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Steve Herschbach

Detailed Review Of The Nokta FORS Gold Nugget Detector

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Steve Herschbach    7,504

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Nokta Engineering FORS Gold Prospecting Metal Detector

This metal detector review is a first for me in one way. Until to now I have not been very willing to use detectors not made by the well known mainstream manufacturers. The key reason has always been service and parts support concerns plus the ability to easily sell the detector should I ever choose to do so.

Nokta Engineering is a company based in Istanbul, Turkey since 2001. They have been around for over a decade now and so can be considered well established. I was aware they had a new 15 kHz VLF detector out called the FORS Gold but had not tried to acquire one myself. I was a bit surprised when the company contacted me and offered to send me a FORS Gold for evaluation. It turned out members of a popular gold forum had suggested they do so to get a review by somebody relatively well known.

My response was “I would be happy to give the Fors Gold some use in the field and add it to my online list. I must warn you however that I am the sort of person who is honest with my opinions.” To their credit that did not deter the people at Nokta and so a unit was sent to me direct from Turkey. It arrived on my doorstep in short order.

Please note any of the following information may change with time and so check for the latest specifications, especially pricing. The Nokta FORS Gold is currently available in two configurations. The basic package includes the detector with 7” x 11.2” open DD search coil, form fitting open scuff cover, closed bottom scuff cover, headphones, four AA batteries, instruction manual and DVD. This package currently retails in the U.S. for $999.00.

I was sent the Pro Package which includes the detector with three coils – the standard 7” x 11.2” DD search coil plus a small 4.7” x 5.2” DD coil and large 13.3” x 15.5” DD coil. Each coil comes with a scuff cover installed. The open 7” x 11.2” coil comes with an open scuff cover installed, plus an extra closed bottom scuff cover is also included in the package. A two piece rain cover is included; a clear vinyl cover for the control box, and a separate form fitting neoprene/nylon cover for the handle that has a little vinyl window to match the handle mounted LCD readout.

Instead of alkaline batteries four NiMH rechargeable AA batteries are included with a smart charger. A nice touch is that adapters for 110V, 12V, and even USB are included. There is a set of stereo headphones, a Nokta hat, a treasure or accessory pouch, and of course the operating manual and DVD. This all comes packed in a very professional heavy weave nylon carry bag. The bag is of exceptional design with two large separate pouches in addition to the main compartment, which itself has three internal zipped storage compartments. The bag can be carried suitcase style or work as a backpack with the included shoulder straps. This package currently retails in the U.S. for $1399.00.

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View of open case and many of the accessories

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The large accessory pockets

The standard package will do the trick if you are on a budget but in my opinion the Pro Package represents an outstanding value for somebody serious about using the FORS Gold to its fullest potential. It is the most well thought out and completely appointed detector package I have ever seen offered by a manufacturer for nugget detecting, or any other detecting for that matter.

With that said let me get the hard part for Nokta over and pick on them a bit. First of all, let’s look at the detector itself. Having seen the pictures before, I was surprised at how small the control box actually is. The online photos are taken from an angle that makes the control box seem much larger than it really is, and so this is good news. The overall quality, fit, and feel are all very good. Still, there are areas that could use improvement.

The main display and controls are, if you are right handed, on the side of the control box next to your leg. The display has lots of great information, but most of it is of little use when in use because you cannot see the display. This is alleviated somewhat by the small handle mounted LCD readout that displays the most essential information. I found the side mount display was just fine for making adjustments to detector settings or checking the battery level, but when I actually used the detector the side display was easy to just forget about and ignore. There is nothing there you have to have per se but on the other hand it really is a well thought out display and it is a shame it is mostly wasted in normal use.

There are two rocker switches on the side below the display for making control adjustments. One toggles through menu selections, and one adjusts the value of the selection. These rockers are bound to collect dirt and water and I was surprised they did not use sealed touch pad style buttons. It is a good idea to use the control box cover included in the Pro Package just to protect these rocker switches from dirty gloves or hands.

Accessing the controls and seeing the display would be especially awkward for left handed people.

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View of control panel and rain cover

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Nokta took it a bit too far in making the control box and handle mounting arrangement nearly identical to that made by a certain Australian company. The rear mounted box does balance very well, but assembling the split handle and box onto the rod is just as frustrating with this design whether it is made in Turkey or Australia. Once you get it together you will never want to take it apart, except you must to get it back into that nice carry case, or to put on or take off the control box cover. If nothing else longer mounting bolts would help but a snap on or bayonet mount would be better.

I was notified by a forum member and did confirm the listed 3.9 lb weight with batteries is inaccurate with the actual weight with batteries being 4 lbs 6 ounces or 4.3 lbs.

The headphones are actually pretty good quality Phillips SHP1900 headphones that are comfortable and have good sound quality. They have a 1/8" jack and come with the 1/4" adapter. However, I found the straight 6 foot long cable to be a bit much and had to wad the excess up and tie it up. A curly cable would be preferable but this is a very minor quibble given that most people will use their favorite headphones they already have. And the Phillips are better than what often comes with detectors. They have no volume controls but the FORS Gold has its own so that is not a problem.

One last little issue. The included scuff covers are paper thin. If not pried off very carefully they are very easy to split on the edge, as I found out taking one off to clean sand out. Something a little thicker or tougher would be good as these will wear through very quickly.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE 3/1/2015 - Nokta is an incredibly responsive company. Shortly after this review, it was revealed left handed models would be made available on request! Also, the coil scuff covers were upgraded to be thicker and tougher. Finally, the rocker switches were upgraded per the post at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/551-nokta-fors-new-panel-power-switches-headphone-cap-scuff-covers/ This rapid response to issues raised here and elsewhere is flat out amazing to me; I have never seen anything like it from other manufacturers. This reflects very, very well on this company.

