By BT (Spectra V3i - discontinued)
As any coin and relic hunter knows, it’s been a while since anything interesting has been released to help us in our pursuit of buried treasure. A number of months back there was some talk of a new machine coming out from White’s Electronics, (now known as Garett's) aimed at the coin and relic hunter which, when released, would turn a few heads.
Well the months went by and finally it was unveiled, the White’s Spectra V3i. Originally this machine was named the vision but due to some problem over the rights to the name ‘Vision’, the boys at Sweet Home, Oregon, finally settled on the Spectra V3i.
So what makes this new detector any different or better than those already on offer by either White’s themselves or other manufacturers? Well, the answer is its ability to show the user, via its Active Target Search and Analysis screens, which of its frequencies is picking up a particular target.
The Spectra V3i uses three frequencies – 2.5 kHz, 7.5 kHz and 22.5 kHz – and each frequency appears on the display screen in the following ways:
1) Active Search Screen. Trigger centre position.
This shows you the already familiar White’s target VDI numbers along with icons such as coins, rings and so on; along with a SignaGraph Data display with the three frequencies showing where along the target accept/reject scale the target is being identified. Accepted targets show up as green blocks and rejected ones show up as red blocks for each frequency. Below this are status icons for Tracking, Backlight, Low battery, Transmit boost, Wireless Headphones and so on.
2) Active Analyse Screen. Trigger forward.
This one is the clever one and shows the three frequencies in a sort of wave or peak pattern display with the frequency that is picking up the target the best peaking on the top of the scale. It’s a bit like looking at an oscilloscope. This is called Target Signature. Not only does it show you which of the three frequencies is strongest in picking up the target but it also shows possible target size by how far apart or close together the bases of the peaks are.   This screen also displays the target VDI number with a small ‘%’ probability icon beside it. As well as this there is also a target icon displayed and possible target depth in inches.
3) Active Pinpoint Screen. Trigger held.
On this screen you are again given a possible depth but now the three frequencies appear in a separate horizontal bar graph formation displayed on a Target Strength Scale. As with the Analyse screen, you are shown which of the three is strongest in picking up the detected target. The longest bar indicates the strongest frequency.
This all sounds great but how does this really give you an edge? This is where it gets interesting. Each of these three frequencies is more sensitive to certain metals and therefore detects them better than the other two. For example, the 2.5 kHz frequency detects silver and copper the best, while the 22.5 kHz frequency is better for low-conductive items such as gold. The 7.5 kHz frequency is the best for all other and larger metal objects.  This gives the user a huge amount of target information which was previously unavailable, making the decision on whether to dig or not dig much more accurate than in the past.  This should translate into less time digging rubbish, meaning more treasure.
Another great feature of this machine is the Ground Probe function. When selected from the menu this provides information on the severity of the ground mineralisation conditions. This is a very helpful tool enabling the user to accurately set his or her machine’s operating parameters to the prevailing soil conditions in any particular area.  This function can also be used to help analyse targets.
Other important features include TX Boost which increases the transmitted signal, equating to more depth when the ground permits; Auto Tracking; Frequency select; Hot rock reject; Ground filter selection; optional wireless headphones; backlight; owner password for security and a variety of pre-programmed hunting options.  These range from pre-set programs for Coin and Relic hunters, Beach detecting, Prospecting mode and, believe it or not, a Meteorite program setting.
You can even transmit your settings to another person’s machine.  All functions can be easily accessed and adjusted through the menu which, although offering a wide variety of adjustments and options, is not overly complicated or difficult to navigate your way through.
The Spectra is supplied with White’s new 10-inch round DD coil as standard meaning it can handle just about and ground condition dished up.  Other coils available range from the little 6-inch DD and different sized concentric right up to a 14-inch elliptical DD.
The power is supplied by a drop-in style battery packed which holds eight AAs, as well as a rechargeable pack of quality NiMH.