This field test report is the third of a three-part series covering the newest additions to the Teknetics line of metal detectors. As mentioned in the earlier installments, you’ll not only find out about the features and performance of these detectors, but also some background information about the company, hear from the engineers that designed them, and see where Teknetics is heading in terms of product development and support of the hobby.
For this report, let’s start with some information about the basis for the development of the new models and a glimpse of where Teknetics sees itself heading in the future.
First Texas…Providing High Quality Equipment to Today’s Treasure Hunters With an Eye to the Future
Dave Johnson, lead design engineer for First Texas and a key player in the conceptualization and development of many of the detectors released by Teknetics, Fisher and Bounty Hunter over the past eight years, had some feedback about the efforts to date and direction for the future that deserve to be shared with Lost Treasure readers.
When asked what his thoughts or feelings were about the new “Greek” line of Teknetics detectors (the Alpha, Delta, Gamma and Omega), in terms of incorporating design aspects he had over the years, his response was simple and to the point.
“I've always liked simplicity, light weight, and excellent performance all in the same package. Not all designs can achieve this combination, but I prefer the ones that can. And that's what we did with the "Greek" lineup, which many affectionately refer to as "the Frat Brothers."
When asked about his vision for First Texas in general, and Teknetics specifically, in terms of the future and new designs, Dave was equally as focused in his reply.
“I see our line encompassing a broad range of machines, most of them emphasizing that same combination - simplicity, light weight, and excellent performance. The entire company feels that the future holds increased market share through better products and all of our design efforts are geared to support that goal.”
Since the time when First Texas first decided to resurrect the legendary Teknetics name, Dave and his team have continually worked to develop products that were not simply repackaging existing technology, but rather developing new, innovative solutions to issues facing treasure hunters worldwide.
Not willing to rest on their laurels, First Texas has met that self-imposed challenge and have developed equipment that continues to meet the tagline now found all the Teknetics literature, “A proud descendent of the Teknetics Tradition.”
As I have said in previous test reports, the first feature that strikes one on any of the new Teknetics detectors is their overall weight, or really the lack thereof. The Omega 8000 weighs just 2.9 pounds with the stock 10-inch elliptical concentric search coil and single 9V battery! When you consider its extreme light weight, the range of adjustment afforded by the telescoping shaft and adjustable armrest, and the number of optional search coils, the Omega can be used by treasure hunters in virtually any application for hours without fatigue. In this case, less is definitely more…less weight equates to more time and enjoyment in the field!
The 8000 is controlled through the use of two knobs and seven touchpads on the face of the control housing. The knobs are POWER/SENSITIVITY, which is self-explanatory, and DISCRIMINATION/AUTO-TUNE, which switches between the motion-discriminate and motion all-metal (Auto Tune) search modes and adjusts the level of discrimination in effect. The Auto Tune mode offers additional sensitivity and, while it does not offer variable discrimination to reject certain targets, it does provide full-time target ID, which allows this mode to be used even in areas that may contain trash targets.
The touchpads are NOTCH (selects specific targets to accept or reject in the DISC mode), TONES (four options to determine the tone produced by specific targets in the DISC mode, or the pitch of the audio response in the AUTO TUNE mode), FREQUENCY (used to reduce or eliminate electrical interference in the area), PINPOINT and GROUND GRAB (with a <+> and <–> touchpad associated with that function for fine-tuning the specific setting if desired).
The LCD screen is easy-to-read even in bright sunlight and allows one to quickly set the search options as well as monitor target ID information and battery strength on a continuous basis, and target depth via the center display showing inches when in Pinpoint.
Target identification is provided by both a block icon in one of the eight notch segments corresponding to the probable ID (Iron, Foil, Nickel, Pull Tab, S-Cap, Zinc, Dime, and Qtr), as well as a two-digit value ranging from “01” to “99” in the center of the screen.
The 8000 also offers an audio target ID function that further aids in identifying detected targets when in the discriminate mode. Based on the # of Tones selected from the menu, targets will either produce the same sound (Tones = 1) or different sounds based on which notch segment they fall in.
With a bit of practice, you can quickly identify the type of target you’ve detected based on the audio response and use the LCD display to confirm it and more precisely identify the target using the large two-digit display.
The discrimination control allows you to reject targets that register between 01 (iron) and 80 (zinc pennies / large screw caps). Clad coins as well as copper and silver objects cannot be rejected. The Notch function allows any or all of the first six notches to be accepted or rejected independent of one another.
