CD V-710 Survey Meter (ca. 1954-1960)

CD V-710 Survey Meter

El-Tronics SID-1, aka Model 1 (above)

The CD V-710 was a medium-high range survey meter that employed a hermetically sealed ionization chamber located in the bottom front end of the case. Since the chamber was not open to the atmosphere, the unit was pretty much unaffected by humidity or temperature and pressure changes. A zero adjust control was located on the top of the case just below the range switch.

The first CD V-710, produced for the FCDA (ca. 1954), was the El-Tronics Model SID-1. Athough it was never labeled as such, the FCDA's successor agency, the OCDM, referred to it as the CD V-710 Model 1.

The SID-1 also seems to have been sold commercially as the "Rad-Tek" by Sears.

The photo below left shows the text on the side of the SID-1. The photo below right shows the comparable text on the side of the Rad-Tek. Aside from this difference, the two units are identical.

CD V-710 Survey Meter
CD V-710 Survey Meter
CD V-710 Survey Meter

Jordan Model 2

The above scene showing the CD V-710 comes from the movie Radiological Defense (produced by the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization in 1961).

The earliest reference I have found for the CD V-710 (as opposed to the Rad-Tek) is a description of the El-Tronics CD V-710 in a 1954 Atomic Energy Commission publication. It was also given the AEC designation: SGM-114A.

Another early reference to the 710 can be found in a Jordan Electronics advertisement in the November 1955 issue of Nucleonics. It reads: "NEW. Model 710 Civil Defense Gamma Survey Meter with ruggedized meter movement. Perma specifications. Rugged, dependable, low in price." The instrument shown in the advertisement is a Model 2.

CD V-710 Survey Meter

Victoreen Model 3

CD V-710 Survey Meter

Jordan Model 4

The following statement comes from a June 1959 revision of a 1955 Civil Defense Technical Bulletin: "To provide a capability for meeting the various requirements of civil defense operations and training, OCDM has developed the following types of instruments:... "A medium-range gamma survey meter to meet the principal radiological monitoring requirements for civil defense operations following an attack (CD V-710)." The accompanying photo in the bulletin appears to be the Jordan Model 4 (photo to right).

An OCDM Advisory Bulletin from January 1959 refers to both the Jordan Model 4 and the Model 5. As such, the introduction of the Model 4 and the Model 5 had to be in 1958 or earlier.

CD V-710 Survey Meter

Victoreen Model 5

In 1962, the 710 was superseded by the model 715 and the existing stocks were excessed, often with the Civil Defense logo removed or defaced. The problem with the CD V-710 was its relatively low range: it didn't extend beyond 50R/hr. When the 710 was first produced, its range seemed perfectly adequate—it had been developed for atomic warfare that involved the use of "conventional" fission weapons. By the early 1960s however, it was realized that the exposure rates resulting from the use of the newer thermonuclear weapons (fission-fusion devices) would be much higher.

In September 1985, FEMA sent a notification to the maintenance and calibration facilities indicating that all models of the CD V-710 were obsolete.

Detector: Plastic lined steel ion chamber

Range: 0-0.5, 0-5.0, 0-50 R/h

Audio: None

Materials: Unit came in both plastic and metal cases

Temperature: -20 to +125 degrees F


  • El-Tronics Model 1 - One 1.5 volt D cell, five 22 1/2 volt B cells
  • Jordan Model 2 - One 1.5 volt D cell and three 22.5 volt
  • Victoreen Model 3 - One 1.5 volt D cell and two 22.5 volt
  • Jordan Model 4 - Two 1.5 volt D cell and one 22.5 volt
  • Victoreen Model 5 - Two 1.5 volt D cell and one 22.5 volt

Battery life: 200 hours of continuous use


  • Model 3 - 4.25" x 7.25" x 4.5"
  • Model 4 - 4” x 7” x 3”

Weight: Model 4 - Two pounds

Estimated date of first production:

  • Model 1 - 1954
  • Model 2 - 1955
  • Model 3 - 1956
  • Model 4 - 1957
  • Model 5 - 1958

Manufacturers: Victoreen Inst. Co., Jordan Electronics Inc., El-Tronics, Jordan

Models: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Approximate Cumulative Procurement, Inventory and Distribution of CD V-710s*

Fiscal Year Procured Inventoried Distributed
Through FY 1956 24,745 5,227
FY 1957 81,715 11,276
FY 1958 124,827
FY 1959 170,750 135,877 34,873
FY 1960 170,750 127,756
FY 1961 170,750 121,066 64,366
FY 1962 170,750 98,080 71,655
FY 1963 170,750
FY 1964 170,750
FY 1965 170,750 57,334 110,908
FY 1966 170,750 56,768 113,944
FY 1967 170,750 51,288 114,519
FY 1968 170,750 0 114,348
FY 1969 170,750 0 114,348
FY 1970 170,750 0 114,348
FY 1971 170,750 0 114,348
FY 1972 170,750 0 114,382

*The numbers in the above table should be considered approximate. I compiled them from data in the Annual Statistical Reports of the OCDM, OCD and DCPA. By "procured," I mean delivered by the manufacturer to the OCDM, OCD or DCPA. "Inventoried" means stored in a Federal (rather than state) warehouse available for distribution. "Distributed" means sent to the end user. The latter primarily means the states, but also various federal agencies and even foreign governments. The number of procured instruments may be greater than the combined number of inventoried and distributed instruments for a variety of reasons: some may have been sent back to the manufacturer, some may have been disposed of, the numbers might be incorrect, etc.

Instruments donated by the Iowa Dept. of Public Defense courtesy of Frank Klier and Brian Lewis and the Federal Emergency Management Agency courtesy of Carl Siebentritt.


  • Atomic Energy Commission Radiation Measuring Instruments and Associated Components. RIB-8 (Part 2). July 1, 1954. Page SGM-114A.
  • Jordan Electronics Inc., advertisement. Nucleonics November 1955, page 107.
  • Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. Radiological Instruments for Civil Defense. Technical Bulletin TB-11-20. September 1955 (Revised June 1959).
  • Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. Interim Procedures for Maintenance of Radiological Instruments. Advisory Bulletin No. 229. January 8, 1959.
  • Jordan Operating and Maintenance Instructions for CD V-710 Model 2
  • Victoreen Instruction Manual for CD V-710 Model 3.
  • Jordan Operating and Maintenance Instructions for CD V-710 Model 4.
  • Victoreen Operating and Maintenance Instructions for CD V-710 Model 5.