Gamma FAQ


1. Is Gamma-Scout® right for me?
Yes, if you want to control your environment to be free of significant contamination of radioactivity.
First let me say it will absolutely positively measure radioactivity in granite
countertops. In fact, one of the major advantages of the Gamma-Scout® is that it is very sensitive
to extremely low levels of radiation.

For general radiation measurement applications, we have 4 basic types of customers. First are
security and safety organizations, such as police and fire departments, emergency response
organizations, private security firms, hazardous material disposal and metal recycling companies,
or people who are simply interested in checking a package, suitcase, vehicle, loose material, or
any object they believe could be "hot".

The second type of customer is a private individual concerned about personal safety, someone
looking for protection against environmental contamination (accident or terrorist attack - dirty
bomb) of their home, job environment, travelling.

The third type of customer is an educator or hobbyist, people who want to test various materials
or demonstrate principles of radioactivity.

And finally we sell many Gamma-Scouts® to people in the medical field such as radiologists,
dentists, hospitals, laboratories, and any organization that handles radioactive materials or generates
radioactive emissions.

We even sell them to air cargo pilots who check their freight before every flight, "just in case".

The bottom line is that if you believe you will encounter radioactivity, (even if that possibility is remote)
and you want to protect yourself against this potentially lethal pollutant, then you absolutely should
own a Gamma-Scout®.


2. How useful is the Gamma-Scout® against a nuclear accident or terrorist attack?
Even though the Gamma-Scout® was originally conceived before 9/11, its features and refinements
have been optimized for protection against these threats. In a likely terrorist scenario, unless you're
at ground zero, your exposure will probably be at relatively low, but gradually rising levels, and may
not appear in your immediate environment for several days.

The Gamma-Scout® can detect changes in ambient radiation levels with precision below 1%.
Drifting radioactive material can settle on and inside your house, contaminate your food or water.
With Gamma-Scout® you don't have to check radiation levels every day. The built in buffer memory
allows you to download accumulated measurement data into your PC to display even minor changes
in radiation levels for up to many years. And our audio alert function can be set to trigger an alert tone
at any user-programmable radiation level.


3. How much radiation risk is there nowadays?
The average person has no idea how much radiation is all around them and how much exposure
can harm or even kill them.

Nowadays, there are a variety of sources, any one of which can go undetected for years and cause
illness and death. Recycled nuclear plant scrap metal, unannounced or unknown nuclear plant leaks,
and nuclear waste disposal contamination are long standing risks. And of course, after 9/11, a new
risk has emerged in the form of terrorist attacks, either as a dirty bomb, or nuclear plant sabotage.

In this new and unstable security environment there's even the possibility of a low-level hostile nuclear
exchange. (India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea). Such an event could spread nuclear fallout around
the world via jet stream currents. No one would be safe.


4. What are the Gamma-Scout® units of measurement?
The Gamma-Scout® Geiger Counter displays an exposure rate in µSv/h. The µSv (microSievert)
is an internationally accepted unit for tissue dosage. Much of contemporary literature on the subject
refers to the REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man). REM's are converted to Sieverts at the following ratios:

1 rem = 0.01 Sv = 10 mSv = 10,000 µSv
1 mrem = 0.001 rem = 10 uSv

The Gamma-Scout® display can be shifted from Sievert to REM (see user guide).
It's just that simple.


5. How do I know when I'm in danger?
It's easy to tell if you have a problem. Ambient radiation levels worldwide are about 0.1 uSv/hr - 0.25 uSv/hr.
In the case of a dirty bomb, for example, variations in exposure levels depend on a variety of factors
including atmospheric conditions and exact geographical location. Any substantial reading above ambient
(10 times, for example) indicates a problem. However, the severity of the problem is a function of radiation
level (intensity) and accumulated exposure over time.

With Gamma-Scout® , we've tried to make it easy, giving you exactly the information you need to assess
your individual risk. Each Gamma-Scout® digital LCD display indicates the current radiation level in 3
ways: as a tissue dosage number in uSv/hr, as tissue dosage in analog bar chart format, and tissue dosage
expressed as a maximum allowable exposure time. The time exposure figure is extremely helpful to
quickly determine your personal exposure risk. This scale appears directly above the bar chart with limit
points at 1 year and 1 month. A quick look at the bar chart instantly tells you your maximum allowable
exposure time at the corresponding radiation level. It's simple, easy, fast, and accurate.

In addition, there is an audible alert function built into each Gamma-Scout® (model w/Alert). This is a beep tone which sounds
at a user-programmable radiation level. There is also a cascade of beeps/clicks as the radiation level rises.
You are not only alerted that radiation is present, but also whether it is rising in intensity. The default
setting for the alarm is 5 uSv/hr, not immediately deadly, but definitely a dangerous level. Many users set
the alert level at a minimum 1.00 uSv/hr, so they have an early warning for any significant change above
ambient levels.


