Radiation detection

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doghead

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I am considering buying a Geiger counter for radiation detection. I have found many online sources with a wide variety of prices and configurations.

Does anyone own a Geiger counter, and use it to check military items you have or buy? What models are the simplest or best for a "homeowner"? How accurate or reliable is the information from a surplus Geiger Counter?

How do I determine what levels are safe. I am interested in learning more, any thoughts where to read up on this(basic information)?

Here's a picture representing the typical CG I am finding available.
 

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rat4spd

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Some things are just better not known about. You can spend a career learning about radioactive materials. Besides, you might not want to know how much of it you are exposed to everyday.
 

Carl_in_NH

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Ditto on the recommendation for a CDV-700. I bought one about a month ago - working, shipped for $60 total from a seller on eBay. Mine was surplus from Washington State, last calibrated in 2002, if memory serves. There’s a check-source on the side of the case that can be used to see if the calibration is still reasonable, and the meter functional.

These are great meters for looking for interesting low level sources - like meters with radium dials. I found the older meters look the same whether they are old radium or glowing phosphor – and I darn sure want to know which one it is before opening a case to effect a repair (don't open the ones with the radium dials). If you’ve got old vehicle gauges or radio equipment, you’d likely be surprised how much of this stuff is a gamma source – albeit a very small one. After looking at the most active source I’ve got – an old panel mount voltmeter – I made the determination that as long as you don’t open the case and breathe dust from the dial, or carry the thing around in your pants, you’ve got nothing to fear. YMMV – measure what you’ve got, and read up on exposure.

The CDV-700 does calibrated gamma ray measurement, and un-calibrated beta particle detection when you open the covering beta window on the G-M tube. Nifty old meter – only a year or two younger than I am. Besides, telling a friend at work that, “I was walking around the basement with my Geiger counter the other day, …” is a heck of a conversation starter.
 
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FMJ

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Spoken just like a former "nuke".:p
Was stationed aboard CGN-9 for a number of years, wondering why my hair...



oh, nevermind.


I'm with you DH, would like to know ;)

Trying to remember what was considered a "casualty" dose. . . :|

500 milirads per hour?. . . could be modified by the CO during time of war?
 

Bill W

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I have the victoreen 717 and the 720 both do low range detection ( x.1 - x100 ) but its gamma only, I'll have to go check out the 700 model or find a beta only model to add to my doomsday stash
 

Towerguy1

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Do some reading online, The CDV-700 is a geiger counter and most of the others are Survey meters. The later is for monitoring high level areas and shelters. The later model CDV-700's are cheap and accurate enough for general use.
 

NDT

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See the post I did "Radoactive gauge spotter's guide". Sportsman's Guide has a great deal on a Geiger Counter.
 

glcaines

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You are better off with a thin-window G-M meter. This will pick up both beta and gamma, even at low energy levels. I would not recommend one of the CD units. Most take obsolete batteries, although some of the newer ones do accept modern batteries, and are difficult to get repaired. If you are looking to buy a new meter, I would recommend the Ludlum Model 3 counter coupled to a Ludlum Model 44-7 G-M probe. We use hundreds of these at work and they are very reliable, analog instruments. I would not recommend getting a Cs-137 check source for function because you then can have issues shipping it later. Many gas lantern mantles (Not Coleman) are radioactive and can be used to test for functionality. Look for the mantles made in India. As an aside, the radioactive mantles produce more light than the non-radioactive mantles. You can access the Ludlum site at http:/www.ludlums.com for a new one or look for a used one on E-bay or Craigs list.
 

dependable

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I bought a model CDV-715 from Sportsmans Guide a few years ago. Did not seem to work, Found markings inside in pencil indicating unit defective & ''rattles''. Company was out of units from that lot a did not offer replacement.
 

Towerguy1

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If your CDV-715 is doing much of anything, please stand behind the lead shield!!!

I agree the Ludlum 3 is much nicer, a few bucks more, but worth it if you want a serious insterment.