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OK, now to the good stuff! Frankly, the Nokta FORS Gold is one of the better VLF nugget detectors I have ever used, and even better it is a very capable detector for just about any type of detecting. It appears to just be a variation on another Nokta model, the FORS CoRe (Coin Relic) and shares nearly all the same features. The CoRe features slightly different discrimination options plus a dedicated beach mode, whereas the Gold focuses more on nugget detecting features, but from what I am seeing both detectors can do just about anything very well.

The FORS Gold default settings are almost perfect for somebody with little or no detecting experience. It boots up in Boost Mode, which is a two tone mode with ferrous items giving a low tone and non-ferrous a high tone. Simply turn the detector on, hold the ground balance button on the end of the handle down, bounce the coil up and down for a few seconds, and go nugget detecting! It really can be that easy with the FORS Gold, and for that reason alone it is now one of my top choices not only for professional VLF operators but also novices.

I did some testing initially in a park and I found the Boost Mode to have very good target separation, something highly valued when hunting areas thick with trash items. The optional three tone discrimination mode made for easy coin detecting in park type settings, with all modes augmented by target display information in the LCD screen on the end of the handle. While pinpointing, this displays depth (in centimeters) and while ground balancing you see the ground balance numbers.

I also took the FORS Gold to a beach for a day, and found it to be a very capable beach detector with exceptional depth and sensitivity to small items. The only area where it would be a lackluster performer would be on wet salt sand or in salt water, because all single frequency VLF detectors suffer in that area. Still, it will get you by. The FORS CoRe would be a better choice for those wanting to hunt salt water beaches since it has a dedicated beach mode.

The bottom line is I really do think the FORS Gold is a detector suitable for many detecting tasks, and I think it will see great acceptance with relic hunters or jewelry hunters in particular in addition to the intended use as a nugget detector.

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Accessory Large 13.3” x 15.5” DD coil and small 4.7” x 5.2” DD coil

Where the Nokta FORS Gold shines however is in its main use for nugget detecting. I have to admit I have been pretty much a pulse induction sort of guy in recent years, but I have been reminded once again recently that very good nugget finds may very possibly be best looked for in the trashiest of locations. People using PI detectors tend to shy away from heavy trash, yet mining camps and work areas were often right in the middle of the best gold bearing ground. There still is a serious need for detectors with exceptional trash handling capability, and that means VLF detectors. Yet those detectors also need to be able to handle the worst mineralized ground and hot rocks, an area where VLF detectors are weak.

The FORS Gold has a relatively straight forward all metal mode, which they label as the General Mode. There are some features however not offered by most of the competition all at the same time in a single detector. First, while in all metal mode the visual discrimination feature is still engaged via the LCD display on the end of the handle. This offers the ability to identify items while still in the powerful all metal mode. Better yet, the FORS Gold also offers up an optional automatic ground tracking mode in addition to the manual ground balance. Some detectors offer one or the other of these features but very few offer both the ability to visually identify targets while in all metal mode plus both manual and automatic ground tracking.

The FORS Gold can be ground balanced by simply pushing the button on the handle and bouncing the coil. But you can also override the setting obtained by doing so with the plus and minus rocker switch. In other words, full manual ground balance. The third method, full automatic ground tracking, is engaged with a rocker switch on the front of the control box, and so can always be set as on or off before even turning the detector on.

I and many others tend to recommend always using manual ground balance. However, if possible I always prefer having automatic ground tracking as an option that can be enabled or disabled. You see, I want all options at my disposal, even those I may use but rarely. Just by chance, a very good reason came up while I was out nugget detecting with the FORS Gold.

I ran into an area with some really pesky hot rocks. There are several ways of dealing with this. In a pure manual mode machine you try and find a compromise ground balance setting and probably lower gain or sensitivity levels. Then you just try and discern sharper nugget sounds from softer hot rock sounds. Obviously, this can require some extra expertise and a trained ear. Severe hot rocks can be trying for the best of detectorists.

When hot rocks and ground conditions get severe, automatic ground tracking may help. In some cases, it can be almost magical. So it was with an area I ran into. In all metal General Mode the threshold was all over the place as I ran across lots of small hot rocks. I switched to automatic ground tracking, and they basically disappeared. The machine went from being a bucking bronco to a mild mannered pony with the push of a button. In theory ground tracking can track out faint signals, but this can be minimized with proper coil control. Wide continuous sweeps. It certainly is no worse than the nuggets that will get missed thinking they are hot rocks, and in my opinion in this type of scenario automatic ground tracking can be critical to continued operation in conditions that would cause most people to quit in frustration.

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Nokta FORS Gold in the field

With the FORS Gold you can also go to the Boost Mode, where many hot rocks will just read low tone as ferrous items. Boost also offers an adjustable iron mask feature that can be increased until the offending hot rocks do not signal at all. As always, there are tradeoffs in the form of possible missed gold, but it is very important to always concentrate on getting the most found gold possible, even if that means compromises to some degree to get it to happen. Nobody gets all the gold, the idea is to maximize the amount of gold you do get to the greatest degree possible given whatever tools you have at your disposal.

The visual target id feature can even be employed to deal with certain high reading hot rocks that refuse to yield to other solutions. The rocks may cluster around a certain target number, which can then be ignored. Again, not perfect, but another possible option to be used if need be.

Look at all the other gold nugget detectors out there and ask if they can run in all metal mode while simultaneously displaying target id numbers on screen, and if they offer ground grab, manual ground balance, and automatic ground tracking. The surprising answer will be no. No other nugget detector offers all these options in a single unit. Only a few top end expensive coin detectors do so but they lack the nugget detecting power of the FORS Gold. This alone makes the Nokta FORS Gold a unique and valuable addition to the VLF nugget detecting world and one worth serious consideration

There are of course the normal settings such as threshold level, volume level, and gain or sensitivity level. There is also a frequency offset to deal with potential electrical interference or possibly even another FORS detector operating nearby. Very nice touches are adjustable audio tones to customize the sounds produced for people who suffer hearing loss at certain frequencies. This should be standard but is all too rare on nugget detectors. There is an adjustable backlight for the main screen and handle mounted LCD.

