FIELD TEST

Orion Electronics Rocket Stage 2
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 29
June, 1990 issue of Lost Treasure

Orion Electronics is a subsidiary of Neuman Electronics located in Deiphos, Ohio. Many of you who have been involved in treasure hunting for a number of years will remember the Neuman name from the partnership between Neuman and Wilson and the line of detectors they produced which included the Daytona and the Usika Chief, among others.

Mr. Neuman has again entered the field of manufacturing metal detectors, and the Rocket Stage 2 is one of the models in his new line. At the present time, the line consists of two other models; the Stage 1 and Stage 3. Having heard some positive comments regarding its performance from other treasure hunters, I agreed to test the Stage 2 when the factory contacted me.

FEATURES

The Orion Rocket Stage 2 is a silent-search discriminator with automatic ground adjust and a non-motion All-Metal pinpoint mode. It is extremely lightweight, weighing less than 3 1i2 pounds, with batteries and the standard eight-inch searchcoil, and is mounted on a modified S-shaped handle to make searching with it quite tireless.

The control housing is not removable from the shaft, and as such, cannot be converted to a hip-mount configuration; however, due to the light weight of the detector, this feature is not really needed. The arm rest is padded and extremely comfortable and also doubles as a detector stand to keep the control housing off the ground when recovering a target. The searchcoil is completely waterproof and can be submerged up to the control housing connector when searching for coins and rings in the shallow water at a beach.

The Stage 2 has two knobs and one toggle switch on the front face plate. The knob on the right is the Sensitivity control which also functions as the On/Off switch. The knob on the left is the Discrimination control and is used to set the level of trash rejection used while in the silent-search discriminate mode.

The toggle switch located above the two knobs is used to switch to the non-motion All-Metal mode when pinpointing a target. A headphone jack is located on the rear of the control housing and accepts any standard 1/4-inch plug. Due to the location of the headphone jack, it is best if your headphones have a 90-degree plug rather than the standard straight plug.

If you are unable to find a set of headphones with this type of plug, you can buy one at your local Radio Shack store and have it soldered.

The Stage 2 uses three standard 9-volt batteries which are located in a compartment in the rear of the control housing. The Stage 2 will get approximately 20 - 25 hours of use on a set of standard carbon batteries and between 30 and 35 hours on a set of alkaline-type batteries. Ni-cad batteries can be used with no effect on the performance of the detector; however, they are not offered as an option by the factory at this time.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The detector arrived securely packaged with a detailed instruction manual that is shared by all three of the models in the Rocket line. Assembly of the Stage 2 was quite simple, requiring only mounting the searchcoil on the lower shaft, inserting the lower shaft onto the upper shaft, wrapping the searchcoil cable securely around the shaft and connecting it to the control housing. As on most detectors, the cable needs to be wrapped securely around the shaft in order to prevent any false signals.

The only comment I had regarding the construction of the Stage 2 was in the shaft length adjustment. Contrary to many other metal detectors, the Stage 2 does not have holes in the shaft and a spring clip to adjust the length of the shaft for users of different heights.

Instead, a friction-type screw adjustment is used and I found it a little difficult to tighten the screw nut sufficiently to prevent the shaft from moving while keeping the loop properly lined up with the control box. You might want to go to your local Radio Shack store, buy a spring clip, and drill a few holes in the upper shaft for easier adjustment of the shaft length.

After completing the assembly of the Stage 2, I proceeded to perform an air test to see how the detector responded to various targets at different discrimination settings. The Stage 2 is turned on by turning the Sensitivity control in a clockwise direction. Continuing to turn the knob in a clockwise direction increases the detectors sensitivity by increasing the strength of the signal being sent out from the coil.

I set the Sensitivity control to Maximum, and the Discrimination control to the Bottle Cap rejection mark. As I passed several targets including coins, jewelry, and Civil War artifacts past the loop. I was surprised with the Stage 2s sensitivity. Even on small gold rings and a gold chain the detector produced clear, repeatable signals.

Another feature that quickly became apparent was that there were no faint signals when operating in the Discriminate mode. A target would produce the same loud, clear signal whether it was one inch from the loop or at the maximum detectable distance from it. When switching to the All-Metal mode, the strength of the response was dependent on the distance to the target, which is useful for determining the approximate depth of the target before digging.

When I increased the level of discrimination to the Pull Tab mark, the smaller gold items and the nickel were rejected, and there was a slight decrease in the overall sensitivity of the Stage 2 on the other targets.

As with any metal detector, you want to use the least amount of discrimination possible to avoid missing a potentially valuable target. Remember, if you are not digging any trash targets, you are probably using too much discrimination.

