Do we have any of the Ham Radio operators involved in this discussion?
Yes, I'm one of them, and my comments are posted above.
I guess the insight that I can add is that EMP (as caused by a nuclear blast in space) basically amounts to an extremely strong radio signal (concentrated mostly in the UHF range) which lasts a tiny fraction of a second.
That's why, in general, nothing will be damaged unless hooked to some kind of "antenna". And the type of damage that can be caused would be essentially equivalent to hooking the device in question directly to a strong radio transmitter for a tiny fraction of a second.
The mere presence of the electromagnetic field (i.e, radio waves) will generally not cause any damage. What causes damage is the voltage induced on a long conductor, if that conductor is hooked up to something that is somewhat sensitive. Specifically, however, EMP is not a magic bullet that mysteriously destroys anything that is vaguely "electronic", which is how it is frequently viewed.
The strength of the actual electromagnetic waves are stronger than typically experienced by people on an ongoing basis, but they are of a magnitude that one might experience occasionally. In fact, I'd have to check this, but I suspect the actual magnitude of the field at any given point would be around the same order of magnitude as a cel phone at a distance of a few inches. This type of electromagnetic field typically doesn't do any damage. The reason why it might do damage is because it would be taking place everywhere at exactly the same time. Therefore, any unshielded conductors would be able to pick it up, and potentially damage anything they are connected to.
As I stated above, IMHO, any "EMP attck" would almost certainly be part of a larger nuclear war, rather than a standalone event.
For those who are hams (specifically, ARRL members), QST has published a number of good articles on EMP, which are available online in the QST archives.
I don't lose a great deal of sleep over EMP (or similar phenomenona caused by solar activity). I recognize it as one way in which there could be fairly widespread and fairly long-lasting outages to power grids and communications systems. So it's worth planning for long-lasting power outages, especially since those could also be caused in other ways. IMHO, an actual nuclear EMP attack would be more significant as a first warning of a general nuclear attack, which would probably result in significant power outages even without the EMP.
Whenever the power goes out, I always turn on a battery powered radio. If I hear anything at all, then I'm not too concerned. If all of the local stations are off the air, then I would assume that it was a very widespread power outage, and I might get a little more nervous. And if absolutely everything, including out of town stations, were off the air, then I would start to get very nervous, since my default assumption in that case would be that a nuclear war had just started, and that additional missiles were on the way.