The settings adjusted through the touchpads are reset to factory preset values when the detector is turned off; however, it takes seconds to dial-in your preferred settings and, after a few trips, it becomes second nature. The DISCRIMINATE setting selected through the right-hand knob is retained.
The preset values that might need to be adjusted based on personal preferences or site conditions include TONES (3-tones in DISC / Tone 1 in A-T), FREQ (set at “1”), and NOTCH (resets to all notches being accepted).
The Omega operates at 7.8kHz, which provides solid performance on a wide range of targets. It offers automatic ground balancing so even novice users can compensate for severe ground conditions and maintain optimum performance. As ground conditions change, any error in the ground balance setting is depicted on the screen in the form of a Ground Error indication. A quick re-balance or adjustment using the <+> or <-> touchpads will restore the Omega to peak performance and not lose detection depth that tends to occur on detectors using preset or fixed ground balance.
The Omega is powered by a single - yes, you read that right - 9V alkaline battery, which provides between 20 and 25 hours of operation. A NiMH rechargeable battery can be used if desired; however, battery life will be noticeably less.
A unique feature found on the new Teknetics models is the headphone jack, or in fact jacks, as is the case. The 8000 has both a 1/4" and a 1/8” jack located on the left side of the control housing, which allows one to use any type of headphone ranging from a lightweight pair in warmer weather to more substantial models when external noise is high or temperatures drop.
Left-handed hunters may have to loop the headphone cord under the control housing, but the versatility of having both size jacks is really a unique feature and shows that Teknetics talked to actual users during the design phase of these detectors.
Often timing is everything when it comes to field-testing a detector and the Omega’s test was no exception. I received it just a few days before heading to Virginia to take part in the 5-day 2010 North-South relic hunt organized by Larry Cissna being held on a 3,000+ acre tract containing an old fort built in the 1800’s, along with numerous campsites and fortifications used during the Civil War. Unfortunately I only had an hour to test it before packing my gear and hitting the road, but it is a very straightforward detector to operate.
The first day was filled with steady rain and, unfortunately, the primary detectors of a number of participants lost the battle with Mother Nature. One of those was Dennis Luria, a first-time relic hunter from New York City that had come hoping to find just a single Civil War relic.
My partner and I found Dennis dejectedly packing up his car and preparing to head for home the morning of the second day as we were getting ready to head into the woods ourselves. When he told us his detector had died from the rain and he had no back up, I asked him if he would be interested in giving the Omega 8000 a try and provide his impressions for the field test report. Shocked at the offer, he readily accepted and joined Larry and me for the rest of our stay in Virginia.
After unpacking the detector, and providing a quick lesson on its operation, we were off in search of relics. As anyone that has been relic hunting knows, when you have 1,000’s of acres, finding those elusive relics comes down to being lucky and getting your coil over one, and Dennis found that to be the case here.
Larry and I were finding relics and called Dennis over when we got a good signal. In each case the 8000 was able to pick up the target; however, it was not until the following day that Dennis found his first Minie Ball from a depth of nearly 9”…you should have heard him hooting and seen him dancing!
Over the next two days, Dennis put the 8000 through its paces searching heavily wooded and hilly sections of the property as well as the iron-infested hut and old trash-pit areas surrounding the fort itself. As the hunt came to an end, and we parted company as friends that knew our paths would cross again, Dennis was smiling from ear-to-ear. The Omega 8000 had saved his trip after the disastrous first day and he had found a number of relics, which more than justified his 800-mile round trip from New York.
Dennis’ impressions of the 8000? Well, here’s what he had to say in an e-mail I received a few days after he got home, “I was lucky enough to go on a trip to hunt for relics and even luckier to meet Andy Sabisch who lent me the new Omega 8000 after my detector died in the rain. I found this new model to be quite easy to use and powerful enough to find very small items deep down in the very hard packed Virginia soil.
“The sensitivity and discrimination buttons were located for easy access, allowing for one-hand operation. Swinging a heavier detector can be quiet tiring, but the new 8000 is so light you can swing it all day covering more ground with no sore arm, as many of the other hunters were complaining about as the sun set each night. The screen is big enough to see the LCD readout easily. I really enjoyed using the Omega and it helped me find some really cool items. Thanks to both Teknetics for building a great detector and Andy for letting me use it!”
