By Steve Herschbach
Fisher Research originally released the 19 kHz Gold Bug model about 1987. It was a real breakthrough design at the time with a compact control box, S-rod, and elliptical coils. The detector is a good unit but is strictly all metal (no discrimination). It has no LCD readout and looks much like the current 71 kHz Gold Bug 2 but has a white lower rod and a black control panel face. Some people are confusing this old model with the new so be aware of this when looking at used detectors. The 19 kHz coils for the old Gold Bug will not work on newer versions of the Gold Bug below. The 71 kHz Gold Bug 2 is a totally different detector than the various 19 kHz models described below.
Around 2010 a number of new Gold Bug models were released by Fisher. First came the Gold Bug in 2009. Then came the Gold Bug SE (Special Edition) which added manual ground balance at a bargain introductory price. The SE with minor tweaks later became the Gold Bug Pro at a higher price. So now we have two basic versions, the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro. They differ from the old 1987 model by having an LCD readout. The standard version of either detector comes with a 5" round coil. There is a Gold Bug DP (Deep Penetrating) which is nothing more than a Gold Bug Pro with an 11" x 7" DD elliptical coil instead of a 5" round DD coil.
The only difference listed by Fisher between the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro is that the Gold Bug Pro has a manual adjustment option for the ground balance and also offers "higher sensitivity".
Both models use a "Ground Grab" button as a simple ground balance method that is quite effective. The Gold Bug Pro allows you to also manually adjust the ground balance setting up or down. The manual adjustment can be used in conjunction with or separately from the Ground Grab button.
The big question is the "higher sensitivity" claim. There are two possibilities here. First, that the Gold Bug Pro actually allows for higher gain or sensitivity levels. However, I was in marketing too long and have a more jaded thought. Manual ground balance allows for a higher degree of control that if used properly can get you more sensitivity. There is a very distinct possibility the higher sensitivity claim follows directly from the ability to manually ground balance the Gold Bug Pro. This could be tested with both units set side by side with identical ground balance settings and max gain. If the Gold Bug Pro is inherently more sensitive an air test should show it. I have not had the chance to do this my self but if somebody wants to there you go.
ads by Amazon...
My opinion? I believe the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro if outfitted with the same coil are basically the same detector. The only real difference is the manual ground balance option on the Gold Bug Pro. Do you need it? Not really, and especially when you consider that for $499 vs $649 that is probably all you are getting. The Ground Grab function is remarkably effective and would suit most people just fine.
I personally do like manual ground balance and so for me spending the extra money to get it is a non-issue. I do as a rule tell people that if cost is not an issue get the Gold Bug Pro. It is far more popular and would be easier to resell. But in all honesty I think the Basic Gold Bug is the real bang-for-the-buck unit. There is nothing else close to it at the $499 price point that offers full LCD readout target discrimination while in full power all metal prospect mode.
I should note that First Texas owns both Fisher and Teknetics. The Fisher Gold Bug DP (Gold Bug Pro with 11" coil) is marketed by Teknetics as the G2. The Fisher Gold Bug DP goes for $699 and the Teknetics G2 is $749. The $50 extra gets you a pistol grip rod instead of the Gold Bug S-rod and an arm strap. Nice gray paint scheme also. Really boils down to pistol grip vs S-rod, purely a personal preference thing.
I use the 5" x 10" elliptical myself and consider it to be the best all around coil for the Gold Bug. However, right now you have to get it as an accessory or as part of a two coil package. Fisher would be doing us a service to release the Gold Bug with this coil as standard on the unit.
My Gold Bug 2 is slightly better on the tiniest of gold but the Gold Bug Pro easily outperforms the Gold Bug 2 on larger nuggets at depth. For all around nugget detecting the Gold Bug or Gold Bug Pro (and G2) have a better balance of both small gold and large gold capability than the Gold Bug 2.
