Treasure Talk blog posts on the CTX 3030
Over 2017, one of my favorite Minelab metal detectors, the CTX 3030 has really been put to the test. Breaking down the CTX 3030 recently for another long flight, I realized just how important using dependable metal detecting equipment is. Some of the places I have taken my CTX 3030 to in the past year have very difficult to search metal detecting terrain...
I left you last time with us having discovered a 700 year old medieval coin hoard and finding a total of 177 silver medieval pennies. The weather had put paid to any further recovery and we had a burning desire to know what else might still lie under the earth in our field of dreams. You will find below the second and concluding part of our tale – I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we all did experiencing it…..
Have you ever had one of those days that you feel as though something nice is never going to find itself under your coil, regardless of how long you search? Well it was on one of those days, which we all suffer from more than we would like to admit, that I was lucky enough to discover something wonderful.
I love getting down to the beach on a warm summer's morning - calm seas, sunshine and the chance to pick up some recently dropped goodies. What really excites me though is seeing on the weather forecast that a storm is brewing and the winds will be coming from the right direction to cut the beach back!
My metal detecting year is basically divided into two seasons: winter, when I detect old parks and town sites looking for old coins and relics; and summer, when it’s time to hit the beach and water for jewellery and coins. I am fortunate that I live near the coast as well as having a large river system where people swim and partake in other water-based activities.
However, you don’t have to live near the coast to go water hunting. You can go to large inland lakes, old town sites located on rivers where there would have been trade and commerce along the river bank, or even smaller rivers and streams with a local swimming hole. All are good places to search for lost jewellery, coins and relics.
Strangely, well for me anyway, I have heard many times from detectorists located in some parts of England that they hate the rain and most certainly won’t choose to go digging in it. Some even say it puts them off detecting altogether when they are ‘forced’ to dig in wet weather.
Unfortunately, if most of us in Scotland actively chose not to go out digging in the rain, then it is safe to say that we would have a mere handful digging days per year. Besides, our main machine is the incredible, fully water (and Scottish weather) proof CTX 3030 with the CTX 17 inch coil – without question the greatest all round, all weather machine ever produced.
Imagine finding the largest lead slingshot hoard in the Roman Empire…well we did, and once again in Scotland! Roman sling shot are made of lead and weigh approximately 50g. They also have very distinctive shapes and are mostly shaped like lemons or acorns. This might not sound like a deadly weapon to our modern ears, but in fact, expert slingers could sling these so fast, the projectile had the same velocity and impact as a .44 Magnum- very deadly indeed.
Recently, while visiting a friend’s property the topic of conversation turned to metal detecting and he mentioned that within walking distance was the site of a World War II army camp. Needless to say I was pretty keen to get back there as soon as possible with my CTX 3030 to see what relics there were to be found.
Fortunately, I only had to wait a couple of weeks to return and see what I could find. When I arrived at my friend's property I had a quick search around his yard to show him how the CTX 3030 worked as well as the PRO-FIND 25. One of the first things I noticed was that the soil was quite mineralised which resulted in the pinipointer falsing when in contact with the soil...
A common question that arises from time-to-time on many of the online forums is:
Will I get more “nulling” when using Combined audio?
Are you spending too much time digging those deeply buried nails? Here are some ways you can fine-tune your techniques, when using the Coiltek 10”’ x 5” elliptical coil for the CTX3030.
My last blog was about the advantages of using the CTX 17 while hunting on beaches and I must say that I am still pulling out some great finds, including a few more rings and heaps of silver coins (florins, shillings, sixpences etc.) that have been there for a long time. Next I will cover parks & ovals to discuss the advantages of using the CTX 17 and the Volume Gain feature for both shallow and deep targets. My settings this time, although similar to what I use on the beach have a few small variations.
Since writing my last article about the advantages of understanding the CTX 3030 to get the best out of it, I have spent many hours using the CTX 17 coil to see if adjusting the volume gain would make much difference. To my surprise and delight I have had some awesome results going over ground at the beach, parks and ovals that I had previously hunted with the CTX 11 coil.
The CTX 3030 incorporates four different Target Separation options... Low Trash, High Trash, Ferrous-Coin and Ground-Coin. Selecting the proper Target Separation option will allow you to optimize the signal processing of your CTX 3030, to best match your site.
