Despite social media rumors, government's "Very Bad Day" drill w - CBS46 News

Despite social media rumors, government's "Very Bad Day" drill will not cause blackouts

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Jim Reed practices emergency radio communication (WGCL) Jim Reed practices emergency radio communication (WGCL)
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

In the name of fighting fake news, CBS46 is dispelling myths about a nationwide blackout scheduled for this weekend.

Widely circulated rumors on social media warn of an electrical grid shut down when the Dept. of Defense conducts a practice drill to test emergency communicating in a hypothetical electromagnetic pulse attack.

The key word in that sentence is "hypothetical."  There will not be a real pulse emitted to destroy all electronic devices, as the hoax alleges.

Atlanta Radio Club President Jim Reed is familiar with the upcoming training exercise.  He says the general public will not be affected by the drill in any way.

Some civilian radio operators in Reed's network will be taking part between Nov. 4 and 6.

"It's less about how quickly we can get things up, and more about making sure we are operating on different frequencies with different groups," he said.

The drill is all about ironing out the trial and error process of dividing up radio signals and making sure operators aren't using the wrong channels or talking on top of each other. It's better to figure that out before a disaster, rather than during one.

Titled the "Very Bad Day" scenario, the Dept. of Defense drill is happening as fears of a real electromagnetic pulse from North Korea are mounting.

The electromagnetic pulse from one nuclear bomb exploded high above Kansas would be enough to shut down most of the country's electrical grid.  The wave acts like a power surge, destroying any electrical device plugged into the grid, even melting components of unplugged devices in the wave's path if they are close enough. 

The exact distance from the center of the wave where unplugged electronics will be safe from the pulse depends on the size of the bomb. Electronics. like the radios used during the military drill, can be protected with homemade supplies like aluminum foil and metal trash cans adapted into a Faraday Cage.

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