The name Garrett is prob- ably as familiar to the trea- sure hunting community as Jordan is to the NBA. Charles Garrett did not originally set out to become a metal detector manufacturer; instead he wanted to become one of the nations foremost treasure hunters. Amazingly, he has accomplished both. After finding his first cache at the age of 14, Garrett knew he was hooked. His interests in electronics and treasure hunting were so great that in 1964, with his wifes blessing, he founded Garrett Metal Detectors.
Today the east Texas based company has earned a solid reputation as one of the worlds leading manufacturers of advanced metal detection equipment. Their continued dedication to the creation of innovative new technology has earned them global recognition, not to mention the title of official electronic security supplier of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Games. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hunter, Garretts extensive and affordable product line is guaranteed to provide you with the highest level of quality and performance.
Although most of my detecting is predominantly for gold nuggets I was excited to be given the opportunity to field test one of the industrys newest coin and relic machines; the Predator III. Based on the Treasure Ace platform the Predator III is the most advanced model in a series of three machines manufactured exclusively for Kellyco Detector Distributors by Garrett Electronics. This 2 pound detector operates at 6.4 kHz and features a new 8.5 inch waterproof/submersible coil, target ID guide, detection depth knob, full-range discrimination, target indicator lights, headphone jack, and LCD scales.
The Predator is shipped fully assembled in one carton. Only two adjustments are needed before heading off in search of treasure. One, turn or adjust the searchcoil so that it is in the proper searching position. It may be necessary to remove the coil by loosening the coil bolt. Once the coil is in the correct position you will need to retighten this bolt. And two, you will need to adjust the length of the searchcoil stem to a comfortable hunting position and re-string the coil cable wire.
The control panel of the Predator has a Target ID Guide, two knobs, a headphone jack, external speaker and an LCD, which includes the extensive Target Center.
Detection Depth This knob turns the detector on and off, it also affects target detection depth. Rotating this knob counterclockwise decreases depth, rotating the knob clockwise increases detection depth. Run the Detection knob in the highest (clockwise) setting whenever possible, as it will increase depth penetration. You might have to back the knob off a bit depending upon ground mineralization, proximity to electrical interference and atmospheric conditions.
Elimination This control allows the user to adjust the Predators range of discrimination. Around this control are tick marks that represent the items discriminated against when placed in that particular position. When turned fully counter-clockwise, the machine is in its All Metal mode and will detect all metallic objects. As we begin to turn the knob in the clockwise position the Predator will become more and more selective in the items it will detect. Movement of this knob is also represented visually in the Target ID Guide. As we turn this knob clockwise the cursor marks at the top of the LCD begin to disappear, showing an increase in the level of discrimination. Turn the knob counter-clockwise and the cursor marks reappear, showing a decrease in the level of discrimination. When the Elimination knob is turned fully clockwise some rings, coins and jewelry will escape detection, therefore you will want to save this setting for extremely trashy areas only.
Target Center When a metallic object is detected, cursor segments on the Lower Scale will move from each end toward the middle. This is useful in pinpointing, as the cursor segments will move more vigorously when the coil is passed directly over the target. Movement of a cursor in the Upper Scale also provides valuable information about a targets conductivity and possible identity. The Target Center will show all targets, even those that have been discriminated against.
Target Alert Lights The Predators red, laser-like LED lights will flash when a metallic object is found. Garrett claims that this feature aids the operator in the recovery of very faint or deeply buried targets.
My field test was conducted at an old ghost town approximately 60 miles northwest of Phoenix, Ariz. The area was noted not only for its rich placers but several highly productive gold-bearing lodes as well. It is estimated that in the early 1900s nearly 5,000 people once called this part of the desert home. Many of its inhabitants worked as laborers in the mine, others made fortunes in saloons and shops, most struggled to earn a living from placering the nearby creeks. Not much of the once bustling town remains today except a few abandoned shacks and crumbling rock ruins.
