Radiation Detectors, Part One: Detect Radiation Around Your Home
It would probably be safe to assume that most of the people all over the world have already heard about the devastation in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami. While the aftershocks are simmering down, another catastrophe is looming, not just in Japan but all over the world: the radiation leak catastrophe.
There are many agencies providing timely reports and updates about the levels of radiation that have reached the United States. However, if you want to take matters into your own hands then you can do so by using these dosimeters or radiation detectors in your home or town or wherever you want to check for radiation:
"Designed for evaluation of ambient dosage of gamma radiation, which can be done by ordinary people in domestic environment (homes, office, food products, construction materials, soil, etc.). Also, the instrument can be used by industrial personnel, working with ionizing sources of radiation. Moreover, the instrument can detect objects, polluted by beta active radioactive nuclides.
The instrument uses a Geiger counter to detect the amount of gamma radiation within 40 sec. and indicates the values in µSv/h and µRem/h on an LCD screen. Registration of every particle is indicated by a click sound, which makes it possible to quickly determine the location of hot spots."
"Analog Geiger Counters are useful for detecting radioactivity and performing nuclear experiments. The model GCK-01A is an assembled and tested kit. These Geiger Counters primary indicators are an audio click and an LED blink each time a radioactive particle is detected. Count Rate VS Dose Rate chart on front of counter provides an indication of radiation based on clicks per second. The model GCK-01A has an external wand that houses Geiger-Mueller tube (GMT-01) and provides a easy to use probe for checking radioactivity. The GM Tube is a Ne + Halogen filled, with a .38 effective diameter 1.5-2.0 mg/cm2 mica end window. It detects the following radiation: Alpha above 3.0 MeV; Beta above 50 KeV; Gamma above 7 KeV. Headphone / Analog Meter Jack Digital Output. The digital output jack provides a TTL logic high pulse each time a radioactive particle is detected. The digital output may be interfaced to a Personal computer (PC) or a microprocessor. Compatible with Images SI Inc.'s GCAD-01 and GCAD-02 RS-232 adaptors for PC."
"The Radalert 100 is a general purpose geiger counter that measures alpha, beta, gamma, and x-radiation. Exciting new features of the Radalert 100 — as an upgraded version of the popular Radalert 50 — include a three-second update and a utility menu that allows you to change the default settings for several operating parameters. Its digital liquid crystal display (LCD) shows the current radiation level in your choice of milliroentgens per hour from .001 to 110 or counts per minute (cpm) from 0 to 350,000. When SI units are selected, the LCD shows readings in microsieverts per hour from .01 to 1100 or counts per second (cps) from 0 to 3,500. This instrument also offers an accumulated total and timer function, up to 9,999,000 counts and 40 hours. A red LED blinks and a beeper chirps with each count (the chirp can be muted). An audible alert sounds when the radiation reaches a user-adjustable level. The Radalert 100 meets CE certification requirements for Europe."
"The Inspector Alert measures alpha, beta, gamma and x-radiation using a 2-inch "pancake" GM detector with high sensitivity to common beta and alpha sources.
The easy-to-read digital display shows readings in your choice of mR/hr, CPM, CPS, or µS/hr. The Total/Timer feature allows timed readings from one minute to 24 hours for precise measurement of low level contamination. An audible alert sounds when the radiaiton reaches a user-adjustable level.
* Quickly alerts first responders to the presence of harmful levels of nuclear radiation
* Improves safety in the laboratory and in the field
* Automatically compensates for GM tube dead time
* Will not jam in high radiation fields
* Meets CE certification requirements for Europe"
Many manufacturers are posting news that their geiger counters are either sold out or left in limited quantities because of the recent tragedy. I suggest that you purchase one as soon as possible before they run out.