Nokta Golden Sense Goes To England
During a recent visit to Kellyco, I was asked to test a new machine that they had received from Nokta Engineering. I was shown the machine and given a brief explanation of how it worked. I was given a rough draft copy of a user manual and sent on my way. I arrived in England to a week and a half or rain, snow and 50 mph winds. I unpacked and assembled the machine to the diagram in the box and left it unused until dryer weather arrived.
Assembly was very simple and connections were foolproof as the cables all had different plugs so they can't be plugged in wrong. The main shaft is stout and capable of carrying the 13' coil. I choose to wear the control box with the battery on the lanyard provided over my neck in front of me as opposed to wearing it on a belt. By doing so, I could glance down at my settings and make adjustments easily. Being over 6' tall, I was able to extend the shaft to a comfortable position and still had some room to extend it further. The battery had a full charge and read '3 lights' when the test button was pushed. The supplied headphones were comfortable and easy to adjust over my hat.
I set the only 2 variable knobs, the sensitivity and ground balance, in the 12 O'clock position and turned the machine to 'all metal'. I was quite surprised by the "melody" of sounds on power up of the machine and after the original turn on I waited for the second set of sounds and the handle LED's to turn off indicating the machine was ready to hunt with.
Starting in 'all metal' I soon found this was not the position to be in as there is thousands of years of various metals in these fields and the machine was not producing usable signals. I switched to the machine to 'iron off' and proceeded. The machine became much more stable and I was able to start detecting. Although in the 'iron off' position, I was still getting non-ferrous signals when the coil went over small iron items such as iron rings for horse and wagon tack and some larger iron items such as the tips of plow points and plow blades. This is also typical of other machines I have used. I was able to eliminate digging these types of signals by turning 90 degrees on the target and scanning again. If the target 'moved' it was this type of item. I later turned the machine to the discriminate mode and was able to eliminate most of the iron by learning the sounds. When I was pinpointing, if the item was iron but showing non-ferrous, I would get a high tone along with a distinct low growl in the headphones as I was coming off the target and by doing so I could determine the target was iron. If I did not get the low growl, the item always came up non-ferrous as indicated. Once I was able to get my first repeatable non-ferrous signal, it was repeatable in all directions of sweep. Pinpointing with the large coil was simple as long as I kept the coil moving. The closer the item got to the tip of the coil, the faster and shorter I would have to scan and the item was located at the tip as indicated. This procedure worked for all non-ferrous targets dug.
The more I became familiar with what the machine was telling me, I became more comfortable with its use. I soon started to "up' the sensitivity to the 2 O'clock position. Any higher and the machine became unstable due to soil conditions. I was also able to back down slightly on the ground balance with the machine staying stable. Most targets in these plowed fields are in the top 2-4 inches and the plow depth is usually about 8". The Treasure and Antiquities Act of Great Britain requires I dig no lower than the plow depth so there where some deep targets I did no pursue. I like to think maybe I missed a pot but at least I play by the rules!
Over the period of 2 days and about 20 hours of detecting, I dug hundreds of targets including 'greenies' (old copper coins) buttons by the hundreds remains of military ordinance from WWII and as is typical, pounds of lead. I was also able to pick up a very nice Vickie six pence in the footprint of another hunter at about 7" Most of the fields we hunt were newly plowed and rolled or recently planted and you cannot achieve full depth with most detectors due to the air in the soil until months of rain compact it. Hunting in this ground is similar to trying to 'air test' a machine as many targets haven't had a chance to create their 'halo' thus making detection somewhat difficult.
After 2 full 10 hour days of use, I only lost one light on the battery so by indication I probably could have had another 2 days before needing to recharge. Over all. I was pleased with the operation and detection ability of this machine. The only issues I would have with the construction are the weight. With the 13" x16" coil I had one or two times a day when the shafts would separate as they had slowly wiggled loose during swinging. I tried shortening the shaft to the point I was leaning over to detect and it still happened. The other is waterproofing of the machine. Even though the controls can be worn under a raincoat, the way the control cable connects to the handle creates a 'water cup' for rainwater to accumulate in when the arm cuff is fully extended directing rainwater into the connection. It is my wish that someday manufacturers will start making their machines "all weather" so the hardcore hunters don't have to carry plastic baggies with them to hunt in inclimate weather.
Thanks for the opportunity to field test this machine. Overall, I was satisfied with its performance. Although I didn't find a gold coin with it, I believe it is very capable of doing so and may be deadly in the gold areas of the world.