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Toys Science

Build Your Own HERF Gun 512

James writes "Rostislav Persion from Voltage Labs has successfully constructed a HERF gun (a device like EMP but directional) in his home that is capable of stalling cars at a distance and crashing computers as well. He has videos of the device in action as it lights up LED's at a distance and triggers motion detectors. Theres also a bunch of other security stuff and science stuff which is quite interesting and controversial, such as cell phone tracking, mood altering audio signals, gyro guns, and other things of this nature. The site owner was also featured in US News Magazine and MTV for some of his work."
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Build Your Own HERF Gun

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:00AM (#5924236)
    After learning about his device, the US military used their larger HERF gun to deactivate his HERF gun.
  • by the-dude-man ( 629634 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:02AM (#5924246)
    You know...this would put an end to high speed pursuits

    What will fox air....guess they will have to resort to hardcore porn
    • by mrbrown1602 ( 536940 ) <mrbrownNO@SPAMmrbrown.net> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:09AM (#5924272) Journal
      Well actually if the car is older than 1980, it probably won't stall due to the lack of computerized components in the car. That's why I love driving a '56 Chevy. :-)
    • by marbike ( 35297 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:11AM (#5924281)
      No, There still is the as yet unaired "Who Wants to Marry a Middle Aged Producer?" or "When Shopping Carts Attack!: The Wallmart Files".

      The hardcore porn will have a little time before it gets plastered over Fox.
    • by antiquark ( 87200 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:18AM (#5924311)
      I regret saying this already, it shows my age, and possibly my viewing habits.

      In the brief remake series of Knight Rider, Knight Rider 2000 I think it was called, Kit could disable cars from a distance presumably with a similar device. I beleive the bad guys then did something to their Porsche Carerra 911's which made them impervious to this attack.

      David Hasselhof's hair was similarly insulated from the radiation.
    • Taser to the block work well for screwing up electronic ignition components, so my question is why hasn't someone come up with a 500K+ Volt taser harpoon for patrol cars? Seems like it would be easier to use than spike strips, less dangerous (blowouts happen even with the hollow spike type), and more effective (how many times have you seen crooks run on rims, or even runflat tires).
      • They already have made one of these deals. It's like a spike strip but is really a mat that you position on the road. IIRC the officer that laid it out waits for the fleeing vehicle to drive over it and then activates the mat. He hits the button right as the car's engine is over the mat and it's jacks up the ignition system. The car dies instantly and rolls to a stop. The problem with any system like this is that 1) it's expensive and 2) it can only be used on vehicles moving slowly. You don't dare us
      • Hmm, let's see- a 500V harpoon that, if it misses, impales some hapless bastard on the sidewalk, or takes out a bus or something. Can you imagine the fallout the first time they used something like that and missed? :-)

        It's probably doable, but it would only be able to be used if there were no pedestrians/buildings/other cars about.

      • They made a little RC car that can go like ~80 mph when launched from a cruiser that runs under the car with a trolley like thing sticking out of the top with plenty of voltage. IIRC this was on TLC a few days ago
    • Exactly! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tomzyk ( 158497 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:29AM (#5924344) Journal
      I'll install one in the rear window of my vehicle and when the pigs start chasing me down, I'll zap 'em before they get close enough to read my license plate. :-)
    • You know...this would put an end to high speed pursuits

      i wonder if they consider it riskier than the strips of little hollow tubes that puncture and slowly deflate your tires.

      without your electrical system and your engine spinning down you could lose power steering, power brakes, your lights would go out (at night at high speed most probably), various automatic transmission problems, etc.

      i guess its still safer than the PIT maneuver.
    • by Rolo Tomasi ( 538414 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:57AM (#5924438) Homepage Journal
      You know...this would put an end to high speed pursuits

      So would this [www.saab.se] (scroll down to Carl Gustaf). Probably much more fun to watch, too.

  • by GroundBounce ( 20126 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:03AM (#5924250)

    Couple this with my radar detector and have it stall the police car as he pulls out to nab me. Hmmm, time to dust off the old lab bench.

    • Too bad for you it doesn't stall firearms...
      • Um, if a cop car stalled unexpectedly when pulling out to chase a speeder, I highly doubt the police reaction would be to open fire on said speeder.
  • by johny_qst ( 623876 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:07AM (#5924260) Journal
    I think the HERF device may have gone off next to it again! :) Gotta be careful with those experimental weapons.
  • Similar sweet page (Score:5, Informative)

    by Op911 ( 593600 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:07AM (#5924261)
    Don't forget to check out a similar page, Sam Barros' Powerlabs [powerlabs.org] which I find similarly tremendously entertaining. Guy's got railguns, homemade explosives, golfball cannons... it's sweet.
  • by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:08AM (#5924264) Homepage
    Now will it fit behind the front grille of my Crown Vic?

