Beach Review – FISHER F5
There have been a few reviews on the Fisher F5 in the past but I needed to find out for myself how this often overlooked Fisher performed. Ever since I saw this detector I liked the look of it. I liked the finish and I liked the interface. The analogue knobs with a digital screen were a neat marriage of old and new technologies. So, the looks were there but how did it perform in my backyard, being the beach?
My first attempt to test the machine was foiled by gale force westerly winds that threatened to blow me and the detector off to Madagascar so I waited patiently for the weather to clear. I chose a superb incredibly hot windless Friday morning to take the F5 out for a walk. That was a miracle all by itself here in Port Elizabeth.
I installed the two 9V batteries and powered the unit up and made a B Line straight to the water’s edge as I normally do with any machine I test. Dry sand is a given, all machines will work on the dry sand, it was the wet sea sand that sorts the boys from the men. I did not even attempt to swing it on the dry sand as my curiosity was getting the better of me. I found a small section of exposed beach that looked like it could yield some finds…..any finds. I just wanted to see this handsome machine do its thing in testing conditions.
The F5 is a detector that allows for fine tuning, I like that as I tend to run my own machines at the max level of detection, ”HOT” as we like to say. The F5 has all the basic settings you’ll expect from a mid range machine including a manual ground balance which is crucial for the beach and its ever changing sands. The ground balance option comes in very handy when moving from wet sand to water and out again.
I was mainly interested in its ability to handle the wet sand; that was my primary goal. Most mid range detectors can do this but with the sacrifice of GAIN or SENSITIVITY. What is the use of a detector that can handle wet sand on a low sensitivity level? The answer is simple, no depth and surface finds only. If you are after heavy items like Gold and Silver the only time this low sensitivity adjustment will work is if you are hunting a very cut beach with finds close to the surface……as we all know this is not a common occurrence, its actually quite rare.
I ground balanced the machine in the wet sand and pumped the Gain to 90. It settled on a fantastic 02 ground reading and I proceeded to hunt. Just as I expected, the machine was “chatty” due to the high Gain. I worked through the false signals until I hit a solid repeating tone. My first coin. Now I knew what to listen for. If you swing the coil too fast or scuff the sand at 90 Gain she will false. One good thing is that I quickly learned that the detector gives a very different tone for GAIN falsing than that of a genuine signal. This enabled me to ignore the false signals and focus on the solid hits. Yes, it was a little annoying at first but I was running HOT and this is what I anticipated.
My hunt lasted 45 min and I moved from the wet sand to the water and up the slope again looking for a pocket of finds. This pocket turned out to be mid slope in the wet pasty black sand and cobbles. I slowed my swing right down and took it easy picking out the good tones. The F5’s discrimination is excellent. Not one piece of iron or bottle top came out of the sand and I know for a fact there is lots of junk on this particular beach as I’ve hunted it many times.
I’m not going to get into the nuts and bolts of the unit with this review other than giving it my thumbs up as a capable beach machine. I think with a little practice and learning, a user can get quite accurate with deep signals and making good finds. The fact that one can adjust the knobs with your thumb on the fly is a huge advantage. Fine tuning this machine will take more than a 45 min hunt, but my results in that period are satisfactory in my eyes, especially since this is the first time I’ve used the F5.
The F5 is priced at the high end of the entry level machines, but it also slides into the low price segment of the mid range detectors. I think it is truly an underestimated machine and with time the user will become exceptionally efficient once it has been fine tuned to its given environment.
17 Feb 2017
Henry Clapton February 18th, 2017
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