Minelab User

Minelab user for 29 years


I owned a butcher shop in 1993 and when I was on my break, I would read the Treasure Hunting magazine for the umpteenth time because then we had no internet and the only two magazines where the above and The Searcher magazine which always seemed hard to pick up.

At the time I was using a Fisher CZ model and doing very well with it finding my first Roman silver and hammered with it amongst other decent finds.  One day reading my magazine I noticed the advert from Minelab showing a Sovereign XS2A Pro BBS V Single frequency. The add worked as it had me reading back issues looking for info.  The guy that was using it was Willie the wizard on the beaches and touting it’s abilities.  I phoned a few dealers and when I was told it did NOT dig coke that was me sold!  We where plagued by coke up here and getting a solid hit from it was annoying and meant digging holes you did not need to dig.

I decided I was going to trade in my Fisher and buy a Sovereign XS2A Pro and OMG was it heavy with the box under the S bend so we opted to mount it on the rear under the arm cup or hip mount it which made it super light.  My mate Sammy and I used these for around 3 years finding a nice hoard of Edward I pennies and plenty more.  These detectors where not as classy or offered the options that Whites or Garrett offered at the time but they where Deep due to the very slow recovery speed and with the Broad band spectrum the detector would not even null on coke which was a massive help to us.

At the time of finding our hoard we hammered the grass field to death as you can imagine.  Every day we walked that small area listening for whispers but no more hammies where to show their faces.  Jimmy one of our detecting mates that found the hoard with us bought a Minelab XS which was just released.  Jimmy brought this out once or twice but it was a massive leap from the Sov XS so none of us had a clue and the noises coming from this machine was hysterical.  By this time, I now had a computer and so did Sammy and we joined the very first MLO Minelab Owners Group (Com Zero).  We were gobsmacked with the finds we saw and when I posted my hoard coins which numbered 18 at the time I got a private message from Russ Fergs.  He asked if I had an Explorer as it would go far deeper on hammered than the Sov.  I told him Jimmy did and he sent me settings to put in and he then told me what to listen and look for.  I phoned Jimmy and we all arranged to meet at the site and I would be using the Explorer.

We set it up and I ran up like a wean at Christmas, Noise cancelled and took a few steps “BRRRRRUB” I looked at the meter and the crosshair had dropped into the right-hand corner only showing a quarter of the crosshair.  I thought surely that isn’t a hammy it blew my ears off!  I dug down and I swear it my heart was pounding as I seen that wee smiley face looking back at me “HAMMY” I shouted, and we all looked in amazement at this detector but was it a fluke?  I took another step “BRRRRUB” I thought another one and it was this happened step after step and I recovered 18 in an hour from funny depths.  By this time Jimmy was trying to rip his detector from my hands with me screaming at him to F$%^ off it was my settings lol.

I returned home absolutely ecstatic soon after Sammy phoned, and we agreed we could not look at the Sovs the same as this was an absolute game changer.   That week we both had new Explorers and where the only 3 people that had them up here.  Over the years I set many of these detectors up for people at my club or rallies basically using Russel’s settings but slightly modified.  I continued in the MLO for many years and learned a lot from people like CallmeChris, Richard Evans who where Experts in my book.

I continued with the Explorer in all it’s guises over the years like the XS II, SE Pro.  What I loved about the Explorer was the accuracy of the meter and once mastered you could literally tell what you where digging.

Along Comes the Etrac and I thought OMG Minelab what have you done you have ruined it!  I hated it as I thought you have ruined the meter and it took me ages to get used to it BUT once I did I would regularly find more hammies on the same day as Rab and Bobby both using Explorers.  This led them to buy Etracs.  We used Etracs as part of our arsenal for many years but a massive change was to come just like the OMG moment I seen with the Explorer.

I had a site that produced a lot of nice finds for me but it was very highly mineralised and had other detectorists detecting it.  I tried every new detector that came out to combat the mineralisation and knew I was not getting very deep.  I had run dry with ideas and was on all the US forums looking for a spark of inspiration when I noticed the Garrett Infinium LS (Land & Sea) would go through mineralisation to find gold nuggets!!  That was the next stage in my detecting career this was about 2004 and I could not get one in the UK I imported one and set about using it for the next year or two but to my horror it had zero discrimination!  You do not know how much iron I had to dig but I was on the right track as I was seeing cut halfs deeper than the Etrac now but the No discrimination was the killer.  The GPX was out of my budget at the time so I never even considered it but Rab bought one and gave it to me to play with.  I was going over sites I had hammed and was pulling hammered out at STUPID depths so you guessed it we both had GPX 5000s and again only a few in the UK did.  I have had a GPX since then and so has Rab, I have tried most PI’s and to date the GPX is the best due to it’s ability to discriminate.  Many hoards have been recovered using these detectors!

I have also used the Minelab Excalibur for many years for my underwater detecting and the reason for this as it was the only waterproof detector that could discriminate underwater BUT it is also loud enough that you could hear it.  I have tried lots but you just can’t hear them well enough.

Minelab Equinox yes you guessed it I had to have one and there is no doubt that this detector finds the stuff as I see it every week at my club digs.

Minelab Manticore yes that’s the next one I will have!  It looks great with the carbon shaft!

In between all this I was a Minelab dealer around 2005 promoting and selling Minelabs all over the UK.  The reason I wrote this is to give you a bit of background about me as a detectorist and to ensure you that I fully understand the Minelab range and it’s progression.  This then allows me to teach you how to use these detectors.  I have walked the walk I don’t just talk the talk.



Toddy Irvine



Toddy & Rab

GPX 5000 



TH mag 2006




Hoard Site