FIELD TEST

Garrett Electronics Master Hunter Cx
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 8
August, 1990 issue of Lost Treasure

The Master Hunter CX is the latest addition to the 1990 line of Garrett metal detectors and has been designed as an economical version of the Grand Master II CX. Having used the Grand Master extensively in recent months, I was anxious to see how the new Master Hunter CX performed in various applications.

FEATURES

The Master Hunter CX is a full-featured metal detector designed to work well in all facets of treasure hunting. While it does not have all of the features present on the Grand Master II CX, it does offer many of the features already field-proven on its bigger brother.

The Master Hunter CX is extremely lightweight, only 3 pounds 14 ounces, with the standard 8 112-inch searchcoil and the battery pack. The angle of the padded handle on the control housing combines with the balance of the detector to allow for nearly effortless searching hour after hour. The Master Hunter CX disassembles quickly into a compact package and can be easily packed into a suitcase or backpack for traveling.

The controls on the Master Hunter CX are extremely easy to master. There are two knobs on the side panel which are used to set the level of discrimination in both the ferrous and non-ferrous ranges. Both knobs have initial setting arrows on them which allow you to set the level of discrimination for general coin hunting.

There are also simplified operating instructions printed on the side panel to provide assistance in operating the Master Hunter when in the field. At the rear of the panel is a standard 1/4-inch headphone jack with a plastic plug attached which keeps dirt and moisture Out when not using headphones.

The meter assembly, which is located at the end of the handle, provides control over the functions of the Master Hunter CX through five touch pads. The touch pads perform the following functions:

The ON touchpad turns the detector on and off and also checks the battery strength.

The ALL METAL touchpad actually provides two functions. When touched and released, it will switch the Master Hunter from Discriminate to the All-Metal mode of operation. When pressed and held, the FastTrack circuitry is activated. This function will be discussed in detail later.

The PINPOINT DEPTH touchpad activates the depth-reading circuitry and allows for non-motion pinpointing when searching in the discriminate mode.

The DISC touchpad switches the detector to the automatic ground-canceling, motion-discriminate mode.

The last touchpad, marked +1-, serves a dual purpose. It can be used to change the detection depth (sensitivity) of the Master Hunter by pressing either the + or - pads; or, if the ALL-METAL touchpad is pressed and held, the + and - pads will change the threshold level heard through the speaker or headphones.

The meter itself is an integral piece of the Master Hunter and provides a great deal of information to the user. Starting at the bottom of the meter, battery strength is indicated in the lower right corner. Whenever the detector is turned on, the condition of the batteries will be displayed for approximately five seconds.

The next line on the meter will provide the depth of the target; its calibrated for coin-size objects and is used when the PINPOINT mode is selected. Above the depth scale are three colored areas marked IRON, GOLD, and SILVER. These three areas should be used in conjunction with the probable target-ID band shown above the colored area.

The Master Hunter CX will provide a target-ID reading when operating in either the discriminate or all-metal mode. The upper-mode scale reads from 0 to 100 and can be used for more precise target identification or for determining where the sensitivity level has been set.

A feature I have found to be extremely useful on the Grand Master II that has been incorporated into the Master Hunter is the Out of Target ID Range section of the meter. If the target is either too deep or small for the Master Hunter to positively identify, or if the target is quite large or very close to the searchcoil, the needle on the meter will peg to the left. When this happens, the signal should be checked in the all-metal mode, and if the signal is faint, the target should be recovered as it may be a coin on edge or an item just at the edge of the Master Hunters detection range.

Another feature that has been carried over from the Grand Master is the loop-recognition circuitry. On the target ID detectors, the target identification and depth-reading functions are designed to be accurate only with the standard-size coil installed. If a larger or smaller coil is used, the accuracy of the readings becomes questionable. The Master Hunter automatically recognizes the size searchcoil installed and compensates for the loop size when indicating probable target ID and depth.

The Master Hunter CX uses the Multi-Range Discrimination system designed by Garrett who allows you to precisely define the targets you want to accept or reject. Unlike other detectors that utilize either a single discriminate control or a pre-defined notch window, the Master Hunter CX has two separate discriminate controls.

The first marked FER-ROUS allows you to reject targets from nails through nickels. The second marked NON-FERROUS allows you to reject targets ranging from pull tabs to large, flattened screw caps. By setting the two knobs at the preset marks, you will reject nails, tinfoil, steel bottle caps, and virtually all pull tabs while still detecting nickels, most gold rings, and other coins such as pennies, dimes, and quarters.

This system provides the user with more usable discrimination settings with no adverse affect on the depth of detection often experienced when increasing the level of discrimination on a single-control system.

The Master Hunter CX uses six C-cell batteries which are held in a newly-designed battery holder. The batteries are located in a compartment behind the handle and are accessed by sliding the cover towards the rear. With the use of headphones, the original set of batteries provided me with approximately 25 hours of life. Alkaline batteries will give you 5 to 10 hours more, and an optional NiCad rechargeable system is available from the factory which allows the batteries to be charged in the detector.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Assembly of the Master Hunter CX is quite simple, taking less than two minutes.

The operating manual is extremely well written and easy to understand. As described in the section entitled Bench Testing, I proceeded to see how the Master Hunter CX responded to various test targets.

I set both discriminate controls to the preset marks and turned the Master Hunter CX on by pressing the ON touchpad. The sensitivity is initially set at the factory at 90%, and the Master Hunter did not produce any chattering even at this high sensitivity setting.

