Two Letters Re: Test Sources for Radiation Meters–The Cesium Source Already in Your Home

Mr. Rawles,
I’m very suspicious of the information from “Ole Rad” that you could test a Civil Defense field survey meter with the radiation that comes from a smoke
detector. Several things in his post don’t add up:
1) Smoke detectors use Americium-241 as their source and the radiation at 1 meter distance is “less than 1/1000th of that from background radiation” (source:
2) The CDV-777-2 is the radiation detection kit which contains a field survey meter, dosimeters, and a dosimeter charger. The kit might also contain a CDV-700 geiger counter, but that has it’s own beta check source on the side. Also, the CDV-700 uses 4 D cells, while a CDV-715 or 717 uses 1 D cell. The CDV-720 uses 2 D cells.
3) It takes a minimum of 0.1 R/h (or 100 mR/h) to defect the needle to the “1” position on the meter for a CDV-715, 717, or 720 field survey meter set
to the lowest range (meter reading x 0.1 R/h). A 1 microCurie Cesium-137 source emits about 2 milli-R/h at the surface. Thus, it would take 50 of these sources together to produce 0.1 R/h. A low-level source can be used with a field survey meter, but it requires a special pancake probe instead of the ion chamber. Regards, – A.C.

JWR Replies: In my estimation, Ole Rad’s advice only applies to Geiger counters with a low (highly sensitive) range.

Jim: There has been some confusion lately about the surplus civil defense radiation gear. Here is a quick rundown on what you might find.
Survey Meters
CDV-715, CDV-717, CDV-720 – These are what’s known as a “high range” meter. They use a device called an ion chamber to measure life- threatening levels of radiation. They were intended to be distributed to fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear war, so that radiation levels outside could be monitored and reported. This type of unit WILL NOT detect low levels of radiation, such as that from a “dirty” bomb, a radium-dial clock, smoke detector or tritium gun sight. About the only way to make the needle move much on one of these is to expose it to a large gamma source (such as in a calibration lab or cancer treatment facility). You may be able to test one of these by exposing it to a doctor or dentist’s X-ray machine. Set the meter on the lowest range and see what happens.
Most of these have a self-check circuit that can let you know if the basic electronics are functional. If you are serious about keeping one or more of these around for a real emergency, you should definitely get it calibrated and serviced. The KI4U folks can get this done, and there are several other facilities that will calibrate these meters. Expect to pay $20-75 for a meter in good shape, and possibly another $100+ for calibration.
CDV-700 – This is a true Geiger counter. You can easily spot these by the “hot dog” shaped probe attached to it via a cable. These are pretty sensitive, and will pick up small radioactive items, such as radium-dial watches. Tritium gun sights are just too weak to be detected by any common detector. Also, these have small test source affixed to the side that you can use to instantly test if the meter is working. These usually sell for $100+, and would be much more appropriate for detecting fallout from a dirty bomb, nuke plant accident, etc. These were designed for checking people, food, etc for small amounts of contamination.
Along with the Civil Defense surplus, there are a number of newly made Geiger counters, usually from Russian companies. Harbor Freight sometimes has one called the Quartex, and there is another one called the RKSB-104. You can often find these on eBay.
These are small, yellow sticks that look like a big crayon. Unlike a survey meter or geiger counter, these do not instantly show you how much radiation they are being exposed to at the moment. Rather, you wear them around, and they let you know how much total dosage you received over a day, month, etc. Like the survey meters, these come in high and low-range models. The good ones are made by Bendix. Avoid the other brands, unless they are of new commercial manufacture (such as Dosimeter Corp).
CDV-741,742 – High range (0-100 or 0-200 RADS). Useful after a nuclear war, not useful for much else.
CDV-138 – Low range (0-200 Millirads). Useful for working around an X- ray machine, checking if you got exposed from a small source or accidental leak. Much more rare than the other type.
The dosimeters must be charged before they are useful. Look for a CDV-750 or similar charger. You can test dosimeters by charging them up (this sets the needle to zero) and then leaving them sitting for a couple of weeks. If some of them rapidly leak down to zero, they are bad. Otherwise, these items have a very long useful life. They have no batteries, and only need the charger to put a static electricity charge into a small piece of fiber. The static charge leaks off it when exposed to radiation.
Here are links to more than you ever wanted to know about Civil Defense gear:
Thanks, – JN

Letter Re: Too Good to be True? Nationally Advertised Radiation Detector for $60?

