Why so many detectors?
I get asked this on a fairly regular basis... There are many experienced detectorists out there that have one or maybe two machines that they master for their local conditions, and do very very well. I guess my best answer is I enjoy this hobby in several ways, I enjoy the actual metal detecting, I enjoy doing research on places to detect, and I enjoy trying and learning different metal detectors. I enjoy using different detectors for different types of detecting, and often rotate which machine I am using. For example beach detecting, I switch between my Minelab Sovereign, my Fisher CZ-70 and new White's Dual field. For water hunting I use my new Dual Field (Sold my BHID) and now my new Minelab Excalibur II. For parks and lawns I use my V3i, MXT, CZ-70 or my new Tesoro Golden uMax. I guess I buy detectors the same way guitarists often have many instruments, or fishermen have multiple fishing rod and reel combos, it is all part of the fun...
Minelab Excalibur II
My latest detector is the Minelab Excalibur II from Minelab purchased in August of 2013. I have wanted this particular detector since I purchased my (now sold) Beach Hunter ID, but at the time I was more familiar with White's machines (already owned the Surfmaster PI), and the BHID cost a lot less. I had a lot of success with the BHID but eventually sold it to a detecting buddy. I have been using the Dual Field for water detecting but finally decided I needed one with discrimination, this time around I decided on the Excalibur 2.
Since my detecting arm ain't what it used to be I went ahead and ordered an Anderson carbon long shaft to allow greater comfort, replaced the standard "s" rod the machine comes with. The "long" shaft (lol) positions the control unit behind the elbow, which essentially acts as a counter balance to the search coil. This configuration does work to make the detector more comfortable to use. After using it for a couple hours of detecting though, I can already see the need to keep the hipmount kit in the backpack.
I ordered all four of Clive Clynick's books on the Excalibur to cut down the learning curve. Although I already own a Minelab Sovereign, and the Excalibur is essentially a waterproof version, Clive's tips and tricks are hard to beat when it comes to getting the most performance out of your machine. I will be searching for any other books I can find on the Excalibur as well!
Tesoro Golden uMax
This is my Golden uMax from Tesoro purchased in August of 2011. Today being March 22nd 2013, I am bit behind on the site updates as you can tell... Sort of a funny story on how I acquired this detector. I went on a cross county RV vacation back in the summer of 2011. I forgot my detector at home, and desperately needed one for the trip. Instead of turning around and taking up a vacation day, I stopped at Kellyco in Orlando and picked up this little Gem. I have wanted this particular detector for quite a while, and this was my "golden" opportunity to pick one up!
I first used this detector while on the vacation and it performed without a hitch. I detected the exact same ground I had previously detected (back in 2002) with a White's XLT and found several really neat items including a 1964 silver Canadian dime, an old Royal Canadian Air Force button, and an old buckle. I haven't been detecting much the last couple years so I have only used the machine a few times but every time I use it I am more impressed. I have also watched a few videos on this amazing little detector, including on how to use the notch width to drop aluminum tabs while still finding gold and nickels: Here is the YouTube video Very cool!
White's Surf PI Dual Field
This detector is my Surf PI Dual Field from White's Electronics. I have been out a couple times with this detector and I can already tell it is a fantastic addition to my detecting toolkit. I ran with the presets on my first trip and it goes deep as advertised and as reported by many users. I picked up a couple books by Clive Clynick to jump start my education on this machine, The White's Surfmaster PI Dual Field: "An Advanced Guide"and
"Pulsepower!":Finding Gold at the Shore with a Pulse Induction Metal Detector. As a side note, I actually bent my favorite scoop handle digging a really deep target with the dual field, prompting me to get a Sunspot Stealth 6.5" heavy duty scoop. What was I digging? A huge fishing weight at about 18 inches...
White's Spectra V3i (Previously Vision)
I just purchased White's latest and have been learning the machine as time permits. My first time out at the beach I stumbled upon a coin pile, mostly pennies but there was one wheatie...
I have been out a few times now with the V3, and I really like the machine. I am still using the stock 10"DD coil but plan on trying the concentric 9.5 and 5.3 coils from my MXT, which are supposed to work well with the V3.
Update 05/14/10: My V3 is on its way to White's of the South East to get the V3i upgrade. I was on the fence about getting the upgrade but since I have not had the time to get out with it lately any ways I figured it was a good time.
Got my machine back in record time, incredibly fast turn around from White's of the South East. I love the V3i upgrade for several reasons, but mainly because the machine is noticeably more stable, I also love the polar plot analyze feature to check targets.
After several beach hunting trips with the V3, I have decided to stick to my BHID and Sovereign for beach detecting. For my style of hunting, which is to dig almost everything, the raw power and coverage of the Sovereign/Wont combo is hard to beat. I used the V3 in the wet salt, it was stable and seemed to perform well, I just was not comfortable getting too close to the waves with such a top dollar machine, that is where my new Dual Field comes into play. I am looking forward to trying the V3 at an old school yard where I have pulled old coins from 8+ inches.
Minelab Sovereign Elite
I bought the Elite a few years ago. I bought this detector really for just one reason, getting maximum depth for detecting wet salt. I also purchased a 15" WOT coil for this machine. Click here to see my first finds with the WOT coil. I purchased the following accessories for use with the Elite.
- I bought the Sovereign 180 Scale Meter Conversion Kit and did the conversion, it works great (more stable) and I haven't had any problems with the meter at all. I do not think they are still producing these.
- I purchased a 8" coil from Sunray for detecting more trashy areas, I have noticed a reduction in depth compared to the standard 10.5"
coil, but not much.
