My Blog 2019



Happy New Year everyone

My last outing of the year gave the worst percentages i have every had on a finds to rubbish ratio, 65 holes dug,  i got one button , everything else was a cartridge case or a piece of lead, lets hope we all get great results on the 1st outing of this year
My very first signal of last year was a James 11 half groat, then it all went down hill from there!
I used my Equinox so my ORX is still waiting for it's first outing, maybe this Sunday, 

Detector tests will be updated in the next couple of days


Let me explain how we detect , we have thousands of acres to go at, 99% permanent pasture, we wander around until we find a hot spot, this may be a Medieval /Saxon /or Roman dwelling, we then batter the area until we consider it empty then we move on .in between finding these hot spots we of course find isolated , random finds these keep us going until we find the next hot spot which could be 6 months away, meanwhile a new all singing all  dancing detector may be available , meaning we can go back to all our old' hot spots' and find stuff we missed before, this is what we are doing at the moment with the Equinox's.
Amazing really how so many targets can be missed, i was detecting on a field on Sunday i dug 45 non ferrous targets in an area  that is probably our most battered   ever, every detector has been over the 50 sq yards i spent all day on, several times, nothing great turned up mainly bits of lead , 2 buttons , a fragment of a Fibula and a musket ball. All my detectors are chosen because they do a different job, next up the XP ORX!
First time i had used it, it had to be different so i put it on deep coin program and 54khz, thought id try it on the top of the field first , this area is full on iron but not much top soil, the field came alive , there were signals everywhere, nice two way clear signals the id's coming in at 60/70/85/95 all high conductive  signals , now there would never be anything on the field that would be high in conductivity so i dug the targets up being pretty sure the signals were iron, yes they were , i dug about 10 really good signals up , all bits of horseshoe or flat iron, the iron probability meter at the bottom of the screen failed to notice the iron so i started to ignore the high conductive signals and started to look for the low conductive signals i got two bits of foil so that was the way to go!
After a spot of lunch i went out of the iron infested area and continued with the ORX i was really enjoying using it thought id do a depth test, i found a couple of very vague deep signals with the ORX , these were signals that were pushing it to it's limits, very scratchy faint signals , no target id, went over them with the equinox and got a nice clear two way signal with a VDI number on the screen, one was a musket ball , the other an air rifle pellet needless to say the ORX went back in the car, not much point using it when the Equinox is clearly better on the deeper soil
The Deus and ORX would be really good detectors if the discrim worked beyond 6'', detectorists who use these these machines must be leaving so much stuff in the ground, but I'm trying to get it to do something that it's not happy with, it probably excels on ploughed land and dry sand.

I'll take it out again this week on normal ground where i think it will be fine with normal iron conditions , we don't have too many areas on our permissions that have loads of flat iron on them , i have to avoid these areas with my GPX as well, the Equinox E-Trac and CTX seem to handle it ok.
Got my wireless headphones today for it, great! The Wireless headphones on all XP detectors are probably the best i have used.


We went back to one of our hotspots on Sunday , windy and raining , the 'hotspot' consists of  Medieval fish ponds in the middle of nowhere ,we found a few Tudor bits there down the steep bank side  so over the last year we have been digging the bank side out to the depth of 3 feet then detecting though the spoil , not much Tudor stuff around here so it's a bit of a novelty ,we have not found vast amounts but everything we have found is Tudor, mainly spectacle buckles , a couple of hammered, several jettons, an earring and quite a lot of Tudor Pottery and a few more bits.
I dug for 3 hours yesterday without a single signal, i ended up with 3 unidentified items and a Large Tudor pin.
The soil is full of nails and  not many non ferrous bits, the Equinox and ORX were used and the ORX probably gave the best results, it's very hard hitting on shallow low conductive targets.
The ORX gave me a reading of 26  on the Tudor pin ,on the Deus 26 would have been a piece of coke so i had to investigate it further today, i ran the ORX over a piece of coke on my test bed it gave me a read out of 2, so it is a lot different than the Deus discrim wise.
I did a full test on it while i was on my test bed , it was as deep if not deeper than the Deus, and it actually made a difference when i ground balanced it.
Discrim (screen wise) was inaccurate beyond  8'' so you need your ears to work out what your target may be, signals beyond 8'' could be anything, it's easy on a test bed because you know what the targets are.
Another thing i noticed was when i was going nice and slow over my test bed and was able to pick out the low conductive signals with a nice  clear loud two way signal as soon as i speeded up to what i would say was a normal detecting speed 90% of the test bed targets were lost, frightening !
I found the only targets to be detected were the deep signals?


