†F75 LTD Field Test
Badger Metal Detectors
A proto LTD was on my doorstep when I got home Friday night, and I couldnít wait to give it try Saturday morning. I put it together, did some air testing, and was impressed with what I saw. It didnít blow my socks off, but I live in a very new neighborhood and all the utilities are buried here, and it negatively affects every machine I test here in my yard. But that said, it is a relative test, and it really only to gives me rough idea of how good a machine is. Plus, it is drier than heck here right now; we have not had any significant rainfall in over 4 weeks. Ground is brick hard so I knew that would affect things as well. The test bed I have in my yard is no good indication either, as I know itís affected by EMI in the area.
Two of the three places I wanted to test this at were still in standing corn, but I knew that couldnít stop me. All of these sites have a lot of iron and in some places its very heavy. These are sites I have hammered for years, picked clean if you will, with the machines I was using, including the original F75. We donít have a lot of mineralization here in Wisconsin but I was surprised to see GB numbers down into the 40ís and 50ís. I donít know if that had to do with the fact that it was so dry because I normally get higher readings at these sites (usually in 60ís and low 70ís). One site is a stage stop that existed from 1832 to 1854, and the last 6 or 7 times there, I found next to nothing each time. I really didnít want to write this site off as it was one my most productive spots ever. I did find some targets there when the F75 first came out, but after several trips there with that machine, the targets again dried up. This field is no-till, so the dirt never gets moved around anymore. I ended up digging three buttons and two musket balls here, plus a couple copper rivets. The other sites are ghost-town sites, both now cropland. I normally hunt with my Disc at 4, with the two-tone option, and I run the sensitivity as high as I can without too much chatter. In some areas I can run the sens very high, up in the 90ís, but in other sites I may only be able to run at 30. More often, itís somewhere in between. The sites I hunted this weekend I was only able to run the sensitivity at 50 in the Boost mode.
I did some comparisons with my existing F75 in the DE and JE modes, and was able to determine easily that the two machines were identical in those modes. Some people had expressed concerns that there might be a difference from the original to the LTD, but from everything I tested I am confident the new LTD is identical to the original in those modes.
All day Saturday I hunted in the Boost mode and each time I got a signal I would switch between modes to see how the targets sounded in the DE and JE mode. In every case, the audio was louder, the signal stronger, and the ID seemed ďsmarterĒ in the Boost mode. My sense is that because the Boost mode is more sensitive, the machine is able to get a better read on the target and as a result, you get better info on the display. Often with the original F75, in JE mode, I would get some targets that were deep, and often the ID numbers would jump around, and audio as well would be a bit erratic. In the boost mode the numbers didnít jump around as much, the audio was stronger and cleaner in many cases. I was actually able to tell when I had detected a small nail because the audio and screen numbers were sharper. For example, in iron infested areas, I listen for the high pitch audio that usually signals a target above the iron range, but we all know that some iron can fool a machine and will ring high. Washers, iron rings, larger chunks of iron, and even bent nails can give you a false high ID number and it often bounces. But this indication can also be a good target next to an iron target so you either have to try to separate the targets by rotating around it while you watch the screen, or dig it up to be sure. I have noticed in the Boost mode, as I rotate around these types of signals, it becomes very clear when itís a straight nail. I may get the mixed audio, iron/high zip, with equally bouncing ID numbers, but as I rotate around I eventually am going across the nail in its ďnarrowĒ axis, and then the numbers and the audio give a distinct iron ID reading with full audio low grunt signal (no occasional high ďzipĒ). I dug several of these just to be sure, and every time it was a nail. I like the way the Boost mode enhances the audio and ID indicators. Now, that said, I dug about 4 targets that were solid hits, but they turned out to be the ďend of a large nailĒ. I would pinpoint, dig, and invariably have the tip of a large nail right at the edge of the hole. I believe the larger nails fool the machine even when sweeping across its narrow axis because there is a big enough chunk of iron there. After this happened several times, I began checking the targets in all metal pinpoint and it was then easy to see the target center move from where the Disc mode had shown it to be.
While working in one of the corn fields, I came across a large iron ring at the edge of a corn field. I got the idea to try the Cache mode so I took the ring out of the corn and set it on the dirt road at the edge of the field. This ring is about 10Ē in diameter, maybe an inch wide band about ¼Ē thick or so. It was rusty of course. I switched over to the Cache mode and began sweeping across the ring while lifting the coil higher and higher. I was a bit stunned and delighted to be able get the coil to my chest height (over four feet) before I would lose a signal. And this was with sensitivity only on 50!
One site was a wheat field that had be cut mid-year, and then plowed. There were brick-hard clumps of sun-dried dirt and ruts and peaks. I wanted to see how the machine handled this. I was delighted to discover that several targets that gave good audio in Boost mode, at a bottom of a rut, would disappear altogether when I would switch back to the DE & JE mode. Or the signal was so weak that I could have easily missed hearing it. If I brushed aside dirt to create a flat surface to sweep, I could then hear the target, fainter of course, in the DE mode. If you frequently hunt rough terrain like this, the Boost mode will give you an advantage. I made one really nice find at this site, but it wasnít deep, so I can only assume the plow turned it over and brought it close to the surface. None the less, I can now brag that the first coin I found with the LTD, was a Spanish 1 Reale, dated either 1813 or 1815. I canít quite make out the last digit, or the first, but it looks like it could be an 1815.
The ground is brick hard at the moment, so I know that is affecting the depth to some degree, but even at that, I dug more targets out of sites that had virtually dried up on me. The audio and TID info gave me sharper and more stable ID information. The Boost mode seems to be better than the original F75ís all-metal mode, and again, I was only at half sensitivity. I didnít walk over that one, extremely deep target yet, so I canít tell you that it will hit a coin at any specific depth, and I wasnít able to crank the sensitivity up very high at the sights I was at (there was some interference) but even so, I am convinced the LTD is a full notch above the original and it will easily add increased depth over the original F75. The three buttons I dug were between 6 and 10Ē, and the deepest one still had very sharp ID and audio and there was no doubt in my mind that this was a good target. And this was in parched soil conditions.
This is by no means a definitive test report, but more relating what my first experience was. So far, I am very impressed. Somehow Fisher was able to boost the output on this bad boy, and I could see it instantly as I switched back and forth between DE, SE, and Boost modes. I am anxiously waiting for Saturday to roll around, so I can continue to see what this machine can do. I hope to go back to a site this weekend that has better conditions and no electrical interference so I will get a chance to see how it does at higher sensitivity settings.