    Cut me off will you you asshole!!!
    • Judging by the posts I've seen so far, it sounds like people are more interested if the HERF will fire /through/ the front grille of crown vic's.
  • Logging. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daleks ( 226923 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:08AM (#5924266)
    It's nice that this webpage says in caps "IP LOGGED" followed by your IP. I guess this way he can tell who's HTTP GET broke the webserver's back.
  • Is it just me or did all this guy do is take the components out of a microwave and put a big cone around them?
  • by aerogeek ( 669982 ) <glen@aeCOMMArogeek.org minus punct> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:09AM (#5924275) Homepage
    I was just worrying about not meeting my recommended daily allowance of EF radiation with this cellphone in my pocket and 10 PCs near my desk. Now I can build a HERF gun -- problem solved!
  • Cataracts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And radiation burns await those who wish to play with the innards of a microwave.
  • MTV?? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Since when did MTV become the authoritarian reference on Slashdot? Are we supposed to be in awe? What's next - a story submitted by a guy who once in high school dated Britney Spears?
  • by bumby ( 589283 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:15AM (#5924300)
    Here it is: mirror []
  • weapons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:16AM (#5924302) Homepage
    So, what would this do to an airplane? One that's, say, in the takeoff phase, heavily loaded with fuel and hundreds of passengers on board?
    • Re:weapons (Score:5, Funny)

      by John Whorfin ( 19968 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:46AM (#5924399) Homepage
      Probably the same thing as one of those old-fashioned gas-expansion lead accelerators would do.
      • Re:weapons (Score:3, Informative)

        Negative...putting a bullet into a plane's skin would not cause the widespread damage that this electrical weapon would cause. It's quite possible that the bullet would pass through and not be noticed until landing. Plus, hitting a plane at a few hundred feet altitude moving 150 mph is not an easy feat. This weapon hits instantaneously and merely needs to be pointed and clicked at its target. I'm actually surprised applications such as this have not been adapted to air defense.
    • Re:weapons (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rolo Tomasi ( 538414 )
      Erm, probably as much as the radar at the airport, which has a power output more than twenty times than the magnetron of a microwave oven. You know, the magnetron thingie used in microwaves was invented by the British for use in radars. It's not some magical death-ray or something.

  • by rxed ( 634882 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:16AM (#5924304)
    Similar, more powerful, device has been used by German police during hot pursuits. I'm not sure if its still used (because of the EU rules etc). Stop sticks are cheaper, although not as safe, and also don't kill the car as the EMG gun does. Oh yea, besides your dead engine/car you can say bye bye to all electronic equipment in the car; even your watch!
  • The HERF004.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EinarH ( 583836 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:19AM (#5924314) Journal
    ..looks like a great way to fry those RFID-tags for the paranoid of us. 1kW with high directinality should do the job.
    Yeah, you can use a microwave oven but putting tires inside the oven is kind of hard.

    This would probably work on those automatic traffic controller systems with digital cameras that take pictures of speeding to...

    • They are actually designed to withstand massive magnetic fields. RFID's don't have any internal power, they operate by leaching off the magnetic field of the reader.

      With the right design, electronics can survive an EMP. Most of the crud that goes into consumer-grade electrinics is not designed to survive much more than its warrenty.

  • FCC Notice (Score:5, Funny)

    by dracocat ( 554744 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:20AM (#5924319)
    FCC Notice
    This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions:

    1. This device may not cause harmful interference.

    2. This device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
    • I think this device may comply with Part 15b...
  • by Anonymous Coward> u guys are gonna get slashdotted any minute now> bah> surviving slashdot very well
  • by certron ( 57841 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:22AM (#5924323)
    I'm glad to see someone is working on perfecting the HERF gun. After all, they have to keep up with the progress made since Slashdot perfected the website-killing HREF gun a few years ago. Just point and click, webserver goes down. :-)
    • oh man. i wish i had some mod points for ya.
      funny funny funny. :)

      (ok. so i should have finished that entire bottle of wine for dinner... i'm sure i'll still find that funny in the morning tho.)
  • by ratfynk ( 456467 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:25AM (#5924330) Journal
    Reminds me of the Volks Rabbit, when it first came out with electronic ignition. Some cops I knew back then told me that the earliest ones off the assembly line didn't have much shielding on the electronic unit. If a cop pulled up behind one and keyed his mic the Rabbit would crap out.