 Out on Sunday as normal, went on a pasture field i have detected on for the last 20 years, off and on to see if the Equinox could open it up again , two halfpennies and 6  buttons and overall 40 none ferrous signals were found, the Equinox was having a bad day with EMI's until the fog cleared so had to use the ORX in between, what a nightmare, , no idea what i was digging, half the 'good signals' were iron, 90% of the low conductive signals were non ferrous, 90% of the high conductive signal were ferrous, bought the X35 11''coil for it today, did a few tests and found he 9'' High freq coil was better when run at 54khz than the 11' run at 25kz, so the X35 Coil will be up for sale soon, i also found the 9'' round High freq coil was he best on the Deus


Best find on Sunday was a William 111 sixpence love token, and loads of other bits and pieces, i was using the Equinox , the field we were on was very busy and there were signals everywhere , i prefer to use the Equinox on sites that are well battered. the average field just has too much going on and there are signals everywhere it was very erratic for most of the day, EMI's, then the back light packed up , so it's off to MSR today for a repair/replacement , Steve's super quick so hopefully i will have it sorted by next weekend, if not i have a back up Equinox to replace it.

Spent a while on my test bed yesterday with the Makro Anfibio my thoughts below


Well made, all the options are on the screen instead of having to scroll though menus, excellent depth , better on low conductive targets than high conductive targets


Passed all the iron tests but not too convincingly , had to be made to find several of them, all the menus are on the screen instead of having to scroll though menus, great if you have good eyesight or detect in glasses ,loads of buttons on the front because of this they are too small and if you have big fingers or wear gloves you will hit several of them at the same time , that is if you can see them!

Like most detectors the readout on the screen disappears after a certain depth, you do not get a readout on deeper targets , so it’s ears only.

Is not able to find very low conductive targets without digging coke.
The bigger coil like on most detectors does not really improve the depth but will of course covers more ground, trade off is the weight.

Over the last 10 years or so we have had numbers flashing upon our screens giving us an incite in to what the actual find might be (or not) i am often asked what number is a hammered on a CTX or whatever ,my normal answer is a hammered can be anything from zero to 50 or whatever your maximum score may be, all depends on the size of the coin and the conductivity of the metal ,Metal detecting is not an exact science all a Metal detector does is to give you a readout on the conductivity of a piece of metal, the higher the number the
higher the conductivity, so a Charles 1 Half-crown is going to give you a much higher tone/number than a cut quarter of a Medieval penny (this example is one extreme to the other)
It's not rocket science but apparently escapes a lot of people
So if you get what you think is a non ferrous signal , dig it up it could be anything! 
There are of course exceptions , if you are on a beach or Park , whatever and the last twenty signals you have dug are a number 24 and they were all ring pulls then there is a good chance that the next one will be a ring pull as well, but it could also be a gold ring or a 20 pence, both give similar readout, so it's a trade off really depends if you want to dig a 100 rings in the hope that one may be a gold ring, there are only so many things you can find on a beach so numbers on screens may be of some use, put not on Farmland where a signal could be anything., i have had detectors in and when i look at how they are set up to reject loads of targets it's frightening, there must be be so much being left in the ground  



My detecting friend Lee has retired from the hobby; we have only missed a handful of Sunday’s in the last 10 years or so, he had been detecting for about 30 years or so

So on my own now, no shortage of land to go at I'll just keep on plugging away, someone’s got to do it!

It’s nice to go detecting with someone like minded, but i don’t mind detecting on my own.

I have other detecting friends that are nice enough to invite me out, but it’ on their land which does not mean the same, it’s not so much about the finds, i just like to detect in an area that has been a ‘project’ to us for years, if i find something it’s a bonus.


I will accept the odd invite, so i will not become a total recluse!

One such invite was followed up on yesterday thanks to the kind invite of a Blog reader!
A friend and i travelled 100 miles to see how the other half detect!

Steve (not real name) and two detecting buddies had a far greater journey than us to get there but they had been there for the weekend, land in question is in Lincolnshire

We started out on a few permanent pasture fields (a bit rare in Lincs) the soil was very sandy and very deep, cartridge cases were a foot down, so no idea how deep the older stuff was.