- Finally, I also purchased a Baker Straight Shaft for use with the 15" WOT coil, it works great but I am not sure if he is still producing them. I don't think so.
The MXT has proven to me that it is an outstanding coinshooting detector. I mainly use the MXT with the 3x6 DD coil
in very trashy parks and schoolyards. It is great on nickels and small gold items. I like to set the machine to Relic mode,
crank up the sensitivity and listen for the "high" tones that indicate possible good targets.
Click here to read the MXT review at Lost Treasure Magazine!
Fisher CZ-70 Pro
I purchased a CZ-70 for it's depth and ability to handle wet salt sand. I love this machine but with the 10.5 coil it
gets a bit heavy. I purchased a chest mount rig so I can detect longer without my "detectorist elbow" flaring up, the 10.5
coil still gets a bit much after several hours of detecting though. This is one of my favorite detectors, maybe because it
has really been a workhorse for me. Very easy to use, very deep seeking, four tone audio id makes it easy to quickly make a
decision to dig. When coinshooting, my usual practice is to notch out iron, go slow and listen for "small" good sounding targets,
I then check depth and dig anything deep.
Click here to read the CZ-70 review at Lost Treasure Magazine!
White's Spectrum XLT - Gave to nephew
I use my Spectrum XLT in dry sand searches, fresh water beaches, parks, schoolyards, etc. It
has now been moved to "backup" detector status but I still really enjoy using the machine. I bought me the 5.3 inch
coil one year and it really works well picking out good targets from the trash - I highly recommend XLT users to get the
small coil as an accessory. I typically use a modified relic program, I turn off the icons and just go by the VDI numbers. **Update: I
gave this detector to my nephew in 2008 he has been having a lot of fun with it.
Click here to read the Spectrum XLT review at Lost Treasure Magazine!
White's Beachhunter ID - Sold
When I needed a water detector that could cancel out all those pesky bobby pins and
bottle caps I decided on a Beachhunter ID. I have found more gold with this detector than all my other ones combined (up to
now anyway). This is a great machine, although it probably won't go as deep as some other brands top of the line models it
is has done great by me. It uses three tones to distinguish between iron, gold and silver. Along with the tones there is a
visual ID system (three colored LED's) that allows you to still get an ID on item even when searching in all metal mode - this
is a powerful feature. I use this detector primarily for water hunting.
The more I used my Beachhunter ID for regular beach hunting the more I was impressed by it. I use this machine along
with my Elite and CZ-70 for beach hunting on a pretty regular basis and I can't say I make more or better finds with either
the Elite or the CZ. I know that comment may ruffle some feathers out there but it's the truth. The Beachhunter has a couple
unadvertised (or at least under-advertised) pluses that I think attribute to this. First, a lot of people have complained that
the coil isn't weighted so the coil floats when water detecting - this is true, but, when you are beach hunting out of the water
the lightness of the rod and coil when hip mounted is a huge plus that shouldn't be discounted. A light coil means hunting longer
with less fatigue with better coil control. Second, the LED ID's work even when in All-Metal mode so you get the best of both
worlds, the extra depth from All-Metal, with the built in VCO (voltage controlled oscillator, which means the detector gets louder as the
target gets closer), plus a quick glance at the LED will give you a dig/no dig answer. Finally, I get really good depth with the beachhunter on the beaches I hunt here in Southwest Florida, with the sensitivity set right.
**Update: As a side note, White's Electronics is an inspiring company when it comes to customer service. I left the battery pack in this machine for too
long in the garage and the batteries leaked and corroded the inside of the lower control box (thank you Florida heat and humidity). When I contacted Whites to buy a replacement they sent me one for FREE. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome....
**Update: I sold this detector to a friend that did not have a water machine. On his first water
detecting hunt he found a gold charm and a class ring. Not a bad way to start! I replaced this machine with my Surf Master Dual Field.
Click here to read the Beachhunter ID review at Lost Treasure Magazine.
White's Surfmaster P.I. (Pulse Induction) - Sold
I used my White's PI for water hunting and diving. I also used it when I wanted to get
extra depth in the wet salt sand. **Note: I sold my SurfMaster to a hunting partner of mine, he will be putting it
to good use.
Click here to read the Surfmaster PI review at Lost Treasure Magazine.
Tesoro Cutlass uMax - Sold
I originally purchased this Tesoro Cutlass as a backup detector to keep in my truck at all times.
I wanted a low cost yet powerful detector and that is exactly what I got, extremely easy to use and great
discrimination. Although a great little detector I sold this one a few years ago.
Click here to read the Tesoro Cutlass review at Lost Treasure Magazine.
Fisher 1220-X - Gave away as gift
I bought this detector in 1987 while I was still serving in the US Army. For the money ($225 at the time) it was an excellent machine, I found my first silver with it. **Note: I gave this machine to my brother, he loves it! In my humble opinion this an excellent choice for the beginning treasure hunter. The equivalent machine today is the Fisher 1225-X.
Click here to read the Fisher 1225-X review at Lost Treasure Magazine.
White's Coinmaster TR - Lost?
My first real detector - photo from early 80's.
This machine was my first real detector, it was a good little machine that started me down the
path. I found a lot of coins and some jewelry, in fact I still have a couple of the rings that I found with it. Unfortunately I no longer have the
detector. My brother recently reminded me that our first metal detector was a Radio Shack Treasure Finder, circa 1979, he was right although I am not
sure I can in good conscience call that a detector... ha!