Two years ago I had an opportunity to operate the uniquely-designed Fisher 1260-X while visiting my dear friend Jim Martin. At that time, little did I realize how its advanced technology and profile would affect detectors other major manufacturers would use to follow the path blazed by the engineers at Fisher Research Laboratory.
The 1260-X's radical design resuited in a 4-pound unit whose nearperfect balance afforded almost effortless operation over an extended period of time. To my mind, that's a major accomplishment! Whatever a detector's capabilities might be, rest assured it will soon lose its appeal if weight and balance are such that one has to constantly change hands in order to operate the instrument comfortably. In the two years since first being introduced to the 1260-X, I have used it in every phase of coinshooting with outstanding results, and only rarely was it necessary to shift the unit to the opposite hand because of fatigue.
In addition to design, the 1260-X also incorporated major technological changes, including dual discrimination and automatic ground cancelling. This made the 1260-X an instrument that required a minimum of effort for highly efficient operation, making it an ideal detector for the novice treasure hunter as well as the veteran.
Never satisfied with past accomplishments, and cnstantly endeavoring to maintain their leadership in the field of detector research and development, the engineers at Fisher have introduced a new generation detector, the Fisher 1265-X. In addition to those features which made the 1260X such a popular model, the 1265-X boasts a higher fiequency, crystalcontrolled circuitry, dual-mode sensitivity and a non-motion pinpoint mode. In the four months I've been using my 1265-X, I have achieved what I consider fantastic results.
If one held a 1260-X and a 1265-X side by side, it would take a discerning eye to detect the exterior differences. Both instruments have the "S-curve" stem, an 8-inch ElectroStatic-Insulated concentric co-planar coil, the padded pistol-grip handle with the control box conveniently placed on top of it, and the combination padded armrest-detector standbattery compartment which holds the eight 1 .5v penlight cells which power the instrument. Both also have the electronic magic known as "Pulsegate Unipolar Audio Processing," which lets the instruments run below the audio threshold tone with no loss of sensitivity.
The most noticeable difference is the lower fiberglas stem which connects the coil to the adjustable aluminum stem. You also might notice a slight difference in the buttons on the control panel. Other than that, there's not much difference one can see between the two detectors. The real difference is what's inside that little box on top of the pistol grip.
The electronic "magic" mentioned automatically ground balances the detector-a most important operation. If the ground balance is initially adjusted improperly and not constantly monitored the efficiency of the detector-and the success of one's coinshooting-will greatly suffer.
The control panel, which is highly visible and readily accessible no matter which hand holds the instrument contains only four controls. But if you equate the number of controls with a detector's performance, your estimate of the 1265-X would be totally wrong. The folks at Fisher simply eliminated all superfluous controls, which greatly simplifies the 1265-X's operation without detracting from its performance.
Beginning in the lower left hand corner of the panel is the volume control knob. This control can be adjusted to whatever degree of loudness that is comfortable for the operator by rotating it clockwise. I prefer to set this control at maximum volume, and use headphones with volume controls, using these to adjust the sound to a comfortable level.
Directly above the volume control is a discriminate control knob marked "DISC 1"; across the panel in the upper right hand corner is a second discriminate control identified as "DISC 2". Each unit is marked in gradients from 0 to 10; at zero, all metals will be detected and as each is rotated clockwise various metal objects are eliminated.
When the dual discriminate function is thoroughly understood, the results can be as efficient as operating a detector with a sophisticated meter-which dual discrimination replaces-without the disappointment and detraction from the hunt's excitement which often happens when a meter indicates a target as being a coin and all you recover is a prime piece of junk.
Normally, what a coinshooter is interested in recovering are coins and jewelry, and these can be categorized into two groups. The first is nickels, gold coins and jewelry which, as they are on the low end of the conductivity scale, will be accepted at one level of discrimination. Pennies, clad, silver coins and jewelry are at a higher level. The dual discrimination function allows the operator to set the machine to accept both types of targets. To switch between discriminate levels, simply push the three-position, springloaded toggle switch located under the control box forward. Now the detector is in Discriminate 2. Release the switch and it's back in Discriminate 1.
For example, set Discriminate 1 at 3 1/2 and Discriminate 2 at 7. When a target is accepted at the lower discriminate level-indicated by a smooth "buzzing" signal-but changes to a "snap" or "pop" when pressed forward to activate Discriminate 2, the broken signal alerts the operator to the possibility that a nickel, gold coin or ring has been located.
But if the same smooth signal is repeated when Discriminate 2 is activated, then the possibility of the target being a penny, clad or silver coin is good. This identifying process can be accomplished in seconds and, in my ledger, that is highly efficient operation.
In addition to changing the discriminate level, the toggle switch comes into play in pinpointing a target. When a good target is located, place the coil on the ground away from the target's detected position and away from any other metal object. Activate the special non-motion pinpointing mode by pulling the switch toward you and holding it. Raise the coil slightly-about an inch-and move it over the target from side to side, then forward and back until the strongest signal is located. If done correctly, the target will be directiy under the bull's-eye decal in the center of the coil.
A more precise way of pinpointing is to "detune" the instrument. This is accomplished by first activating, releasing, then again activating and holding the non-motion pinpoint mode switch as the coil nears the target from two directions-side-to-side and forward-reverse. This technique can be perfected to a degree where the area that needs investigating can be reduced to a size that often is only slightly larger than the detected object.