Returning to South Carolina, I spent a month or so putting the Omega to the “acid test” by taking it to sites me and many others have pounded with other machines over the years. After all, if you do well in a “virgin” site, you might ask yourself if it was it really the detector or simply the site that produced the results, while good results from a well-hunted site reflects positively on the detector and its capabilities.
Most of the areas I focused on were extremely trashy sites that I've searched with other detectors, using both stock and smaller coils to try and pull stuff from amongst the trash. One site in particular is a stretch of vacant lots some 40 miles away where mill homes from the 1920's once stood. The houses were leveled a few years back due to squatters taking up residence and impacting the area. Unfortunately, the houses were simply bulldozed and much of the debris had been spread across the lots.
In the cleaner sections, the 11" DD coil was able to pull some items out, but when I switched to the 5" DD coil, it was like the area had never been hunted…and having heard about it from a few hunters that lived in the area, I knew it had been hit hard both before the homes were torn down as well as since.
With the DISC at 20, sensitivity at 75, and Ground Grab ranging from 65 to 82, I worked a section that was about 30 feet x 200 feet over five different trips. Creeping along, checking marginal signals from multiple directions, and hunting in both the N-S and E-W directions to ensure masking was not an issue, the “goodies” came out.
In addition to probably 75 clad coins, several keys, a small brass bell, some buttons, a neat cereal premium ring from the 40's (which will be featured in an upcoming column), a sterling silver ring and heart charm with its chain and other "what-is-its", I picked up 33 Wheat cents and seven silver coins (one quarter and six dimes).
One of the last signals I turned up before leaving for the last time was a 1945 gold high school ring! The Target ID readings were quite consistent on all the targets and even the deeper ones were clearly audible as the volume dropped off beyond 4" - 5" or so. The deepest keeper was a Mercury dime from just about 7" (faint, but consistent audio and a good target ID), which for a 5" coil is pretty darn impressive in any book!
Despite the sultry summer weather that settled into the Carolinas with temperatures in the 90’s and humidity levels getting up there as well, I took the 8000 to several sites to try two search modes along with the various available coils. These included a few of the usual schools and parks, a pair of private homes that had overgrown areas (so I did not have to worry about killing the grass), and an old foundation a ways back in the woods long since forgotten.
Over the years, I have developed an affinity for Double-D coils due to their toe-to-heel coverage as well as how they handle the more mineralized sites I tend to search, and the Omega’s 11” elliptical Double-D coil performed as I had hoped it would. It provided great coverage, above-average depth, and decent target separation even in areas containing multiple targets, such as around the old foundation.
The small 5” Double-D coil surprised me almost every time I used it with the depth at which the small coil could detect targets and the super target separation it provided. The stock 10” concentric makes a good, general-purpose coil and produced “keepers” at any of the sites I used it at. At the old foundation I opted for the Auto-Tune search mode to see if squeezing the most performance possible from the Omega could bag a few goodies that might have otherwise gone undetected. Targets as small as .22 bullets and a nice 19th century brass buckle from a measured 11” were uncovered with clear, repeatable signals.
One final, minor point worth commenting on is the 8000’s depth indication. On deep targets it tends to register a bit shallower than the target is actually at, unlike some other detectors that tend to exaggerate the actual depth. The audio drops off as the target depth increases and I found that on good signals the pinpoint audio signal gave me better information regarding the actual depth.
When it comes to the new Omega, one has to commend Dave Johnson and his team at First Texas/Teknetics for developing a detector that 1) offers pretty impressive performance, 2) is lightweight and well balanced, 3) is extremely simple to operate, and 4) does all of that at a price that one would typically think means settling for second rate performance.
I’ve found the Omega 8000 has become my “go-to” detector on many of my hunts since receiving it for the field test, and the quality and quantity of my finds continue to show that it is a detector that clearly can “get the job done” when it comes to finding good targets in even the most heavily-hunted of sites.
The 8000 offers strong performance with minimal adjustments and, as I’ve told several fellow detectorists, “It’s really a lot of fun to use!” Which, after all, is one of the reasons we’re out there in the first place, no?
The Teknetics Omega 8000 comes with the 10” Concentric coil and 5-year First Texas warranty and lists for $599.
For more information about the new Omega, the rest of the Teknetics line or the name of your nearest Teknetics dealer, contact the factory at 1465-H Henry Brennan; El Paso, TX 79936, call (800) 413-4131, or visit their informative website at http://www.TekneticsT2.com.
Be sure to mention you read about the Omega 8000 in Lost Treasure Magazine.