    Just a little history repeating itself.
    Another tool, that when in the hands of the wrong people could be very dangerous! However to end a high speed chase, before someone gets killed?

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:36AM (#5924369)
    What happen if you use it on an auto at 100mph on the quick road ? (yeah autoroute but I dunno how they call it). What happen if you use it on somebody with a peacemaker ? Did even the guy putting the to-do kit up think of that ?
  • Road rage. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:46AM (#5924403)
    The subject of mood altering audio signals is interesting to bring up. I have some interesting ideas about this.

    I am certain that a lot of things affect moods. Audio is one of them. But I also believe that visual characteristics have a lot to do with mood. What's that Chinese art of interior decorating that is supposed to bring harmony? I forgot the name.

    Mexico City (for those of you who don't know what D.F. stands for) is a heavily populated place. I've heard different accounts that it is the biggest city (or the third biggest) in the world, and I don't know if this means by population or by physical size. In any case, there is a LOT of traffic here. I have found that I am quite affected by "road rage," or let's just call it frustration behind the wheel, when I'm driving around town: Traffic moves along slowly. Going ten miles can take between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the circumstances. It's just such a pain, and it is frustrating. Now, in my case, my frustration behind the wheel is caused by a number of factors:

    • The brain assigns attentional resources to things. For example, your eye can see pretty well all around but your brain assigns more attentional resources to the thing your eyes are pointing at. With so much to look at and notice in a big city, the brain works overtime. This causes stress, fatigue and frustration.
    • While driving around town, there are a lot of noises going on, like the sounds of other cars or your own. My car shakes when it idles and barely runs when it does. In addition, things rattle and squeak, and my keychain, of all things, swings back and forth and makes little (barely audible but certainly there) metallic ringing sounds. These are all sounds that my brain processes and tries to put in the background.
    • I have to accomplish a lot of things during the day, but traffic wastes a lot of time.
    • But here is my favorite part: The *shapes* of cars, of all things, pisses me off the most. Seriously... it's as if all I look at the whole time is the ass end of ugly cars. When the driver in front of me pushes on the gas after being stopped, the back end of his car moves down a couple of inches from the "recoil" of his car suddenly moving forward. When he stops, the back end of his car seems to rise up a few inches. Pay attention to this as you're driving around and you'll see it too. Now the part that pisses me off is this: That rising of the back end that I just mentioned? It looks like a dog raising its ass at you as an insult. For some reason, my brain associates the shape and motion of the decelerating car in front of me with dogs that insult you by sticking their ass in the air, as dogs do when you want to put a leash on them, give them a bath, or anything else that the dog doesn't want. And it's almost true: It's as if the driver in front of you is insulting you by stopping instead of getting the fuck out of your way. I can't explain how much this pisses me off.

    Now all of this might sound totally psycho to you but I'm serious... people can't explain why they are the nicest people but turn into total bastards when they get in a car. It's not just sound waves that can piss you off... it's everything that your brain has to assign resources to, like motion and shape. I think this is why we associate certain feelings with certain faces, colors, shapes, body language, etc.

    P.d., the worst road rage I've ever had was yelling profanities at the top of my lungs, and that only happened once when I was three hours late to work because I slept too long at my girlfriend's house and couldn't get to work fast enough. But that's how life is in the big city... I just go home in the evening and have some tequila. Because Denial is a river in Egypt.

  • something like this: (Score:2, Informative)

    by WhiteDragon ( 4556 )
    He looks over to see that the van he's blocked in wasn't abandoned after all; it was full of Dwarves, who have now thrown the back door open to reveal a nest of cables and wires. A couple of the Dwarves are heaving a boxy apparatus up onto the roof of the van. Cables run out of it to another boxy apparatus down below. The apparatus is electrical in nature - and doesn't appear capable of firing projectiles - so Randy decides not to pay it much attention for the moment. ... he hears an electrical buzzing
  • by AnotherBrian ( 319405 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:10AM (#5924492) Homepage
    All I want to know is will it fry the cell phone of thoes people who can't seem to STFU in the restaurant. Perhaps a hand held version of this could be wielded by ushers in movie theaters.
    • by WhiteDragon ( 4556 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:25AM (#5924536) Homepage Journal
      I never will get why people talking on cellphones in a restaraunt is annoying, but people talking just as loudly to people sitting next to them is not a problem.
      • Yes, but people sitting in resteraunts without cell phones don't tend to talk about their Colon Polyps, the results of a Pap Smear, or the content of their last bowel movement at the table either.
      • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @06:52AM (#5925135) Homepage Journal
        Because when you listen to a cellphone conversation, you are listening to only one half of the conversation.

