Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5/19/15 Report - Garrett ATX Review Part 1. Introduction To How To Hunt A Beach Rewind.

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com

Garrett ATX Detector
Every once in a while I evaluate a detector and post a review.  I haven't done a review in a while, but I recently evaluated the Garrett ATX for beach detecting.  The ATX is used by a lot of gold nugget hunters, and I think was designed with that type of hunting in mind, however I wanted to see how it would do as a beach detector.

I didn't do one of those quickie evaluations that people sometimes do.  They assemble a detector and in short order take it out in the field for a couple of hours.  Those kinds of evaluations aren't worth a whole lot.  While you can do that with some detectors, maybe most, it takes longer to really evaluate a detector like the ATX.   My experience says that the ATX will do a lot better in the hands of a someone that has put in a good number of hours with it.  That is what I did.

I tested the Garrett ATX Extreme PI with the standard 10 x 12 inch DD Coil.  Optional coils are available.

There is no way that I would classify the ATX as a beginner's detector.  It took me longer to get to understand the ATX than any other detector that I have ever used.  Maybe that is partially because I really got into the details more than ever before.  I wasn't satisfied with simple impressions.  I did a lot of precise testing.

First of all, the ATX is a pulse induction detector.  Some of what you know about pulse induction detectors is true of the ATX.  It is definitely hot to iron.  You can detect microscopic iron with the ATX.

The ATX has discrimination.  But this is not the right detector for anyone who typically uses discrimination.  If you are going to crank up disrimination on the ATX, you should have selected another detector because you will be diminishing what this detector does very well.

There are two modes - motion and non-motion.  If you have read my posts, you probably know that I almost always use a non-motion or pinpoint or all-metals mode.  That is true with the Excalibur, for example.

The Excalibur's discrimination mode and the ATX's motion mode are similar in some ways even though they are very different types of detectors.

For good performance, the ATX requires the right settings for the situation.   If you have the wrong settings, performance can be way off.  You can say that of many detectors, but I was more aware of that with the ATX.  Perhaps that was because I did a whole lot of testing and was constantly aware of the level of performance that I was getting.

Just like with the White's Dual Field Surf detector, the threshold setting is very important.  Setting the threshold either too high or too low can make the ATX much less effective.

Let me get down to the two very important conclusions.   (1) If you like discrimination you will not like the ATX.  (2) If you like a detector you can turn on and operate in most environments without making adjustments, this detector is not for you.

Like the Excalibur (again, even though they are very different detectors) the ATX can be really sensitive in non-motion mode.  If you are not accustomed to operating in salt sand or salt water in an all-metals mode, this will take some practice.  That is a skill of its own.  You will have to learn to work with signal drift and hearing the effect of salt mineralization etc.

Yes you can run up the discrimination and decrease sensitivity and get a very steady quiet and steady threshold, but that diminishes the power and effectiveness of the ATX.

Most people will not want to use the ATX in the dry sand.  And they will not want to use it on a junky beach anywhere.  Most beach hunters do not have the patience to run such a detector hot without discrimination, and as I said, if you want to use a lot of discrimination you'll diminish the power of the detector so much that you should have bought another type of detector.

The DD coil is said to provide good target separation.  That is not what I found. One of my biggest complaints with the ATX is how wide the signal seems to be.  That took some getting used to.

The ATX does have a pinpoint mode, which is effective, but pinpointing is difficult, to say the least, in the motion mode.  You can however learn to pinpoint fairly effectively in the motion mode without using the pinpoint mode.  That takes a lot of practice though.  I don't particularly like slowing down so much to pinpoint.  With most detectors I can pinpoint very well without slowing down to go into a pinpoint mode.  Remember that with the Excalibur, for example, I always hunt in pinpoint mode anyhow.

This is starting to get a bit long already.  I'll have to finish it some other time.


I've done this blog for a few years now.  I never expected it to be so popular. It could be much more popular and receive much more visibility, but I've turned down opportunities to have it published in some other places.

Anyhow, I was looking back at some posts from the early years and thought it might be a good idea to repost some of those older posts that got buried by hundreds of new posts.  There are so many posts now that I don't think anybody is going to go all the way back to look at the oldee ones.  Below is part of one post that got hundreds of views back in 2010.


Let me begin to address the question even though I'm sure I can't do the question justice in a single post and probably not in a hundred posts. I'm not sure I can do the question justice at all, but I'll give it a shot and maybe something of value will come of it.

Before I begin, let me say that I'm really not suggesting that I have the "right" answer, and I want you to know that the following is nothing more than my opinion. Maybe it will help someone.

First there is no single way to properly hunt a beach. There are different strategies and techniques, and some can be applied to one situation while others might better be applied to other situations.

Some of the most important factors to consider are what you want to find, where you are hunting, and the local beach conditions. Much of the intent of this blog is to provide information on beach conditions.

Before really getting into the meat of the subject, I need to provide some background.

Success can not be guaranteed on any one outing, but you can over the long haul learn to succeed more frequently. It is about probabilities and doing what ever you can to improve the probability of success on any given outing.

There is way too much beach for anyone to cover completely. Therefore, it becomes a matter of spending your time in the right places. Some places are much more productive than others.

First you have to define your own idea of success. Some people want to find things with the highest economic value, other people want to find old things, other people want to find things of historic interest, and other people are perfectly content to go out, get some exercise and fresh air and pick up a few coins.

Your goals should match your personality, goals and circumstances. Most people would like to find something like the treasure of the Atocha, but most people do not have either the optimism, patience, and abilities and resources or commitment to do something like that. High value targets like that usually require tons of perseverance and commitment, and many people would give up way before finishing the task.

Besides personality, situation plays a role. If you want to pan or mine for gold and live in Fort Pierce, your situation doesn't match your goals very well.

Where you live has a lot to do with what you should target, unless you are willing to travel or move.

If you live in South Florida, you should be able to learn to do well hunting modern jewelry. If you live on the Treasure Coast, hunting modern jewelry is not as economically productive as in South Florida.

The Treasure Coast has the famed shipwrecks but hunting shipwreck coins and artifacts isn't easy. Unless you dive and work with someone that has a lease,you are pretty much confined to hunting the beaches, and most of the time the conditions are not good for that.

My main point of all of that is that you have to have some clarity about your own personality, your situation, what you are willing to invest in time, effort, and expense, and your goals before you can maximize the probability of success however you define it.

If you don't have too much patience and easily get discouraged or give up, set goals that are realistic and more easily achievable. Expand the number of things that you target. And learn to enjoy the hunt.

Given all of that, once you decide what you want to find then you can begin to learn the best ways of being successful in finding that particular kind of thing. There are different things to find, and many of them require different strategies an techniques.

One of the things you can do to improve your success rate is to be adaptable. Learn to hunt a variety of different types of things. That requires more knowledge and a variety of different strategies and techniques.

Learn to identify the conditions that are best for different types of hunting and adapt to the current conditions. Take what the beach is offering.


No change in Treasure Coast beach conditions on the horizon.

Happy hunting,