I was recently invited to participate in WWATS (World Wide Association of Treasure Seekers) Rally held in Antlers, Oklahoma. More info at www.wwats.org. I’m not a rally hunter, but welcomed the idea of meeting other hunters and having a chance to have some fun. So I packed up the CTX 3030 and headed out.
In part one we built the mode (program) and now I would like to take a closer look at the settings and the thought behind them.
The first mode with the tadpole patterns is the main program, and the clear screen mode is the mode I switch to if I need to analyse iffy targets.
It doesn't matter how you mix and match these patterns between the two modes, and previously I mixed a tadpole and clear screen pattern on each mode. The problem with that is I couldn’t see which mode I was in as they looked very similar. So now I keep the most recognisable elements together, which are the tadpole patterns.
The CTX 3030 is a great metal detector that can be used many different ways, and in this blog post I'm going to show you how I use it.
First I need to explain where and what I’m searching for. In the UK I search for ancient finds rather than the more recent finds like milled coins. My entire quarry dates older than 300 years, and I often search for finds over a thousand years old. So Search Modes (programs) used to find coins in parks just don’t cut it for me.
These days we are bombarded with gadgets loaded with special features, the CTX 3030 is certainly that way inclined, but if we are too lazy to experiment and familiarize ourselves by using them, what is the point?
When the CTX 3030 came out I quickly spent a lot of time getting my head around what its capabilities were, all the time knowing full well that even if I understood these features it would take some time for them to sink in. I have found that if I know what it can do, then it opens up my mind allowing me to develop different techniques in various situations to improve my detecting.
Last year I found a coin that has turned out to be the best coin I've ever found. I was searching a river in Buckinghamshire England; working an area I'd previously searched every summer for 10 years. Finds had become very sparse, but in May 2012 I returned with my new CTX 3030 and I immediately saw “the site come to life!”
I started to work the inside bend of a bank that had previously produced several large first century Roman coins to a Minelab Excalibur 800. The first target of note was a lovely tin coin of James II, which has a copper plug fig1. This was in remarkable condition, and the date (1685) can still be read on the outside edge of the coin. I was so pleased to find this coin, they are rarely found in this condition.
I can boldly say the CTX 3030 is the most sensitive metal detector I have ever used for gold jewelry hunting on the beach and this awesome metal detector has changed my approach to finding smaller items of gold jewelry on the beach.
The CTX 3030 Beach mode and Seawater setting is a really good combination of options for a shallow water hunter that likes to work the trough or first drop off in the water. This is the area in the water where sands are constantly shifting and waves roll up onto the beach, it is also the area that makes the CTX 3030 such an effective gold jewelry hunter.
Well its mid December 2012 and the good old United Kingdom is on the receiving end of a real icy blast. Temperatures at night are dropping to -10-15 and for us here that's cold.
One Wednesday morning mid this icy blast I had a day off work, sadly none of my colleagues did. So I pondered what to do with this day on my own... and within a milli-second had decided to go detecting with the CTX 3030.
The other day I received a very kind invitation to detect upon some newly available land in Cambridgeshire from my good detecting buddy Jason. Arriving as always full of anticipation I was delighted to hear that a Roman site was adjacent to our search area. As I unpacked the CTX 3030 I scanned over the flat land surrounded by the ancient Gog Magog hills, it sure looked good.
There has been a lot of questions as to the benefits of the GPS Mapping feature of the CTX 3030 and to be honest I was unsure of its usability when it came to practical coin & relic hunting. I can remember sitting down and reading the manual while scrolling through the features of the GPS mapping, thinking to myself, where could I possibly use features like WayPoints, FindPoints, GeoTrails, GeoHunts and the list goes on, I was really struggling with the concept.
Everyone knows how well FBS (and now FBS 2) technology works on the wet sand, and on saltwater beaches, but recently I have noticed a little bit of head scratching among CTX 3030 users in regards to Sensitivity options – Auto and Manual. Some operators swear by running in Auto Sensitivity on the beaches, only to be told by others that Minelab’s advice is to NOT use Auto on salty beaches. Well to set the record straight, yes it’s true that in general Minelab don’t recommend the use of Auto Sensitivity on saltwater beaches and I’ll get to the reason shortly, but before I go on I have to say, if you have tried it and you are happy with the way your CTX 3030 performs, then by all means continue to use Auto.
