“Very Special Indeed” – Minelab And Their CTX3030

Something I guess that we are all used to these days is the hype and marketing thrown at us by companies trying to sell various products. In these modern times this has become completely normal for just about every new or re-vamped item that comes on to the market. Manufacturers are keen to use innovative advertising to attract our attention and focus it onto every new product that is launched. Just like a famous lager, many metal detectors are marketed as ‘probably’ the best at this and for doing that. However, what cannot be sold alongside the product are the persistent and always present variables involved in the ownership and usage of a metal detector. 

I’m sure old hands are well aware of the variables I will mention, as well as numerous others. However, for newcomers, or those thinking of taking up metal detecting, I’m talking about factors like the price range that you can afford and the associated build quality and performance. As for many products, detector build quality and performance is linked to cost – basically, the more you pay, the higher level of both you should receive. Once you have chosen your detector then your frame of mind is another variable that comes into play, in that it should always be as positive as possible when searching. Soil type and moisture levels, the presence of iron in an underlying natural clay or distributed by settlement of an area are also influential variables. Whatever detector you use, it’s also crucial that you believe and trust in it. When this belief wanes it can be occasionally recovered (usually with a good find) but this may not happen and, if that’s the case, it might be time to check out something new.

These are just a few of the many variables that come into play but all of them are wrapped up in the biggest one of all: good old Lady Luck. She can overrule all other variables, as is illustrated by people who take up the hobby with a cheap detector and then go on to locate a nationally important discovery almost straight away. However, this tends to be the exception to the rule and, although fascinating, is not what metal detecting for the majority is all about.

On the other hand simply owning a top-notch metal detector is not the only key either – success doesn’t depend solely on how much you spend. Choose to ignore metal detecting’s variables and you may find yourself in a situation comparable to having a brilliant aero engine but no actual airframe to install it on. As a detectorist with some 35 years’ experience I have changed and adapted in many ways from when I started out (not least the loss of hair and the occasionally aching back these days.)

Detecting Discovery

Discovery of a Georgian period midden… the CTX3030 turning ancient rubbish into modern day treasures

I have a desire to help people as best I can by sharing what I have discovered and experienced over the years. That is primarily why I also write books, to distribute my accrued knowledge in the hope that it just might help another detecting colleague or new starter. In four decades of detecting I have owned or used quite a variety of models from a varied selection of manufacturers. My number one prerogative has always been to own the best possible, wherever possible. In doing this I have to admit I have not been loyal to manufacturers. I believe the time and effort I put in to the hobby merits the best possible equipment within whatever limitations I have at the time. If a manufacturer produces something I like the look of, then I research it and ask others what they think. Assessing all the facts I either buy it or I don’t – simple.

Should a manufacturer produce something that passes my scrutiny I will use it but lower the standards of quality and customer care then I’m off. I want consistency in good product development, as that really encourages my loyalty. If other variables like luck and find levels increase then I just know I am onto something well worth sticking with. A few years back I went over to Minelab products and purchased an Explorer 1. At the time it was so different to what I was used to that it stayed leaning against the living room wall for 5 months! However, then I got brave, used it and found 53 scattered Roman coins in one day. After that I have never looked back. I stuck with Minelab because, when it comes to quality, they have never let me down. I’ve owned ten or so various Minelab machines and not once have I ever had to send one back because of a fault. Of course this is my personal experience but I doubt that I’m alone in it.

Currently, I own and use a CTX3030 – like its forebear it wasn’t used immediately and took some time to master. However, like any good machine the factory pre-sets enable instant searching and also provide a sound platform to make any required adjustments from. As you become more experienced the options and performance related operation of this machine are literally phenomenal. However, despite my love for Minelab this does not mean I don’t keep an eye out for other products from other manufacturers – to not do so would not honour my desire for the best. I’m always looking at things, asking opinions and having a go myself.

For some 13 years or so now Minelab has always been able to fend off the competition as far as my roving eye has been concerned. They have achieved this purely by producing a great stable of truly thoroughbred quality products. Of these, I believe the CTX to be the ‘Rolls Royce’ of detectors within its price range – but what of that price range? Because nearly two grand is a lot of cash, even more so if you’re trying to convince a partner or wife that it would be a great investment. However, compared to the carping rods, tackle and sets of golf clubs some of my friends spend money on, perhaps it’s not such a hard sell.

There is no one answer to everyone’s financial position, all I know is that I saved for some time and damned hard too to get my CTX3030 and finally get it I did. At the time of writing there were some great deals available from Joan Allen with respect to direct purchase or finance to help prospective CTX3030 purchasers. I’m so glad I purchased the CTX3030 as like its distant cousin the Explorer 1 I have never looked back. Could it just be that Minelab`s CTX3030 is the first machine that really tackles most of the variables to be found in metal detecting? Well, it’s still new so that will have to be assessed over a few years and by many people, but my instinct is that yes I think it probably is.

The Minelab CTX 3030 at Rest

The Minelab CTX 3030 at Rest

Obviously, there is fierce market competition in metal detecting and it can be hard to cut through hype and biased opinions. The CTX3030 has its competition too but, although it’s difficult to challenge the variables, the build quality of the competition in no way matches that of the CTX3030. If you’re looking solely at build quality, why would you invest in several £1000+ detectors over the lifetime of just one CTX3030, which costs £2000. The old economic term for this was a ‘false economy.’ It is wise for me to remember though that I am only loyal to Minelab for their quality, customer service and what I consider are superior products when combined with all the variables. Statistically I have the finds to back this up, both in quantity and quality. From the sites that I have now been searching for over 25 years, every year Minelab delivers. Of course the large targets have all gone but many smaller interesting finds remain. Having said that, a single variable coming into play might just transform that soft quiet but positive signal into something really special. Each detecting season I return to my old favoured sites and in the two annual periods I have used the CTX3030 it has excelled itself every time. One field yielded 14 hammered coins this year, all small issues, cut halves and quarters and half pennies, and I’ve been on that for the best part of 20 years!

Finds from August 2014

Finds from August 2014

Like any customer, if I thought that product quality, customer care and after-purchase back up were taking even a slight dip then I would not be happy and would likely be off searching again. I don’t want mediocre products, I want the very best to maximise the results of all my hard work. Because, as I keep saying, I deserve the very best and, whether as an experienced metal detectorist, a new starter or even just someone considering it, so do many others. Hopefully, I will never have reason to stop using a Minelab product – realistically, I doubt I will. To all my colleagues out there I would say: you are the very best in recovering our heritage, nothing can compete with you, which is why it makes sense to use the very best equipment too.

All the very best and happy hunting wherever you may be and whatever detector you currently use.

Metal detecting - anyone can be involved

Metal detecting – anyone can be involved

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About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

One Response to “Very Special Indeed” – Minelab And Their CTX3030

  1. Hello Julian enjoyed reading about your years with the hobby,i myself have been loyal to minelab for 17 years after trying varied machines like yourself,i have just purchased a ctx and am hoping to have the same experience as you with it,thanks Arthur.

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