I then wandered across a grass field that had been ploughed and reseeded and remembered why i hate reseeded pasture, took me half an hour to extract a jam Jar lid though thick clay at 18’’

I’m sure it does not bother most Detectorists but i will only detect on Permanent Pasture or Plough/Stubble, i hate it when it’s in between e.g. Silage fields.

They seem to always be full of junk, not so bad if they were last ploughed in the War because most of those fields around here were only ploughed to a depth of 7’’ or so and there were not loads of aluminium about to bury, but I’m sure it depends whereabouts in the country you are.

We then went on a pasture field near a Church/Centre of the Village, i love fields like this the field had produced loads of hammered coins in the past, so i presumed most, if not all of the obvious signals had gone, leaving just deep and dodgy signals, i see this as a challenge, a field such as this could never be emptied so there will without a doubt be loads more stuff on it, it’s just about finding the technique and detector to unlock it.

So off i went using the Equinox, my friend was using an E-Trac.

Steve had found a Mary Groat the day before at 14’’ with his Equinox on the field.

I wandered very slowly across the field, this normally brings it to life, got a couple of coke cans at a foot and realised it had probably been ploughed about 30 to 40 years ago, i was expecting low conductive deep signals to jump out but nothing?

Next i tried the ‘’get as close to the fence as possible’ method, this area is normally untouched so i get a chance to see what the field was like before it was detected on several times, i got a 4th Century Bronze, 2’’ down, probably having come to the surface as the coke can went in the opposite direction, i got a few other signals, but not a great deal.


Most of the detectorists out there will be used to this and not really know any different.

Where i detect the ground as never been disturbed so the Coke can is on the surface and the Roman bronze at a foot, Victorian stuff at 5’’ Georgian at 6’’ and Medieval at 10’’, all give or take an inch or two. Everything in the correct order, so the deeper it is the older it is, the deeper the better!

I have over the years spoke to many 1000’s of detectorists and a lot of them say they are not interested in depth and only want to dig in the top few inches, never really got my head around that one, until now, not spent a lot of time detecting in Lincs, maybe a couple of days, but the vast amount of huge fields , most of which are ploughed or have been in recent times is mind blowing, you could never cover some of them in several life times, and every year it’s ploughed again and becomes a different field, of course you still have to wander around and try to find the hot spots, which will be few and far between I'm sure, so to get a very kind invite out and to be put on a field that has produced good finds in the past cuts out the years of leg work and puts me in with more than a fighting chance of taking something nice home is great and very much appreciated.


I just need to change my mind set for the day,

So the next trick i use is the ‘next to the road ‘one, where you go as close as possible to the road , which everyone avoids with good reason normally, main reason is of course that all the coke cans and similar chucked out of car windows with be sitting there, and in this case will have been ploughed in, i stuck that for 10 mins, nightmare, if i was there for a year i would get them all out but, i have only a day to find something, so the next trick ‘under electric cables’ the Guys that have been detecting on the field for years have used Deus’s so the chances are all the stuff anywhere near the cables will still be under the ground, Steve had just found another Hammered under the cables with the Equinox, they don’t seem to be bothered by electrical interference as much, he also got his Mary Groat in the same area the day before, so i spent the next half an hour under the cable, i got a few bits of Lead and Musket ball.


Normally with more time i would have tried another detector, probably the GPX 5000 to see if that opened it up, i knew i was walking over finds, just never found the key on this occasion, when it does happen normally the field comes alive and you cannot move for signals, it can be something simple like changing your sweep speed.


Time to have a go on another field before we went home


Steve took us to a recently turned over stubble field where loads of hammered and similar had been found in the past, from all periods of time.

I love it when someone puts me on a field like that; all i needed was a signal then i stood a good chance of getting my 1st hammered of the year.


Steve pointed out a small area that many Elizabeth Hammered had been found in the past, i put the Equinox in all metal and just got bombarded with mineral and iron signals, i slowed down to a snail’s pace and bang, 1st hammered of the year about 1’’ down, i was not going to get much depth on the field due to mineralisation and iron which would have masked the non ferrous signals, a few seconds later a Rose Farthing, then a piece of lead followed 10 mins later a Charles 1st Half Groat, meanwhile my friend found an Edward Penny in another part of the field.

