My 2021 New Years Resolution (and I think my 2020 one, too) was to find sites I hadn't previously searched rather than to put all my eggs on cleaning up what's left of familiar sites. (I still do some of that, too, though). This year I've already reported on four previously unsearched (by me, that is) sites, all which have produced. More on those in my year end summary in a month. Early in November I decided to make one more try for 2021 at finding some new ground and with the help of HistoricAerials.com, I found four promising locations. I'm going to simply refer to them as sites 0, 1, 2, and 3.
Site 0 is the easiest to report on. From early 20th Century USGS topos it was a small (one room?) school that disappeared around 1950. A drive by showed that not only is it now a private home, but that the intersection where it was located has been seriously reworked, i.e. enlargened. At best it falls into the 'private permission' category and I'm not at all good at those.
Site 1, with added help from Google searching, was an elementary school and high school back at least to the eary 30's. The HS closed in the mid 60's and the elementary school a few years later. The building is still there but there are mixed signals as to whether it's public or private. Some threatening signs indicated at least part of it is currently privately leased, but the a__holes are very vague about what is and isn't theirs. I spent 1 1/2 hours in a couple spots with promising results (see photo of good finds below) but I just didn't feel comfortable. There was a lot of coming and going by various groups (sports participants, church goers, etc.) and although no one bothered me I just didn't feel welcome.
Site 2 was another small elementary school. I don't know when it was formed but it appears to also go back to early in the 20th Century. I think it closed around 1960. It's now a small public park and community center. Unfortunately both my visual (internet) research as well as detecting and viewing the site in person makes me think it's been heavily reworked since the school was torn down. First hunt there, 3 1/2 hours, produced 2 Wheaties and a sterling ring, plus a fair amount of modern coins and trash. That was my survey hunt. My second trip there was intended to focus in on a trashy but potentially less overfilled part with the ML Equinox and 6" coil, but that wasn't very fruitful. About 2 hours in I was approached by an elderly (81 year old) friendly neighbor who filled me in on some history. He said he had attended that school as a youngster (presumably around 1950) and told me that although several detectorists had been there before me, as far as he knew they had never searched a slope near one edge of the property where he said he used to play and that bulldozers hadn't bothered. Now that's the kind of info I like to hear! I thanked him and headed over there. For now I'll leave it at that and tell more in the show-and-tell portion of this post. He twice more returned and told me of some other nearby sites I should search but they all sounded like private properties.
Site 3 is an active, modern elementary school which replaced an early one built around 1955. I was able to go there during their Thanksgiving recess. Unfortunately this site has been heavily reworked since the original school was razed and it also feels like it's been rather thoroughly searched. In 7 1/2 hours (two days) of hunting I only found 2 Wheats plus one other oldie (more on that shortly).
OK, here is the eye candy you've been waiting for:
Top two items are from Site 1 -- 1983-D nickel-clad half dollar (only my second ever) and a necklace chain and pendant which was clean but unfortunately apparently (magnetic) nickel plated copper. Both were reasonably shallow but not on the surface. Based upon these finds I don't think this part of this site has seen detectors in 2 or 3 decades.
Now the finds are in pairs from lower left. Site 2 produced this sterling ring with stones (don't know if real, but they look nice to my eye, and especially to my wife who has already claimed it!). Thanks to that 81 year old former student I found the 1899 Indian Head Penny on the virgin slope where he used to play. Turns out the EMI was so bad I had to use 4 kHz on the ML Equinox and its dTID rang up in the high 20's (silver coin zone), not 20-ish where they show up in MultiFrequency. It was only about 4 inches deep.
Next two (silver alloy 'Warnick' and broken piece of jewelry) were found at Site 3, showing that there are a few spots which haven't been backfilled. The broken piece showed up in the USA nickel zone (dTID 12-13 on the Equinox) and given its size I think this is high conductive composition. Both ends show that they were broken off something larger (bracelet?) and the fact there is zero copper coloring there makes me think this could be a silver alloy.
Finally, the last two items on the right were found this past week in my bread-and-butter 2021 site, the 'Wheatfield', not one of these four recently reserached sites. The ring has a men's wedding band shape but is marked '925' so sterling. (My wife has claimed it, too.) The IHP is a 1901. In my two times searching there last week I found 5 Wheat pennies each day (3 hour hunts per day). I expect to spend my last few hunts this year at that site. I'm sure there are more oldies and I'm shooting for a record year (quantity) of Wheat penny finds. I only need 5 more to tie last year's 103.
The above picture is the 'good'. Here are the 'bad' -- interesting (?) non-coin finds from these four sites:
And if you want to see 'ugly', you'll have to await a future post.