Then, just like the ads “but wait, there’s more!” The FORS Gold has a small LED flashlight built into the handle to illuminate the work area in low light conditions or to just use as a flashlight when you get back to your vehicle in the dark. And in a nugget detecting first, there is an adjustable vibration mode built into the handle that operates in conjunction with or independently of the audio. This feature alone can be a real benefit to people with hearing loss and in theory will allow somebody who is totally deaf to go metal detecting effectively! Now that is some real cool out of box thinking and the reason we need more companies like Nokta in the business. Even people with good hearing can benefit as most of us have run into high wind or other situations where hearing the detector is difficult at best. Anyone who has ever used the new pinpointers already knows how this works.

You even get the option of ten different languages for the operating menu system. These guys and gals are thinking of everything.

Don’t forget the optional coils. There is a hot small coil for working bedrock pockets and crevices sensitive down into the grain range, and a large coil perfect for pulling large gold out of tailing piles. I only used both coils briefly because the stock coil serves as the best all around solution, but somebody going all in with Nokta will find both these coils valuable additions to the toolbox.

Does it seem like I am gushing? Perhaps I am, and that is probably because my expectations were pretty low. I have simply seen too many detectors over the years, so much so that many just seem like rehashes of the same old same old. Nokta has managed to not only build a detector that is very easy to run right out of the box, but with enough advanced features to wow even a jaded detectorist like myself.

Well, come on Steve, what about some gold?! It is hard not to like a detector when I take it someplace with nasty hot rocks, and it handles them with relative ease. It gets even better when I put it into Boost Mode and wander into a trashy location getting lots of low tones, and then dig a few nuggets right in the midst of the trash. I went where I never would have went with my PI and the FORS Gold found gold when in all honesty I was expecting to write this report telling you about the bullets I found. It is not easy to go find gold, and so I was really just expecting to find bullets and shell fragments and I was keeping them to show you what the FORS Gold could do for this report. I was going to explain how bullets read like gold and there you go. Seriously folks, I really just got lucky but the FORS Gold gets the credit.

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My first nugget found with the FORS Gold - and yes, those are rain drops on the rain cover!

After three nice nuggets I was as happy as I could be, when I get another signal and dig up what I thought was some crumpled up foil. Then I realized I was looking at gold, and an exceptional 2 gram nugget revealed itself to closer inspection. I did something I almost never do and wrapped it in tissue to protect it until I could get it home and properly clean it. The Nokta FORS Gold helped me find one of the most delicate gold specimens I have ever found. I ended up with 3.3 grams total and enough information to finally file this review.

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2 grams fresh out of the ground

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3.3 grams gold found with Nokta FORS Gold

I went into this basically just wanting to see if Nokta, as a relatively unknown player in the U.S. market, was a company that was not selling junk. Sorry, but I have seen horror stories about some overseas companies and I had no idea where Nokta ranked in all these new names showing up on our shores. The fact is Nokta has well exceeded all my expectations and then some, and they seem very eager to do whatever it takes to back up their product. I am going to go out on a limb here and recommend the company and at least the two FORS detectors without reservation. If what I am seeing is any indication Nokta is going places. I look forward to seeing what they do in the future, but for now they have a very formidable and competitive offering well worth serious consideration by those looking for a VLF gold nugget detector.

My thanks to AzViper for stirring the pot at TreasureNet to get the ball rolling on this, and to Dilek Gonulay and the other fine people at Nokta for affording me the opportunity to try out the Nokta FORS Gold.

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Closeup of 2 gram specimen found with FORS Gold

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More Information on Nokta FORS Gold

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azblackbird    21

Nice review and nice gold Steve. Surprised me, but what do I know. I own a Turkish made skeet gun, and the craftsmanship and engineering ranks right up there with the Italian made guns. I guess they do know how to build stuff.  :lol:

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Rick Kempf    241

Nice, Steve. I was looking forward to your test report.

If somebody wants to buy a new VLF gold detector, this is obviously a candidate.

I believe Ray Mills got one as well, and since Ray is one of the leading exponents of the Gold Bug Pro, it will be interesting to see what he has to say.

Thanks.

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AzViper    8

Steve very very nice. I am sure Dilek was waiting for this review as well as the entire team at Nokta. Over at T Net I was the advocate to push to have Ray, yourself, and others to test the FORS Gold. Since posting Dilek's email address at this other forum I am sure emails flooded this account, I have since removed the email address from that original post. Ray has already posted his results with more to follow. His accounts are much like yours of the FORS. :)

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Rick Kempf    241

Viper - where did Ray M. Post his results,please?

Thanks

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Steve Herschbach    7,504

Hi Keith and Rick,

The original thread that started it all and on which Ray has posted is at http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/metal-detecting-gold/431192-would-nokta-fors-handle-pickers.html

Thanks for stirring that pot Keith. I never would have laid hands on the FORS gold otherwise and it has turned out to be a machine that may have me ditching some others. Though I must caution people I still have a lot to learn about the unit and its strengths and inevitable weaknesses. It is not magic, at the end of the day it is just another mid-frequency detector option to consider.

Ironically, it looks like my participation on TreasureNet will be more limited in the future. Posting a link as I have done here to other forums is forbidden on TreasureNet. Now, apparently it is not allowed to post a link to any page that in turn has a link to any other forum! That is a bit much for me.

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TRINITYAU    125

Hello all, this may take a few tries to transfer from another forum, please be patient. Thanks, TRINITYAU/RAYMILLS

Hello all, I received the Notka unit from UPS on Monday. I was impressed that the box that the detector was in had been wrapped in plastic for waterproofing. It also shipped pretty fast considering is start location was in Istanbul, Turkey. It had two stops by imports also before it got to me. When I got home from work I opened the box to find a nice soft cloth bath in which everything was packed. The bag while not really fancy is adequate for carrying everything needed if an individual wanted to keep everything together while in transit. Zippered compartments inside hold the various items included with the detector.

