Making Electromagnetic Weapons: Directed Microwave Energy
I'm sure almost all of you have used a microwave at some point in your lives. As a child, I always found microwaves fascinating; the idea of heating food with invisible energy, and even creating lightning should the user accidentally microwave metal! However, microwaves are not only used for heating food. Microwave energy generally falls under the 2.4 GHz (Gigahertz band). This same band is used by many wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Microwaves consist of any wavelength between 300 MHz (0.3 GHz) and 300 GHz. The range (energy) depends on the "strength" of the wavelength.
Here's a visual representation of the electromagnetic spectrum:
Well, it really depends. In this article, I'll be going over the simple basics of a microwave weapon, since microwave energy is a huge topic. In its simplest form, any waveform transfer of energy starts with excited particles and ends with excited particles.
Inside a microwave, you'll find a large transformer (called a MOT or Microwave Oven Transformer), a large capacitor (rated around 1-2 kV; 1-100 uF), some high voltage diodes (for rectifying the alternating current from the transformer), a magnetron (the microwave emitter—I'll go into this later), and other electrical components for operating the main electronics.
In a Microwave Weapon (MW), the components can be as simple as a magnetron, a transformer, a diode, and a capacitor. Of course, the magnetron is certainly not that simple, consisting of several finely tuned "antennas" and other components. A basic illustration of how a magnetron works is pictured below:
The round "1" is an electron source, the area between the power source and the antenna is the electron "accelerator", and the antenna itself is a simple way of "amplifying" and broadcasting the electron energy at a specific frequency. When these "tuned electrons" hit an object (specifically water or metal), they excite the molecules and generate heat, or in the case of metal, electrical energy. This is why microwaves are so dangerous compared to EMPs. Microwaves not only wreck havoc on electronics, but also can harm living beings.
This is where I must issue a WARNING!!! Microwaves are extremely dangerous. They can PERMANENTLY HARM YOU! If you feel even the slightest uncertainty towards the physics, dangers, and overall understanding of microwaves, DO NOT construct a microwave weapon.
The best way to create a homemade microwave weapon is with an old microwave. If you want to upgrade to a more powerful, long range device, it's practically impossible unless you have a physics lab with extensive measuring equipment. However, an average microwave puts out 1,000-2,000 watts of energy, quite enough for destroying electronics.
Microwaves tend to "fly in all directions" unless they are directed. However, this is what the antenna does—directs the microwaves. In my experimentation, I discovered that a slight cone-shaped metal funnel has the best microwave-focusing ability. I was able to fry an old cell phone from up to 10 feet using three magnetrons and one funnel. This constitutes to about 6,000 watts (W) of directed energy, quite an accomplishment for 15 bucks spent at a thrift store. The circuit diagram for each individual magnetron looked something like this:
On a basic level, the circuit consists of a transformer, a voltage doubler (diode and capacitor) and a magnetron. The three MOTs draw lots of power, so I had to hook everything into a thick, direct mains line. The magnetron itself looks like this:
There are two large magnets that "direct" the electrons as they pass through the antenna. Also, the device has a heat sink to cool off. There are many other components and function aspects of the magnetron that are very complicated, but interesting. If you're curious, check out the information in this article.
Once finished, the entire apparatus should look something like this:
The waveguide (or metal funnel cone) guides the microwaves in a linear direction, and allows them to be focused in a specific direction. Once directed, the microwaves can generate electrical current in any conductive metal they encounter. How much electricity they generate is determined by the distance from the magnetron and the power of the output. The microwave gun will also disrupt wireless communications (depending on their frequencies) and excite water molecules.
- MICROWAVES ARE VERY VERY DANGEROUS. DO NOT attempt to build this device unless you are very very confident in your understanding of the dangers, correct practice of safety, and legal concerns.
- HIGH VOLTAGE! Microwave Transformers can easily kill you! Treat then with respect! Remember... Fear of Lightning.
- DO NOT use this device on anything or anywhere where it violates FCC rules or any other legal constraint!
- I am not responsible for any damage, harm, or legal trouble you get yourself into.