After checking the response of the Stage 2 to various targets, I took it outside to my test garden. It produced clear signals on all the targets, which included coins and small military artifacts, at depths ranging from three to seven inches. I also found that, with the Discriminate control set midway between the Bottle Cap and Pull Tab marks, the Stage 2 would not respond to the nails and other small pieces of trash that litter my yard from the construction of the house.

FIELD TEST

The first place I took the Stage 2 was a small nearby beach that had been heavily hunted since it was closed in early October. In order to avoid missing any gold jewelry, I set the Discriminate control to the Bottle Cap mark and the Sensitivity control to Maximum. As I started to search the beach, I noticed that the Stage 2 did not false and chatter as is common on many other detectors when the sensitivity is at the maximum settings.

After several minutes I had still not received even one signal and wondered if there was anything left to find. Walking down towards the water level, I received a signal and switched to the All-Metal mode to pinpoint the target. The signal was much fainter in the pinpoint mode and was about the size of a coin. Digging down nearly 6 1/2 inches, I found a well-corroded nickel.

As I continued to scan the area near the water line, I found several more coins (all nickels) as well as a number of pull tabs and screw caps at depths of between four and seven inches. I realized that whoever had searched here before me had turned their discriminate control up to reject these trash targets, but in doing so had missed nickels and the possibility of some jewelry items.

Over the next hour and a half I covered nearly the entire beach and recovered about 30 coins and a small handful of trash targets. Just as I was ready to leave for home, I received a clear, repeatable signal and switched over to the All-Metal mode to pinpoint it. I dug down approximately five inches and checked the hole. The target was out of the hole, so I began to take handfuls of sand and pass them past the loop to locate it.

When the detector responded, indicating the target was in my hand, I slowly began to sift through the sand until I saw the telltale color of gold a thin 14KT gold wedding band. As I headed back to the car, I was pleased with the finds I had made and realized that jf I had been using a higher discriminate setting or a less-sensitive detector, the wedding band would still be there waiting for the next treasure hunter.

The next site I took the Rocket Stage 2 to was an abandoned house, outside of a nearby town, that had been built in the early 1900s. After looking at the front yard, I was disappointed to see that the porch was apparently a popular spot to come and drink because the area near it was littered with empty cans, soda bottles, pull tabs, and screw caps. The amount of trash would be a good test of the trash-rejection capabilities of the Stage 2.

I set the Discriminate control just past the Pull Tab mark and the Sensitivity control to Maximum. As I began to sweep the loop across the grass near the path and porch, I noticed that, despite the mineralized ground, the detector did not produce any falsing. The first few signals turned out to be large wine bottle screw caps at shallow depths. A signal near the path produced a faint signal in the All-Metal mode and resulted in a 1935 wheat penny at almost six inches.

I continued to search the area in front of the porch and found several more wheat pennies at depths ranging from four to six inches. One point that quickly became apparent was the lack of signals from any of the pull tabs and screw caps in the area the Stage 2 was doing an excellent job in rejecting the trash targets and locating the coins below them.

After 3Ominutes, I began to search along the path leading to the street. I had made only a few sweeps when the detector produced a solid signal near one of the flagstones that made up the path. Cutting a five-inch deep plug, the detector indicated that the target was still in the hole. I scraped the loose dirt out of the bottom and saw the edge of a silver coin partially embedded in the side of the hole.

I carefully pulled the coin from its resting place and as I brushed the dirt from the face, I saw that it was a Barber quarter, in extra-fine condition, dated 1892. After admiring my find for a few minutes, I placed it in my jacket pocket and continued to hunt the yard toward the street.

I would like to say that my luck continued, but my only other finds at this site included a few more wheat cents, two house keys, and a childs matchbox-type car. Looking over the finds that I had made and the limited amount of trash that had been recovered, the Stage 2s trash rejection capabilities had become apparent.

I tried the Stage 2 at a number of other sites for both coin hunting, as well as Civil War relic hunting, and was able to recover a number of interesting and valuable finds in areas that had been heavily searched by myself and others in the past. In all cases, the Stage 2 was able to operate at maximum sensitivity with no falsing, and located targets at depths equal to or better than other detectors it was compared with.

SUMMARY

The Orion Rocket Stage 2 is an excellent general-purpose metal detector. It worked well in the areas I tested it in and I was able to locate targets at impressive depths. The lack of false signals when operating in highly-mineralized ground, combined with the loud, positive response to even deep targets, makes the Stage 2 a detector that will produce good finds for both beginners and experts alike.

If you are searching for a simple-to-use detector with better than average depth capabilities, the Orion Rocket Stage 2 might just be the one you are looking for.

The Orion Rocket Stage 2 comes with a 2-year total factory warranty and retails for $319.95.

If you would like additional information on the Stage 2 or the other models in the Rocket line, write the factory at: Orion Electronics, 4747 Good Road, Deiphos, OH 45833 or call (419)339-1705 and mention that you read about their new line in Lost Treasure.
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