Saturday, 14 March 2015

Radon Measures - Daughters of decay


Occasionally, I abandon scope — and get on my apple box to rant and wave.
So click here if you want something about circuitry.

A dear friend suffers in the terminal stages of lung cancer. She, a non-smoker, can't figure out how this happened. We'll never know, however, might it have been radon gas exposure in the former old basement suit she lived in for decades?

We bought a radon gas meter that runs a photodiode, a microcontroller and some DC circuitry to perform alpha spectrometry and display the data means.

Above — Day 1 of radon gas measures in my basement lab.

Above — Data at 2 weeks.

I won't write much about radon gas since good links abound Link1  Link2. Canadians measure radon concentration in becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m³), while in the USA, they express it in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). I hope my  3 -12 month radon measures stays low and look forward to viewing the changes over seasons and after rainstorms. Hopefully I won't have to make home renovations like my friend Greg did. He lives in our general area.

I get 3 IEEE publications. IEEE Spectrum ran a DIY Radon Detector article last year and here's a link although it's sans the code and schematic.

Remember all the noble gasses? The chemistry fascinates me and its worth reading about. For much of us, alpha radiation exposure primarily comes from inhaling radon and its decay products — it's now the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Don't assume that because Bob and Sally's house down your street tested OK, that your home is safe. This is another "To Measure Is To Know" test case. It's horses for courses.

Actually, some of us guys get a bit casual about cancer prevention: How many of you still smoke, go out in the sun all day with no UV blockade, ignore our doctor's advice to get a colonoscopy, or to receive the dreaded prostate sweep? Feeling uncomfortable? This all pales in comparison to the suffering of our friend with lung cancer,

Back to my lab with a radon detector gathering data. 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Etherkit Si5351A Breakout Board Update

Jason, NT7S recently shipped the Etherkit Si5351A BOB's and I got mine this week.

This BOB made a huge splash and forms a bedrock circuit to anchor future test and measurement products from Jason.

Stay tuned for updates from Etherkit or the NT7S Twitter feed.