I am going to do a little complaining and its only directed at Minelab batteries. As an owner and consumer of Minelab products I have to say their GPX Li-Ion stock battery with amp disapoints. Never had a problem with them charging and holding a good charge, of course over time the batteries time is reduced. My grip is with the amp, this is the 2nd battery that the amp failed , its a shame that a 440 dollar battery the amp goes out after 2 years. This should not happen on such an expensive battery, are these amps or amp connectors replaceable?
I've read several threads on the soon-to-be-fielded Deus 2 and how it will compare to the Equinox. There have been many good views on this topic so I thought I'd share mine. As you read this, keep in mind the views expressed here are worth just as much as you've paid for them. 😁
1. Wireless vs Wired: I'm 99% a salt water beach hunter with my EQX 800 and the way I grid a beach, I often go from the damp sand to the wet sand and then into the surf (only about 1 foot deep due to concerns over water intrusion so I keep the control box dry). Given that, a Deus II for me would have to be constantly wired from coil to control box in order to work in the surf. For that reason, a totally wireless capability would not be that enticing since the wire from coil to box would be a permanent configuration.
2. Waterproof: I owned a Deus and found it to be a solidly engineered machine so I'm not a skeptic where XP claims of being waterproof are concerned. Were I to make a wager, I'd bet on much better waterproof performance in the Deus II than was the original ML waterproof claim for the EQX. Being truly waterproof is important for me and not because I hunt deeper than 1 foot in salt water these days because I don't. Ours is an outdoor hobby so I think all detectors should be waterproof...at the very least, reliably weatherproof. How many times have you been caught in the rain or dropped your detector in a puddle of water? Even if you are a land hunter and never go near any water, replacing a damaged or inop machine due to moisture intrusion isn't a trivial thing.
3. Build quality: The Deus I had was quality built, rugged and reliable. No coil ear issues, wobbly shafts or arm cuff breakage. In my view, it was a much more rugged detector than Minelab products in certain areas. XP doesn't seem to pinch pennies as did Minelab on simple things. Recall the original skimpy gaskets they put in the CTX 3030 that caused flooding of the battery box. The issue was solved when they came out with merely a little thicker gasket! Their use of cheap coil ears, arm cuffs and wobbly shafts on the EQX series is another example. For a few pennies more per unit, they would have saved untold thousands in warranty replacement costs in both the CTX and EQX series machines. Although they are among the very best where software technology is concerned, I never understood that "penny wise pound foolish" approach in their physical build design.
4. Overall Performance: This is where the EQX was superior to my original Deus. The multi-frequency/multi IQ of the EQX vs the selectable single frequency of the Deus was an obvious choice in my salt water beach hunting environment. I eventually sold my Deus for that reason. Now, if XP has really overcome that limitation in the Deus II with their FMF feature, I'll be happily impressed.
5. Final Thoughts: I'm with the others who will take a "wait and see" approach. But, given my past experience with XP engineering, I have no doubt the Deus II will be a very capable salt water beach detector. Will it generally outperform the Minelabs? TBD. Will it be found that XP pinched pennies on their build quality? I say no. It will be a well built unit. Will it be more comfortable to use than the Minelabs? Yes. Will it be more complex in its settings options than the Minelabs? Yes. Will it's overall performance justify the higher price tag compared to the current EQX? TBD but that will be determined solely by and in the eye of the beholder as the saying goes.
Just a few thoughts from my foxhole...
By UT Dave
I'd like to increase my knowledge and skill in tuning my Nox 800 for specific conditions.
Those of you who tune your machines off the factory defaults, please share what you have! Not what your settings are, but how you arrive at those settings.
For instance, is there a relationship between different settings, such, that a preferred order of operations is suggested for optimal results? I noise cancel, then ground grab, then adjust sensitivity. FE2, Recovery, Threshold, is there a best practice for the order in which they are set?
How do you know when you should increase or decrease FE2 or Recovery? What factors or indicators go into that decision?
I've arrived at my current default beginning state, by trying to make things first "worse" in my test garden. By adjusting each setting individually up and down though the full range of adjustment, noting whether signal got better or worse at each step, to get what I considered the best signal on a deep silver coin. But doing so in a controlled situation with a known target like that is one thing, knowing how to read variable conditions and how to tune accordingly is quite another.
How do you make your tuning decisions in the field? What are the settings you most frequently find need adjusted to accommodate search conditions?
Just like the college sports transfer portal, I too have decided to change my mind.😁 I was set on buying the new NM Legend. Instead I visited a local MD dealer today and had a chance to test drive the dealers Equinox 800. The Equinox 800 checked every box and then some. It will get me where I want to be in metal detecting. The dealer was pretty impressed on how I was able to navigate through the controllers menus and settings. It is on order and will be here next week. Now for the "goodies" getting thrown in for free. Both editions of Andy Sabisch's Handbooks on the Equinox 600/800, a Minelab Hat (I love hats), and any magazine, current or past editions that are in stock. And there are a lot in stock. Excited is an understatement.