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Shadow Research Center

Chatter, Interferrence, Ground Effect, and Nails

It's important at the outset to remember that the X-5 is one VERY HOT machine, and as such, the settings of the X-5 can be somewhat more critical than those of a detector that exhibits less gain, sensitivity, and depth. In most hunting environments, the FACTORY SUGGESTED SETTINGS are the ones that will provide you with the best performance overall. I don't mean the "PRESET" marks on the individual controls, but those suggested in the manual as proper adjustments for the soil and target conditions you are hunting in.

With that said, let me go back to the threshold issue, and my suggestion that you can hunt with the threshold at it's maximum level in the discrimination mode. While that is true, there are some prerequisites that need to be considered in doing so.

When you increase the target volume via the threshold control above its suggested setting of a barely audible hum, you can in fact increase the audio on smaller and deeper targets. BUT....and this is important to doing so, you are also increasing ALL audio response on the X-5, including that of any ground effect present or external electrical interference, as well as the normal "click-out" you might normally hear on certain metallic items that are just below the discrimination level setting. While increasing the threshold control in QUIET ENVIRONMENTS can be of some benefit as explained, in other areas it can compound some types of instability. For this reason, it is best to use this method judiciously according to the conditions at hand. FOR MOST HUNTING, THE SUGGESTED BARELY AUDIBLE HUM IS THE BEST SETTING FOR THE THRESHOLD, and it should be checked periodically in the ALL-METAL mode, and after ground balancing prior to switching to the discrimination mode.

Where chatter and interference seem a problem, there are specific things that need to be considered with any machine. Chatter can be caused by a number of things, including the ground conditions. This is usually just a matter of making the proper adjustments to handle the specific piece of ground, including proper ground balancing and sensitivity settings. In extremely bad areas, increasing the discrimination level might also help. On the X-5, you can also try the beach discrimination mode if the ground conditions are extreme. Remember that this was designed for wet saltwater sand conditions, and no ground gets much worse than that in producing "falsing" and chatter.

External interference is another problem in some areas that can cause chatter, and the first and most obvious method of taking care of this with the X-5 is by using the frequency control, trying each of the 3 different frequencies to determine which operates most quietly. These problems can be caused by 60 cycle electrical lines, cellular phone towers, microwave transmitting towers, television and radio station transmitting towers, etc. and affect most all types of detectors to some degree or another. The more powerful or receptive a detector is, the more noticeable these effects may become. But ask yourself, would I rather have a machine capable of detecting coins beyond 5 or 6 inches, or have a totally "quiet" machine walking over targets that I may never know I missed ? I think the answer is obvious for most of us.

One quick way of determining whether you are experiencing external RF (radio frequency) noise or chatter is to simply hold the coil up above the ground and point it out and away from your body while moving it around you in a circle. At times, you may even be able to pinpoint the cause of the interference by using the detector as a "directional antenna". But don't dismiss the possibility of underground electrical or telephone lines in your area either.

One final thing I want to address is some of the concerns about nails. While most common nails are easy to discriminate out or identify via the audio of the X-5, let's not forget that not all nails are made solely of iron...... In years past, many types of nails, and especially some of the old square nails and horseshoe nails were made of alloys of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, including copper-cobalt and others. This is not to mention some of the more modern nails that are coated with a galvanizing wash made of non-ferrous materials. The reasoning behind these types of nails was (and is) the prevention of rust or deterioration. Other types, such as fencing staples (U-shaped "nails") are difficult for any machine to completely discriminate, simply because of the shape of the target and the field it produces. In some cases, the best that you can hope for is "identifying" the target as iron rather than completely discriminating out all audio response.

Hope this is of some help....... Ralph
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