[ RadSafe ] Ionizing vs. Non Ionizing Radiation: RE:Cell Phones.

Geo>K0FF GEOelectronics at netscape.com
Thu Sep 17 09:16:23 CDT 2009

Roger Helbig said: "40 years ago, cell phones did not exist.  They used to be non-tactical
radios about he size and weight of a brick and big shots, doctors, generals,
colonels carried them!"

A few more factors that make present day cellphone use way different than traditional portable radio communications:

Frequency. Previous traditional portable radios had a frequency no more than 512 MHz. When later models
were developed in the 800 MHz range, deployment was delayed until a suitable antenna could be
provided that moved the High Voltage RF Node away from the area of the users eyes. The result was an abnormally long antenna for the 
frequency involved, but it worked.

Time factor. Two -way radio users typically transmitted a short message to a dispatcher, the duration of which lasted seconds or a minute at most.

Today, cellphones are used completely differently than the original designers of the system anticipated. Originally, calls were charged for time used, limiting air time due to financial concerns at least.  25 years ago the idea that a child could afford to own or afford to operate a hand held cellphone was ridiculous. First models of the Motorola Flip Phone went for $3000+ USD, and airtime could easily run a dollar a minute.

Contrast that to today's 8 to 10 year old children who have their own telephone and seldom put it down. Further, the High Voltage RF Node of the antenna is pressed right up against the brain. What will be the results of 20 or 40 years of such use/abuse? I don't know, but then again, no one else does either.

Back in the 1960's I was part of another technology revolution in the microwave arena. At that time, vacuum tube technology was being superseded by solid state devices in the generation of microwave energy. Before the introduction of IMPATT, Avalanche and finally GUNN Diode generators, microwaves for police radars were generated by either re-entrant cavity oscillators or Klystron tubes. The lightweight solid state generators made hand held Doppler radars possible, a.k.a. Speed Guns. There became very popular for a period of time, so much so that it seemed that almost every police car had one. Instead of a heavy permanently mounted antennas, the gun configuration was hand held and pointed at will. As the officers rode around in their patrol cars looking for possible speeders, they had a habit of nesting the radar gun in their laps. This practice is never followed any longer because of the link between police officers and increased testicular cancer. 

Later in time, I became partners with one of the researchers that worked at Monsanto's electronic development lab and helped to create those solid state generators.
He told me stories of when he worked on the DEW LINE in the 1950's where birds that flew into the 400 MHz relay beam fell out of the sky dead.
Although few if any police still use RF radar ( lasers are the rage now), these devices are used in the millions in door openers, motion detectors and burglar alarms.

Let's consider you kitchen's microwave oven for a moment: Scientifically it is a 2.4 GHz, several hundred Watt microwave generator. It will boil water in a minute and cook a goose in half an hour. Compare that to a Multipoint Distribution System ( a sort of TV transmitter). These operate at 2.4 GHz with 100+ Watts. There is no "Dangerous Radiation" nomenclature on the antenna. I have worked with many of  these in the past and stood right next to the antenna, although for brief periods of time due to my own caution. Still I developed cataracts at age 40. A coincidence? Maybe. 

Radio Frequency electromagnetic photons are non ionizing, contrasting with X-Ray and Gamma Ray photons which are. Biological effects of both must follow the same TIME/DISTANCE/SHIELDING (flux density)  effects, but for different reasons.

Bottom line, a scientist has seen so many odd things in chemistry and physics that he or she must simply have an open mind and not scoff at any proposal until all the evidence has been processed. Some of this processing will take decades to complete.

George Dowell


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