FIELD TEST

Tesoro Electronics Lobo Super Traq Gold Metal Detector
By Reg Sniff
From Page 15
November, 1997 issue of Lost Treasure

Its been several years since I tested the original Lobo, and boy what a change between the original Lobo and Tesoros new Super Traq. Although the two detectors may initially look the same from a distance, the differences are significant.

Like the original Lobo, the new Super Traq is really a dual-purpose detector. Designed primarily as a gold detector, the Super Traq has a full range discrimination mode which allows this detector to double as a coin hunting unit also.

For gold hunting, the new Super Traq is an extremely easy detector to use. Simply turn on the detector, select the all-metal mode, adjust the desired sensitivity and threshold level, and begin hunting. Unlike many gold-hunting machines, there is no need to adjust one or more ground balance adjustments; the new Lobo utilizes a state of the art micro-controller to do that for you.

There are a minimum of controls on this new detector, all of which are easily understandable. First there is a THRESHOLD control which sets the constant audio level, heard when using the all-metal mode and no target present.

Next is a 3-position toggle switch labeled ALKALI, NORMAL, and BLACK SAND. The first two of the settings alter the detectors ground tracking range of the automatic ground tracking system, while the BLACK SAND mode reduces the detectors sensitivity.

The second toggle switch is also a 3-position toggle that selects between PINPOINT (no motion), ALL METAL, and DISC (discriminate) modes. The normal mode for gold hunting is the All Metal.

The next control labeled SENSITIVITY, as its name implies, sets the sensitivity or how deep the detector will seek.

Located just below the sensitivity control is a DISC LEVEL control that adjusts the discrimination level of the discrimination mode. This control has a very wide range of adjustment, which allows the operator to accept or reject almost all metal targets. When the sensitivity control is set at minimum, all metal objects, including iron ones such as nails, are accepted. At the maximum setting, some coins are rejected, such as zinc pennies and nickels.

The detector comes equipped with a standard 10-inch elliptical wide scan search coil and is powered by 8 AA penlight batteries (included).

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I received the Super Traq a couple of weeks before leaving on one of my annual gold hunting trips. Upon assembly, I began testing this new detector. One new audio feature I found added to the Super Traq is something I commonly refer to as VCO. What this means is the audio output changes both volume and frequency or pitch when a target is encountered. I found, during my testing, the VCO feature on the Super Traq made it easier to hear the response of a one-grain nugget (pinhead size) even with the 10-inch search coil.

Because the new Lobo Super Traq has a feature not found on many gold detectors, full discrimination, I tested the coin hunting capabilities over my regular test targets. The controlled testing indicated the Lobo Super Traq was a very sensitive coin hunting detector, matching many coin hunting detectors for depth. In fact, it would readily detect one difficult target, a dime buried at 6-1/2 inches.

IN THE FIELD

I began my nugget hunting at one of my favorite sites in Arizona using the Super Traq Lobo set at maximum sensitivity, the ground selection switch set to normal soil, the discrimination level set to 3, and the threshold set so I could just barely hear an audio tone.

After turning the detector on, I initially would bob the coil a couple of times over the ground to allow the automatic ground balance to adjust quickly. I did find the bobbing wasnt necessary and I could just turn the detector on and begin hunting. It seemed to take just a little longer this way before the detector would adjust itself to the ground conditions.

During my testing, I found the detector to be extremely stable and the automatic ground balance worked great, quickly adjusting to the wide range of ground conditions. Except for some of the most difficult hot rocks, which would give me either a slight negative response or, in the case of some pesky red ones, a weak positive target-like signal, the automatic tracking maintained excellent tracking.

I quickly learned I could usually determine a small piece of foil or a small rusty iron object by the distinct pitch variation that occurred when a target was detected. Rusty objects and foil had a tendency to give a much higher pitch than a similar-sized piece of lead. (Testing at home indicated lead responded very similar to gold).

During the second day, I switched to the Alkali mode and surprisingly found what little response I was getting from the hot rocks was further minimized, something I had not noticed at home. In both Normal and Alkali modes I could readily distinguish a metal target from a strong responding hot rock, but I felt the ALKALI mode did a better job. As a result, I spent the greater part of my hunting in the Alkali mode.

The Alkali mode produced a couple of positive features including the ability to almost scrub the ground with the coil of this detector with little problem, except for the most severe magnetite rocks. These would, if right next to the coil, respond with a positive signal. Raising the coil slightly would eliminate the positive response and I would hear a typical weak double blip, which is common for that type of rock.

The second feature I found with the Alkali mode was really unique. I found many of the smaller iron metal targets, such as small nails and wire, could easily be rejected. Although such targets usually gave an initial strong metal indication, the target response would almost disappear as if they were hot rocks if I passed over them three or four times.

Pleased over this discovery, but concerned over the possibility of tuning out gold, I experimented on almost every target before digging. What I found during my trial was non-ferrous objects such as lead, foil, and gold would not tune out, while many of the pieces of iron would. I considered this a real plus of this detector.

My first two days were uneventful as far as finding gold. I did find several pieces of small lead and tinfoil, each raising the heartbeat a little in anticipation. My third day, I opted to try an area heavily hunted for small nuggets. After about an hour of hunting, I received a faint, but positive, signal. Expecting another piece of lead, I was quite surprised and pleased when, upon cleaning the object, the color of gold began to show through.

Although it wasnt a large nugget (5 to 10 grains), it was big enough to call my dad over, who was hunting nearby. Besides wanting to see the nugget, I noticed he seemed interested in trying the Super Traq. In a few minutes, he was off using the new detector and I was using his.

After a few minutes of hunting with his detector, I decided to return to my vehicle for a quick drink of water. Upon returning, I noticed my dad on his hands and knees trying to find a very small target he had just detected. After a brief search, we determined which object was giving the indication. As usual, we expected it to be a piece of lead, but, like me, he was also pleased to see the glint of gold shining through after a bit of cleaning. Needless to say, I lost the use of the Super Traq for a while.

The next few days of hunting failed to yield any more gold. They did, however, reinforce my opinion on the ease of use of the Super Traq. Several people tried this instrument, including my 11-year-old granddaughter. None of the new operators had any trouble with operating the Super Traq. In each case, I mentioned they could leave all the controls alone and just turn the instrument on and set the threshold to the desired level. In a minute or so they were off hunting.

CONCLUSION

Because of its ease of use, great sensitivity, and excellent ground tracking abilities, it is easy for me to recommend the Super Traq to anybody wanting a sensitive gold nugget-hunting detector, whether they are a beginner or a seasoned hunter

The unique feature of the Alkali mode, to reject many iron objects in the all-metal mode, really impressed me. Combined with a full range discrimination feature, this detector, when not used for hunting gold, can easily double as a very sensitive relic or coin hunting detector.
For more information about the Lobo Super Traq or any of Tesoros other detectors, call or write to Tesoro at Tesoro Electronics, Inc., 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, AZ 86303, phone (800) 528-3352 or (520) 771-2646, or on the internet, http://www.tesoro.com.
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