The unit comes with a battery charger for the four AA rechargeable batteries. I had to go out and get an adapter for that charger so it would work here in the states. I have already contacted Kellyco who is a Notka dealer and found out that they do supply an adapter for the charger, so that will be no extra cost for anyone making a purchase of this detector. The batteries are good quality "Varta" batteries. You get a wall charger and a car charger. VARTA Consumer Batteries - Home

The unit comes with three coils. The large coil is 15.5 x 13.3 inches, the next size coil is 11.2 x 7.0 inches and the third coil is the small one, 5.2 x 4.7 inches. All three coils come with coil covers. They are not taped on the edges, so that is something a person would have to do. I have only tried the small coil so far and I will talk about that in a bit. The coils and the power cords are equal if not better quality than some VLF's currently on the market. This is my opinion.

The unit comes with a set of Phillips headphones, model SHP2000. Philips SHP2000 Full-Size Wired Over-Ear Headphones (Black) - Newegg.com The headphones are good but most people will probably opt out for their favorites. The headphones provided will work.

The unit comes with a nice little suede pouch with a clip-on attachment that is ok. You also get a handy dandy baseball cap with the Notka emblem on it.

After unpacking and looking at all the items I started to put the detector together. I decided to place the small coil on first as I wanted to check it's sensitivity to small targets. The fastener for the coil is a bit different and I like it. The shaft, or "stick" is equal to any other VLF's on the market. Actually, after running my fingers over the pop holes I was surprised that I did not cut or scratch my fingertip as I have done with a few other detectors that I have purchased in the past. Attention to detail appears to be one of the traits of this company. The control box was mounted next with the armrest. Again the plastic fittings provided for the attaching of the box to the stick are top quality and work very well.

The control box is very light and I think small for what it does. There is a arm rest strap provided. After the "put together phase" I found the unit to be extremely light and well balanced. I work in the brush a lot so I will comment on how the unit does in that brush down the line. I stick will adjust for a very long reach which comes in handy at times. The handle has two places where power cords attach, but they can be arranged so that they are out of the way, and should not get damaged. There is a screen on the control box that is on the inside of the left side of the box so it does not get the sun beating down on it. The handle however does have a small screen that is located at the top. I got some see thru sun glare tape from Ace Hardware and put over that window, it should se safe from any damage as well. There are power cord locks that are provided for keeping the cord in place on the stick/shaft. I will note that I would be happier if a more comfortable arm rest would be developed in the future.

Overall, I am very happy with what I have seen already from this company. From the shipping to the product itself, this company has done a very good job. There are some features on this unit that I will shed light on in the future.

I was eager to get the unit out and see what it would do in the field. I took off the next morning and went to a very nearby location that has been hit very hard with every detector under the sun. All I wanted to do on this trip was turn the unit on and play with the screen and check out the various functions. There are lots of functions by the way. I will go into detail much more in a few days after I am able to use some of the functions. I tried the flash light out the night before after assembly and it covered the coil area very well.

After seeing what a few targets sounded like I could tell that there are some subtle differences between the FORS Gold and my current VLF. They are good differences and I will touch on them soon, after a few trips out. The one function that I really wanted to try out was the Vibration Mode. I had it in my mind that it would work on the larger targets and wane away as targets got smaller. I was proven wrong as the vibration I felt in my hand was just as strong with a .22 round, 2 dwt nugget, Foil and Tin along with sub-grain pieces of gold and lead. I could not tell of any depth loss while using this feature at all. My testing was done with targets that I supplied on the ground and nine targets that were identified only after digging them out of the ground. To me this is a real nice feature to have. I am already thinking of Nevada during the colder parts of the year when the wind is blowing. It is very hard at times to hear and this feature solves that problem. I really like it. For you guys that have bad hearing this is a feature that will really help you to know that you have a target. I tried it over and over and it works.

The unit offers discrimination. I do not use discrimination at all, except when coin shooting. I found out many years ago not to use or depend on discrimination while detecting for gold. I have come behind people who love their discrimination mode and I have picked up nuggets that had lodestone, ironstone, iron stain, and magnetic black sands attached to a particular piece of gold.

Right now I like what I am seeing and will be taking the unit out for a few weeks of "out in the field" testing. When I am confident of the functions and features of this unit I will report back with my findings. It may be a bit of time before hearing back from me over the next few weeks as the ongoing try out for this unit continues. This is all I can offer right now. Thanks, TRINITYAU/RAYMILLS

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TRINITYAU    125

Hello all, I have been in Northern Nevada the last week. I used the FORS in Redding before I left and I used it again in Nevada. I have a hunting partner that has been using the unit also. The area in Redding that I worked has pretty mild ground with some yellow clay here and there. I have found gold in grain size pieces and nuggets up to three dwts. I decide to use the small round 5x4 coil first. After becoming familiar with the unit and reading a bit here and there I felt like I was ready to give it a whirl. I decided to detect in the Automatic Ground Balance Mode. I wanted to see what different signals I might hear as I had just finished going over the same ground with a GB Pro and my 3000. I had a pretty good mental note of what I heard and the location of the signals. I detected this area just the way I found it on a Saturday morning. Nothing was placed in the ground for a test, the targets were all real and the depth was unknown.

As I was swinging the balance felt good to me. The unit is very light and this would be a plus to some of the older people who detect. There are a few things that I will contact Nokta about that I would like to see changed or added. On the handle where the thumb is placed I would not mind seeing the plastic molded in such a way that a very small ergonomic platform would be on either side of the current thumb position. Having this change would make it easier and more comfortable for a person to detect longer periods. Lets face it, there are many of us are getting old and we need all the help we can get.

