning warning device could allow them to issue alerts to the others. It could also be a good use of the Emergency Shout function, depending on the weather moving in and the local situation in the back country. Not everyone has access to lightning detection, so spreading the warning could be useful or even life-saving.

I suspect that there are limits to how much you can harden ANY particular device. It seems easier to simply dump one (or, as you suggest, a handful, budgets aside) into a Faraday box. I have an old ammo can that was “enhanced” to block out most everything – some metal to metal seals on average cans are insufficient or else compromised by the rubber seal. Plus I have some commercial bags that seem to work well.

So, is the lightning detection equipment generally available to civilians? Any links or sources? I can see that tech, paired with a shout or emergency message as being infinitely valuable, especially in areas prone to flash flooding!

Thanks for the info!

I have no personal experience using them, as my hiking days are pretty much over. Also, no experience with this vendor, just pulled them up with Google. They do offer a wide selection of units and various price points to give you an idea of what’s available.


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A portable weather station would be a better option then a lightning only detector and some of those have lightning detection built in. In most cases a weather radio is way more practical. On the lightweight side weather prediction watches are a good option. They use barometric pressure which is a terrific indicator of approaching weather.

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