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Shadow Research Center

Detecting in England with the Shadow X5

I had to think long and hard about this one. Not because I dont know the answers, but because I want to respond in the right way.......

Ok. Its good your taking the X2 as a backup, but I honestly can't imagine using it in place of the X5 for any reason. Now dont get me wrong. I had an X2 for a long long time, and really liked it for what I used it for(comp hunting), but it didnt stay in my stable long after getting our X5's and X'3's. Now, I wont just make a statement like that without backing it up, so here goes. There are a number of different areas the X5 greatly outshines the X2. First and foremost, is raw depth. The X2 simply doesnt come close.(if anyone doesnt agree with that , I'd be glad to let them demonstrate that I'm wrong in my test garden) Now, let me clarify that. The X2 WILL get half decent depth, but only when used at a snails pace, and even then the difference is VERY acute. You see, when hunting the UK (time is at a premium there), you need a balance of depth, AND coverage, and a bit of speed. Whe you boost the swing speed of the X2, you essentially lose a LOT of depth. Not so with the X5. It gets VERY good depth even at a good clip, but you'll still want to meter your forward speed, and make sure you overlap sufficiently. I'm not telling you to go over and fan the machine, just making the point you can hunt faster with the X5, and still get outstanding performance. The footprint with the X5 is greater too, especially with the DD coil. You simply miss less with it.

Next, the X5 is MUCH more sensitive to lower conductive targets. There isnt ANY room for debate here.(Just ask Dino how many Gold stators he has dug with the X5, and right along side a buddy with a Minelab!!)) AND, in the Uk, the vast majority of the really good targets ARE low conductive targets. The first time you dig a cut quarter penny you'll see what I mean. Its a VERY tiny thin piece of silver, and if your not careful, you'll buzz right over it. I have a pretty good pile of them, and I owe a LOT of that sucess to the machine I'm using.

Recovery speed. This is VERY critical in spots you'll encounter that are trashy and iron ridden. Some machines simply dont recover fast enough to be able to pick the goodies from amongst the debris. This is one area where the X5 and 3 REALLY shine. The X2 has a decent recovery speed, but the X5's is far faster. Problem is, a LOT of hunters dont even have a clue as to what they are missing, because they dont hear it to begin with. Now, the minelabs are pretty good at moving at a snails pace, and sucking goodines out from trash infested places, but they arent nearly as sensitive to the little stuff as the X5 is, and who wants to lug a behemoth like a Explorer around for 8 hours straight?? Not me!! (and besides, you just cant cover the ground with an Explorer like you can with the X5 and a DD coil).

Last but certainly not least, is the X5's exceptional iron IDing abilities. If ANYONE tells you that X5 is like a Fisher (IE: iron magnet), they simply dont know how to use one. I'll challenge ANYONE, right here and right now, ANYWHERE, to a little Iron IDing contest and let them use the machine of their choice. The provide a lot of lip service on the subject, but in essence dont have a CLUE.

IDing iron with the X5 is relatively easy, but you HAVE to spend the time in the field with it to hone your skills. I ID iron in essentially three different ways. First, iron is almost always a harsher and rougher sound. NOT mellow and smooth like a desireable non ferrous target. When I get a signal I suspect is iron, the FIRST thing I do is is check it out in VCO . Push the pinpoint button, and "size " the target. Iron often has a huge footprint, and the VCO signal will "ramp up" differently on iron than it will on a good target. If you push the VCO and slowly swing over an average non ferrous target, the sound will come up slowly and smoothly. Do the same on iron, and will will ramp up really quick. Shallow iron will literally scream at you. I use the coin check to ID iron as well. Its one of the better tools for doing this. When you are checking a target, listen to the response in both coin check positons, as well and the normal one. What you are looking for is a clean break in the response. that is, when you push the Coin check in either the up or down positions, your looking for the beep to either go away completely, or stay completely. If it "breaks up" or gets chattery, its usually iron. I've got to clarify that a little bit. Sometimes you Will get a lower conductive target that will give you an iffy signal in the lower position, but it will be gone completely in the upper position. I usually dig these, especially in the UK. They are often a target thats right on the break point of the discriminator. If it breaks up in BOTH positions however, it almost always iron, especially if its the upper one . Also, I usually circle my target if I'm really not sure. Good targets will tend to (but not always) stay the same if you attack them from different directions, but iron will change on virtually every sweep.When you do your sweeps, be sure you directly on the target too. Iron will often give you a decent sound of you just sweeping the edge of it. Recenter, and swing directly over the center, and your response will change. Now, there are exceptions to every rule, and only with experience will you be able to make judgement calls in the field on weather or not to dig. When it doubt, DIG IT!! All this may seen like a lot, but in practice, it takes only SECONDS to do an evaluation in the field. With practice, you'll get better and better at it.

I remember a couple of years ago in the UK, Troy and I were hunting a filed on the last day, and digging a fair amount of "grotty" roman coins. After a few hours went by, and the targets thinned out, we went back and dug a few of the targets we had earlier ID'd as Iron. In EVERY case it WAS iron, and the X5's had been spot on.

All you have to do is spend a bit of time in the field Ken, and pay attention, and in short order, you'll see exactly what I mean.
I've dug in the UK many many times, and between me and Linda we have a pretty impressive collection of nice artifacts and coins. I've used X2's, two different kinds of minelabs, a number of different Whites machines, Fishers, and Shadows, but when I go over now, I only take two machines. My X5, and my BACKUP X5.

Probaly the BEST advice I can give you, is to relax, take it easy, and above all, HAVE FUN!! Its REALLY easy to get too excited, and hunt too hard and too fast. It WILL cost you is you do this. Dont worry about what everyone else is digging. If your thorough, careful, and try to cover your ground well, you'll come home with some nice goodies in your pouch.Dont be afraid to fig a target your just not sure of. Lots of those "iffy" ones turn out to be the best targets of the day. Unless Im absolutely certain its iron, I DIG it. I dont know if you are using shadow phones yet either, but if you dont have them, GET THEM!!! they are clear, crisp, and LOUD!!! I've got a hearing problem, and they have made a world of difference to me. you'll hear those faint really deep targets better with them.

Have fun in the UK, and bring back lots of goodies. We expect a FULLL report when you get back!!

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