The first target I got screamed at me and turned out to be a 1/64 bb about two inches down in the soil. The signal response was great and I think a little bit louder than the GB Pro. The signal is also a much more concentrated sound than the GB Pro. The coil center is where the strongest signal comes from, unlike some coils. In further detecting with the other larger coils I found this to be true also. The GB Pro for example would have heard the bb as I was moving towards it where the Nokta pinpoints it with the coil center. This to is a good feature but can also cause some problems with cracked up bedrock wile trying to pinpoint. The numbers on the handle readout appeared to be pretty close to the readings on the GB Pro, this was no surprise. I will try and answer a question that many people ask me about the numbers. I do not depend on them but they are pretty accurate and both the Nokta and the GB Pro perform about the same in this task. As you are going along and detecting, you get a signal, you look down and the number sometimes is off from what you may expect, take either unit and set it off to the side for a few seconds and then make another pass over the target while watching the meter. Most of the time you will get a number closer to what you would expect. Myself, I like to "get my ears right".

Moving on I found several more bb's that were a tad deeper than the first and I did not hear them with the GB Pro. I actually stopped and went over these targets with the GB Pro to make sure, and I could not hear them. A few were lead and some were iron. This was another plus for the Nokta. I moved over to some deeper ground and within a few minutes I heard one of the signals I had heard earlier that sounded like it had some depth. I did not hear it with the GB Pro, the problem (not a problem, LOL) was that this target had been heard with my Sadie coil/3000. After digging about eight inches the target was in the pile and out of the hole. I went over the target and it pinpointed very easily with the coil center and I then reached down to scoop up some material with my hand. Making a quick pass over the pile told me that the target was in my hand. Dropping the soil gently onto the coil gave me that same signal and I was looking at my first Nokta gold. At home it turned out to be an 8.5 grainer. Looking back at the dig it appeared that the little nugget had been standing vertical in the tan shale. The signal again was a bit stronger than what I have become accustomed to with other VLF's. This is another plus to me.

I detected a while longer in the Auto Mode and then decided to go to the Vibration Mode. I was really excited about using this mode, as this type of mode was new to me. While the unit was being used in the Auto Mode I was getting signal responses from hot rocks that were similar to the same signal one would get from any of the various VLF's. After getting your ears right you can somewhat judge the smaller ones while the larger ones are easier to hear the tone difference. The number readout seemed to be about the same with both units on the hot rocks. I started detecting in the Vibration Mode already knowing that the unit was capable of hearing tiny bb's. I figured that the Vibration Mode would work OK, but only over a large target. I totally missed on that line of thought. I started out of the gully going up a gentle slope and got my first vibration in the handle. You can really feel the vibration good. I expected to look down and see a can or nail, maybe even a hot rock. There was nothing on the surface, so there must be something big just under the surface. I scraped the ground with my sandal and moved about an inch of depth. I went over the scrape and there was no vibration. I went over my little pile and I got that now familiar "thump" again, both directions that I swung, still expecting trash I set the Nokta down and away from the scrape. I got the GB Pro and listened. The target was in my pile, however my ears told me that the target was not trash but gold/lead maybe even a tiny hot rock. I put the GB Pro down and went over the target again with the Nokta and got my thump, thump. I was ready to see what this target was so I picked up the soil and sprinkled it on the coil.

I have to tell you that it is a chore to hold onto the handle and drop soil onto the coil. I since figured out that Audio can be run while in Vibration Mode. I thought I was going to throw my back out with the position I was in while trying to drop the soil onto the coil. The target thumped when it hit the coil and I had to move soil around until I located the "thumper". The target turned out to be a sub-grain particle of gold. I would guess that maybe four of that size might make a grain. I immediately checked the scrape out again and did not get any other signals with the Nokta. I figured, what the heck, lets go over the scrape with the GB Pro. I did and I heard what could have been another tiny bit of gold/lead or a hot rock. I got the target on the coil and it was a hot rock. Wait a minute I said to myself, how come the Nokta did not vibrate on the hot rock? This is not good I thought. I played around with the Nokta for almost a half an hour and reached the decision that I just don't get. This new Nokta, when in Vibration/Audio off, does not hear hot rocks but will thump on metal. I have never run across this but I tried it out more here in California and got the same response in Nevada over ground that is infested with tiny hot rocks. I had several other people try it out with the same results. This is amazing to me.

The other thing about the Vibration Mode, it is fantastic for those who may have a hearing issue. Even for those who have good hearing, in Nevada especially, when the wind is blowing you can still tell when you have a target, This Vibration Mode even takes this unit out of the goldfields and allows a person to coin or relic hunt if they have a hearing issue.

I used the Vibration Mode in Nevada and found several small pieces of gold in the clay.

The unit is very user friendly in my eyes and if you can use a cell phone you will not have any issues with the menu set-up on the Nokta. I did not use headphones at all while I used it as the speaker works very well. I expect an even better target response with headphones. There are a few things that I have not touched on at all simply because I did not get out of the two Modes that I used.

My friend George used the Boost Mode as did Steve H. and it seems both guys thought that it did add to the signal response.

My time with the Nokta FORS was enlightening to say the least. I was surprised at a few different levels. At first I figured it would turn out to be maybe a middle to upper end VLF but that thought has gone away. For the price and workmanship along with its performance in the field I would say that the Nokta FORS surpasses many of the other VLF's currently on the market. I was very happy to have been able to try this unit out.

The Nokta is currently sold by Kellyco and am not sure if anyone else is a dealer or not. Because of that I do not know how service problems would be handled. I can say that through my communications with Dilek, that she represents the company very well and I would think that service would be an issue that would be addressed stateside at some point. I will leave that to Dilek to comment on. Remember that this is not a fly by night company. Nokta has been around since 2001 and has a huge following of many countries. While the United States is a big market we tend to think that sometimes we are the only market, we are not. I look forward to anything new from this company and would like to be the first to try it out. There was a comment on another forum that this was a knockoff company, I assure you it is not a knockoff company. Remember also that it was not too long ago that another company from outside the United States offered its product and it took a few years for that detector to gain a hold. I expect to see the same ting possibly happen with Nokta.