The CDV-700-6B is a good "later" version that takes D cells if you just want a cheep insterment.
 

trog

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I use a Bicron Corp. model Surveyor M, scintillation counter. It looks like a geiger counter, but a scintillator uses a scintillating plastic and a photomultiplier tube, and is much more sensitive. The Bicron is well designed and runs on one little 9 volt battery. Purchased at a swap meet for $65.

Aside from from checking surplus gauges, useful for prospecting for thorium and uranium, identifying uranium-glazed "fiesta ware", and finding contaminated equipment. A huge quantity of radioactive steel was used in building the city of Hong Kong.
 
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JAYHAWK 1962

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if you are going to buy one of the old civil defense units check around for prices. i picked a couple of new in box ones for 20.00 each. at the same time i saw them in other places for 69.95 listed as a sale price.
 

tonka tester

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:eek: a few years back, i scrapped an m135... when i got to the local scrapyard, their radiation detector went off:eek: the load i hauled in was mainly the deuce and random junk from the farm... i told em that i had some x rays done earlier that day:lol:... makes me wonder to this day:???:
 

gunner01

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ahhhh... really never thought about needing one. Maybe a new govt plot for mass genocide,radiate all MV`s so we can deminish the civilian population. INTERESTING
 

stumps

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Well, since we like military stuff, you should be looking for a PDR-27. The suffix letter is important, though. The PDR-27, 27/A, and 27/B use obsolete batteries. The PDR-27/C is a modified PDR-27/A with an upgraded power supply that uses 6 D cells... still pretty old stuff.

I use PDR-27/P, and PDR-27/S units mostly. The P uses 6 D cells, and the S uses 2 D cells.

Avoid anything that is yellow in color and sports a big CD logo. They are meant for after WWIII has begun, and the US has suffered multiple H-bomb strikes. Although there are some such meters that are sensitive, they are very rare. Most of the CD stuff was meant to live in a fallout shelter, and was designed for brief excursions into fallout contaminated areas. They basically let you know if you can withstand stand 10 minutes, or 1 hour before getting sick.

If a big yellow CD meter indicates at all, you are probably already on the path towards dying from radiation sickness. Their minimum scale is typically 0 to 1 RAD. You want a meter that has a sensitive scale that is on the order of 0.5 milliRAD, which is 0.0005RAD. For your purposes, RAD, Roentgen and REM all mean the same thing.

-Chuck
 

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Carl_in_NH

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Got to disagree with you, Chuck – there are a family of older CD yellow meters; the ones with the ionization chamber are high level units that would only be useful in a situation as you describe. The other type are the CDV-700 6B like I’ve got; modern (for a Cold War relic – circa 1962), G-M tube based, powered by 4 D batteries, and with a full scale of 50 mR/Hr. Maximum sensitivity is 0.5mR/Hr. It all comes down to knowing which model you’re buying, and what the intended purpose was for each of them. Painting all Yellow CD meters as useless is too broad a brush, IMO.
 

stumps

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Carl,

By definition, CD stuff is made for after the big one. As I said in my post, there are some sensitive CD meters available, but they are rare. I have been collecting geiger-counters, dosimeters, and other radiation survey junk since I was a lad, and I have had to wade through dozens upon dozens of CD ionization meters before I found even one of the yellow CD Geiger-Mueller tube based meters. They are rare, cheaply made, and usually very expensive.

The PDR27's, however are plentiful, fairly cheap, water resistant, measure down to 0.5mRAD full scale, and are OD. If you can find a P, Q, R, S, or T model, what's not to like about that?

If you want a yellow CD G-M style survey meter, look very closely. Observe the minimum scale range. If it isn't 0.5 milli [Roentgen/RAD/REM] don't waste your time. If we have an event, and your 1 RAD survey meter ever kicks its needle off of zero, you are going to be sick soon.

-Chuck

PS. If there is any interest, I'd be happy to post pictures of some more of my collection.
 
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