Detecting made simple: Neil Jones gives the CTX3030 a full review

On his last blog, Neil Jones talked about taking the Minelab CTX3030 out for the first time, and his finds on a building site in Buckinghamshire. Now Neil takes the CTX out for a full review, giving you the full lowdown on Minelab’s new metal detector…

It was Monday night and I couldn’t sleep, the anticipation was getting to me.

I had ordered the CTX3030 from Joan Allen that morning for next day delivery, so my imagination was in overdrive. I couldn’t not have one after having a go with Gordon’s prototype machine on the building site a few months previously.

I finally nodded off into detector dreamland. At around 11pm I got a call from my mum that a parcel had arrived, I always use my mum and dad`s address for parcels as one of them is always likely to be in.

I couldn’t get there till late afternoon but when I did I started the unwrapping routine to eventually expose all the parts of the new machine. I laid the instructions on the floor at the side of my kneeling down position and followed them to the word.

To my surprise and for a change I sailed through the assembly without a fault so well done Minelab on that one.

As usual at this time of year there was nowhere that wasn’t in crop to test it so I got in the car and headed for the woods in my local area.

I decided to start on a footpath I had done lots of times in the past that leads to some moorland that has flat mossy grass patches in between the heather where lots of people in the Victorian and Edwardian times used to picnic and walk on there weekends off from work, as there were also stone-built tearooms nearby.

I switched on the machine and heard the Minelab jingle, I purposely left the machine in factory settings to get the general gist of it straight from the box.

I began to swing steadily at the beginning of the path, straight away noticed the low tone of the iron which was immediately interrupted with a high pitch feep feep signal and at 8” there was a well rotted pre-decimal penny. The signal was strong and not the least bit faded as it would have been with the Etrac, and the pinpointing was precise, I didn’t need to use the pinpoint button, I moved on and got several more signals that were all over the 8” mark but no keepers.

The path goes past a small area of moorland I described at the beginning and where my next search began.

I started on the first heather bare patch I came to, after a few minutes I got a strong signal and dug up the top of the handle of a pewter spoon or fork, then another signal got me a small butterfly charm and again the signal was strong and loud.

This is too easy I thought. Most of the signals I get here should be faint but this was not the case with the CTX3030. I carried on for a while and found more coins etc. one hole gave me £4.20 so that gave me a good buzz.

The target trace was precise on all but the deepest coins although even at depth you could make out a faint red smudge.

I decided to finish and go on the laptop to fine tune things and put my own program in. I downloaded Exchange 2 and started tweaking, which is straightforward to do for a change. I used combined and put conduct 708, 614, 511, 288, and ferrous 1191, this made the signals all low to medium tones which would be pleasant and iron was a high tone, response-smooth, recovery-deep, target separation – high trash,sensitivity manual, gain 24, volume limit 30, threshold pitch 1.

I took the machine to a local park and onto a patch of grass I had been scanning for a couple of decades every now and then. I decided to systematically search up and down an area half the size of a tennis court.

The high sound of iron was obvious from the off and an instant loud medium tone, as was beginning to be usual it sounded near surface but wasn’t and was a Edwardian half penny at around 7”. I carried on and at near the edge of the grass border I got a crisp signal with a lovely red splodge on the screen, I dug the turf and flipped it back on the hinge and saw a thick root from the tree in the border.

I started to angle the spade under the root scraping the soil left to right and emptying the hole till I got a signal from the spoil on top revealing a nice 1916 sixpence, I carried on and the machine kept pulling out coins and artefacts including a solid silver 1920’s watch face with enamel dial and gold numbers, when I got back home I looked up my search pattern on geo hunt to see how thorough I had covered the area.

I was really surprised to see how often I had veered from the left or right! What did I miss? This feature is fantastic for those of us who are devout winklers on good Roman, Medieval etc hotspots, this to me is a great tool. Managing all this on the computer is even easy for a computer muppet like me.

I decided to put 50 conductive tones all metal, sensitivity manual, gain 30, volume limit 30, threshold pitch 1, response-smooth, recovery-deep, target separation – high trash which is really the same set up as I had on the E Trac.

Now I was right at home and ready to push the machine to its limits, I went back to the first footpath mention and slowly searched the same length.

The first signal I got was a slight low tone, after taking a little soil out I noticed a tiny turquoise stone set in a tiny silver mount, I was chuffed with this find as it shows how sensitive the machine is.

My next signal was a small medium tone just showing through in-between the high iron signals, at around 6” I could see silver, it was the corner chape of a wallet or something similar with a nice hallmark and a most welcome find indeed.

After a few small shapeless bits of metal and a penknife I got a dodgy iron surrounded low signal and retrieved half of a silver earring and this is certainly a find that does show the prowess of the CTX, a few signals later I got a tiny round silver loop that that wasn’t joined together, now my trust in the CTX was complete!

I cannot wait till the crops come off the fields to try for the older stuff, my next search is going to be 3 days on Blackpool beach which should be interesting.

This detector is so so easy to use, right from beginner to pro it covers all needs from the off, it really is detecting made simple.

Have you used the CTX3030 – what are your thoughts? If you’ve been out detecting recently, let us know and share your finds on the Joan Allen Facebook page.


One Response to Detecting made simple: Neil Jones gives the CTX3030 a full review

  1. Pingback: Neil’s latest finds with the Minelab CTX3030 « Joan Allen Detectors

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