Fisher Gold Bug Pro & Teknetics G2 Detailed Comparison
To recap first came the original 1987 era Gold Bug with knobs and switches:
1987 era analog Fisher Gold Bug
Then in 2009 we got the new Gold Bug:
Fisher digital Gold Bug
Followed quickly and briefly by the Gold Bug SE. Note how the plus and minus buttons now have dual functions, both Disc and Ground Balance, compared to the basic Gold Bug above:
Fisher Gold Bug SE
The Gold Bug SE was basically the prototype for the Gold Bug Pro, which got a new faceplate decal and a higher price:
Fisher Gold Bug Pro
And finally, the Gold Bug Pro was also marketed under the Teknetics line as the G2 with a different rod/handle assembly:
Gold Bug Pro DP compared to Teknetics G2:
Click on images below for larger versions.....
I have never used the T2 Teknetics before. I have owned the original green T2 several years ago and other than turning it on and testing it out a little my buddy pretty much begged me to sell it to him and that was that.
So I have one coming to me now which is the T2 SE.
Now I have had the F75 SE LTD and from what I gather the difference between the T2 and F75 are this
F75 has a back light, the ability to save your settings and the iron disc stops at 20 and the T2 iron disc stops at 40. Plus the layout if the screen is different but similar still.
I think that is the difference between the 2.
Anyways, I am looking forward to getting it. I liked how the F75 balanced and it was a good machine.
So anyone else still swinging one of these??
Lately many manufacturers are producing new models of detectors, real new models and not just retreads, and those that haven't, or haven't had any success with their models are dropping like flies, first Tesoro followed by Whites and I often wonder who's next.
First Texas were once really up there as the brand to get, they had some of the best VLF's on the market in various categories from the F75/T2 to the Gold Bug 2. You hear very little of people using their detectors these days and I'm sure sales of the higher end detectors are very poor, sure there are probably many new first time detector buyers who go to some big box store picking up a cheap Bounty Hunter or something to find a few coins and then put it in their shed or under their bed never to be seen again. They never did get their low end machines into my local market, Minelab already had that portion of the market cornered and we are a small market. The First Texas dealer that sold their better detectors closed down, he had trouble selling any detectors at all once competition heated up and other manufacturers were selling more modern better detectors at similar prices.
I have as many First Texas detectors as any other brand and they're all their higher end models, although I rarely use them, other than just for the novelty of it.
Now that Garrett is starting to up the ante a bit with their new Multi Frequency Apex which will only be the start of their multi frequency releases, I would not be surprised if they follow Minelab indicating they'll not release anymore single frequency detectors. Nokta is working on a Multi Frequency machine which I'm sure they'll get to market, although they'll be disappointed Garrett beat them to it. Minelab obviously are running circles around the others when it comes to Multi Frequency.
So that leaves First Texas, is it likely they're working on new detector? I mean a new detector, not just another revision of one of their existing models. Are they going to surprise us all like Garrett did announcing a pending release at some point?
I really hope they are, but I fear they're not, when it comes to retreads and paint jobs First Texas seems to be the king and I would not be surprised to see another version of a F75 come out at some point soon. They'll likely never introduce USB firmware updates to their detectors, as then they'd not have the option of releasing a new LTD / V2 / Enhanced version of their detectors which are often just the first initial release with a firmware change and a paint job.
It's good to see First Texas starting to enter the PI market with their Impulse AQ and hopefully Impulse Gold although I still struggle to call it theirs, they're just manufacturing and marketing it on behalf of someone else.
So, do you think we'll see a "real new" VLF from them anytime soon? Or am I just dreaming...
By Mike Hillis
Getting ready to buy another Omega 8500. I love the feature set on this detector.
I field tested prototypes of it and got a 1st production run model for compensation of my time, which I sold last year to fund some other detector purchases. Looking at the market there really isn't anything to compete with its feature set when you need something more than simple phase shift target id in its price range....when you get the chance take look at the operating manual.