Hi James,
Regarding the post from Wednesday about the old rad meters for $60, they were about the only thing easily available before Y2K. At that time the conventional wisdom, (which I am almost certain goes back to Bruce Beach, since he was selling piles of old Canadian ones for 50 bucks) is that the ionizing chamber can deteriorate over time and to be safe you must multiply by a factor of four when using it. If it reads 5 R, figure it is 20 R. If it reads 20 R, figure it is 80 R. This should definitely keep you safe.

By the way, Shane at calibrates rad meters and the turn around time is currently 10 days. See here:

Shane has said in posting at the doomer-prepper forum that if you carry a rad meter in your car where it gets heated, frozen, and bumped around, it should be recalibrated yearly.

By the way if your readers are not familiar with Nukalerts, they are a great little gadget.

God bless, – Lyn

JWR Replies: I agree that recalibration is a good idea. Also keep in mind the radioactive decay of test sources. If your test source is tritium, since tritium has a half-life of 11.2 years, then obviously if your test source is 11 or 12 years old then your meter will only indicate one half of the reading versus a fresh test source.

I also agree that the NukAlert is a great product. They are available from Ready Made Resources and several other vendors.

Rebuttal Letter from Spencer Feldman, Re: Suggestions for the Acute Management of a H5N1 Pandemic

In rebuttal to the letter posted by Dr. BCE on Saturday, April 8, 2006:

Dear Dr. BCE:

My article is entitled “Suggestions” not answers to the Avian flu. We are currently in the process of testing the product on H5N1 patients in Asia. Time will tell if it works and to what degree. Dr. BCE, if you think you have a better idea of what to do, then by all means post it. I don’t mean this in an adversarial way, I’d really like to see another protocol, any protocol. Until I see someone else step up to the plate and offer another protocol, I’ll stick with what I’ve done. Survival is never guaranteed, you do the best with what you have.

OBTW, I read back through some of the past archives [in SurvivalBlog] about the use of elderberry extract. To clarify what I said in the article, elderberry is great for the common flu but for the H5N1, it must be balanced with a TNFa inhibitor like tumeric. Otherwise the benefits of the elderberry may be outweighed by the increased cytokine storm it also engenders.

Sincerely, – Spencer Feldman

Odds n’ Sods:

The $44 Trillion Mountain of Debt

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SurvivalBlog reader RBS recommended a site with some very revealing reading on what your bank might consider a “red flag”, at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering InfoBase.

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Does anyone have anything more substantial than “a confidential source” or “According to our sources in the U.S. Treasury” about the rumors swirling around Washington D.C. that the Federal Reserve is printing an extra Two Trillion U.S. Dollars in cash? (Also repeated at  These kind of rumors drive me crazy.  In the past two weeks I’ve had more than 60 e-mails from readers on this topic, which I have refrained from posting. Please, please, somebody point me something official–or otherwise substantiated, otherwise let’s write this off as unfounded rumor-mongering.

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An interesting piece of FFTAGFFR on Islam, Terrorism, and Category Error.

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Times of London Reports: World cannot meet oil demand

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"It is He who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: and they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it) and cast terror into their hearts so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers. Take warning then O ye with eyes (to see)!"  – Surah Al-Hashr Ruku 1 (A.Yusuf Ali Translation of the Qur’an)

Note From JWR:

My heartfelt thanks to all of the folks that have sent “10 Cent Challenge” contributions. The steadily expanding base of subscribers will allow me to quit my “day job” at the end of March. (Deo volente.) I will then have the time to cover topics in greater depth. SurvivalBlog subscriptions are voluntary. All that we ask is ten cents a day–but only if you feel convicted to do so. If what you read here is not worth ten cents a day to you, or if you are on a tight budget, then you can pass. And for those of you that are on a tight budget, you can “do your bit” to support SurvivalBlog by contacting potential advertisers and asking them to get a banner ad. They start at just $55 per month. That is dirt cheap compared to a magazine ad.

Note from JWR:

Today we welcome two new advertisers:

First, a gentlemen in Colorado, who is selling the most elaborate underground retreat house that I have ever seen. Even if you aren’t currently looking for real estate, be sure to look at his web pages. You are bound to learn a lot about retreat architecture! Something tells me that given the “niche” readership of SurvivalBlog that this property will not be on the market long! OBTW, unless you are a serious potential buyer, please do not pester the owner with questions!

Second, Bear Basin Outfitters, one of the nations’ premier optics dealers. I am quite impressed with the breadth and depth of their product lines. They also have great prices. Please consider them the next time that you plan to buy a traditional scope, tritium or LED-lit reticle scope, bullet-drop compensating scope, night vision scope, spotting scope, laser range finder, shooting glasses, or binoculars. Tell them that Jim Rawles at SurvivalBlog sent you!