I will try and make additional posts as I get out with the unit. Thanks, TRINITYAU/RAYMILLS

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    • By auminesweeper
      Has anyone done anymore Testing on the Fors Gold In Hot Ground,
      Thanks,, John
    • By Steve Herschbach
      I have now put enough time on all these units to at least reach a basic conclusion in my own mind. And that is that they are far more alike than different. Trying to get clear differences to appear in actual field use in highly mineralized ground is a true exercise in hair splitting.
      A couple detectors that can be added to the title list are the Teknetics T2 and G2 models. First Texas owns Fisher and Teknetics. The T2 is the predecessor of the F75. They are not exactly the same detector (they do not share coils) but almost identical in performance. The G2 really is just a Gold Bug 2 in different clothes.
      13 kHz - Fisher F75 and Teknetics T2
      15 kHz - Nokta FORS Gold and FORS CoRe
      19 kHz - Fisher Gold Bug Pro, F19, Teknetics G2
      In actual use the frequency just about says it all. The lower frequency F75 and T2 are just a tad less sensitive to very small low conductors, like a small gold nugget. The 15 kHz FORS is almost an exact match to the Gold Bug Pro/F19/G2 for sensitivity to small low conductors and so despite the bigger frequency gap I would say the FORS models come closer to the higher 19 kHz models than the lower 13 kHz models.
      I have to say it all just boils very much down to the feature list, and again, they line up pretty well. The less expensive Gold Bug Pro and G2 have a more limited feature set than the F19. The F75 has the most options for tones and settings at the highest price on the list. The Nokta units at their new lower price are a real good value.
      For me when it came down to actual performance the Gold Bug Pro/ F19 were so close to the FORS models I let the two Fishers go and kept the Nokta. Basically just to get the automatic ground tracking which can be very useful in variable ground but also the three tone option, which is nice for coin detecting. I also like the way the Nokta units balance better with larger coils. All I can tell anyone at this point if you want a detector to use for nugget detecting and also for other purposes, the Gold Bug Pro/F19/G2/FORS Gold and FORS CoRe are so close in actual field use that it will all come down to the operator and ground variations. I think the machines are a toss up from a performance perspective and so just line up the feature list and go with whatever floats your boat. I think for sheer value at this time the Nokta FORS models are tough to beat.

      The T2 and F75 give up a slight edge on small low conductors. What this means is that all the previously mentioned models are better for smaller gold nuggets. The trade off is the T2 and F75 are better all around detectors for general purpose use, gaining in coin and other high end conductors some slight advantage simply because the machines are not quite so sparky on tiny non-ferrous trash. In moderate to low mineral ground conditions the T2 and F75 have a clear depth advantage on high conductive coins but in very mineralized ground the advantage is nearly non-existent.
      In my case at least I feel like there is a 90% overlap between my latest version F75 and the two FORS models. If I head out the door right this second to go hunt coins I am more likely to grab the F75 as I like the extra tone schemes. There is the 3H mode that gives a high tone beep on all normal coins but also takes US nickels, which usually reads as a mid tone, and puts it up in the high tone range also. This is a great cherry picking mode. The standard 4 tone mode is great for cherry picking jewelry digging the low mid tones. I like the big screen and the backlight, etc. So I am also keeping my F75.
      But if I was heading out the door chasing gold nuggets right now in a really trashy location and not wanting to use a PI, I would grab the FORS instead. It pulls low conductors like small gold nuggets out of the ground better than the F75. Not by a huge margin, but enough to matter to me.
      And that is where it will stay for now. I am waiting to get my hands on the new Makro Racer models this summer, and using the F75 and FORS plus Racer units all summer. Then proceeding to phase two of the weeding process. I am trying very hard to get my detector collection down to just a couple PI detectors and a couple VLF detectors. It is down to that stage of the game however where it just needs a lot more in field use to let things sort out for me.
      What I can leave you with for sure right now however is that these are all very good detectors that are ridiculously close in performance. You really just can't go wrong with any of them. Mid frequency VLF technology has matured to the point where it is almost impossible for anyone to really stand out from a performance standpoint. Nearly all the performance debates I see on the internet about these models boils down to differences in ground mineralization more than the machines themselves. Just find one that feels right on your arm and sounds good to your ear and get to work!
      This is very much a work in progress and so as I get a chance to use the large coils or hunt under different ground conditions if I come up with anything if interest I will add it here. There is a related thread on VDI numbers and tones at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/526-fors-gold-f75-v3i-tone-and-vdi-tidbits/
      For detailed information on each model plus the latest prices visit Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors
    • By Steve Herschbach
      I held off on posting about this one for a bit while I got around to some unfinished business. Since my move from Alaska I have been slow to get another safe deposit box set up. I have always had one for my gold and other important valuables. The problem with posting about this stuff on the internet is it can attract the wrong kind of attention. This is something I would encourage everyone to think about. Now that all my gold and other goodies are residing at Wells Fargo I feel a little more free to post about this.

      Chris Ralph and I were prospecting in Northern California not too long ago. I was running the Nokta FORS Gold and concentrating on some areas littered with square nails, cable bits, rusted cans, and other ferrous junk. There were places the Nokta running in dual tone DI2 mode sounded like a machine gun from ferrous low tones. I would go along with the detector going "putt - putt - putt - putt - putt - beep - putt" and on hearing that beep, stop to dig a bullet or some other non-ferrous item.

      The weather was a bit wet but not unpleasant; kind of brings the forest smells out and makes for softer walking. I was afraid we were going to get rained out but it keep just on the edge of really starting up. There was not much sign of detecting, no doubt due to all the trash. Chris was off hitting some bedrock with his detector while I wandered around in the trees and duff overlying the old tailing materials.

