Chris's Metal Detecting Page -
njminerals.org is mainly about [what else?] mineral collecting,
but Treasure Hunting is at least somewhat related.... behold, "Chris's Metal Detecting Page."
The first "real"
metal detector I got was a Sears model that was a White's
Coinmaster 5900 or 6000/D Series 3 on which Sears put their own
graphics. I still have this
machine. A friend of mine also still has his White's Coinmaster
6000/D he bought when they first came out with that model, so I think
that would make it a series 1.
They are both good machines, regardless of their age. Even though the technology has improved in the years since, these machines can still find coins and other small items.
Discriminate mode is a little bit limited, though, compared to today's machines.
Many times I'd read about "faint signals" in the treasure magazines, but I'd always wonder why I never got any of these myself. What was happening was that I used the machine exclusively in G.E.B.-Disc mode with the Disc knob turned up high; combined with my poor knowledge of ground balancing, this meant in practice that I never found coins deeper than about four inches. Because of how I had the detector set up, I was either getting a loud bell-tone, a broken-up but loud trash signal, or nothing at all. There were no "faint signals". Over time I began to get frustrated with the unit, but it was really my lack of knowledge that was the problem. On top of that was the reluctance to use all-metals mode, since that would have meant digging nails and bits of foil. Little did I know that is was possible to find things much deeper than 4 inches, if only I'd known what I was doing.
G.E.B. Norm and G.E.B. Max are of course all-metals modes, and I've lately come to appreciate them much more. It took me a while to learn that one has to hold the coil in the air and tap the "depth finder" button at least twice to re-set the machine periodically, at least in G.E.B. Max mode. Failure to do this will cause the machine to find either every speck of ground minerals possible, or else nothing at all. When it's operating properly, it becomes obvious. In a typical area you should get signals ranging from whispers all the way up to loud tones, but there should be near-silence in between... a wall of constant, loud tones means something is wrong. Constant silence is no good, either.
G.E.B. Max is not really good for heavily mineralized ground; the ground balance knob doesn't go far enough to the right to get a positive or even neutral balance in this mode, at least where I've been using it. I think the "Max" refers to depth; it certainly doesn't refer to the ground exclusion ability of this mode. G.E.B. Norm gives theoretically less depth but can handle more severely-mineralized ground. Where I usually hunt, G.E.B. Norm should actually give more depth, since proper ground balancing isn't possible with G.E.B. Max in my soil conditions.
When set properly, the Sears unit with the big Hot Head coil has shown me it can detect a brass Rayo lamp at five feet away! (That's an air-test. I won't dig things that deep unless I'm either in my own backyard or in a place where there's no lawn to mess up!) Though it's twenty years old, this detector is no slouch.
Last time out I let my metal detecting buddy use the Sears after the batteries died in his White's. He worked with the Sears for a bit and found it amusing to be swinging a coil that big. I thought it was amusing, too. He did find some pennies with it, but he was using GEB/Disc mode, so the added depth capability of the Hot Head coil was probably not realized. Another problem I've noticed with Disc mode (with either coil) is that the unit is more susceptible to radio frequency interference. It goes crazy in some areas, yet it functions alright in all-metals mode. The erratic behavior in Disc mode might be a result of the machine's age; capacitors start to dry out, expansion and contraction can cause micro cracks, and so forth.
A common question is, "will the larger coil get better depth on coin-sized objects?" The stock answer is often "no, only on bigger objects", but I did a little air-test:
Test 1. Sears White's detector with stock coil, G.E.B./Max mode, detects a nickel at 7 inches away (faint signal).
Test 2. Same unit with Hot Head coil, G.E.B./Max mode, detects the nickel at 9 inches away (also a faint signal).
I would call that a huge improvement, even though one has to use all-metals mode to take advantage of it. This large coil is concentric, not widescan, yet it still gives a depth improvement on coins. I guess it was worth the money after all (purchased from Kellyco around 1990).