Letter Re: Test Sources for Radiation Meters–The Cesium Source Already in Your Home

Mr. Rawles:
The following is an excerpt from an interesting string of conversation on Survival Forum about calibrating a survey meter. I don’t know this as fact, but if true. It would useful info. I should say that the poster that posted this has been reliable in the past, and well-documented.

I asked Ole Rad ’bout the calibration of me CD 777-2 survey meter. Says he– “1 microcurie of Cesium 137 should cause a defection.” Purty cool, huh? Turns out 1 microcurie source of Cesium 137 is a common smoke detector— that only took me two days ta find out. So’s I load the ole D battery , which falls out of the battery holder in a CD777-2 without taping the battery in place.Set the scale for the lowest setting and zero the thing-circuit test gives a full deflection. Cool, huh? So’s I take the meter out of its box and touch the chamber to the smoke detector little black box of cesium and — I get a needle deflection of one mark– that would be 1 microcurie. The durn thing is still in calibration and working fine.Only took me two days to figure out. Da**it, Rad– why didn’t ya say what a 1 microcurie Cesium 137 source was? I was ready to order some bag of ore or sumthin and I had the source to check me meter right on my wall.

Again, great blog. I will be praying about your change in employment. Regards, – C.K.

Letter Re: Suggestions for the Acute Management of a H5N1 Pandemic, by Spencer Feldman

I read with concern the post yesterday (Friday 7th April) about Avian influenza. The post while appearing to be well referenced, in fact misrepresents what many of the trials and studies referred to actually state. The general implication is that there is a vast body of scientific research supporting the authors position. This is not the case at all, the articles do not say this and the authors spin on what some say misrepresents them. The majority are very early in-vitro or animal model studies which do not translate at all in terms of efficacy in humans. Most biomedical scientists would agree that only about 1:500-1000 of these very early trials will go on to a meaningful application in human medicine – it is plain wrong and intellectually dishonest to use them as the author has done here. Cheers. – Dr. BCE from New Zealand

Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader S.H. mentioned a Big Listing of Shelter Manufacturers–All different types, in ground (steel and fiberglass), above ground, and inside safe room retrofit types:

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Ireland’s Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) has their Newsletter #64 (April, 2006) now available. The newsletter is not yet transcribed for best online viewing, but you can download the PDF file directly:…200604.pdf

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An interesting article on Asian Avian Flu and Your Cat

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Wow! Take a look at the 30 Day and Six Month Gold and Silver spot price charts at Kitco. This bull market seems to have no intention of slowing down!

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"The human race has had long experience and a fine tradition in surviving adversity. But we now face a task for which we have little experience, the task of surviving prosperity.” – Alan Gregg

Note from JWR:

Thanks for all of the recent 10 Cent Challenge contributions. At this juncture I should mention that starting Saturday I will be foregoing my corporate salary and benefits to take up writing SurvivalBlog, full time. (Read: Big leap of faith.) I don’t want to drone on and on and on like some dreaded PBS telethon about this. The bottom line: If you find some value in what you read here, then please consider subscribing for 10 cents a day. Thanks!

Suggestions for the Acute Management of a H5N1 Pandemic, by Spencer Feldman

The H5N1 (Asian Avian Flu or “Bird Flu”) virus owes its lethality to its ability to instigate pathological immune responses in the host via cytokine storm. This leads to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and massive infiltration of inflammatory cells into the lungs. Thus, any H5N1 protocol must take into consideration, not only the inhibition of the virus, but also the effects of DIC and alveolar flooding.
Given that there are reports of some patients dying within three hours of initial symptoms, any medical response must be swift and aggressive.
Traditional models for treatment outside of a hospital setting rely upon antiviral medications. This is insufficient as there are now strains of the H5N1 that are resistant to all major antiviral drugs, and furthermore does nothing to address the issues of DIC and alveolar flooding.
Alternative models concentrate on immune stimulating products. This is a dangerous idea as it is the strength of the immune response that makes the H5N1 so deadly. Increasing immune response may prevent an initial infection, but in an infection that has already taken hold, it will only worsen the outcome.

Preventative Measures
Studies suggest that Vitamin E and Selenium may decrease the infectivity and pathogenicity of the H5N1 Avian Influenza(1). Additionally, air pollutants have shown to increase the risk of contracting the H5N1 Avian Influenza(2). Raising glutathione, a primary detoxification pathway for petrochemicals may be of benefit. Finally, strengthening capillary walls may be suggested in preparation for a possible hemorrhagic episode.

