n00b Questions

7 years 11 months ago #2388 by mnrad
Replied by mnrad on topic n00b Questions
This is a good discussion to have. Many of the 'alerts' on Radmon are not followed up on but I wonder if anyone has any definitive information on the impacts of heat, cold, moisture (humidity) on GM tubes. I feel like while a sudden jump to 1700 CPM could be from radioactive contamination, the answer could also be an artifact of adverse environmental conditions (non-radioactivity) on the tube. Any information on this? A good sealed weather resistant enclosure (ideally paired with a temp/humidity probe) could help identify spikes that may be related to these conditions.

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7 years 11 months ago #2389 by Gamma-Man
Replied by Gamma-Man on topic n00b Questions
I myself use the exellent radbox-20 produced by Dan. It is weatherproof for outddor use and I have it placed on my open balcony. I have once had incresed readings and someone on this community suggested it was the neighbours cat undergoing radioactive therapy that had passed by;-)
A friend in northern Sweden with wintertemperatures below minus 40 C /104 F also use Dan´s radbox-20 without any problem. I believe this is a stable detector.

For my purpose this is a suitable product. If I was a resercher with unlimited funds I might have chosen a different dector.


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7 years 11 months ago - 7 years 11 months ago #2390 by Frank
Replied by Frank on topic n00b Questions
I've had my GMC-200 unit outside for some years now, has a M4011 tube, never really seen anything major show up due to temperature extremes here. My unit in the basement here in my shack gets me a little concerned now and then. Its were my station is located with all my PC's. Currently running 3 PC's for weather, radiation and seismic monitoring. Lately my indoor unit has been showing higher numbers and have 2 of them running and bot doing the same. No rains here, matter of fact, we're in a drought here, water tables are really low. :huh:
My outside unit is actually feeding 2 sites at the same time.
Last edit: 7 years 11 months ago by Frank. Reason: Added info

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7 years 11 months ago #2392 by OldMule
Replied by OldMule on topic n00b Questions
Wow, wonderful feedback y'all! B)

Seems some more info is in order from my end, and I'm glad to oblige as best I can! This is going to be more like taking the grand tour of the barn than taking the long way 'round it! :silly:

I'm in Florence, CO, but my house is on the South edge of town, with the nearest other house being about half a block away. Most frequent visitors are mule deer, quail, doves, sparrows and bunnies. The occasional stray cat is quickly chased off by my dog-shaped children. The only cat they put up with is my kitty-shaped child. ;) Altitude is right 'round 5k feet. This is high desert, so hot and dry for the most part in the summer... pretty dry in the winter, too, and if nothin' else, it's a darnsight warmer than it was when I lived at 10k feet!.

It's _really_ hard to get the log data to show exactly what I'm looking for sometimes, so though I did get a screenie of the log from the day it hit ~1700CPM, the highest reading I could get it to show was 1618 CPM. I'll include that here for GPs. This was the highest reading I'd ever gotten -sans for a few weeks after being injected with Indrium-111, which doesn't count for these purposes-.

The day I took that, the wind was blowing hard from the WNW (direction of the mill), it was very dry (probably in the vicinity of 10% humidity), and it hadn't rained in several days iirc. Definitely a dry day that day. It was also very hot. Probably in the 100°F range.

When I took the reading, I'd had it inside, noticed the wind blowin', and thought to pop outside and check, so I just went out the back door for a minute and got the reading... and almost needed to change undies when I saw it go up that high, then promptly went back in... I should have left it out a while, but I'm ashamed to admit... I kinda' panicked. :ohmy:
While outside, it went higher the higher I put it up in the air (so not coming from the ground, which has thankfully always tested low -after a rain the ground reads higher and the air reads lower, which makes sense-, but part of the point is, it hadn't been outside long and read normally both before and after I took it out, so I don't believe the temp/humidity etc. could've been messing with it -at least not enough for that dramatic a reading-. Temperature was probably in the lower 80°F's when I put it out. Humidity was low. I'd guess around 16% (that's about what it usually is when it hasn't rained in a while, and it hadn't.).

I only managed to scrape together the money to get this counter somewhere around January, but I did take it outside with me on the warmer days where the temperature was in the 60°F's or so (oddly enough, we get those here. My birthday's in February, and last year it was in the 70°F's on my birthday, so I got to have a barbecue! Wheee!), and never saw anything spectacular. If the CPMs hit the 50's it was a big deal, so that gives a gist.

The mill I'm suspecting (but am NOT sure at this point!) was one that processed some of the purest uranium on earth until just a few years back. It's known as Cañon City MiII, aka Cоtter MiII. They have NOT cleaned it up. The leach pad (or whatever they call it... I grew up in gold mining territory, and it looks just like a leach pad to me, only with different stuff in it) is HUGE and wide open... ~576 yards (1/3 of a mile / .53km) at its longest point and ~167 yards (1/10th of a mile / .15km) at the widest point (used google earth to measure). Here's a link to a view of the sucker: http://tinyurl.com/cоttermill

When I take it outside at home, there's a place under the overhang of the North side of the house that I hang it.

I'm going to include the log file from today in case anyone's interesting in taking a gander at it. You can tell when I took it outside, when I got into the truck up until I put it out the window, when I went into the grocery store, etc, just from looking at the CPMs. Below is the rundown of where I went, _some_ times for references, etcetera, to go along with the log.