6. I travel a lot. Should I carry the Gamma-Scout® with me?
There's no telling where or when you will be exposed to high or extreme radiation levels. Even seasoned
travelers are shocked to see how much extra radiation they're receiving on even a routine transatlantic
flight, often 3-5 times the amount at ground level. Also, travel to high-risk areas can present special problems.
We have many customers traveling to Europe who always pack their Gamma-Scout®. The Ukraine and
Belarus in particular are highly contaminated. The Baltics, Poland and parts of Scandinavia also have
unusually high environmental radiation levels, the result of residual Chernobyl fallout and Soviet era
uranium mining waste. But wherever you're going, better safe than sorry - carry a Gamma-Scout®.


7. Can the Gamma-Scout® detect radon gas?
The Gamma-Scout® can detect decay isotopes of radon gas (alpha particles).


8. How long is the Gamma-Scout® warranty?
The Gamma-Scout® warranty is 2 years for built in malfunction, but not for damage happening after supply
(also in the warranty time), for example for destroyed sensor. The power consumption of the Gamma-Scout® at
common measuring is only less than 10 micro Ampere (micro, not milli !!). Knowing the volume of the battery,
this makes your battery working for more than 10 years. But there are many other facilities of more power
consumption, for example the use of the ticker and alarm, the repeated data down load, the exposition of
extremely high radiation etc. In case of a leakage of battery after few month, this would be a case of warranty,
but an empty battery (or other damage) we can repair as after sales service, but we kindly ask to accept the
payment of our costs.


9. What if I'm not happy with the Gamma-Scout®?
If during the first 14 days you are unhappy with the Gamma-Scout® for any reason, simply return it to us
(without of marks of use) and we will gladly refund your money.


10. What if the battery runs down?
Only for measuring mood the battery will last for more than 12 years. But there are many facilities which
use more power. Therefore we cannot guarantee a specific time. But it should last years. In case of leakage
within the first few months, this would be a case of warranty (see that section). In other cases we offer
a repairing service via Germany, but we would have to forward the charges for material and labor.


11. How durable is the Gamma-Scout®?
Very. The Gamma-Scout® was developed to wireless handheld device shock standard. Its Novodur®
housing has a 30% thicker wall dimension than conventional designs. The housing will not crack, peel,
split or shatter even under extreme temperatures or loads.


12. How sensitive is the Gamma-Scout®?
The Gamma-Scout® will measure from below ambient radiation level to 1,000 uSv/hr, or 100
mrems/hr. Gamma-Scout® measures changes to radiation levels that would go virtually undetected
with older Civil Defense type counters and with an accuracy that is unmatched by cheap "radar detector"
type gamma alarms.


13. How far away from a radiation source can I measure with the Gamma-Scout®?
This is dependent upon the type (isotype) and intensity of the source and the barrier (shielding) between
the source and the Gamma-Scout® . A discrete object emitting a strong radioactive emission could be
detected at up to 10 meters. Also, we have found that changes to ambient levels are easily detectable
irrespective of distance, for example, on a transcontinental plane trip


14. Can I take my Gamma-Scout® on an airplane?
You are free to take your Gamma-Scout® on an airplane. It passes FCC Sec 15 standards and will not
emit radio interference. The x-ray machine will not damage the Gamma-Scout® .


15. Can I use the Gamma-Scout® under water?
No sorry, the Gamma-Scout® will not function under water, just like a cell phone, the circuit will short out.


16. Does the Gamma-Scout® need calibration?
Each Gamma-Scout® undergoes a rigorous factory inspection and calibration protocol. We use a highly
stable G-M tube so it is unlikely your Gamma-Scout® will require calibration during the first 5 years of
service. After that, should you desire a factory calibration and test, just return the unit and we will be
happy to check and recalibrate your unit for a modest processing charge. The rules of ISO certification
with industrial use require a calibration of all equipment after 2 years of use. We offer the service of
memorised calibration via our German headquarters, charging 50,00 € plus shipment.


17. How does a Geiger counter work?
A "Geiger counter" is named for the Geiger-Mueller tube, which is the core component of the device.
This tube contains a thin metal wire through its center, the space in between sealed and filled with gas.
The wire carries a charge of ca. 500 volts relative to the tube.

A nuclear particle or gamma quant penetrating the tube (or an electron knocked out of the wall by
X-rays or gamma rays) tears electrons off atoms in the gas, and because of the high positive voltage
of the central wire, those electrons are then attracted to it. In the process they gain energy, colliding
with atoms and releasing more electrons, until the process cascades into a "waterfall" producing an
easily detectable pulse of current.