Hectic Times…

Forgive me for another “throwback”….too many things going on at present to sit down and write. Bear with me…. This one is from September 2017 and titled “Sit Back and We’ll Do the Work For You”.


The Day We Stopped Listening….

I’m not good with dates and even worse remembering times and places but I think it started in the early 1980’s. A time when there was not a lot of competition and a time when a detectorist was only concerned about where he was going to detect, not whether he could.

It was a period when you didn’t need to spend hours reading the owner’s manual worrying about menus and programs.  It was a time when you found a lot of treasure and most of it good.  It was also the time we stopped listening and became co-dependent.

If I remember right the year was 1980 and Compass introduced the Coin Magnum, the first target ID detector. Nothing fancy, just a metered background that was split down the middle. Yellow on the left being bad and green on the right being good.  Seems like nothing now but at the time it was innovative. Imagine knowing ahead of time whether the target you were going to dig was worth the effort. I mean come on, how cool is that? I remember thinking it was only a matter of time before we would be seeing our finds on the screen.

What I and many didn’t realize was that the Coin Magnum was also the first detector to tell us to forget about analyzing the audio and it became a habit that hurt a lot of detectorists, me included.

Thanks to TreasureLinx

I remember the Coin Magnum era because I had just purchased a Judge II and was miffed that I hadn’t waited a while. Back then I didn’t have the luxury of owning two detectors though I must say I don’t ever remember having to send one back for repair.

MY first “target ID” detector was a White’s 6000di.  A detector that found a lot of coins for me but lulled me into a false sense of security. I was a victim of the “sit back and let us do the work for you” marketing ploy. Yup, I was dependent on that machine and if it didn’t say good or it didn’t tell me it was a coin I thanked it and moved on. I mean what the hell it was damn near a talking detector but that’s a story for another time. I was a contented tekkie. I was finding lots of coins, lots of silver, but not finding much in the way of rings or jewelry. It took a few Indian Head pennies to wise me up.

Next big advancement? Computerized detecting!! Yeah baby!! An even bigger ‘let us do the work for you‘ plot. After seeing it at the Texas Council convention I had to have the new White’s Eagle. It was computerized, cool looking and I was ready to dig nothing but silver AND gold….or so I thought. 

The Eagle was a great machine and again I found a boat load of coins with it but it became a plaything. That LED screen was like a mini-TV. I pushed pads until I was blue in the face, waiting for Scooby-Doo to come on.

You can fast forward as much as you like and each year there was another new ‘let me do it for you’ detector on the market. There was the GTX series from Garrett that allowed you to see the size of the target and yes that very cool ‘talking’ detector that lied. There was the Teknetics 8500 Coin Computer (the space ship of detectors), the Fisher CZ  series, the White’s V3i, the Minelab CTX 3030 that doubled as a weed whacker and of course the XP Deus.  All new, all different, all exciting and all guaranteed to find you more, and I bet they did for at least the first three months. After that you became a robot, finding just enough to keep your spirits up waiting for the next new and exciting machine to hit the market.

I bring all this up because of the new Minelab models and the ‘orange thing’ that White’s is floating around in cyberspace. While I don’t have any idea what the orange thing is the Minelabs are intriguing, and not super expensive.  Add in the fact that they were introduced via a sky diver at Detectival and you have what must be the detector of the year or um, maybe not…..

Now I am not saying all of these advancements are bad or insignificant, nor am I saying you can compete today with your old 1970 BFO.  You cannot. Just that we should still be the decider when it comes to “do I dig or not”. You would think that with actual wording and VDI numbers you would never dig a bad target but what are the manufacturers STILL telling you…..“make sure you get a repeatable audio response each direction”.

Somethings never change….


“The over-all point is that new technology will not necessarily replace old technology, but it will date it. By definition. Eventually, it will replace it. But it’s like people who had black-and-white TVs when color came out. They eventually decided whether or not the new technology was worth the investment”…. Steve Jobs


Please, if indeed the Coin Magnum was NOT the first ID detector on the market don’t shoot me. It was the first one I remember and I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning….




Filed under Metal Detecting

16 responses to “Hectic Times…

  1. John Devereux

    Hi Dick
    Spot on as usual. Can’t add to it……….so I won’t.

  2. Yo Ricardo:
    “…we should still be the decider when it comes to “do I dig or not”. You’re bang on the money with that one. Let’s give thanks to those whose trust is in the machine and walk on by.

    Charles Ritz, famed fly fisherman and author, said something similar about angling :
    “All rods catch fish; their success depends on the hand that uses them.”
    Oh, yeah, good post!

    i’m just sayin’

    • john taylor

      hi reverend! damn! i’m gonna ”copyright”that “i’m just sayin'” to keep you from “mocking” me! ehe! heh! he! yes!..dick! the “audio” is still the best most accurate indicator of what the target is, unlike (v.d.i.),which like an “establishment” politician “cannot” be trusted to tell the truth! i’m just sayin’


  3. Randy Dee

    All interesting stuff and good reading Dick, most of the detectors mentioned I have owned and used over the years way back to the BFO jobs and I still fall hook line and sinker for the latest god sent master piece detector. Mind the Minelab machines hold this hobby together especially with what comes down in a parachute.

  4. Paul Southerland

    Even as advanced as the detectors have gotten over the decades (doesn’t matter the brand), if you want to be 100% sure you still dig everything. Thanks for another great blog Dick.

  5. Ed B.

    All very good points Dick, and I agree with what you said. My first detector was an entry level Garrett with the “good/bad” meter and then I “graduated” to a White’s 600di and eventually to a White’s Eagle II. Found a ton of things with them but like just about everyone else I started to not dig as many signals as before. Now, at age 74, I’m trying to save wear and tear on my body so I dig even less of the “marginal” signals and though I’ve probably missed a few “goodies” by doing so I’m able to still get out there and detect without too many aches and pains. I’d rather dig 10-15 modern coins than dig one or two old corroded Buffalos and 500 pulltabs any day. I’m happy to be able to still get out and breathe the fresh air. Thanks again for another good article from the past.

  6. Joe

    Neat post, Dick, I never saw the original. As a friend of mine is constantly fond of saying; “Things seldom ever truly change, just the faces and names do.” Seems each generation is equally guilty of looking for the magic pill. We all want it faster and easier.

    Thank you and your readers for the well-wishes last month. Happy to report that after 5 weeks of intense rehab, I was discharged and sent home 14 days ago. I’m now able to hobble around on a cane and can even manage most daily living tasks myself, which is a blessing, and more than I hoped for at this stage, though I obviously still have a tough road ahead.

    I hope to be detecting within a year or two, but who knows. Depends on how well I progress. On the upside, now that I’m back home and settled in, Treasure Classifieds will be back online within the next few days. If your readers can help spread the word, I’d be greatly appreciative.

    The holidays are right around the corner. If we don’t speak before then, please enjoy in the best of health, Dick. And good riddance to 2020!

    • Joe so glad to hear you’re on the mend. I have absolutely no doubts you’ll master that “tough road ahead”….just take it slow. Those coins will still be there for you.

      It’s good to hear as well that Treasure Classifieds will be back online. Will be sure to let readers know when it’s up and running. Great resource for tekkies.

    • Bob Sickler

      Joe, that is wonderful you are out of the hospital and bettering the odds you stay Covid-free. Just to do simple daily living tasks must feel excellent. Here’s hoping you continue to progress and will eventually be back out swinging a searchcoil! Thank you for reinstating Treasure Classifieds, it’s the best classifieds out there!

  7. Bob Sickler

    I have to laugh on that Compass Coin Magnum sheet illustrated above…. The bulleted specs say “Lightweight”, a few items later it says…. “3 packs of four 1-1/2V AA cells”… That’s 12 batteries! That alone accounts for 6 tenths of a pound of the detectors weight! I would say things have changed quite a bit for the better in that respect.

  8. john taylor

    hi reverend!
    i gotta get my “five minutes” of fame somewhere!
    i know the good lord loves me! .i’m just sayin’


  9. Tony

    Joe, glad to hear your on the mend and doing much better. Take it slow as we do in detecting. There is always targets to find out there and I hope you’ll get your share sooner than later.
    Good post on the old machines that peaked our interest in this hobby/adventure thingy we love so much. I too sold my tone only machine for one with a meter and yeah that affected me by not listening more in hopes to dig less trash.

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