Locating surface targets is more difficult because of the strong signal being produced. The technique I use to pinpoint these differs only slightly from what has been explained. The target is "X'd" and the coil placed close to the target's position. Activate the pinpoint mode switch, raise the coil, go through the detuning process, moving the detector from side to side only, reducing the signal as much as possible. Keeping the switch held in its activated position, move the coil toward you until audio contact is lost. Then reverse direction without detuning. When the signal is again re-established, stop! The target will be slightly beyond the bull's-eye decal in the triangle under the lower gold bar of the Fisher logo decal.
There will be occasions when a signal will be lost when attempting the pinpoint procedure and it will have to be repeated, but in a very short period of time the technique will become automatic and all targets can be located with "bull's-eye" accuracy.
The remaining control-sensitivity-plays a major role in the 1265-X's depth penetration. It should be adjusted to the highest level for existing ground conditions, but not to a point where circuit noise will interfere with recognizing those "whisper" signals produced by a small, deeply buried target. To adjust the sensitivity, pull the control knob and rotate it clockwise. To eliminate interference caused by high voltage transmission lines or when operating in areas of highly mineralized soil, push the control in and rotate it counterclockwise, which will eliminate some, if not all, of the interference. The battery test push-button is located at the lower left section of the panel. When pressed, it will indicate existing voltage remaining in the cells by its tonal intensity. Fully charged batteries produce a loud response; weak or dead batteries will give a low tone or none.
The speaker is centrally located on the panel for those who are adverse to using headphones, but I would suggest their use if possible, in order to eliminate noise that would affect detecting those faint signals. The headphone jack is located in the lower right hand corner of the panel. It will accept most stereo or mono headphones equipped with 1/4" diameter plugs-either straight or off-set. Plugging in the phones automatically disconnects the speaker when used.
Although light in weight, the 1265-X is a rugged, highly sophisticated, very low frequency slowmotion detector with exceptional depth capability if operated properly. The search technique that I find most effective is to shorten the coil's sweep and move it in a straight line in front of my body, keeping the coil as near and parallel to the soil as possible while inching forward at a snail's pace. Excessive coil motion isn't recommended and to do so will cause known good targets sometimes to produce a "reject" signalparticularly if operating over highly mineralized soil.
A pleasant surprise was the 1265X's conservative consumption of battery voltage. The eight Eveready 1.5 volt AA penlight batteries supplied with the unit provided ample power after 31 hours of use to detect and discriminate a penny buried 4 inches deep.
Of the numerous optional accessories offered by Fisher for use with the 1265-X, the 33/4" mini-coil and rechargeable batteries interested me most. Experience has taught me that a mini-coil can be extremely effective when searching areas littered with junk targets. The concentrated beam it produces better penetrates those narrow cracks between junk items to ferret out the treasure secreted close by or below.
By extending the 1265-X's stem to its maximum length of 55 inches, a mini-coil's versatility can be expanded to searching shallow water at many fresh water beaches that are often quite productive. The folks at Fisher have anticipated the 1265-X's use in water and have provided a waterproof seal inside the upper stem to prevent water from entering the battery compartment should you inadvertently raise the instrument up before all the water has completely drained from the stem. For those who might be inclined toward shallow water coinshooting with the 1265-X, be sure the lower drain hole-located at the insulator's base--isn't plugged.
The second optional equipment item mentioned is the rechargeable nickel cadmium battery pack that can be recharged while in the detector. Economics is the key factor here and one that must be carefully considered. Since they can be recharged many times, a tremendous amount of money can be saved by using nicads. My coinshooting activity is an almost daily event, consuming two to five hours each session, and for me rechargeables are a must. The question that needs answering before purchasing ni-cads is how often and to what extent they will be used. To assist you in your decision, the carbon zinc batteries supplied with the 1265-X provided ample power for a total of 35 hours of operation but shortly thereafter a test indicated a definite loss of depth-although there was a weak response when the battery test button was pressed-and they were replaced. Since a set of conventional batteries costs about $4 in my area of the country, it doesn't require a great deal of computation to find that it will not take many hours to surpass the rechargeable's modest cost.
Although my initial opinion was biased in favor of the 1260-X, I must admit this "new generation" 1265-X has to be given top billing due to its deeper penetration, pinpointing capability and increased battery operating hours. Once the 1265-X has been
initially programmed for whatever phase of treasure hunting the operator desires, the only physical energy needed is to turn the volume control "on" to begin searching and "off" when a day's treasure hunting has ended. If anything else is required, it is a slight adjustment of the sensitivity control to compensate for ground mineralization that exists in a particular area. What could be more elementary? -
Like its predecessor, the 1265-X performed extremely well wherever employed and of the many coins recovered from various areas, initially, the deepest was a 1900S Barber dime and a 1905 Indian head penny, both detected at 5 inches. A recovery at that depth isn't noteworthy until you consider the target produced an audio response that proved the 1265-X could conceivably pick up a similar small target at a greater depth. To accomplish this in extremely dry, highly mineralized soil, in my opinion, is very good.
After a rainstorm, which made the soil more conducive to metal detecting, I took the 1265-X out for a test and recovered a second 1900 Barber dime and a 1927 wheat penny from 6 inches. What surprised me was the number of silver coins and wheat pennies recovered at depths between 4 and 5 inches from areas known to have been heavily searched by experienced coinshooters using top quality detectors, some equipped with 10-inch coils.
With a limited 5 year warranty and priced at $499.95, the 1265-X is an instrument that I am sure every treasure hunter-experienced and no vice- would enjoy using to pursue whatever treasure they seek. For additional information on the 1265-X and optional accessories, which include a new 11-inch, wide scan, deep search coil, contact your Fisher dealer for a complete specification sheet and demonstrations or write Fisher Research Laboratory, 1005 "I" Street, Los Banos, California 93635-4398.