        Hey, if *I* am taking the trouble to evesdrop, I want the full monty, dammit!!


  • Mood altering audio signals, eh? You mean music.
  • wow won't he be pissed...
  • by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:59AM (#5924621) Homepage Journal
    The site now redirects to a suspension message [ipowerweb.com].

    Fortunately for the owner, it looks like his host cuts off traffic after 30GB. A lot of them will simply keep jacking up the bill. Maybe Slashdot should direct some of the money from their banner ads to the owners of the sites they link to?

    • Or better yet, mirror the website in a cache.

      What I used to do Philly2Nite's website I had a Tcl script that downloaded the first 3 levels of their lotus notes system to static pages under Apache. The apache system could deliver millions of page hits, the 1998 era NT system running Notes on the other hand...

      My program would also transparently rewrite the links to look at a cached version when appropriate. The cache software would update the static content every 15 minutes or so. It worked well for years

  • by Duck_Taffy ( 551144 ) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [ohyenehc]> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:23AM (#5924680)
    Imagine a beowuÂÂÂâ'uylsffj-esufASD;LO8FU£ÃÃÃZâÃÃ" £Ã[NO CARRIER]
  • My god... (Score:5, Funny)

    by floydigus ( 415917 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:27AM (#5924831)
    My god - what I wouldn't give to get my hands on one of these things.

    Where I live, streets that contain straight stretches of longer than about 10m are a target for the local petrol heads with their turbos. The only thing is, that in order to get the turbo to fire (which they like - it lets people know they can afford turbo - even if they only have a hatchback and they work in the local supermarket), they need to over-rev the engine even when they're taking they're mum to the shops. The sonic effect is something like;

    "BRRRMMM!! (phssh) BRRRRRMMM phsssshhh BRMMRMRM phssh"

    I would like to hear something like;

    "BRRRMMM!! (phssh) BRRRRRMMM ph...ZAP! SHAZAM! phsszzzppt. put...put......put."

    Show those suckers.
    • by Zakabog ( 603757 )
      The turbo isn't controlled by the ECU though. You can put a turbo on anything with a timing belt and exhaust. You don't really need to over rev the engine but turbo boost comes in at a higher RPM. Which means that if you're taking your mum to the shops, you're probably not getting any turbo boost (why would you need high rpms going to a place that's nearby.) Now if they're racing it's a different story but if you totally killed their car it'd be like

      "BRRRMMM!! (phssh) BRRRRRMMM ph...ZAP! SHAZAM! phss
  • by BobTheWonderMonkey ( 144907 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:39AM (#5924863) Homepage
    /. has willingingly just exceeded this guy's bandwidth. He now owes his ISP money (and probably lots of it) because /. linked.

    Now, does anyone else think that the Slashdot Effect is getting to be criminal? C'mon, people, we GAVE IT A NAME. It's not like we don't know what posting to /. is going to do to someone's servers.

    Editors of Slashdot: you guys are getting criminally negligent. If no one has sued you so far, you better start getting the lawyers ready.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Querty ( 1128 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @05:48AM (#5925027) Homepage

    Slashdotted already...

    I'd say /. pretty much performs as "a device like EMP but directional" for web sites.
  • Cached Page (Score:5, Informative)

    by randomErr ( 172078 ) <ervin.kosch@gmPARISail.com minus city> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @08:49AM (#5925351) Journal
    SITE URL 01: www.VoltsAmps.com
    SITE URL 02: www.VoltageLabs.com
    SITE URL 03: www.SVBxLABS.com


    This project is a continuation of the HERF003 project. It will be just like the HERF001 but many times more compact and efficient due to optimization and better calculated design. The actual device (excluding the horn antenna) will be about 50 times smaller in volume than HERF001 while having the same output power yet even better antenna efficiency and low VSWR. I hope to get much more detailed tests done on the effects and range of this device. Results and test images/videos will be posted allong with data sheets, radiation patterns and videos of test shots on dummy PC's.


    - 800W 2.458GHz Magnetron
    - MOT
    - 2kV @ 1.2uF capacitor
    - 12kV piv microwave oven diode
    - Sheet metal
    - Sheet copper
    - Other small parts


    This is the basic magnetron coupling design. It is designed after the WR340 waveguide and can allow 1.70GHz to 2.60GHz to pass through with low attenuation. Of course my RF output will be within this range being 2.458GHz. The full dimentions of the waveguide are 4.318cm x 9.147cm x 8.636cm. The horn antenna is not as small as pictured. The magnetron feed will be inserted 1/4 the wavelength from the back of the waveguide.

    a = 86.36mm
    b = 43.18mm
    c = 91.47mm

    For a 15dB horn antenna:

    p = 152.5mm
    a1 = 320.6mm
    b1 = 237.5mm

    For a 18dB horn antenna:

    p = 365.9mm
    a1 = 452.9mm
    b1 = 335.5mm

    These are the dimentions of the plates that must be cut out in order to form a 15dB horn antenna.