      There was a bit of a mound around the base of a tree and I swept around it getting ferrous tones, when all of the sudden I get a strong non-ferrous beep. I looked down at the target id displayed on the end of the FORS Gold handle and it was showing 82. I thought "That's odd, a coin." I was still not tuned in one what the numbers meant exactly on the Nokta but on a typical 1-100 scale an 82 would be something like a penny or a dime. I have yet to find a really decent old coin since moving south, so I thought I was maybe going to dig some nice silver.

      I gave a couple digs and was surprised to see nothing pop up. Hmmm... must be bigger, deeper. So I open the hole up and dig deeper, and this dirty gray lump pops out of the ground.



      My exact thought "you have got to be kidding me!" It was a filthy lump but I knew instantly it was gold. I could not believe my good fortune. I got out my water bottle and washed it off a bit and saw gold and large chunks of white quartz - I had found something really special. After cleaning it ended up as 1.83 ounces of stunning gold and quartz that would do a museum proud. Just a really spectacular specimen, the best I have ever found. I won't claim that only the Nokta would have found it because any good detector would have. Yet I do think this is a case where a good discriminating VLF detector proved to be of benefit in approaching an area that might cause most pulse induction operators to wander off in another direction.

      I thought this post would be a fine way to wrap up my nugget detecting finds for 2014 in anticipation of the New Year. I want to offer special thanks to Chris Ralph for being my guide and mentor while I learn my way around the Lower 48. I literally could not have done this without him. Thanks Chris! I also wish each and every one of you a fantastic nugget laden 2015. Happy Hunting!


    • By Steve Herschbach
      Snow on the ground so time for a little bench testing. Fisher F75 SE version 7.0A (2013) with 5" round DD coil, Nokta FORS Gold with 5" semi-round DD coil, and White's V3i with 4" x 6" DD coil.



      The table shows VDI numbers on some standard items. The little allen wrench is like a small nail - a ferrous item. The BIC ballpoint is my standard simulated small nugget. The ring is my 14K plain gold band, around 7 grams.

      The VDI range on the Nokta runs from 1 - 99 with 40 and under generally ferrous. The F75 runs from 1 - 99 with 15 and under generally ferrous. The White's V3i runs from -95 to +95 with negative numbers generally ferrous. I say generally because in all three cases gold can run well into the ferrous range. Like by 10 - 20 VDI numbers into it!

      A few big lessons. The Nokta FORS VDI 1 - 99 range is skewed with high conductors bunched on the high end of the scale with most of the scale devoted to ferrous and low conductive items. This is ideal for relic hunters and prospectors. Silver coin hunters however usually prefer the scale to devote more room on the high end to possibly get a better handle on what is silver and what is not.

      The ferrous range of the Nokta actually runs all the way down into the ferrous ground range itself which is why there are 40 numbers devoted to it. The ID Mask setting defaults to 10 and if set lower allows ground signals to sound off. Since non-ferrous starts at 40 and I arbitrarily end low conductors at zinc penny on the upper end you have 40 - 82 or a spread of 42 points for low conductors. This really is no more than an average spread due to the large ferrous range.

      What I was happy to see is the simulated nugget (BIC ballpoint) nailing at 44 as a non-ferrous target.

      Contrast this to the F75 1 - 99 range. There are only 15 points in the ferrous range with the extreme low end represented on the Nokta scale truncated roughly in the middle. However, this leaves 16 up to 62 at zinc penny for a low conductor spread of 46 or slightly better than that on the Nokta FORS and leaves room for a little better definition for high conductive coins also. There is a ten point VDI spread between a dime and a quarter versus only 3 points on the Nokta.

      What disturbs me on this particular F75 is that having tried multiple coils I am getting the same result on the simulated nugget test. It wants to nail at a solid 1 which is well under the ferrous 8 reading for the allen wrench. This is not shocking but it is not good either. I can get the ballpoint to break in at 16 occasionally but it should be there hard and solid, not rarely. I had Keith Southern test his updated F75 and it seems to do better. I need to test this again when and if I ever get an upgraded F75 but it does confirm my suspicion that at least some Fisher units are not properly aligned at this critical break point.

      The White's V3i slays both of them with White's standard spread of 190 VDI points with half that devoted to ground and ferrous. A full 95 points is devoted to non-ferrous, giving a nice spread across the whole range. The V3i is a three frequency unit and the 22.5 kHz frequency employed allows it to easily nail the ballpoint test with a solid VDI of 3. White's even allows the 22.5 kHz frequency to use a native VDI range that skews and expands the low conductive range that delivers a VDI of 10 on the ballpoint, a very nice cushion between it and a ferrous reading. you have from 1 all the way up to 55 for zinc penny slightly beating both the Nokta and F75 for VDI resolution on low conductors and still room left for very good definition in the high conductor range.

      These detectors can employ a dual tone mode that delivers a low tone on ferrous targets and a higher tone on non-ferrous targets. The break point on the Nokta and F75 is preset at the factory VDI breaks of 13 and 40. The V3i you can customize not only the VDI break point but the tones.

      The F75 dual tone mode is pretty straight forward, with the volume being weaker or louder depending on the strength of the signal. In other words, a modulated audio. The Nokta Boost or DI2 mode uses a VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) audio where both volume and tone increases with signal strength. Anyone that uses a Fisher Gold Bug is familiar with VCO audio. It is rather unique and some people like it, others do not. Again, the V3i allows the tones to be customized any way you want, with either VCO, modulated, or even unmodulated options.




      Things get more interesting in Nokta DI3 or F75 three tone options. The low tone break for ferrous is the same but a third higher tone is added. On the Nokta zinc pennies and higher or from 80 on up delivers the third high tone. On the F75 it breaks above zinc penny so those pennies fall into the middle tone low conductive range.

