Beach and shallow water hunting has been the fastest growing segment of the treasure hunting field over the past several years. After all, where else can even a complete novice possibly find enough in a single outing to pay for their equipment? As a result of this increased popularity, virtually every manufacturer has at least one waterproof detector in its line.
Tesoro Electronics is no exception; however, it approached this segment of the market differently than its competitors. Sticking to the mission statement that has been at the heart of Tesoro since its inception some 15 years ago, Jack Gifford and his engineers worked to produce a high quality instrument at a price everyone could afford. With the release of the original Stingray, it was obvious this goal had been met. And typical of Tesoros belief in providing customers what they want, Jack listened to treasure hunters from around the world and improved on the original design by adding new features and increasing the performance in the field. The result of their efforts is the Stingray II, one of the newest additions to the Tesoro line.
The Stingray II is a silent-search VLF slow-motion discriminator which also features both a non-motion TR discriminate and a true all-metal search mode. A feature found on the original Stingray that is still unique, as far as other waterproof detectors go, is the adjustable ground balance circuit which greatly expands the versatility of the unit as far as where one can use it effectively.
The detector uses Tesoros patented housing to ensure the electronics remain dry even at depths of 200 feet. While this is a depth that very few of us ever reach, not having to worry about ruining the detector whether you are diving, wading or simply out relic hunting and get caught in a sudden rain shower is a great comfort. A feature which has been added to the Stingray II based on feedback from Tesoro users is the ability to interchange different sized search coils another first for a waterproof VLF-type detector. In addition to the standard 8-inch concentric coil that comes with the unit, a 7-inch coil for hunting trashy sites and 10-1/2-inch coil for increased detection depth and ground coverage are also available. All of the coils use Tesoros low-profile design, which virtually eliminates any drag you might feel sweeping them through the water.
The controls on the face of the control housing have also been changed from the original Stingray, based on input from users. Eliminating the old toggle switches, which were susceptible to leakage after extended periods of use, the factory opted for more durable knobs. The Stingray II is adjusted though the four external and three internal controls.
The Mode knob is used to select which mode in which the unit will operate (TR, Motion Disc or All Metal). The Tune Speed knob serves several purposes.
First, it turns the unit on and activates the automatic battery check function. It also allows users to select one of three speeds for the detector to re-tune itself in either of the two non-motion search modes. This feature greatly improves its ability to search saltwater beaches without the falsing typically found on other VLF-type detectors. The Disc Level knob is used to select the level of discrimination desired and the Gnd Adjust control allows you to accurately compensate for any mineralization present to achieve maximum detection depth under virtually all conditions.
Since users reported that the Threshold, Sensitivity and Volume settings were typically set and left alone, Tesoro put these controls inside the housing. Its a simple matter to release the two hinges and open the housing to make any adjustments needed to optimize the unit to your preferences.
As with all of the Tesoro detectors, the Stingray IIs circuit board features surface-mount technology which not only reduces the size of the board, but improves reliability. The board has been coated with a thin plastic film to minimize the affect moisture may have on the electronics.
One feature of all the Tesoro units I have used over the years that has always stood out is the exceptional battery life the factory has been able to get on a set of AA batteries.
The Stingray II is no exception, as I put on more than 30 hours of use on the test unit and the batteries still registered good when tested. Considering the minimal cost of replacement batteries, using ni-cads is not recommended.
Due to the abnormally cold weather we had in Georgia this winter, I was a little reluctant to try water hunting with the Stingray II when I received it. Ive gotten soft since moving to the South my partner and I used to ice dive in the lakes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in search of coins and jewelry. I decided to give Denny Koutouzis, my relic-hunting partner, a call and see if he wanted to give the Stingray a try at some of our old haunts. We agreed to meet at a wooded knoll north of Atlanta that had been the site of a small Civil War skirmish in June 1864.
After showing Denny the unit, we discussed how we would hunt the area. It was a well-known site and had been heavily hunted over the years. Opting to try the 8-inch coil first, I proceeded to work an area in which I had found a few relics before. After just a few minutes I received my first solid signal. From a depth of almost 7 inches, I pulled a fired Union cleaner bullet. Waving to Denny, I continued my search. The Stingrays discrimination capabilities were readily apparent as even with the Disc control set just below Foil, I did not get any of the pops and chirps I was used to hearing on other detectors I have used here from the small bits of rusted iron barbed wire that litter the area. Fewer than 10 feet from the first target another strong signal rang through the headphones. This time it took several minutes to pry the target from beneath a mat of roots just beneath the surface. Finally pulling it free, a Civil War knife blade saw the light of day for the first time in more than 130 years. It is interesting to note that while the Stingray was ignoring the small pieces of iron in the area, it still responded to a larger iron artifact a great feature for relic hunters or divers searching shipwrecks.
Over the next hour I didnt move very far since the Stingray was finding one target after another in the area I had initially started out searching. Denny came walking up and asked if I was ready to try another site nearby.
As I turned the detector off and began to leave, he made a statement that immediately struck fear into my heart: I didnt realize you werent allergic to poison ivy. You would think as often as Im in the woods I learn what it looked like, but sure enough, I had been digging in a bed of it for an hour. The Stingray had helped me find nine bullets, a knife, an old watch and the worst case of poison ivy Ive had in years.
I tried the Stingray II out at several other Civil War sites around Atlanta and in each case I was able to add several nice relics to my collection.
As the weather warmed up, I decided to take the Stingray to a beach on a small lake in Tennessee. The beach had not been used since the previous season, and I was hoping the sensitivity and optional search coils would help me make a few finds that day. Starting out with the 8-inch coil, I waded out into the water and began hunting. Signals were few and far between, and it was almost 20 minutes before I got one worth recovering.
At a depth of two scoops I found a 1964 nickel nothing great, but where there are nickels there could be gold. During the next hour or so another dozen coins found their way into my pouch, but no jewelry items were found. Since the sand on the beach was quite deep, I decided to try the 10-inch coil in the hope of getting a little more depth and finding a few items other detector users may have missed.
Swapping coils was a snap and in fewer than five minutes I was back in action. As I skimmed across the bottom I noted that the drag on the larger coil was just slightly more noticeable than the 8-inch coil.
Searching the same area I had already covered, I focused on listening for faint signals indicating deeper targets. To show the benefit of having interchangeable coils, I recovered 13 coins and a 14K gold wedding band from this area at depths that exceeded those I had found the previous coins at. As a matter of fact, the ring had been almost 10 inches deep.
Before leaving I decided to try diving near the float just off the beach. Putting on my tanks and shortening up the detector, I swam out to the float and dropped to the bottom. Signals were plentiful, and it was obvious no one had dove this site before. As the air in my tank got low, I headed back to shore. Dumping out my mesh bag, I counted out nearly 100 coins and 3 gold rings not bad for a 70-minute dive. I had noticed the large chains holding the float in place had kept me from hunting beneath the ladder, and I thought I would give the smaller 7-inch coil a try. Swapping tanks, I swam out and continued the search. The 7-inch coil allowed me to get much closer to the chains, and I recovered another 40 coins along with a silver medallion and a thin gold chain. As you can see, each coil has its use and the Stingray II will let you make sure very little gets left behind once you leave a site.
Tesoros engineering staff has produced another winner in terms of a highly versatile detector that is equally at home searching a park or long-forgotten battle site as it is at the local swimming beach or derelict shipwreck lying in 100 feet of water. Combining top-notch performance with an affordable price tag and Tesoros lifetime warranty, the Stingray II makes an ideal detector for virtually all types of hunting.
Its sensitivity to small, low conductive targets such as gold, brass and lead make it well suited for not only beach and water hunting, but coin and relic hunting as well. And the unique ability to interchange search coils on a waterproof detector greatly enhances its versatility in being able to search areas where additional depth might be needed or tight quarters would keep the 8-inch coil from searching.
For more information on the Stingray II or any of the other products in the Tesoro line, contact the factory at (602) 771-2646, or write them at 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, AZ, 86303 and be sure to mention you read about the new Stingray II in Lost Treasure.