Frequently Ask Questions

Many answers to common questions about our radiation detectors can be found here. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for in the FAQs, feel free to submit your own question and we’ll find an answer for you if we can! You can also ask questions about each FAQ in the “Comment on this FAQ” section if you need some elaboration on the answer.

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Please, take caution when using The Ranger with a 2 inch mica window at altitudes higher than 8000 feet (2438.4 meters), as tubes can rupture.

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Since the event of September 11, we have had an increased amount of calls from individuals wanting to be informed if a radiation event takes place. Radiation is a scary topic for most individuals, but some basic knowledge will help in determining what action to take when exposed to radiation in an emergency response situation.
 
The types of radiation encountered during such an event are alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha and beta are particles and gamma is a ray/photon. A piece of paper can stop alpha and a few millimeters of aluminum foil can stop most betas. We say most beta energies because there are high energy betas that are more penetrable.
 
Most people consider alpha and beta not to be of a concern; however, these particles can be ingested or inhaled and cause damage to the body. There are high and low levels of gamma, but the primary concern with gamma radiation is the amount of time you are exposed to it.
 
There are two types of monitoring devices that are applicable in an emergency response to radiation. One is a rate meter/general purpose Geiger counter. This type of instrument shows the rate that the radiation is being received. The other is a dosimeter. A dosimeter shows the amount/dose being received.
 
When measuring radiation in an emergency response situation, it is good to have something to compare your readings to. Taking a background radiations level in your area before a radiation event, will help you determine if you have a radiation elevation and whether or not to stay in that location. Background radiation is naturally occurring radiation that is always present. It includes; high energy gamma rays from the sun and outer space and alpha, beta, gamma radiation emitted from elements in the earth. Using a rate meter, you can determine what your normal background is. It is up to the individual to decide what a safe radiation level is because it differs depending on the individual and their knowledge of radiation and its affects.
 
As an example; say your background level is 25 CPM (counts per minute) where you live. When you fly in an air plane at 30,000 feet your rate meter is getting 200 CPM for anywhere between 2 to 5 hours. That is 8 times what your normal background is on the ground, but it is for a limited amount of time. There are non-occupational dose limits set by the government which is 100 mR per year above background per year.
 
What we suggest for a good emergency response kit for radiation is a general purpose Geiger counter like the Monitor 4, a carbon fiber dosimeter such as the PEN200 and a Charger to reset the dosimeter. There are electronic dosimeters, however, if you are in the blast zone of a nuclear bomb the pulse of the bombs render most electronic inoperable but the carbon style dosimeters will still operate.

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The latest version of the Digilert 200 requires that the timer be set prior to accumulating total count. To take a timed count, follow these steps: 1. With the Digilert200 operating, set the Mode switch to Total. The display shows 0 and Total in the upper left portion of the display. 2. Press the SET button on the end panel to set the time for your count. You will see the hourglass, and the most recent timing period used. The first time you use the timer, the setting is 00:10 (ten minutes). 3. Use the + and - buttons to set the timing period. The timed period can be for 1 to 10 minutes in 1-minute increments, for 10 to 110 minutes in 10-minute increments, or for 2 to 24 hours in 1 hour increments. 4. Press the SET button. The Digilert200 starts totaling the counts it registers, and the numeric display is updated each time a count is registered. The hourglass indicator flashes during the timed period. During the counting period, if you want to see how many minutes remain, press and briefly hold the SET button. The display counts down from the time setting in hours and minutes to zero. For example, if the display shows 00:21, then 21 minutes remain. 5. At the end of the timed period, the Digilert200 beeps 3 times and repeats the beeping 3 times. The number displayed is the total count and the hourglass will stop flashing and remain solid. 6. To find the average dose rate for the timed period, divide the total by the number of minutes. The average count is in counts per minute. To convert to mR/hr for Cesium-137, divide by 1070. 7. Move the Mode switch to one of the dose rate modes to return to normal operation. If you move the Mode switch to one of the dose rate modes while the Digilert200 is taking a timed count, the timed count will continue. 8. To reset the timer to take another timed count, press the SET button to set the time for another count. 9. Press the SET button a second time and the Digilert200 will start totaling the counts it registers, and the numeric display is updated each time a count is registered.

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The X1 position is the most sensitive. Typical survey should begin in the X1 position. If the needle pegs to the top of the scale, then switch the unit into X10 position. This should back the needle down, at which point the readings on the scale are the reading X 10. If the needle is still pegged to the top of the scale in the X10 position, then move the switch into the X100 position. At this point, all of the readings on the meter would be the reading X 100

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Dose equivalent. The RAD-60 records absorbed gamma exposure, not tissue equivalency.

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