We have been searching a large Roman site for the past 16 years now. When we first discovered it and gained permission hundreds of coins came off it as well as many artefacts. Of course such losses are finite and over the years finds declined in number.
Back in the old days of our group I was the very first to get a Minelab Explorer and almost immediately my finds rate as I learned the machine`s capabilities rapidly escalated. I was easily achieving 100+ coins a day whilst varied detector owning colleagues were struggling to get 25-35. This went on for a few months, but my joy and top position was short lived and soon ousted as all my colleagues went and got Minelab Explorers too.
Since its release, the CTX 3030 has quickly earned a reputation as being a true all-purpose treasure detector, but in an effort to enhance its performance further, Minelab’s engineering and field test team have done a lot of work behind the scenes to make “the best even better!” Sorry, but I couldn’t resist that, because as a CTX 3030 user I am quite excited about having some new features to play with! This is the first CTX 3030 software upgrade with some great new features, to give users better performance and more versatility. So what’s new?
In this blog I will explain a few accessories that will compliment your CTX 3030 and make shallow water hunting much easier, starting with water hunting apparel.
I personally like to wear a wet suit when shallow water hunting for safety and comfort. Wet suits come in different styles from ‘shorties’ that just cover the torso with short sleeves and legs, to full suits covering the whole body. The thickness of the wet suit required will depend on the temperature of the water that you intend to search.
One of the best things about FBS and FBS 2 detectors is their superior discrimination. Not only can you discriminate targets on their conductivity, you can also discriminate by their ferrous content simultaneously.
One of the things I’ve recently been reading on a few forums, are comments stating the new CTX 3030 has “still got the nulling problems of the E-TRAC”. I agree the ability to null, or blank the audio as Minelab refer to it, is still in the new detector… however, this is a feature not a problem.
No doubt we can all think of a situation where we have been in the right place, but at the wrong time, or even perhaps wrong place at the wrong time. Several days ago I got a call from a farmer to say one of his fields was ready for us. In my sheer enthusiasm and in thanking him I forgot to ask just what "ready" actually meant.
Arriving there we found it wasn’t quite "ready" as we would have liked. The field in question which is a huge Romano British settlement site was covered in stiff yard broom like stubble.
Having a day off work simply meant a trip would be planned to detect somewhere. The question was where exactly? With harvest in full swing ploughed fields or even rolled ones are a scarce commodity as the farmers struggle to get the crop in before the next rain storm. For readers not living in Britain we have just had our wettest "Summer" since records began and that was I believe in the 18th Century. Anyway we found a suitable field, it was a field we knew well.
With the CTX 3030 on the market, river detecting has never been more accessible here in the UK. In this third blog I’ll run through my setup, settings and extra tips for using this great metal detector.
"Should I sell my Excalibur II and buy a CTX 3030?" A friend had just called me and was asking me this question. For me the answer is easy....I keep my Excalibur and add the CTX 3030 to take advantage of its added features and benefits. I have a strong affinity for the Excalibur. I know the detector very well and when I turn it on it is like wearing an old pair of comfortable shoes and I know I am very good with it. But back to the conversation... I answered, "it depends what you want out of the detector?" I then asked "What were the three most important things for him to get out of the detector?" His answers were... 1.Waterproof, 2.Durable 3.Critically important to discriminate out selected coins.
Being asked to have a play with the PRO-FIND 25 pinpoint probe lacked excitement for me based on past experiences with similar devices due to a number of factors. Firstly a lack of sensitivity to small nuggets especially in mineralised soils and secondly my GPX 5000 would pick up my previous pinpointer from a long way away even when the thing was turned off!
Here are a few basic tips to help you get the best out of your CTX 3030 when treasure hunting in the shallow water. Before venturing into the shallow water to metal detect, I suggest that you first learn how to use your CTX 3030 on the beach and become comfortable using the CTX 3030 in the basic preset beach mode.
So you’ve got all the equipment, and permission to search a section of river… So where do you start?
Like all aspects of metal detecting, research is the key for consistent success. I spend hours viewing old maps of river courses, trying to discover old crossings or long forgotten historical features.
