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The Minelab Hobby CTX 3030 is a real beast of a metal detector. Whilst it might make your eyes water, the returns on this detector could be worth their weight in gold. Minelab make an array of really powerful and intelligently designed metal detectors, the CTX3030 is one of their most sophisticated efforts.
- Excellent discrimination and depth perception
- Waterproof to 3 meters
- Rugged design and sophisticated features combined
- Great integration with Xchange2
Minelab have made a superbly balanced detector which has great ruggedness and is made from high-quality polymer materials. The detector is black and grey, as they all tend to be, there are no glaring reds or oranges to fool you into thinking this thing is hot, it’s just incredibly well spec’d as it stands.
Some metal detectors are battery powered, in the sense that you’re going to need a stack of AA batteries and a decent charger. Not the case with the CTX3030, it has a lithium-ion battery which is rechargeable and it does charge very quickly indeed.
One downside is that the battery life is quite short, when you’ve got the full complement of connectivity flowing, it’ll drain in under an hour.
Whilst the weight might put some off, 2.3kg is a fairly heavy weight for a detector, the counterbalance means it won’t be dragging you down. It’s got a good feel, and won’t be unwieldy, even if you’re walking over some difficult muddy terrain.
Being wireless also means you have a mobility bonus. Connecting the output via Bluetooth is a great way to reduce the cable footprint. But beware the battery. Connecting to the WM-IO module is another option, that is a little less battery heavy.
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When hunting you can really customise the outputs you receive from the CTX3030. Everything you’d expect like frequency and profile, but down to individual sound tones for specific types of target. These little extras add a great deal of value.
For hunting, you’ve got a multi-frequency detector that uses VLF, VLF detectors are better for finding gold by the way. The coil provided on purchase is a 11-inch DD-searcher. This can be upgraded with other Minelab coils though.
The range of frequencies is quite stunning too – the 3030 has FBS technology, developed by Minelab, and can combine frequencies between 1.5 and 100kHz, letting you search for deep targets very easily indeed.
This multiple-frequency search functionality lets the detector cancel out the effect of mineralisation in the medium, and give more accurate IDs when something is targetted.
As this is a premium product, there are some premium features. The CTX 3030 has location tracking built-in, this is done via GPS, it’ll store data from your search and you can then sync, via wi-fi, onto Google Maps using XChange2, Minelab’s dedicated detecting software.
This feature is great as it streamlines the process of something you might already be doing – i.e. logging location. This is done automatically. But it goes beyond just cartography.
Once you’ve uploaded data there are various ways to slice it and view it, allowing you to explore areas you’ve searched and mark them as potential spots to return or avoid. The GeoTrails feature will alert you to the places you have previously scouted, increasing your coverage and making the most out of your time on the search.
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The CTX3030 is definitely one for experienced, dare I say, professional detectorists. The manual is quite complex and will require a good pour-over before everything is fully grogged. The range of settings and customisation is quite intense and extreme, but this machine, when used to its full potential is unrivalled.
When searching you can choose between five different pre-programmed modes. There are coins, beach, relics, silver and high trash.
These modes are mainly for beginners to get stuck in straight away. For the more experienced detectorist, there is room on the computer for five customised target profiles. These get saved, so don’t worry about losing them.
The trope of a detectorists is surely someone thinking they’ve got a nugget when really they’ve got a non-entity. The CTX303 has intelligent software on board, which collates and processes all that data to ascertain the quality of what’s lurking below.
Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Finding
The detector can analyse how ferrous and how conductive the materials below ground are, it displays these with great clarity on the LCD screen located on the stem.
The two-axis illustrate the conductivity and the ferrous nature of what you’ve chanced upon. Once you’ve understood the location of various targets on this axis system, you’ll be easily accepting and rejecting targets.
A word on depth – the CTX3030 actually works best at greater depths. Close to the surface, the CTX3030 isn’t as accurate as some detectors, but it will do the job. Where it excels is beyond the 20cm mark, the response speeds are peerless and ideal for small relic hunting.
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Display and User Interface
The display is LCD and full colour, there is a higher quality to this screen and the options within it than on the Equinox series, it looks more like a smartphone.
It is filled with information, which as we say, needs some time to get used to processing and understanding intuitively.
The user interface involves several different screens, these are cycled through to adjust different settings. The most used one will be ‘Detect’, it displays the status and detection inputs like the Target ID, how deep things are, the Trace Target feature and Pinpoint.
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The CTX3030 is a detector for the experienced and passionate. It is filled with features that beginners or intermediate users might neglect to use, or find unnecessary.
Integration with software like Xchange2 means you can really take things to the next level in terms of scouting and planning hunts. For unparalleled depth and small target finding, the CTX3030 is our prime choice.
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