The Gold Mountain name has been associated with treasure hunting for several years now; however, the company has recently been reorganized under the new leadership of Diana Brackenridge. The King Cobra is the top of the Gold Mountain line which presently includes two other models. When I was contacted and asked if I was interested in doing a filed test of the King Cobra, I readily accepted.
The King Cobra is an automatic ground canceling, silent search, slow motion discriminator with a non-motion, all-metal pinpoint mode. It also features an adjustable notch discriminate window with both accept and reject settings, as well as dual-tone, audio target identification.
The King Cobra is mounted on modified S-shaped rod, and at 3 1/8 pounds is not only extremely well balanced, but also about the lightest full-feature detector available today. The armrest breaks down into three pieces which makes traveling with the King Cobra a real pleasure. The armrest also features a built-in stand which not only keeps the detector upright when digging, but also keeps the control housing away from damp grass or dirt as well.
The lower rod that connects to the search coil is as sturdy, 17-inch plastic isolator shaft which helps eliminate the interference normally experienced with a metal shaft. The search coil is lightweight eight-inch, ultra thin design that is ideally suited for shallow water hunting.
The control housing is easily removed from the rod for either hip-mounting or shallow water hunting by pressing the two sets of spring clips under the housing, and the bracket then doubles as a belt loop. The searhcoil comes with six feet of cable which eliminates the need for an extension cable when removing the control box from the rod.
The controls on the King Cobra are three knobs: Sensitivity Level, Discriminate Level, and Notch Window Adjustment. There are two toggle switches, Mode Select and Notch Setting. There are PRESET markings on both the Discriminator and Notch Adjustment knobs which simplify the initial set up of the detector.
The controls are well laid out an easily accessible. The headphone jack is located on the lower right
corner of the control box, and is situated so as not to interfere with the controls during operation.
The King Cobra is powered by eight-AA penlight batteries which are accessed by removing the battery door on the rear of the control housing. The expected battery life is around 20 hours, slightly longer if headphones are used. Ni-cad rechargeable batteries can be used with no effect on the performance of the detector.
After assembling the King Cobra and reading over the instruction manual, I proceeded to perform an air test in order to determine the response of the detector to various targets. The King Cobra is turned on by rotating the Sensitivity knob clockwise.
The automatic battery test is performed each time the detector is
turned on, and the battery strength is indicated by the length of the tone heard. When the tone lasts for one second or less, the batteries need to be replaced. I was pleasantly surprised at the sensitivity of the King Cobra especially to small jewelry items, even white gold and platinum.
The dual-tone audio target indentifaction provides a distinct tone for each target depending on where the target is detected in relation to the setting of the Notch Adjustment knob. Targets that fall above the setting on the Discriminate Adjustment knob and below the setting on the Notch Adjustment knob produce a low pitch tone, while targets that fall above the setting on the Notch Adjustment knob produces a high-pitch tone.
The nice features with the audio identification is that it works even when the Notch Discriminate circuit is turned off. This allows one to operate the King Cobra with a low amount of discrimination, and use the audio discrimination to identify targets before digging.
I used several targets including a nickel, pull tabs, screw caps, rings, a zinc penny and a copper penny to test the notch discrimination feature of the King Cobra. Ive found that
notch discrimination is probably one of the least understood yet most useful features on metal detectors today.
When using notch discrimination in the Notch Reject setting, you can reject most of the pulltabs and screw caps in an area while still detecting nickels and most gold rings. The Notch Accept setting allows you to set the detector to respond to a specific range of targets which is extremely useful when searching for tokens in a competition hunt or for shallow water hunting as will be explained later.
I found that the preset maits on the Discrimination and Notch Adjustment knobs were quite accurate, however, I was able to fine tune the settings slightly by checking the response of each of the test items and adjusting the Notch Adjustment knob as needed. When searching the Notch reject mode, it is important to note that if you are rejecting both pulltabs and screw caps (Preset Mark on the Notch Adjustment knob), that you will also be rejecting zinc and Indian head pennies.