A beach and shallow water hunter sometimes has to pick their battles to win the war on beaches with a high amount of trash. When metal detecting time is limited or when searching on a really trash laden beach I have found that discrimination is one of the keys to beach hunting success. Fortunately for beach hunters when you need to use discrimination, the CTX 3030 has discrimination down to a science.
The new CTX 3030 has a fantastic feature inbuilt that’s not described in the Instruction Manual. It’s the ‘Snapshot’ feature.
No, the CTX 3030 doesn’t have a camera... well it has... sort of? It’s the next best thing to a camera!
So what is ‘snapshot’ and how does it work?
So all the crops are knee high and you have nowhere to detect except pastureland, or seaside beach. Have you ever considered that local stream?
June and July are the hardest months in the UK for metal detecting. The little land that is available tends to be pasture, which is either rock-hard or too long in grass (growing for silage or hay making).
When I returned home I began cleaning the items hoping that my example might also be highly decorated. Unfortunately this was not the case; the only decoration on one of my panels is of a spear shaped leaf. This is in moulded format and appears to be composed of beading. Ironically if it is a willow tree leaf then that would be appropriate as these trees also grow in damp areas.
For me no more important example of just how superb this FindPoint facility is can be given by a recent series of finds that I made. Whilst searching a Roman site that had been much deeper ploughed this year I found a sheet of lead about 8 inches long and 9mm thick, that had been folded. This find was virtually on the surface and obviously gave a really prominent signal. Just a piece of lead? I didn’t think so; previously I had located a few pieces here before but nothing as big as this.
It is exciting when you find a place that is so good that you just can’t wait to go back there, but it is equally as sad when that place starts to run out of targets. This was the case with a place I have named “The Bottomless Pit” for just that reason
Have you ever wished you could pull up a new set of hunt parameters, without having to go through the entire menu process? The CTX 3030 offers you that ability and more, with two features; Previous Mode and the ability to cycle through two Discrimination Patterns.
Well what a question to ask eh? The CTX 3030 has only been released in the last few days, unfair to ask it? I think not. However perhaps it is a little premature until we get all the reports from field tests and other users. I’m no techno-expert, but briefly FBS 2 utilises multiple frequency transmission and coil-to-detector data communication to locate targets in a wide variety of soil conditions. However, I would like to make a submission of my own relating to the efficiency of the new FBS 2. Of course at this stage this information relates purely to my own personal experience and no-one else’s... or does it?
One of the new Tone ID profiles is called Combined. This is something I was asking for during a minelabowners.com forum discussion; “E-TRAC 2 what do we want?”; I wrote, “Add a new sound process based on ferrous combined with conduct, which gives different ferrous tones to different metal targets (like the explorer does to a lesser degree.)”- 15th April 2010.
Each detector has its own personality. As I continue to learn about the CTX 3030 I am aware that the detector imparts a certain attitude to the treasure hunter. As I detected a few North East Florida Beaches during Tropical Storm Beryl. The CTX 3030 performed seamlessly despite the challenging weather. From wind to rain to getting hit by a few high waves the CTX 3030 has a "can do... go anywhere" attitude. When a hurricane or storm hits the coast I like to hit between three to five beaches, so I can better focus in on a high potential erosion event.
Different types of detecting call for different ways to hear targets, so the CTX 3030 has just about every imaginable option to hear your next great find.
For general detecting, or a bit of family fun, the internal speaker in the control panel is a great option...
The detect screen on the CTX 3030 is a mine of information for a beach treasure hunter, everything you need to know while you are using the CTX 3030 on the beach is right there in front of you on the detect screen.
Continuing beach hunting in the factory preset beach mode you have at least three different ways of evaluating all targets that you find on the beach using the CTX 3030 metal detector. The first target evaluation is always made on first hearing the signal, by audio target tone thru the headphones, speaker or wireless audio module.
Those familiar with FBS technology are certainly aware of the information provided on the Smartfind screen. But in my opinion, the FBS2 technology supporting the CTX 3030 takes that to a whole new level. Smartfind 2 not only allows the user to see multiple targets under the coil simultaneously, the functionality known as “Target Trace” signifies the signal strength of each target with color coding. Both “Target Trace” and “Target Trace Pinpoint” can be activated by “long pressing” (3 seconds) the Detect button. You then simply scroll down and check the box to activate each mode.