As I passed a number of test items past the loop, the Master Hunter provided a positive response at impressive depths to the good targets, including several pieces of jewelry, while rejecting the trash targets including pull tabs and tin foil. Checking the response to the targets buried in my test garden produced similar results and the depth-reading function, while in the PINPOINT mode, was quite accurate as well.

Due to the highly-mineralized red clay so common here in northern Georgia, I wanted to see how the All-Metal mode functioned in adverse ground conditions. The Master Hunter CX has a feature called FAST TRACK that automatically maintains a constant threshold when searching over mineralized ground in All-Metal. By pressing and holding the ALL METAL touchpad, the FAST TRACK circuitry is activated. While holding the touchpad, the loop is swept across the ground until a double beep is heard, at which time the touchpad can be released. The Master Hunter CX will then maintain a constant threshold level by automatically adjusting for changes in the ground mineralization. This feature worked quite well and I found that searching in the All-Metal mode and using the meter to identify good targets was quite simple.

FIELD TEST

After finishing bench testing the Master Hunter CX, I took it to a construction site being cleared near Kennesaw Mountain where several other relic hunters had reported finding minnie balls and other Civil War relics. Upon arriving at the site, I noticed signs of freshly-dug holes all over the area, and my hopes of finding much dropped significantly.

I set the FERROUS discriminate control to 10 which would reject small pieces of iron such as nails while still accepting larger iron objects such as gun parts or shell fragments. I turned the NON-FERROUS discriminate knob fully counter-clockwise which disabled the discriminate circuit, as the added discriminate was not needed when relic hunting. I would use the meter to visually discriminate targets and rely on the Master Hunter to reject only small iron items.

With the sensitivity level set at 85%, I began to search the cleared area. Almost immediately, I received a solid signal that turned out to be a shotgun casing at three inches in many areas they seem to be more common than the relics. After several minutes without a signal, I began to wonder if I should quit and try elsewhere.

Finally the Master Hunter produced a repeatable signal that caused the needle on the meter to peg to the left, indicating that the detector could not identify the target. Switching to the PIN-POINT mode, the signal appeared to be small and the meter indicated that the target was between nine and ten inches deep.

Using a small mattock, I started to recover the target which turned out to be the front of an eagle coat button at slightly over nine inches. While other target-ID detectors often give inaccurate ID readings on deeply-buried targets, resulting in many missed finds, the Master Hunter will peg the needle to the left if the accuracy of the reading is in question, enabling the operator to decide whether or not to dig.

I spent over three hours at this site and was able to recover 12 minnie balls of various calibers, along with several more shotgun shell casings and recently fired bullets. The Master Hunter CX had ignored the small trash items in the area and had detected small relics at depths of up to 10 inches in an area that had been heavily searched by other relic hunters.

The next site I tried was an area in a nearby town where a number of houses were being demolished to make room for a new municipal building. The homes dated back to the turn of the century, and the area was also near known Civil War activity. Fellow treasure hunter Tommy Ollie had searched the area during the previous week and, while the finds were not abundant, had found several older wheat cents, Indian head pennies, and a silver dime or two.

Arriving early on a Sunday morning, I met Tommy; he told me where he had searched and where some of his better finds had come from. He also said that many of the yards were extremely trashy from the demolition work that had already taken place.

Setting the FERROUS discriminate control to the preset mark, the NON-FERROUS control to SCREW CAP, and the sensitivity level to 75%, I began searching in the front yard of one of the houses that had been torn down. As Tommy had said, signals were few and far between, but they were there.

After two hours I had recovered a handful of coins including several wheat cents and a war nickel, and by combining the discrimination settings with the visual identification of the meter, had dug only three pieces of trash. I hunted another yard with rather poor results and headed over to see how Tommy was doing. He had only found a few coins and a house key and was heading towards another yard that had been cleared only the day before.

As we were standing near the sidewalk talking, I turned the Master Hunter CX back on and made a few sweeps. Almost immediately I received a solid signal that read DIME at five inches. Cutting a plug, I recovered a 1921 Mercury dime which amazed Tommy as he had just finished searching the area. I hunted the area for another hour and a half and returned the following weekend for a few hours.

While the total of my finds were not that impressive, I had been able to recover a number of coins and a few minnie balls in an area that had been well hunted and had a high trash content. In some of the areas I felt that by using the 4 112-inch Crossfire loop I would have been able to detect additional coins that were being masked by some larger trash targets.

I used the Master Hunter CX at several other sites in various applications and, in all situations, the detector operated flawlessly and I recovered a number of valuable targets in areas that had been hunted previously.

SUMMARY

The Master Hunter CX proved to be an extremely versatile detector that performed well while coin hunting, relic hunting and general treasure hunting. The Multi-Range discrimination circuitry combined with the visual target identification resulted in very few trash targets being recovered, even in areas of high trash content. The depth capability of the Master Hunter CX was quite impressive, even when operating in the highly-mineralized ground in this area of the state.

Many of the features from the Grand Master II CX have been incorporated into the Master Hunter CX and provide for an economical alternative to the treasure hunter who wants the benefit of a computerized metal detector without some of the features of its bigger brother.

If you are looking for a new metal detector that incorporates 1990s technology, you need to stop at your nearest Garrett dealer and take a close look at the Master Hunter CX before you decide on your next detector. For the name of your nearest dealer and a copy of the 1990 Garrett Buyers Guide, write the factory at Garrett Electronics, 2814 National Drive, Garland, TX 75401-2397 or call them at (214)278-6151 and mention that you read about the Master Hunter in Lost Treasure magazine.
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