If you are searching in an older area, it is best to adjust the notch level so the detector will respond to some screw caps as well as the older pennies. By using a zinc penny(l982
or later) to find the setting at which the detector begins to respond, you will know where to set the Notch Adjustment knob if the area you are searching has the potential for producing older pennies.
Never use more discrimination that what is needed to reject most of the trash items in the search area. If you dig no trash items at all, you are probably missing some better find.
After completing my familiarization with the controls, I took the
King Cobra outside to see how it responded to various objects in my
test garden. With the detector controls at Preset and in the Notch Reject mode, it gave clear, repeatable signals on all of the good targets which included a dime at five inches, a quarter at seven inches, two gold rings at four and five inches, and a nickel at five inches.
The King Cobra did not give any response to a nail at four inches, a screw cap at four inches and pull tabs at three and five inches while in the discriminate mode, however, the detector did respond to the targets when in the all-metal mode.
The first place I took the King Cobra was to a beach on a nearby lake. Despite the signs prohibiting cans and bottles on the beach, the area was littered with a great deal of trash, especially pull tabs and screw caps.
Due to the amount of trash targets, I decided to operate the King Cobra in the Notch Reject mode. I set the Sensitivity level at two o clock and both the Discriminate and Notch adjustment knobs at the preset marks which would rcject tinfoil, screw caps, and most of the pull tabs.
I noticed that the King Cobra did not give any response to the pull tabs and other trash items laying on the surface when the loop was passed over them. In the past, Ive found that most silent search detectors will produce either a broken response or a side reading after the loop passes over a shallS, rejected target, but not so on the King Cobra.
The first signal I received produced a ow tone, indicating that the target fell between the settings on the Discriminate and Notch Adjustment knobs. By placing the mode toggle switch in the All Metal position, I was able to quickly pinpoint and recover the target which was a well-corroded nickel at about seven inches. The next several targets all produced high tones and were clad coins of various denominations ranging from two to six inches deep.
I then located a target that gave a high tone, however, when I used the All Metal mode to pinpoint the target, it gave a response over an area much larger than a coin. After digging several more coins, I again located a target producing a high tone which appeared too large to be a coin in the All Metal mode.
At about ten inches, I hit a piece of cardboard about one-foot square, carefully placed flat in the hole. After lifting the cardboard, I found four matchbox-type trucks lined up as if they were parked Im sure some little boy went home crying that day.
After nearly three hours of searching and with darkness approaching, I decided to call it quits for the day and look over my finds. Despite still learning the response of the King Cobra to various targets, I had found 108 coins, three keys, one small silver ring, five toy trucks, a can of beer, and several pull tabs. I had not dug any screw caps, complete pull tabs, tin foil, or bobby pins, despite the amount of these items present on the beach.
The next search site was an area that was being cleared near Kennesaw Mountain that had been the scene of skinnishing during the Civil War in June of 1864. The site had been cleared for about three weeks before I got there, and had been heavily hunted during that time. This fact, plus the highly mineralized ground in the area kept me from getting my hopes up about finding a great number of relics at this site, however, it was a good test of the depth capability of the detector.
I set the Sensitivity control at two oclock, the Discriminate knob at three, the Notch Adjustment knob at five, and the Notch Mode toggle switch in the off position. With the controls in this setting, the King Cobra would reject small pieces of iron such as nails, yet still accept larger pieces of iron such as shell fragments and gun pans as well as other relics such as bullets, buttons, etc. These items would respond with a low tone, while objects made out of copper or silver would produce a high tone since the dual-tone audio identification operates even with the notch discriminate circuit turned off.
The first few targets produced
brass shotgun casings at depths of four to eight inches. Next to a large rock, I received a low tone signal and recovered a dropped .58 caliber minne ball from six inches deep. After several more shotgun casings, I heard another low tone and located an eagle uniform button at seven inches.
I noticed that the area had a lot of small pieces of rusted barbed wire which had been broken up by the heavy equipment that had been through while clearing it, however, the King Cobra did not respond to any of them.
My next signal was a low tone but scratchy and broken. Not sure if it was a signal or chatter from the mineralization, I placed the mode toggle switch into the AilMetalmode and rechecked the signal. The detector indicated that there was definitely something there, but from the signal strength, it was deep.
I cleared about one or two inches of dirt from the area of the signal and rechecked it in Discriminate. The signal was much clearer now and produced a solid low tone. After digging down another six inches, I found a fired .52 caliber Sharps bullet. I experienced the same type of response on three or four other signals. In each case it proved to be a deep target that after clearing an inch or two away from the target, became much more definite.
After two hours at this site, the mosquitoes forced me to leave for the evening, but the King Cobra had provided that it had the depth needed for relic hunting even in adverse conditions.
The next area that! planned to use for testing was in the shallow water at another local beach. I wanted to try out the Notch Accept mode which would allow me to set a window to accept only nickels and jewelry, while rejecting tin foil, pennies, and clad coins.
The reason I wanted to reject pennies and clad coins is that on many beaches, you can dig $10 to $15 in change for each piece of jewelry and if you could ignore most of the coins, you would increase the number of valuable finds made in the same amount of time.
Before leaving for the beach,! put the mode toggle switch in the Notch Accept mode and set the Discriminate and Notch Adjustment knobs to produce a low tone when a nickel or piece of jewelry was passed over the loop. With the King Cobra set in this manner, no signal was produced when the loop was passed over a sample of tinfoil, a copper penny, or a clad coin. It did respond to a pull tab or screw cap, however, since some gold rings are detected in the same range as these targets.
Arriving at the beach, I quickly removed the control housing from the armrest and hung it around my neck so that I could wade out into chest-deep water. After checking the settings with a nickel and dime, I began searching in about two feet of water. My first three targets produced a definite low tone and turned out to be pull tabs from two to four inches deep.
Heading out a little deeper resulted in a target that tuned out to be a gold-filled wedding band. I continued to hunt parallel to the beach in about three feet of water and recovered a number of nickels with an occasional pull tab as well. By switching to the All Metal mode, I checked
to see how many other targets were inthe area that the King Cobra was ignoring in the Notch Accept mode.
I was pleased to see that there were signals every few feet ranging from tinfoil to pennies and clad coins.
Despite the success I was having at this site, I decided to head home due to the approaching darkness. Looking over the finds I made in the limited time I had spent searching, I realized that shallow water hunting inthe Notch Accept had its benefits. While you wouldnt want to use
this mode in all situations, if you only had a limited amount of time to search an area, this method would allow you to recover more valuables than you could by recovering all good targets. If you were searching and older beach, you would want to recover all targets since some of the
coins might be worth more than jewelry items you would find.
The King Cobra did an excellent
job in rejecting unwanted targets and gave no response even when passing over large iron objects. I.
found that targets at the extreme edge of the King Cobras detection range produced a broken and scratchy signal and the tone identification usually produced a low pitch tone.
By switching to the All Metal mode and rechecking the area, I could easily determine if a signal was present or of the response was due to ground mineralization. In all cases in which a target was there, the signal turned out to be a good target at greater than seven or eight inches.
The King Cobras light weight, combined with its performance and ease of operation makes it ideally suited for the optional four- inch and 12-inch search coils, the King Cobra could be the only metal detector you would need for everything from electronic prospecting to coinshooting, relic hunting, beach hunting and even cache hunting.
The King Cobra proved itself under some of the most adverse conditions in the area. In all cases, I found it be an extremely versatile detector that worked well in all of the sites it was tested in.
Before you buy your next detector, you need to stop by your local Gold Mountain dealer and take a look at the new King Cobra. For the name of your nearest dealer, write the factory at Gold Mountain
Technologies, 1630 Falcon #102, DeSoto,TX, 751 l5or call (214)224-3294.