It took some time to get used to swinging a 6-inch coil as you don’t cover much ground, a bit like painting a wall with an artist’s brush while concentrating very intently for the slightest signals. It is amazingly lethal due to the CTX 06 coil’s capability to move in between targets separating the ferrous from the non-ferrous with surgeon like precision
You can now see why I haven’t been posting for a while. The team creating the CTX 3030 have put in a big effort to pull together all the features and technologies that make up this detector.
With the exception of my fridge, there is almost nothing that can’t be enhanced by adding GPS. The CTX 3030 has an integrated GPS that can...
In my previous Treasure Talk blog post, I discussed new CTX 3030 functionality that allows the user to map the parameters of ferrous or conductive audio tones. The Combined Tone ID Profile allows the user to hear a combination of both ferrous and conductive tones. And, with the additional functionality provided by the CTX 3030, we can set the parameters for each.
In our latest CTX 3030 video, Nenad Lonic explains the waterproof features of the CTX 3030 and provides some tips about how to prepare the detector for use in water.
This video should answer a lot of questions and discussions on the forums about the CTX 3030 and its waterproof features.
Sometime in the last 1500 years a beautifully decorated and richly gilded Saxon artefact was sadly broken in half. Most likely through intense agricultural activity the two pieces were then scattered further apart over the passing centuries. Or, who knows, perhaps originally a Saxon noble threw away the broken artefact in anger after he snapped it, or did a mighty warrior and his horse crash to earth, smashing off the ornately decorated artefact un-noticed amidst the violent actions of a long forgotten and unrecorded battle?
In terms of audio options alone, the CTX 3030 is simply the most advanced treasure machine in existence. Minelab’s engineers have placed a great deal of thought in coming up with different configurations for different hunting situations. There are many different configurations for listening to signals. I will discuss them here and talk about how they can be applied in the field.
One of the main features on the CTX 3030 is its GPS and mapping features. I must admit that while testing this detector, at first, I just didn’t get it!
But as I continued learning this machine, I had one of those “Eureka” moments.
It was while searching a large field in Buckinghamshire England, I dug a funny looking green coin. After a bit of spit and polish, I could see silver from the high points shining through. It was a second century Roman silver denarius. This was the second pure silver coin I had found in this field, covered with verdigris.
I was really excited when I heard the news that Minelab had made a new waterproof metal detector and even more excited that I would have the chance to test the new machine. As a long time hardcore beach and shallow water hunter adding a new Minelab machine to my beach treasure hunting arsenal was certainly welcome.
After assembling the new CTX 3030 metal detector the first thing that impressed me was the design and balance of the new machine.
We are pleased to bring you the new CTX 3030 metal detector. We have been working on this for quite a while now and it is great to finally be able to talk about it. The detector has a heap of great features, some of which haven’t been seen in a metal detector before. From Engineering, we think that you can do great things with this detector. In this post, I’ll introduce some of the discrimination features that you haven’t seen.
Well I recently obtained the new Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector and, as always with a new detector, I was initially operating in Factory Preset mode. I like to do this as it’s always the best platform from which to make later modifications to suit both the operator and even the site being searched. However, for this first day I was going to stay in this mode for some time.
Well it’s no secret that the new CTX 3030 is packed with new features, which required significant input from Minelab’s talented team of engineers, designers and field testers during the development phase. Minelab’s team of mechanical engineers were also kept particularly busy. They had the task of building a detector that is robust, waterproof, ergonomic, and at the same time easy to assemble.
Welcome to my first blog post on the CTX 3030 metal detector. I’m so excited to share with you the features and abilities of this new metal detector. In the coming weeks I will explore in detail this detector’s potential. So let’s briefly review its key features.
Beginning as a concept of “want lists”, the CTX 3030 has evolved into a metal detector that will change the manner in which we engage this hobby. With a dedication to thinking “outside the box”, Minelab has taken those ideas and implemented them into a new multi-faceted detector known as the CTX 3030.
Wow! That was my response when I first set eyes on the CTX 3030 metal detector, it was so unique looking and I didn’t know whether I should detect with it or pick it up and launch a missile out of it. Either way it looked impressive and it was apparent that there is something pretty special about what was in front of me, it looked powerful.
Discussion of the new CTX 3030 metal detector has been lighting up detecting forums across the world. Many questions have been asked and much has been speculated. Today Minelab is releasing full product details on the CTX 3030!