      Zinc penny is also where Indian head pennies and some other old coins can fall. If you hunt strictly by ear and dig high tones only you are going to pretty much dig all coins but nickels. With the F75 it is geared more towards silver hunters so zinc pennies, Indian heads and possibly other coins would get passed up as low conductors. But wait! The F75 also has a four tone option that puts that zinc range into into own fourth tone - problem fixed. You can chose a tone option that focuses more on silver only or one that breaks out that penny range. Jewelry Hunter would probably prefer the 3 tone mode and dig just mid-tones. The bottom line is the Fisher has more tone options for the coin hunters than what the FORS offers.

      Of note is that the Nokta DI2 dual tone mode uses VCO audio, but the DI3 three tone option defaults to a more normal modulated audio. DI3 favors a faster sweep speed than DI2 which benefits from going slower. A generality would be that DI2 is more powerful but DI3 better behaved.

      The V3i again is unchallenged. You can actually go so far as to independently set a separate tone for every single VDI number, and the tones can be any from 191 tone options. You can make low conductors high tone if you want. Absolutely nothing on the market compares to the V3i for audio and visual customization options.

      Well, this all seems pretty easy, right? Just get the V3i and get on with business. Sadly, these are air tests. You might ask, for instance, which detector did best for "depth" in these air tests, as if there actually is such a thing. I only pay passing attention to that but the F75 seemed to be doing very well in that regard. Here is the problem with this entire lesson and all my typing. When you put things in the ground all these nice air tests rapidly decay and fall apart.



      In very mild ground or on very shallow targets detectors can be amazing. In my ground unfortunately VDI numbers start breaking down at around 3-4 inches! What you discover is that if you get too focused on cherry picking VDI numbers good finds deplete rapidly. Almost all accessible public areas have been detected for decades. So the easy accurate VDI results have already all been cherry picked away. The best finds these days often come from digging targets that were passed up precisely because they did not give a perfect response.

      In my opinion, these days we have to cast a wider net and be willing to dig more trash to make those exceptional finds. What that means is huge numbers of VDI numbers and tones although flashy and fun often is no better than just using a simple two or three tone method and going for it. Styles differ vastly and because really this is about enjoying ourselves there is no right or wrong way to do things - as long as you are enjoying yourself. For me, something simple like the Nokta DI3 tone option for digging all high conductor possible coin signals actually works pretty well in actual practice. If I want coins except nickels just dig high tones and have fun. The F75 allows a special mode that kicks nickels into the high tone range so you can do the same thing and get the nickels also if you choose. The V3i by now you should know the story - set it up any way you want.

      Still, tests like these are very valuable to me in setting the baseline for performance in the field from which I can work to discover how much things vary and hopefully why. The theoretical goal if finding a machine that adheres as closely to bench testing results as possible in the field. Sometimes you get textbook results, but then at another location everything goes haywire. But unless you know where you are starting from you will have no idea what is going on.

      I will sum this up for now by saying that the Nokta FORS is a machine that appeals to simplicity and leans towards relic hinting and prospecting. That is not to say you can't do well coin detecting with it, it is just that it is not set up with coin detecting specifically in mind. The F75 nicely straddles the middle for all detecting purposes.



      The V3i is in theory the perfect detector but the reality is huge numbers of people have discovered more options does not always mean better detecting, and it is not unusual at all for people to abandon the V3i in favor of simpler machines. Unless you spend a vast amount of time with a V3i it is hard to feel like you have mastered the machine. The V3i appeals to my inner detector nerd but it is usually the case where in the field I prefer simpler machines myself. Still, I made the V3i part of all this just to see how it really does do if given a fair chance and at least when bench testing it is impressive to see all the bells and whistles in action.

      This is all just stuff I am finding out for myself. I have no real reason in reporting it to you other than just to be sharing some info that is taking at least a little effort to collect. It helps me digest it better trying to put it clearly in a form you can better understand. Hopefully it will help someone in their own choice in a detector. As you may be figuring out if you have not already, there are no best VLF detectors, just lots of really different VLF detectors. They all actually do a good job finding stuff but it is in how they go about it that differs so much. It is mostly a case of finding out what style and type of detector works best for you.
    • By bado1
      Chris at AZO set me up with a Fors CoRe yesterday. Been eyeing one for a while. I took it out for a spin today. First, to a local modern park just to get familiar with it then to a 1870s era ghost town that is so trashy that it's hard to find a spot to ground balance. I am very impressed with it's recovery speed/target separation. It hits super hard on coins and really "locks" in on them leaving little doubt that there is a coin under the coil. I know I'm a late comer to the Nokta Fors party and everyone already knows all this so I'll just show the goodies I found today on the CoRe's maiden run...

      The coins are all modern and most were found in the park. The shell casings are .30WCF. Notice one has been pounded flat and the end folded over. It's got something in it as it rattles when I shake it. The casings and the little copper things near the casings were found in the ghost town. Looking forward to giving it a spin in the gold fields. HH
      Dean
    • By Steve Herschbach
      The Nokta FORS CoRe and Nokta FORS Gold have the same target VDI (Visual Discrimination Indicator) number and looking the the Makro Racer I am pretty sure it will be the same. Here is a closeup if the Racer reference label along with numbers I have culled from the FORS manual and put in a more understandable format. This is of course a simplified chart with a lot of overlap in ranges. Tiny gold nuggets could run well down into the ferrous range in the 2 - 40 zone.
      Nokta FORS & Makro Racer VDI Chart
      0 - 5 Hot Rocks
      5 -25 Mineralized Ground
      25 - 35 Salty and Alkali Soils
      10 - 40  Ferrous Targets (Iron, nails)
      40 - 50  Foil, Small Gold
      56 - 58  US Nickel
      82 - 83  Zinc Penny
      84 - 86 US Dime
      88 - 92  US Quarter
      95 - 99  Hot Rocks

      From the FORS owners manual:

      More information on the Makro Racer and Makro Gold Racer
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