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Prepping 101: Personal Dosimeters for High Level Radiation

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Radiation Products at
5 RadStickers – $24.95
RadTriage Dosimeter – On Ebay $22-$30

Russian Dosimeter Kit $70
Russian Dosimeter Kit #2 $70
(note I purchased from both of these sellers)
CDV-750/742 Kit Tested for Zero $35
CDV-738/CDV-750 Model 6 Kit
Modern Reproduction of 738 Kit
Shane Connor’s Calibration Service for CDV Meters
Dosimeter FAQ at
Pictures of all CDV Dosimeters
Roentgen/RAD/REM/Sievert Conversion Calculator
Nuclear War Survival Skills – Book scan

I want to vomit sometimes when I see the lame stuff that is being thrown out there into the prepper market. Prepping has become a hot topic, but I think very few people in America understand just how grave our situation has become. I recently covered some of the disinformation when it comes to long term storable survival food, and this week I’m getting back to the topic of radiation. DHS just released a request for Wearable Intelligent Nuclear Detection (WIND) devices, but the concept of “dosimeters” has been around for decades. Just check your dirty bomb fear porn at the door. Radiation is one of the more dangerous topics when it comes to surviving after the collapse. This is a brief overview, and some inexpensive resources.

Several times in this column I’ve explained that most radiation detection out there isn’t for what would be considered high level radiation. Our background level of radiation at ground level in the US is about .1 uSv, which means MicroSieverts. Most personal detectors, those that use a Geiger Mueller tube and those that use a PIN diode, are geared toward a level thousands of times that. But even at their highest measurement, it isn’t what you would experience from the fallout of a nuclear weapon, or from a significant expulsion from a nuclear reactor. Usually the machines just blank out, because the tubes themselves aren’t capable of distinctive beats at a high level, and the electronics can’t handle the radiation either.

This week my focus is the personal dosimeter, but I also showed you one of my CDV-717 meters that has been calibrated, and you should see my older articles for the other machines that are available out there. Available and affordable are the two issues when it comes to high level radiation.

Dosimeters measure accumulated dose, and as a measurement tool, they are a little bit chicken and egg. If your dosimeter seems to be moving fast, you’ve already been exposed. Yea, you should get the heck out of there, but you won’t know if you went the right way until you spend a little time in the new location. If you are carrying a CDV-715/717/720, or the keychain NukAlert that I showed you in my previous article, as soon as you move you’ll see the difference, up or down, right away.

My purpose this week was to show you the ups and downs of the dosimeters that are out there, mainly to caution you against just buying something and thinking it will work when the time comes. If you look around online, you’ll find that the most common dosimeter is the CDV-742 with a CDV-750 charging unit. Over the years I’ve bought dozens of 742s, and several 750s, and just assumed that they’d work. As you’ll see in the video, most of them don’t. I also included the training unit called the CDV-738 in the video, which only goes up to 50 rads. They seem to be great, but would have to be reset a lot in an actual event.

My friend Shane Connor at explained that many of the 742s out there came from a large auction of hundreds of thousands of units that had been weeded out from the original production as not working. There is no way to tell if they are good or bad until you actually test them, and most of the sellers out there are either unscrupulous and know they are bad, or just test to see if they’ll zero.

If you decide to buy a CDV-250 and some CDV-742s, I’ve linked above to an Ebay seller who seems to have some integrity in that the units are at least being tested to see if they will zero. Beyond that, I showed you the tail end of a test in the video that you can conduct at home to see if they will/should work under high radiation conditions.

Shane developed an electrical leakage test which he has correlated to a radiation side by side test with a match rate of 93%. If your CDV dosimeter passes this test, it should work in a high level radiation field.

Set an oven to 122 degrees. Zero the dosimeters. Leave them in the oven for 5 days. Check the scale. You’ll see that the dosimeter drifted some, and may have drifted a lot. If it is in the 20 Roentgen range as you see here in the video, I don’t think you’ll get much better. If it is way off, know that it probably is not going to be an effective device. That’s the test. That’s it.

As you’ll see, I also tested some lower range (50 Roentgen) CDV-738 tubes, and some Russian dosimeters I recently found on Ebay. All are linked above.

And I also linked to a modern dosimeter that is sold by Shane’s retailers. It is not able to be re-set, but if you can’t afford any of the other options I’ve shown you (a CDV-715 at $20 and calibration at $100), at least it is something. Don’t leave yourself wide open. Radiation does have a coppery smell to it at high levels if you listen to the Chernobyl survivors (all dead now), but you don’t want to rely on that to know to get out of Dodge. Radiation is not as deadly as most people think, in brief high doses, and some even argue that it is beneficial. But you can’t sit in a high radiation field and live. You have to get out.

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