I especially like the Multiple Target Category System:
This feature is available only in Discrimination Mode. For each target, the Omega 8500 calculates four independent numerical Target-ID’s on each pass of the coil; one primary and three secondary. Each one of the Target-ID’s will correlate to a target category on the LCD. There will be one solid primary category lighting up and up to three additional secondary target categories. All are different readings of the same target, with the primary category being the one with most reliable signal. If the Target-ID’s vary, they will show up as multiple illuminated categories, and this could indicate the detector is picking up noise, a faint/weak signal or that the target is irregularly shaped.
It has its warts but I have found some good gold jewelry with it, attaching a little 18K eye candy...
Now just to figure out where to buy it from.
Went back to an old poured concrete foundation in the woods which is a popular Elk hunters campsite. This is a site where I found my first seated dime a few years ago. The area is loaded with modern trash and lot's of iron nails and old tin buried near the foundation walls. I brought my Teknetics G2 with both the 5" and 11"x7" coil as I also intended to try some nugget detecting near the creek. I didn't find any nuggets but managed to pull 2 nice V nickels, 1890 and 1883. I set the detector in disc mode after ground balancing at 83. The ground here is very mineralized. I then set the tone break at 40 to separate ferrous from nonferrous and started swinging . I dug everything that hit in the ferrous range and all one-way signals that sounded good one direction but like iron the other. I also managed a few relics and a small pile of trash.
By Steve Herschbach
Teknetics has officially released the new Patriot model, and it looks all but certain this is a rebranded Fisher F70-11DD. Here are the controls/displays side by side:
Teknetics Patriot and Fisher F70 controls and display compared
Teknetics Patriot Specifications
Standard Coil - 11-inch Open Frame Bi-Axial™
Waterproof Coil - Yes
Batteries - 4x AA (not included)
Battery Indicator - Yes
Battery Life - 20-25 hrs.
Pinpoint Mode - Yes
Target ID - Yes
Audio - 8 audio tone options
Volume Control - Yes
Discrimination Adjustment - Yes
Sensitivity - Adjustable
Operating Frequency - 13 kHz
Depth Indicator - Yes, 4-segment
Weight - 2.9lbs (1.3 kg)
Length - Length 43.5” to 52.5” (110 cm to 133 cm)
Headphone Jack - Yes
Ground Balance - Yes
Backlight - No
Same screen, right down to the Fisher "wings"! The thing is the F70-11DD currently goes for $679 and the Patriot is currently on sale for only $399 with free shipping. Rumor has it the F70 itself is being discontinued.
The F70 is a very powerful and underrated detector, overlooked by many because of the top-of-the-line Fisher F75. Dave Johnson is the metal detector engineer guru behind many of the great metal detectors we use. He frequents some forums under the name of woof! and here is what he has to say in a post on TreasureNet:
"The F70 was the product of a mission-- to come up with a less expensive adaptation of the F75, while incorporating things we had learned meanwhile. Without "dumbing it down". Because the F70 was advertised for a lot less money than the F75, marketing dept. didn't quite dare to say how good the damn thing really was. Some of the secret sauce we put into the F70 eventually made its way into later revisions of the F75 group of machines, as well as into the Teknetics "Fratbros" series and most other new beeps introduced after the F70.
As the top of the Fisher lineup, the F75 including its revisions got all the attention. That's how the F70 became a "sleeper". Guys like Mudpuppy will never have to wonder if they should have gotten an F75 instead.
This is the same sort of explanation I just posted in "another forum" about the approx. $200 category. If you get a Eurotek Pro, you never have to wonder if you should have gotten something else. Get anything else, and you'll wonder if you should have gotten a Eurotek Pro instead. F70 owners never have to wonder if they should "upgrade" to an F75. (emphasis added)
The bottom line is the new Teknetics Patriot looks to be a lot of detector for only $399 and well worth a hard look by those wanting great all around performance at an incredibly low price. While not quite as hot on small gold as a Fisher Gold Bug Pro or Teknetics G2 at 19 kHz, the Patriot at 13 kHz I have no doubt can perform reasonably well at nugget detecting in addition to coin, relic, and jewelry detecting. My 13 kHz F75 put a lot of gold in my pocket.
Teknetics Patriot metal detector