    These are the dimentions of the plates that must be cut out in order to form a 18dB horn antenna. Of course two of each plate must be made in order to make a complete horn antenna. The back end is then welded to the waveguide.

    This is the circular waveguide and conical horn and its dimentions. The distance between the magnetron feed and the back waveguide wall should be fine tuned and adjusted as needed. The waveguide diameter is 3/4 the 2.458GHz wavelength and the distance from the magnetron feed and the base of the horn is 1/2 the wavelength.

    This is the schematic of the HERF004 if powered from a 120VAC (or 240VAC) source. The circuit consists of a transformer and a voltage doubler cap/diode setup. A filiment heater is also needed.

    This is the schematic of the HERF004 if powered from a 12VDC battery source. This design will provide less average RMS output power but will provide the same if not higher pulse peak power. Most magnetrons have the markings F, FA, C, or K next to the leads of which F, C and K are the magnetron cathode. Most microwave oven magnetrons will be marked with FA and F while radar magnetrons will only have one lead marked with either a K or a C. Since the magnetron I am planning to use is not a pulsed magnetron I will not construct a pulse forming network although it would help.


    herf004-test001.mpg (8.03MB)

    This clip shows a series of herf004 shots at different distances. The video clip contains both video and audio. In the audio you can hear the 60Hz hum as it was induced into the camera via 2.458GHz carier wave.

    herflight01.mpeg (0.98MB)

    This clip shows HERF004 exciting the gas within a flourecent light tube causing it to glow.

    herfmotion01.mpeg (0.97MB)

    This clip shows HERF004 triggering the driveway motion detector of my home and the house next door.


    This is the horn right after its construction. I cut it out of sheet copper and then welded each sheet together. My welding skills weren't that great so the plates may be misaligned by upto 4mm. The horn was designed to be 17dB since my sheet copper wasn't large enough to make an 18dB horn. I will probably make a conical horn after this one though and use it instead since this one turned out to be quite large.

    First HERF004 victim, me. As I was drilling a hole for the magnetron feed the drill bit caught the sheet of copper and swung it around slicing my hand in various places. I also got some burns from my blow torch.

    Side of the 13dB conical horn with circular waveguide.

    Front of the 13dB conical horn with circular waveguide.

    Top of the 13dB conical horn with circular waveguide.

    Side view of the mains powered HERF004.

    Front view of the mains powered HERF004.

    Back view of the mains powered HERF004.
  • CNN (Score:3, Funny)

    by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @10:33AM (#5925645)
    Monday May 12th 2003
    CNN is reporting that there have been a huge number of HERF gun attacks on telecom and financial systems installations in the United States in the past two days. The attacks have seriously impacted the ability of Americans to conduct day-to-day life, knocking out many telephone, TV, and radio stations and forming large lineups at banks where customers desperately try to withdraw money from stressed teller staff.

    CNN has learned that the attacks were performed by the Linux fraction of al Queada which is referred to as "al Tux" in CIA circles. Apparently the group learned of concise plans to make HERF guns from a story on the geek website "Slashdot.org".

    Editors at Slashdot could not be reached for comment as they had suffered malnutrition from not being able to eat microwave burritos or pizza pockets for the past 48hrs.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @10:54AM (#5925764) Homepage Journal
    Just zap those idiots with their car stereos blasting crap at 2am.. Problem solved, peace and quiet again.

    Too bad the site is toast.. slashdot effect or 'homeland security' ???

  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) <<mrmeval> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @11:01PM (#5928858) Journal
    To kill or not to kill is this the answer?

    http://liun.hektik.org/hightech/herf/shopping.ht ml

    Most of these ideas need a feedback system and highly intellegent processing to work, especially the ones that work on live humans.

    The 'sticky' stuff would need to be 'intellegent' as well so as not to suffocate the victim.

    The various pulse and sound weapons would need some sort of life sensor as feed back so that they would 'know' enough is enough.

    That's been the problem with non-lethal wepons, as an aside a simple net doesn not generate federal funding.

    Damn, I'm wrong about the net, here's a gov't shopping cart:
    http://www.govexec.com/features/0501/0501s4 s1.htm

    Some comparisons of non lethal weapons between Hollydood (includes the news spews) and reality:

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.