By Steve Herschbach
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate due to the fact that the entire age of modern metal detecting has taken place over the course of my lifetime. I was too young in the 60's to be one of the many famous names that were there first on the ground with these new toys that go beep. That's good though for me as most of them are gone now and I'm still here. I got my first detector at the true dawn of the modern detecting age when I got my White's Coinmaster 4 in 1972. It was one of the first of the new "TR" machines that were the starting point for what most of us use today. Mine was as basic as a detector gets, no ground balance existed yet or discrimination. Just a couple inches depth and a beep, dig it up. So I have been involved in detecting now for 47 years. I started my business while in high school in 1976, and have been involved in metal detecting pretty much daily ever since.
Anyone who followed my online presence starting in 1998 may see a pattern. I have been involved in some top end machines, some VLF, but basically almost every ground balancing PI made has been in my hands at some point. I had a vision in my mind based on my background in computers that told me what was possible and where we were headed.
I was particularly incensed when an upstart company from Australia showed up the industry leaders at the time with the world's most powerful gold detecting PI machines. All the more so when I heard White's had a shot at it and passed. I made it my mission to jump on and foster anything that came along that might compete, and so I was involved with the Garrett Infinium, the first U.S. ground balancing PI. I had a lot to do with White's finally producing the TDI.
Yet the fact is nobody ever seriously took Minelab on, and finally they won me over because they delivered when the rest just milked us. Minelab has been the sole company at the forefront of this technology since the SD2000 was introduced.
All this time I have wanted two things. A vision in my mind of what a VLF could be. And a similar vision regarding a PI. Both those visions basically revolved around something a normal person could use both as regards ergonomics and price, two areas we kept getting bent over on for 20 years.
Long story short I am grateful to Minelab for allowing me to be involved in the machine that delivered on my first vision. The Minelab Equinox is the first machine ever that really can do any VLF metal detecting task and do it well. In any one area it may not be "the best" but no one machine delivers across the board like the Equinox. My VLF quest is over. I will use an Equinox as my primary unit until a detector comes along, probably a Minelab, that does what it does but better. No more VLF buy and try for me. Yay!
In 2017 I laid out my vision for the PI I wanted. The price was kind of a set the bar high (with a low price) thing so there is a little wiggle room there. But not a lot... the machine price should be something most people can stomach. As far as I am concerned the GPX 4500 sets the standard at $2699 both for performance and price. The TDI wins on ergonomics but loses too much in performance for me. All I really wanted was a GPX performance in an ergonomic package, and we all know it can be done. That is what is so frustrating. It's one thing to introduce new tech but all I want is proven tech packaged right. Garrett has really been a disappointment not putting the ATX in a light box. They can do it but so far have refused. I would have been satisfied with that.
Right now I am calling the Australian made QED as being the default winner of my challenge. The rough edges have been smoothed out, and it's got the ergonomics, coil selection, and price all right. I am not going to argue with anyone over performance. Based on what I know it's good enough for me to go find gold and easily beats the TDI and is competitive with GPX. Good enough for me and good job boys. The only niggle is no FCC approval for U.S. sales, no U.S. dealers or service. But by end of 2020 if there is nothing better I will have one anyway.
But we have the Fisher Impulse AQ on the verge and a dry land prospecting version promised. I would be crazy not to wait and see what develops there. I sold my GPZ for many reasons, mostly because I was not going to be detecting much this year, but I resolved when I sold it I would wait until my vision appeared. I knew it was close. I decided I can have fun enough with Equinox until that happens.
Put as simply as possible I want a reasonably powerful PI packaged like a good VLF that most of us can afford. Something that can get in and out of a small backpack with an hour of labor being involved.
So I am tossing down the gauntlet. I have my magic VLF and am looking for a mate for it. Right now QED and Impulse are in the running. And it's up to Minelab, Nokta/Makro, and sure, let's toss Garrett and White's in there also. It's time to deliver as by the end of 2020 I am getting one. I prefer in the spring but if something is one the radar I may wait. By 2021 I will be using something that finally fulfills what this high school kid from Alaska has known would happen someday. And I got to be there and see it all from start to finish. As I said... a very fortunate soul!
Interfacion QED PL2
Fisher Impulse AQ
The QED had what I call quite a significant upgrade in August, I was very eager to get this upgrade so I sent mine across to OZ straight away. I was pretty impressed with the upgrade.
The upgrade included a new method for the detector to ground balance which makes it handle variable ground better and an extended ground balance range which used to be 1 to 200 now it's 1 to 300.
For me this allowed me to run in beach mode in a lot of places around here. Beach mode is essentially no ground balance like the coin and relic timing on the GPX. I'm not quite sure how this ground balance update did this as I'm turning ground balance off by going into Mode 11 so I guess the update changes more under the hood than I understand.
The other update allowed it to accept DD and Concentric coils as earlier model QED's only accepted Mono's. I've tried a DD out on my QED now, I was surprised how quiet it ran, the QED is already great with EMI except in the most extreme cases but then the DD fixes that up. There was a bit of confusion early on after the update about the Concentric's not working after the update but it appears that was only on some very early model QED's that needed a minor hardware modification to resolve it (desoldering a bridged join I believe) and that's been ironed out now.
Anyway, now with this new update comes a new manual, so for existing QED users or those who just like to read about detectors and how they operate the manual is available here
I heard a latest model QED has now been used in USA and the modifications to it that were required to match the EMI immunity that we in NZ/OZ benefit from worked a treat, the QED was able to run right near power lines there too. The US power network runs on 120v as you know, in NZ and OZ we run on 240v so I guess something needed changed in the QED to allow for this difference.
There are two shaft options now too
Photo taken from the QED website.
Great news for all the QED owners, it was announced today the QED has been updated with new ground balance firmware along with support for DD and CC coils like the new Concentric coils from Detech that have just been released.
Here is the official announcement from Howard, the God of the QED.
Interfacion Pty Ltd is pleased to announce that the QED has been modified to allow the use of DD (double D) and CC (Concentric Coplanar) coils. This change involves a simple change to the electronics within the control box.
The firmware has also been upgraded to include a further improved Ground Balance.
All detectors being delivered to new customers from Monday 5th August 2019 will already have the above upgrades included.
As a show of commitment to all QED owners, the hardware modification to allow use of the DD and CC coils will be provided at no cost.
Of course and as per the QED warranty, the firmware update is provided free of charge, except for P&H.
Any QED owner who plans to attend the Laanecoorie Bash is encouraged to bring their detector along and have it upgraded at no cost.
Awesome news, I'll be sending mine off ASAP.
You can find out more about the QED on their official website here http://www.qedmetaldetectors.com.au/
By Reg Wilson
The new compact, super light PI from Ballarat, Australia. This machine uses any Minelab PI compatible mono coil and is dynamite on small as well as larger gold. It is almost totally unaffected by EMI enabling it to be used near or practically beneath power lines. All hand built, on a limited production scale, this little beauty is creating great interest in Australia, where it can handle the highly mineralized soils.
By Steve Herschbach
AussieMatt pointed out on another thread that lo and behold, the QED has appeared. I am not going to mess with all the long back history. Instead, it looks like we may finally have a new detector model from an independent designer after so many false starts over the years. If nothing happens to upset the cart reports should be coming in from Australia in the near future.
Anyway, congrats to bugwhiskers and company. I truly do wish for it to go well for all involved.