I hung it up this morning, and it was setting off the alarm, which I had to increase to 200CPM to keep it from going off all the time, so that means it was =/>200 while it was going off. A wee bit after 9am today I went into town and, since I wasn't driving, stuck my hand out the window holding the Geiger counter along the way. It went up-up-up heading toward the main drag (a few blocks North of me), and then started to drop as I got toward the grocery store to the East.

It was in the ~20's-30's range in the grocery store (even when I put in the cooler that holds the flounder, salmon and catfish), except for the aisle with the nuts and the aisle with the cat litter (incidentally, the nuts and cat litter are on the same shelfy thing opposite one another, so one's in one aisle and the other is in the next one over). I may have missed some peaks etc. 'cause it was in my purse for part of the shopping trip.

After the grocery store (which is on the main drag), I went to the post office to the West (and a block North of the main drag). As I went West, the counter kept going up-up-up and after turning North, even more up, 'till peaked at 801CPM in front of the post office (I'll include a screenie of that from the log), and started to drop (the truck was blocking the wind once it was parked). This shows at 10:08:31am on the log (omg that means the grocery store took the better part of an hour! :P ) The temperature had gone up to the lower 90°F's by the time I got home. The humidity's been at its usual 16% today. The wind, oddly enough, was blowing from the North, at least while at the post office (tossed a bit of dog hair out the window to test :whistle: ). I don't know of anything North that would do this.

I do wonder though... the wind had been blowing in the direction of the post office the previous 2-3 days. Could a hot particle have lodged itself somewhere? All I can do is speculate.

Either way, I hope this gives y'all a better idea of the circumstances and so forth to form a better picture of what's going 'round these parts!

I've often seen/heard people asking how the counts could possibly be so low on the maps, and some even draw the conclusion that a lot of the available maps are faked. This little experiment, I think, clearly shows that this is not the case, but rather that since most Geiger counters must be indoors in order to upload data, the data winds up necessarily being a far cry from accurate. This conclusion requires hazarding a guess most folks don't/can't have their Geigers both outside and connected to a computer. I'd bet my big toe that's an accurate guess (and I'm rather attached to my toes! :lol: )

So a way to upload the info from the memory to the map/internet logs would be hugely useful, probably for hundreds of people globally to be able to provide real data for those of us who look... and if this site manages to pull that off (kudos and faith to all the folks involved in development here!!), it may very well be able to become the most honest and accurate map to exist (safecast be darned! No offense to 'em... just sayin'... :P )

Should it become possible to upload these logs to this website, or otherwise where they're readable, I'll be saving and uploading as regularly as I can!

Sorry for this being a long post. I don't think my long-windedness could even be beaten out of me :blink:

Ahh... and now today's log file... again, the extension has been changed from .bin to .txt, so it'll have to be changed back, and the only way I know to view it is in the proggie I linked in my earlier post.

Thank you everyone!!!!! :)
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7 years 11 months ago #2394 by Frank
Replied by Frank on topic n00b Questions
So that area is almost due west of your house, going by where you said your located? Looks pretty fair away. I see other bodies of water around as well. How far is that site from your location? That was a pretty good write up. I'd piss my pants too if I saw readings like that. Hard to imagine seeing and getting readings like that. But its a lot lower indoors and screams higher once outside. I have the GMC-080 (1), GMC-200 (2) and a GMC-280 (1) this is the one I go mobile with as it has the lcd screen. That one lost be a little for it, but the 080 and the 200 were cheap and one of the 200's is outside with power and audio feeds coming into the shack, splitting audio feed line into 2 and feed 2 separate TL-081 adapters for 2 programs, feeding data to 2 sites. One can go crazy with these units, but this turned into a hobby for me and a concern since the 3/11 disaster. I have 7 of them all together, different makes and models. Got the GMC-080 and 200 pretty cheap off ebay. These are my tinker around ones for projects with one as my source for feeding the sites. Even have one mounted in my truck now with a extension to the tube outside the cab mounted inside an old "marine" GPS housing. :blink:

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7 years 11 months ago - 7 years 11 months ago #2395 by Bert490
Replied by Bert490 on topic n00b Questions
Frank, your earlier post about higher readings indoors might be related to Radon and the dry ground in your area. I recently came across a good article describing how ground level radiation varies based on, among other things, how dry the soil is. Basically, decaying Uranium underground releases Radon that can easily drift up to the surface if the soil is not waterlogged. Some of the seasonal variations have to do with this, while some is related to rain which washes the same Radon (and progeny) back down to the surface.

It is an NRC Environmental Impact Study called "Generic EIS in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for Decommissioning of NRC-licensed Nuclear Facilities, 1994", and I found it on google books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=GfI3AQAAMAAJ&rdid=book-GfI3AQAAMAAJ&rdot=1 . If you click the 'free' option you can read it on-screen. The part about variations is A.2.3 on page A-9, and goes about 10 pages. Radon in the soil may be seeping into your basement while the outdoor bits are being blown away by the wind.

Now OldMule, your area is reversed, with the outdoor readings higher. If these very high outdoor readings correlate with dry conditions and wind from the WNW, it seems likely to be dust blown from the dried up edges around the Cotter Mill leach pad (it's of course just conjecture at this point). But I also see a good match with Safecast data from 2013. The background in your area, both then and now, is around 50-60 cpm, likely due to the elevation (cosmic radiation being less attenuated). Under a solid roof, the drop to 20-30 makes sense. On the Safecast tile map (here) if you right-click on one of the tracks, you can query the data and see the cpm value, who submitted it and when. The mountain passes near Denver go above 100 cpm.
Last edit: 7 years 11 months ago by Bert490. Reason: typo
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