Acute Management
Current scientific thought holds that the lethality of the H5N1 Avian Influenza may be caused by systemic viral dissemination, cytokine storm and/or alveolar flooding(3).
As such, an intelligent protocol for supporting the body would be to take these factors into consideration.
The H5N1 Avian Influenza contains the compounds Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase (also called sialidase). Both of these compounds are required in the infection cycle of certain virus. The drugs Zanamivir and Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are both Neuraminidase inhibitors. One study suggests that the common Chinese Herb Astragalus may also be a Neuraminidase inhibitor(4). Since another study(5) suggests that Ca2+ and Mag2+ both speed up the activity of neuraminidase, and that Ca2+ is required for its function, making these elements unavailable via chelation with sodium and potassium citrate may be of use.
Studies also suggest that Lactoferrin(6), sulfated polysaccharides such as Ceramium Rubrum(7) (Red Marine Algae) and Elderberries(8) may be Hemagglutinin inhibitors. Unfortunately, Elderberry also increases cytokines (see above) especially Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNFa)(9) which is specifically associated with the toxicity of the H5N1 Avian Influenza (10).
For this reason, ingredients that studies suggest normalize TNFa such as Curcumin and Vitamin E (11),(12) should be considered.
One outcome of a cytokine storm can be disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). DIC may be responsible for the massive hemorrhaging seen with the H5N1 Avian Influenza(13). Thus, in addition to supporting normal cytokine levels, supporting the body in normalizing blood coagulation parameters with nutritional compounds may also be suggested(14),(15),(16).
The drugs Amantadine and Rimantadine work by inhibiting the matrix protein(s). Studies indicate that Glutathione and Resveratrol may have an effect on matrix proteins as well(17), (18).
Finally, Lactoferrin may support the body in decreasing infiltration into the lungs of inflammatory cells(19).

Emergency Solution
While I have already manufactured a product that contains all of the ingredients listed, the FDA does not allow for commercial sale alternative products to be made (other than homeopathics) for the bird flu. (While no claims are made nor can be made for a product with these ingredients, those interested in procuring some for research use only can do so by calling the author at: 808-573-8166.) You can see the other products we make at

The following ingredients should be available locally and would be the basis of a makeshift H5N1 survival pack.
1- Curry powder as a source of turmeric to suppress TNFa
2- Red wine with the alcohol boiled off as a source of resveratrol
3- Kelp as a hemagglutinin inhibitor
4- Astragalus as a neuraminidase inhibitor (available at any Chinese herb shop)
5- Vitamin E as a blood thinner (available at any health food store)

Reports of people dying from the H5N1 Influenza in as little as three hours from the first signs of infection suggest the necessity of carrying on one’s person whatever they consider an adequate defense against this infection.
To recap,
In designing such a defense, the key factors to address regarding the H5N1 virus would be:
1- Decreasing the risk of initial infection
2- Decreasing the potential virulence of infection
3- Inhibiting Hemagglutinin
4- Inhibiting Neuraminidase
5- Inhibiting Matrix proteins
6- Binding of viral receptor sites
6- Reduction of calcium and magnesium
6- Decreasing general inflammatory cytokines
7- Decreasing TNF-a in particular
8- Supporting normal platelet activity
9- Decreasing free radical activity in the lungs
10- Minimizing hemorrhage
11- Strengthening blood vessels
12- Protecting against the after effect of hemorrhage
13- Replenishing electrolytes lost to diarrhea
14- Inhibiting secondary infections

JWR Adds: I have contacted the inventor personally. He told me that if an easily transmissible strain of Asian Flu does break out, it is likely that he will make his product available as long as supplies last.

Odds ‘n Sods:

An object lesson in inflation: Take a look at the 5 billion (millard) Mark note from the Weimar Republic, and ponder it. Hyperinflation has happened before, and it will happen again.  It is a risk in any country where the currency is not freely redeemable from the national treasury in specie.

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SurvivalBlog reader J.N. sent a link to a site with free PDFs of many military medical manuals. Also, a PDF for anyone wanting to know more about wound healing and suturing:

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On the lighter side: Our friend Chuck says, “Regarding Gold… This is how I feel! Gold hit $600 per ounce, yesterday. And silver is holding over $12!

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I just added a big pile-o-books to my mail order catalog. There are some great titles on a wide range of subjects, all from my personal collection–which I am presently paring down. See:

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"…a further pandemic can be expected. When that will be is not known, but the consequences, when it does, will be serious."
"A future pandemic is likely to spread rapidly to all parts of the globe and cause sudden and sharp increases in illness over a matter of weeks. A pandemic could therefore rapidly overwhelm health and other services. The overall impact is likely to be even more far reaching, affecting daily life, business and consequently national and global economies."
"The impact of a flu pandemic on health and social services is likely to be intense, sustained and nation-wide; they may quickly become overwhelmed." – U.K. Health Departments’ Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan