By Greg Moscini
From Page 43
September, 1987 issue of Lost Treasure
Making the right choice is important, whether you are choosing which detector to purchase or to where to take your next metal detecting trip. These can be hard choices, especially when making a purchase.
The various metal detector manufacturers are hard at work developing and refining their model line to appeal to you, the hobbyist, in all aspects of treasure hunting. To achieve this is to design the right combination of controls and features resulting in a detector with wide appeal based on its performance at a particular price level.
The typical treasure hunter owns at least two detectors. As you are probably aware, no one detector will do it all. Some are better at coinshooting, some have more of a propensity for locating gold, and some excel in relic hunting and prospecting.
The Challenger Series was first introduced in 1983 with the X-70. The design and development of this unit was largely the work of John Earl who earlier that year was recruited as part of a new team offering bright new ideas in design and features. The X-70 set new industry standards for versatility and performance in both the discrimination and all metal modes.
I remember the Compass display booth at the California Searchers Hunt in 1983. 1 watched as Allen Cannon, Compass Marketing Representative and Field Tester, was giving a mind-boggling demonstration of the Challenger X-70 to a group of enthusiastic hobbyists. He planted a quarter in the moderately mineralized ground at approximately 8 inches. As Allen swept the X 70's 8-inch loop over the target area, the audio response was unbelievably strong. Several others and I left at the demonstration's conclusion and returned with our personal detectors. Most of our makes and models couldn't begin to pick up the coin; those that did, did so with a mildly audible response.
The day after the hunt, Cannon, 'Bob Lemear, Jim Turner and I spent a day hunting various parks and beaches. The performance of the Challenger X-70, I felt, was so superior to anything I had ever owned or used, I jumped at the chance to become a Compass Dealer when it was offered to me. I had great success with my X-70 when I first received it, finding additional silver and deep coins in favorite areas I had hunted heavily with other detectors and missed.
Early in 1984, Compass improved the X-70 by introducing the X-80 which offered a target identification meter and audio tone identification in addition to the Coin Depth Only meter found on the X-70. I wasted no time in making the X80 my number one detector. Eventually, I expanded my detector line to offer other makes and models. This gave me an opportunity to do some direct comparison testing of metal detectors. Although I loved the wide-scan strong audio response of the X-80, at times I preferred the ultra-slow motion units by other manufacturers, particularly in a trashy area as they separated the multiple targets better and located good targets which would have been "hidden" from the sweep of a faster, wide scan unit. Like anyone else, sometimes I want to slow down and take it easy without worrying about losing any depth.
Imagine - a full-featured detector that actually was two detectors in one, offering either a faster wide-scan sweep or an ultra-slow motion sweep at the flip of a switch. The all-new Challenger X100 introduced in, 1986 offers the detector industry' s first programmable circuit filter response system for high- or low mineralized ground. One flip of the Filter Response Switch to the "SHARP" mode will transform the X-100 to an ultra-slow motion detector offering superior trash rejection and good target location with incredible depth in lower mineralized soil. Flipping the switch back the other way puts you into the "NORMAL" four-filter mode allowing a faster sweep speed and minimal response to ground minerals.
Lightning-fast, All-Metal/Discriminate Tap and Release Button Switches
Operational Discriminate Mode Selector
1. GB Discriminate (motion)
2. TR Discriminate (non-motion)
3. Target Zone Identification (motion)
Power Level control (front-end sensitivity), (Ultra Max), (Max), (High), (Low), (Ultra Low)
GB- Disc Sensitivity (sets sensitivity of meter)
Full-Range Audio Discrimination
Zero through Screw Cap
Manual threshold or Auto-tune
Full Range Knotch Level Discrimination
2. (Wide), (Normal), (Narrow) settings
Adjust the audio tone from a low to high tone according to your hearing preferences.
1. Sharp-narrow-scan, ultra-slow motion, excels in low mineral or trashy environment.
2. Normal wide-scan slow to fast motion, excels in high-mineral environment. Full-Range Ground Balance. Enables balancing in "positive" wet salt to "negative" black sand.
Dual Rod Lengthy Adjustment - Enables the X-100 to compact down to a very short length for easy storage.
Automatic Battery Check - When the X-100 is turned on, the meter checks the battery's charge for approximately four seconds.
Headphone Jack (Stereo).
New Metal Loop Connector - Improved for reliability.
Coated Electronic Circuit Board - In creases protection against environmental conditions ensuring dirt-free operation.
Large 3" Audio Speaker - Ensures strong, clear audio response on targets from shallow to deep.
Co-Planar/Concentric Search head - New and lighter in weight. The concentric design allows excellent trash elimination characteristics.
Metered Coin Depth - 10" depth scale with improved accuracy.
Target I.S. Meter - Super resolution separation of lift tabs from nickel.
Crystal-Controlled Frequency Response - New frequency of 13.77 KHz making the X- 100 more responsive to fine jewelry and gold nuggets.
Rechargeable Battery System
Usually an option with other makes, standard with the X-100, and batteries charge in the unit.
Weight 5 lbs.
Frequency - 13.77 KHz
Power Requirements - 12v at full audio load to 18v/1 2 AA Nicad batteries with battery charger
Audio Frequency 180 Hz to 600 Hz
All-metal Electronic Housing For better shielding against electromagnetic radio frequency interference.
Depth Capability (Ultra-Max), All Metal Mode - 12 to 14 inches on U.S. Clad Quarter. Up to 6 feet on large object.
NOTE: Depth will vary with ground mineralization, user proficiency, composition and shape of object and halo effect.
Recommended uses: Coin and jewelry hunting, prospecting, relic hunting, beachcombing, cache hunting and shallow-water recovery.
X- 100 responded loudly to a quarter at 8 inches, dime at 7 inches, nickel at 6 inches. It also gave an excellent response on a white gold ring at 2 inches. Very good target I. D. on targets 6 inches to surface; good to fair target I.D. on targets over 6 inches. Audio Discrimination Response: loud and solid at all depths. The X-100 located a dime at 3 inches next to a rusty iron bolt at 2 inches. The detector has an excellent target recovery response and clearly separates between a nickel and a lift-tab.
For the first part of my field test, I decided to see how the X- 100 performed on yard areas of private property for which I had first obtained permission.
The first property was a comer lot adjacent to a public school. I set my discrimination level at the user-friendly preset mark (foil reject), and since the ground appeared to have a moderate mineral level, I switched the X- 100 into the normal (4-filter) mode. My first pass through the main portion of the lawn yielded several clad coins including some nickels. The X- 100 responded audibly to the presence of larger pieces of iron which was properly identified as iron by the Meter identification. Smaller bits of trash were ignored.
I then moved over to a smaller area of lawn just on the other side of the driveway. I received a nice repetitive audio response in which the meter locked-on well below the nickel mark. By depressing and holding the red discrimination button, the X- 100 electronically switched over to depth reading which revealed that the target was approximately 3 inches deep.
Since the depth reading is not locked on, one can actually scan across the target and approximate its width. On this particular target, it appeared to be slightly wider than coin-size. I carefully made a slit above the target center and levered the target up with my T-handle coin probe. As the target came into view, I immediately caught the exciting glitter of gold. This target turned out to be a 10K band with one emerald-shaped red stone (a ruby?) and two clear stones on either side of it (diamond chips?). I immediately placed the ring in the velcro closure pocket of my 3-pocket design treasure pouch for safe keeping. I finished up the rest of the area finding just a couple of clad coins. I then decided to retrace my steps while working the unit in the ultra-slow Sharp (two-filter) mode.
I found that in order to use the sharp mode in moderate mineral ground, it's best to reduce the front-end sensitivity from (ULTRA MAX) to (HIGH) as well as the DISC SENSITIVITY to user-friendly PRESET. High soil mineral content will necessitate lowering sensitivities even more; once you have achieved smoothness of operation, the X- 100 is properly set.
I noticed that the X-100 would respond audibly more but with a "popping corn" sound on trash items and increased ground mineral. I was able to locate additional coins that were hiding next to trash targets. One such target turned out to be a silver dime and wheat penny lying together next to trash.
I worked several other front and back yard properties and the X- 100 performed flawlessly. It was rock stable and seemed to be immune to 60-cycle interference. It has been my personal experience when working residential property that most of the targets are within 3 inches of the surface. No sweat for any metal detector, right? Not really. Private residential front and back yards by their nature contain a lot of iron targets, particularly nails of various sizes used in the building of the structure and roof. A couple of nails adjacent to a good target can mask it from many detectors.
I really became aware of this masking effect when I was demonstrating several detectors in the front yard of a friend of mine and fellow employee, Kyle Hagen, who lives in a house built around 1940 in Redwood City, Calif. He was considering buying one of two TR units made by Compass: the Coin Hustler and Cue TR-400. The difference between the two was mainly in their coil size. Both were high frequency, 100 Khz units. I buried a dime at 4 inches; both units responded well. The TR-400 gave a louder audio response as it sported an 8-inch loop compared to the
Kyle was aware that I had my own personal target LD unit made by an other manufacturer sitting in the back of my camper. Kyle was curious and asked to see how my unit would perform Over the dime. I smiled and told him that he wanted to compare a high-end unit to detectors costing hundreds of dollars less. Still, Kyle was insistent on seeing the target I.D. unit in action.
Confidently, I took my unit out and turned it on. This particular detector was considered automatic and did not require the usual ground balancing. I set the discrimination at minimum (nail reject) and began sweeping over the target area. I was shocked, as no matter at what angle I swept the loop over the target, I received an audio reject.
"I don't understand it," I told Kyle. "It should pick up a dime at 4 inches without any problem." I then pressed the toggle switch putting me in the all-metal mode, and, upon scanning the target area, I discovered that the dime was being masked by at least three surrounding targets which I dug up and found to be small roofing nails at approximately 2 or 3 inches down. The Compass TR units which operated at a much higher frequency were ignoring the iron and responding quite positively to the nonferrous dime.
This leads me back to the X- 100. On the last residential property I worked, I received a strong response. The target I.D. meter read up almost to the copper penny/dime mark. I pinpointed the target and came up with a small roofing nail. What first crossed MY mind was that the X- 100 had let me down.
I rechecked my target area and received another strong response. This time I came up with a larger piece of iron which was read as iron on the target I.D. meter.
A third check of the area induced a strong audio response, this time a wheat back penny that had been lying directly under the two iron targets. The X-100 proved to be impressive under trashy conditions in its ability to see through the trash and locate the treasure.
I had the opportunity to hunt several park areas. The deepest coin located was a wheat penny down 8 inches. I was particularly impressed with the X- 100's detection depth on nickels. I consistently located several nickels over 5 inches down, the deepest one being between 7 and 8 inches down - a buffalo nickel, the deepest nickel I have ever recovered in a park situation. Incidentally, the target read out was at approximately 36 - just above a zinc penny. This was due to the "halo" effect produced by the old coin in the ground for a lengthy period of time.
On one particular target which read at the 20 reference point just above a nickel, the depth indicated approximately 6 inches. The ground was moderate in its mineral content. I summoned Greg Baldwin over with his detector, a lower frequency unit. He had his discrimination up around 5 to ward off iron targets and most tin foil. He cross-swept over the target but was unable to get anything more than a broken response. The X-100 responded solidly with a lock-on meter response. I then plugged down to the target and removed a 1943 silver war nickel. Of course, this did not sit well with Baldwin. Most of my hunting in the parks was using the normal wide-scan mode with the X-100 set at either the MAX or ULTRA-MAX sensitivity setting. The GB-Disc setting was left at the preset mark to avoid any erratic mineral response.
I love to hunt beaches mainly because of the ease of target removal and the high probability for locating lost jewelry and coins. The very high tides followed by minus tides along with stormy weather during my hunt in the latter part of December were an ideal time. Armed with my coin pouch and long-handled sand scoop, I made several trips to one particular black sand beach. This. beach proved difficult for many models of detectors to work due to the thick, tar-colored bands of black sand and their limited ground balance -range.
There were several approaches to take with the X-100. Up high where there were sheets of black sand, I preferred to set the X- 100 on the GB Norm on all-metal model and use the fast auto tune. The sensitivity was set to ultra-10w and the X-100 was very smooth. Once locating a target, a glance at the target I.D. meter determined if the target was iron (ferrous), gold, aluminum, copper, or silver (non-ferrous). As I worked down to where the sand becomes wet, I found that the best setting with the S-100 was in the BG Disc with the sensitivity set no higher than High (mid-range). Using a slow sweep speed in the Normal (wide-scan) mode, I located targets consistently in excess of 7 inches. One target, a single schlage key was down at least 9 inches. A combination lock was found at approximately 10 inches and a full set of keys at about the same depth. I located several bottom ends to aluminum cans in excess of 12 inches, again in the GB Disc Mode. Scanning over the surf and very wet sand, the GBE Disc mode was used with the sensitivity reduced down on a setting of Low. I located several coins at 5 and 6 inches in the surf.
My biggest find came in the wet sand. The meter I.D. locked-on at 20 oust above nickel) - In the first scoop G to 4 inches) I located a 14K yellow gold diamond ring with an 18K setting. In the air, the ring locked on just below the nickel.
Most of the targets located at the beach would read higher on the meter than in the air. this is because of the mineral environment which is saturated with wet, positive salt. I elected to run my ground balance positive just above preset and let the GB Disc (super tune/ matrix) do the rest. If the targets were shallow, the target I.D. meter would lock on with accurate identification.
My rule of thumb is: If the target I.D. meter indicates anything above the iron range, dig it. In a park situation, you have to be more selective to be careful in avoiding damage to the lawn area, but this obviously doesn't apply to sand at the beach. I do make it a point to not leave any hazardous holes in the sand; I push the sand back into the hole with my foot.
I did locate a substantial amount of aluminum and some iron nails that fooled me and the Target I.D. meter. Generally, these iron targets can be identified by watching the meter. They tend to not lock-on if cross-swept. A tap of the black button will put the X- 100 in the all-metal mode and many of the iron spikes and nails will produce a double
beep response. I like, to hunt with my discrimination level set below preset which makes the operation smoother. The trade-off is that it does allow a lot more audio response. I would then glance at the meter to determine whether or not the target was worth digging. (Note: The X-100 Target I.D. meter is always discriminating in all primary modes of operation).
The GB Disc mode did have a drawback of giving a false audio response over a depression in the sand (like a print) if swept too fast. This is caused by an overshoot response caused by the super-fast tune of the GB Disc and is typical of most -motion detectors. By slowing down the sweep speed and reducing the sensitivity setting, you can reduce the likelihood of a false response.
Another approach which was extremely effective for locating deep targets with the X-100 was to double ground balance in the TR Disc Mode, kick on the auto-tune and set the sensitivity to the Low setting This mode of operation worked particularly well over wet salt sand and eliminated false responses. I was able to identify the targets as follows: When located in the TR-Disc mode, I would move off the target and then switch to the GB-Norm, (all-metal mode), making the junk iron targets sound louder and broader. The non-ferrous targets sounded stronger in the TR Disc mode; this mode, when properly balanced, will gain more depth in the wet sand if your detector enjoys the disc range and a TR mode like the X- 100.
The X-100 impressed me in depth and smoothness of operation over a variety of ground conditions. I had complete confidence that if I passed over a good target it would not be missed. This confidence was affirmed in the two nice gold rings I located. For versatility, the X-100 is second to none. At almost five pounds, it is a little heavier than the average detector but extremely well-balanced with its arm rest design. It can also be hip-mounted with one of the best S-handle rods in the industry. An optional night-light kit which illuminates the Target I.D. meter is a delight for those that like to do their hunting after the sun goes down.
For more information on the Compass X-100, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Greg Moscini, Trans-Bay Metal Detectors, Sea Horse Ct., Foster City, CA 94404; or Compass Electronics, P. 0. Box 366, 3700 24th Ave., Forest Grove, OR 97116.