My search focused on the ground in and around the remains of several dilapidated buildings. As you can imagine there was a substantial amount of trash lying about, nevertheless I opted to hunt in the All Metal mode until I became accustomed with the Predators controls and operation. The machines 6.4 kHz was surprisingly sensitive towards tiny metallic targets. In the All Metal mode I was able to pick up fragments of rusted iron as small as 0.3 inch in diameter with a thickness of less than 0.1 of an inch! I recovered a variety of items from the site most of which were worthless trash, however I did manage to uncover a nickel, a bandage clip, the top of a lighter and an assortment of lead.
Eventually I grew tired of digging rubbish and decided to experiment with the discriminator by placing the Elimination knob in the Trash-Tabs position. I was amazed at how the Predator eliminated a vast majority of the junk that had plagued me in the All Metal mode. After re-working the same ground I uncovered two modern-day pennies, a 1967 dime and three fairly old buttons. Some of these targets were bypassed on the first search because I believed them to be trash.
After spending a few hours near the ruins I eventually wandered closer to the creeks. Here I found evidence of placer mining and the remains of what must have been a makeshift camp. As with most gold-bearing areas the ground mineralization was rather severe and tended to change quite rapidly. As a result I was forced to reduce the Detection setting in an attempt to weed out false signals generated by the various conductive minerals. After adjusting the Detection knob and setting the Elimination in the Trash setting I began scanning the outskirts of the camp. The first solid target registered as a potential ring. After digging six inches into the red soil I discovered the source of the signal. It didnt turn out to be a ring, but rather an antique suspender clasp. A thorough search of the area yielded another two suspender clasps, a 1947 wheat penny, and a few bits of lead.
Based on experiments conducted at home and my findings out in the field, I recommend hunting in the All Metal mode with the Detection knob set in the fully clockwise position whenever possible. This will provide you with the maximum penetration and sensitivity to deep, faint or small targets. When a target is discovered use the Elimination feature to help decide if it is worth digging.
I also discovered that setting the Elimination knob in the Trash position will cause nearly all ferrous objects to be discriminated out. Setting the Elimination knob in the Tabs position the detector was able to ignore most of the unwanted junk such as nails, wire, pulltabs and bullets (.22 size), while still detecting most coins and nonferrous relics. Unfortunately, in this setting the Predator will not detect most U.S. nickels.
When the Elimination knob is set in the fully clockwise position the Predator will discriminate out pulltabs, nickels, pennies made after 1982, gold nuggets, bullets, shell casings, screws, bolts, nails and relics made of iron. Although this is the maximum level of discrimination the Predator will still detect quarters, dimes, pennies made prior to 1983, and some buttons. I also noticed that long or thin metallic targets such as wire, nails and paperclips often cause a distorted or broken signal. Another indication of a reject target is an audio signal that comes when you scan in one direction yet does not sound when you scan over the same spot in the other direction.
With only two control knobs, this detector is incredibly easy to use. At first I dug all targets, as I was unsure of the detectors operation. However, after experimenting with the Predators discrimination feature I was able to quickly discern unwanted trash from potentially valuable targets. Some of the better objects found during the field test were three suspender clasps, a nickel, three buttons, a dime, several large caliber bullets, and three pennies; one of which was a 1947 wheat. Most of the recovered targets averaged between 2-4 inches in depth. The deepest was a large suspender clasp buried at 6 inches.
The Predator is extremely light and well balanced. I was able to hunt consistently for several hours with absolutely no arm fatigue whatsoever. The detector is powered by two (2) 9 volt batteries, which are housed behind a sliding door on the back of the control box above the coil cable. The Predator III performs an automatic battery test each time the unit is switched on. When the batteries begin to weaken the words LOW BATTERY will flash momentarily in the lower left corner of the LCD. As battery life continues to drop the words will begin to flash more rapidly, finally once the critical level is reached the words will not flash but remain constantly highlighted.
The Predator III makes an excellent full-time or back up machine. Its ease of operation, three-year parts and labor warranty and suggested retail price of only $399.95 make the Predator III the perfect detector for someone currently involved or thinking of becoming involved in treasure hunting.
For more information on the Predator III contact Kellyco Detector Distributors at 1085 Belle Ave., Winter Springs, FL 32708-2921, 1-800-327-9697, or visit their website at: http://www.kellycodetectors. com. Dont forget to mention you read about it in Lost Treasure.