“Soeks 112” Portable Radiation Detector
Most reviews of a new mobile phone, TV, or portable speaker don’t begin with a paragraph about what those devices do, or why the reader would need one. But a Portable Radiation Detector is a very different device. For this reason, I like to start off each of these reviews with a little bit about these devices and the benefits of ownership.
The world was a very different place on 26 April 1986 -- the night of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Powerstation in Ukraine. At the time, Ukraine was a part of a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that no longer exists. There were 2 Berlins, separated by a wall that is little more than a legend to most young people today. The music we listened to was different. The cars we drove were different. Most people alive today had not yet been born.
But Ionizing Radiation is not 1980’s. It’s not Eastern Europe, or Russia, or Pennsylvania, or Japan. The use of uranium in paint pigments continued until the “zero-zero’s”. The accident in Fukushima happened in 2011. Just this year we had another explosion involving radioactive material in Russia, and for a short time, a category 5 hurricane appeared to be headed for a nuclear power plant on a very small strip of land in Florida.
The St. Lucie Nuclear Power Station sits on a very narrow
strip of land, with a maximum elevation of just a few feet above
sea level. For a time, the eye of Hurricane Dorian (2019), which became a
category 5 storm as it approached Florida, was predicted to
cross over this area.
I’m not forecasting doom. I’m talking about awareness of something that is invisible, but very real. Just like water, radiation is life-saving and life-threatening. Radiation is manufactured and natural. Radiation is now and the future. Radiation is frightening and alluring. Radiation is where you are right now.
Owning a radiation meter means an awareness of reality.
The Soeks 112 Reacts to an antique Harlequin cup and saucer.
So if owning one of these is desirable for awareness, emergency preparedness, or just as a “Rad” conversation piece, what features should one look for when purchasing one?
Here are some basic, common-sense features:
The reasoning behind each of these can be found in my Radiation Detector Buyer’s Guide, and will not be repeated here.
A Quick Note about Some Devices that May Appear to be Very Similar:
Since the tragedy at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, a Japanese company has begun marketing several very similar radiation meters. However, they use a semiconductor device as a sensor, and thus detect gamma (γ) radiation only.
In addition, there are numerous small devices that plug into a mobile phone’s headset jack, and with a special app, they allow you to measure, and even track radiation. These employ the same type of semiconductor detectors. Such devices are not true Geiger counters, and not sensitive to β particles. In addition, these semiconductor detectors are also very small. This means that they would need to be very close to an object, and held there for some time before registering a radiation level. Since most steps in the radioactive decay of uranium produce β particles, they may not detect radioactive antiques at all.
There are larger detectors that connect to a mobile phone with a short cable. These devices do contain actual GM tubes, but are more expensive. By the time you connect 2 devices together with a wire, you actually end up with something less convenient, and less likely to be actually used than a single compact device with an integrated display.
Features and Benefits of the Soeks 112:
Please see the actual unboxing video of this device on the CarCynic.com YouTube Channel.
The new Soeks 112 meets most of the basic specifications above, as shown in the following table:
The Soeks 112 in the Retail Packaging.
Other Features and Pluses:
In addition to the basic features mentioned above, I would also like to point out some of the specific things I like about this particular meter now that I actually have used it.
In addition, Soeks has an office in Miami, Florida, USA. Products ship to USA customers from within the USA, and thus arrive much more quickly than a product shipped from Russia or China. Similarly if the product needs to be returned for any reason, it can be sent to the office in Florida. Soeks also provides product support on their US website, and via social media in Engish.
Unfortunately, like all the devices reviewed here so far, the Soeks 112 has some significant misses that keep it from being the ideal Portable Radiation Detector:
The above are minor gripes, or at worst, things I would change if I were designing one (which I did start to do at one point). Unfortunately, there are 2 more significant problems with this unit:
Settings Menu Functions (Actually in English):
0, 1, 3, 5, 10, 60, 120
0 means no timeout - always on.
Acute alarm threshold
0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.5, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100
0 means alarm disabled.
0, 1, 2
Off, Counts and Alarm, Alarm Only
0, 1, 2
Off, Counts and Alarm, Alarm Only
The Soeks 112 is Soek’s most compelling small radiation detector yet. It is very easy and discreet to carry, and fine for casual antique shopping, or household use. However, almost all of it’s features fall behind the other units I’ve reviewed. Worst of these is the small display, and the lack of any stand-by alarm functionality. The IdealRatio Rodnik 3, Reviewed here, also falls short of an ideal design in many ways, but in terms of battery life and availability, display readability, and construction, it is, in my opinion, a better choice than the Soeks 112 for an ultra-portable device. If the compact size is not of prime importance, the EcoTest MKS-05, which does not suffer from the "misses" of these smaller devices, would be the best choice. As far as a highly portable device, at least for now, the IdealRatio Rodnik 3 will continue to be my daily use Radiation Detector.
Get 10% off the Radiation Detector Reviewed Here, by clicking this link, and/or using the Following Coupon Code:
The LinuxSlate.com Guide to Buying a Personal Radiation Detector
Linuxslate.com review of the DRSB-88
Linuxslate.com review of the IdealRatio Rodnik 3
Linuxslate.com review of the EcoTest MKS-05
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THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR "AS IS". IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INJURY, OR ILLNESS ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENT, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE, INJURY, OR ILLNESS.
IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK IS RADIOACTIVE, OR OTHERWISE HAZARDOUS, OR IF YOU SUSPECT OTHERS OF HAVING SUCH, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES. THIS GUIDE IS A TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF CONSUMER ELECTRONIC DEVICES ONLY. IT DOES NOT, NOR DOES IT PURPORT TO, GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY FORM OF HEALTH ADVICE. IF YOU SUSPECT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE, OR ARE HAVING HEALTH PROBLEMS, CONTACT A PHYSICIAN OR YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES.