Anchor Electronics Barracuda

By Andy Sabisch
From page 44 of the August, 1995 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 1995 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Anchor Electronics is a name only a few treasure hunters would recognize as a metal detector manufacturer. However, based on the quality and performance of its first detector, this will definitely change over the next few months.

Jim Pugh, owner and lead engineer for Anchor Electronics, has been an avid treasure hunter since the early 1980s, spending countless hours searching sites throughout the southeast using virtually every detector on the market.

While he has made a number of impressive finds over the years, Jim felt that the detectors available to the average user could be improved on, resulting in increased finds from areas previously considered to be worked out. With this challenge in mind, he set out to design a line of detectors that would be different than anything else available on the market with a level of performance that would satisfy even the most critical of treasure hunters.

Refusing to sell anything that he wouldnt use himself, Jim spent hundreds of hours developing the first of several detectors in the Anchor line. Called the Barracuda, each unit is hand-built and personally tested by Jim before it leaves the factory.

As an avid water hunter, I was looking forward to trying out this new model.

FEATURES

The Barracuda uses a pulse circuit which provides maximum detection depth under even the most severe ground conditions. Over the years, pulse detectors have uncovered more lost valuables such as artifacts, jewelry and coins from the beach and in the water than all other circuit designs combined.

Pressure-tested to depths in excess of 250 feet, the Barracuda should provide the treasure hunter with years of reliable service.

The control housing can be either hip-mounted with the adjustable nylon belt that comes with the detector or mounted on the S-shape rod. Anchor Electronics uses a unique system for mounting the housing to the shaft industrial grade Velcro. By attaching one piece to the underside of the housing and the other to a metal bracket that snaps onto the shaft, you can quickly convert the Barracuda from a hip-mount configuration to a pole-mounted unit.

There are only two knobs on the face of the Barracuda that control the detectors operation. The knob in the upper left corner performs two functions: it turns the detector on and adjusts the detectors sensitivity as well as the audio threshold heard through the waterproof headphones. The knob in the lower left corner controls the pulse delay circuit, which provides a form of discrimination similar to that found on some of the other pulse detectors currently available.

Pulse delay circuits let users reject some non-ferrous targets, such as tin foil and pull tabs. However, it will not reject ferrous targets, such as nails and bobby pins, which are the types of targets that frustrate water hunters the most, especially at older sites that have been in use for years. In addition, when the pulse delay circuit is activated, a significant loss of detection depth occurs, particularly on smaller gold objects.

These inherent drawbacks of pulse detectors using only a pulse delay circuit for discrimination has caused many water hunters to opt for a VLF detector.

Recognizing these problems, Anchor Electronics developed a circuit that would let users reject iron objects based on the type of audio response they produced, with no loss of detection depth on targets of lower conductivity, such as gold rings and charms. In the field, iron objects produce a wide, washed-out signal when compared to the sharp, crisp signal from a non-ferrous object, such as a coin or ring.

Before you question Anchors decision to also incorporate a pulse delay circuit into the Barracuda, there are times when this circuit can improve your success rate. If the area you are searching contains a large number of trash targets, such as tin foil or pull tabs, the loss of detection depth caused by the use of the pulse delay feature will be more than offset by the ability to ignore these items and concentrate on recovering coins and larger pieces of jewelry. The pulse delay circuit should be used sparingly, and only in those areas where high concentrations of non-ferrous trash are present.

On the right side of the face plate is a plug which is used for connecting either the waterproof headphones or the ni-cad battery recharger. The search coil plugs into the rear of the control housing and features a durable connector that allows for three different search coils to be used, depending on your specific needs. The Barracuda comes equipped with an 8-inch, low profile, open-design coil which produces very little drag resistance when swept through the water.

The Barracuda comes equipped with ni-cad rechargeable batteries which provide 10-12 hours of use per charge. The charger is included with the detector. In order to avoid damaging the waterproof seals of the control housing, Anchor Electronics does not recommend that users replace the batteries themselves.

FIELD TEST

After spending some time familiarizing myself with the Barracuda, I went to the South Carolina coastline to see how well it performed on ocean beaches. These beaches would truly test the detectors performance, since they contain densely packed black sand which renders many other detectors, including some pulse units, almost useless.

Arriving at Kiawah Beach just before low tide on a cold March morning, I was a little surprised to see several other beach hunters already hunting the area along the dunes.

Walking to an area I had found to be productive in the past, I placed the pulse delay control in the Off position and adjusted the sensitivity control so that I heard just a faint threshold signal through the headphones. Scrubbing the coil across the hard-packed sand, I began searching parallel to the surf line. I hadnt covered more then a few feet before I received my first signal.

Remembering the directions given in the manual, I swept the coil across the target several times, attempting to listen to the type of signal the target produced. After determining that it was sharp and well-defined, I began removing the sand with my long-handled scoop. At a depth of nearly 9 inches I saw the tell-tale green discoloration of a well-corroded copper penny. It wasnt a particularly valuable find, but coming from those depths, the sensitivity of the Barracuda was apparent.

During the next three hours my success continued and I recovered almost 50 coins and miscellaneous items such as keys, game tokens, costume jewelry and a heavy silver ring. Most of the targets had come from depths ranging from 7 to 12 inches, and all had produced clear, easily discernible signals.

After a little practice, I learned to distinguish the difference in sound produced by iron and non-ferrous targets. I was able to audibly reject virtually all of the nails and other ferrous objects that littered the beach.

I later tried the Barracuda at a small beach on a private lake in northern Georgia. The shallow areas had been well-hunted by several members of the local treasure hunting club, so I tried diving around the float.

Converting the Barracuda to the short-handled diving configuration simply required unsnapping the control housing bracket from the long rod and attaching it to the optional dive rod available from Anchor. Dropping to the bottom near the float, I quickly adjusted the detectors sensitivity control so that the faint threshold was just audible and began searching.

The first thing I noticed was that the audio volume was more than adequate to be heard over the bubbles coming from my regulator.

As I approached the float, the number of signals increased. Most of the targets were just under the silt layer on the bottom and, due to the extreme sensitivity of the Barracuda, I found that pinpointing multiple targets was somewhat difficult. Turning the sensitivity control slightly counterclockwise let me improve my pinpointing ability, yet still affording me more than enough sensitivity to detect any target that might be in the area.

After about an hour I swam back to shore to see what I had found. Dumping the contents of my goody bag out onto the beach, I counted out 28 coins (including two silver dimes and several wheat pennies), two watches, a set of car keys and a nice 14k gold wedding band. Wishing I had brought along another tank, I knew I would be coming back to hunt this site again.

SUMMARY

The Barracuda comes with a one-year factory warranty and retails for $795, which includes the 8-inch search coil, detector, long-handled shaft and ni-cad recharger. Options include the short dive handle and 11- and 16-inch search coils.

For more information on the Barracuda or any of the other products manufactured by Anchor Electronics, call (601) 432-0145 or write to 307 Shirley Court, Biloxi, Miss. 39531. Be sure to mention that you read about this exciting new detector in Lost Treasure.