I purchased my first Minelab E-TRAC just a few weeks after it was released. Within just a few days of receiving it I was finding deep silver coins and getting very comfortable with it. With it being so new there was little to no information out there yet on the machine so I had to learn it the old fashion way. One of the great things about the Minelab E-TRAC is you can pull it out of the box, turn it on and go out and find amazing things with it.
With all the information out there on the Minelab E-TRAC I’m not going to go into great detail on set-up and settings as I’m sure there are articles and even videos out there specifically for that. What I would like to share with you though is the volume gain settings. This setting, to me is the most important setting you need to know. The volume setting function does something very simple but changes something unexpected as well. If you turn the volume gain up it is amplifying the deeper signals, making them sound closer to the surface. As you turn the volume gain down you are making those deeper signals sound faint. A lot of people like to run their volume gain high so they can amplify those deeper signals but you have to know when you can and can’t do this. If the ground is wet/damp it will often false on iron (and if volume gain is high enough) to the point iron sounds like a silver coin, even giving you a good tone when you turn 90 degrees. I would suggest when starting out with this machine to run volume gain at factory 22 or lower if you start digging iron. When hunting parks with modern stuff in them I like the gain turned down somewhere between 16-18 and listen for those fainter signals. When the ground is really dry I will turn volume gain up as high as 28-29. So if you ever find yourself digging a lot of iron remember this setting!
One of many things that sets Minelab and the E-TRAC apart is the tones. Have you ever ran a metal detector and you can barely distinguish the grunts? Not with the Minelab E-TRAC ! This machine sings to you! You will learn the different tones and rely less and less on the numbers simply from the tone. I know of people who can distinguish between a silver coin and a clad coin even though they give the same number there is a slight tone difference. Don’t believe me? Lay out a clad dime and a silver dime, close your eyes and run your coil over each several times and then tell me you don’t hear the slight difference! I could just never tell when they were in the ground but there are people out there who can. I would suggest purchasing a good set of headphones for your Minelab E-TRAC, it really makes a difference.
The second program I used was a simple two tone ferrous program. I used it if I was hunting a really trashy site or high iron sites. It’s a very easy program to use and if you’re hunting somewhere like a park with modern trash you rely more on the numbers and depth when you get a high tone. I used this program exclusively though when relic hunting and if there was no modern trash you don’t even need to look at the numbers, dig all the high tones. There are some metal detectors out on the market that are known for being great relic machines. There are very few machines I haven’t used and the Minelab E-TRAC is a top of the line relic detector when hunting with two tone ferrous!
“See through technology” I think is the phrase that was going around when the Minelab E-TRAC first came out. I don’t know who coined the phrase but I think it was maybe even Minelab who did it but I remember that was going around or at least something similar. I remember before I had my Minelab E-TRAC thinking it sounded very gimmicky to the point I hated every time I heard it or read it. Probably my fifth or sixth time out metal detecting I met up with a friend who had permission at a very old house in a small town. We met up and he was sure I wouldn’t find anything there as it had been hunted hard. Close to a big tree I got a really strong 12-46 about six inches deep that was clear as can be every direction I swung. At about 4 inches deep as we are digging the hole we came across a large square cut nail that was flat spanning across the entire hole. My friend grabbed it out “here it is mike” and I just stared, confused. That was such a good signal It was hard to believe that was my signal but I accepted it and before I covered the hole up I ran the metal detector over it again 12-46. We dug down a few more inches to find a large cent! I could write a book on all the times I have found coins and relics surrounded and even covered by iron. I don’t know how it works but I tell people the Minelab E-TRAC has SEE THROUGH TECHNOLOGY!
There are only two things I can think of that I didn’t love about the machine. It is somewhat heavy, balance seems a little off and after hours of metal detecting it would wear my elbow out pretty good. Another thing that was challenging at first but you play with the contrast and get used to it is it can be hard to see your screen at times. Small things considering this will be one of my favorite machines of all time. I found the Minelab E-TRAC to be versatile, easy to use and DEEP!