Normally the GPX 5000 at this stage would now be kicked in, ideal conditions for it, but time to go home


Great end to a pleasant and enlightening day

Thank you Steve and friends


last Sunday I decided to go to a farm we got permission on about 18 months ago but have never detected on,i  used the Equinox as per usual , this Farm is in the back of beyond and no one in their right mind would ever bother with it, like most of the land i detect on really.
Got my first signal after an hour, it was a 1921 penny, followed by a few 17th Century buttons, then i hit a hoard of 303 cases and bullets this theme continued throughout the day, time to go home, there was a small rocky limestone outcrop next to where i had parked the Freelander and i had a feeling about it all day , thought i would end the day on it,  first signal  a Denarius of Marcus Aurelius, half an hour looking for more resulted in zero signals.
I need to go back next week me thinks!





Just done a test on he XP ORX, results with be up loaded tomorrow, using the 9'' HF coil and the 11'' X35 Coil

I bought an ORX a few months ago to get covers made for it, i do this with most new detectors that hit the street.

Even lighter than the Deus, but i don’t like the new stem, looks cheap and the holes in the plastic at the back will be a pig to clean.

Mine is fitted with the 9’’ HF coil , this is what I consider the best coil, and is what I use on my Deus

I like the no frills, hard hitting performance and i used it several times with good results, i decided to keep it and to sell my Deus, it actual gave consistent results the first two times i took it out, my pet hate with the Deus is that it seems to have its own agenda and can work differently every time i take it out, even when using the same settings on the same site.


The third time i took it out, same field, same settings, i could not stop finding coke, i had never dug any before with it? And i could not stop digging iron the week after?

Thought it was too good to be true


So the honeymoon period was over and i started to think logically

It’s got 4 programs on it, two are for Gold Prospecting, the other two, ‘Coin fast’ is completely useless and will seriously reduce your finds, leaving the ‘Coin Deep’ this is great and gives top performance without having to twiddle with loads of settings.


So here i am about to sell my Deus to replace it with ORX with exactly the same performance as my Deus with less options, hmmm


Looks like the Deus is staying, if I were buying an XP for the 1st time then it would be the ORX, because I don’t need the multiple setting options the Deus gives me, although some might, when I get a detector I tend to set it up to its optimum performance then not really touch it again, except for the odd tweak.

If you have an XP Deus then pointless changing, if you are an XP 1st timer then save a load of £’s and get the ORX , unless of course you have loads of money and like to twiddle with settings!



I used my CTX last Sunday , 1st time for over a year, on the same farm i found my Denarius on a couple of weeks ago,i have been on the same farm for the last two weeks, and found loads of 303 shells, presume it was used by the home guard for practice, also loads of 12 bore cartridge ends, 22 shells and bullets, no doubt there will be a few nice bits amongst the ordinance, but how much of this stuff can you dig in the hope of one of of the signals may be something of interest ?
Then i start to ignore signals, the 303  shells give me a readout of 26, the bullets 23, the 12 bore ends 13/14 15 , the .22 shells 4 , this is where my head goes  , i never leave signals ,but i cannot cope with digging another bullet up, we have all been there, time to go home.

Equinox owners make sure you dig some of the weird signals you sometimes get , mostly they are non ferrous signals, the Equinox seems to find odd ball items that other detectors miss.
I much prefer using the Equinox on totally worked out hot spots on normal sites that have not been battered most detectors will do the job, the Equinox is the next detector i would use as well as the GPX 5000

Not a lot has been found since my last entry
The week before last i went on a 100 sq yard area where i had previously been detected on many times, i have founds loads of bits from Roman though to modern, the area is popular with tourists so lots of Silver paper and ring pulls to detect.
I used the equinox in the morning and was trying to not dig anything under a readout of 10 because it is 99% Silver paper, i hate leaving signals but on certain sites it's got to be done otherwise it will drive you mad, I found a few pre-decimal coins and a few buttons. but zero Silver paper
In the afternoon i used my Deus, loads of iron was being dug with the odd non-ferrous find, i went on the Silver paper hot spot and i decided to dig everything above a readout of 40 under (40 is normally silver paper or similar) that’s when I remembered how bad the discrimination is on a Deus, I dug about 30 pieces of foil coming in at numbers from 40 to 90, the Deus can be deep and match most detectors on the market but the discrimination Is dire and that should be where XP should try to improve , also an 11’’ HF coil would be a good addition because the 9’’ HF coil at the moment is the best of all the coils


Just come back from a week on Anglesey (North Wales)  i detected on three beaches, nothing but Aluminium, I'm sure if i lived near the coast i would get it , but as a visitor  maybe 2 or 3 times a year ,i don't get it, why do i just find aluminium and nothing else?
I can find 1970's ring pulls but nothing else from that period of time, when i detector on he grassy banks near the coast i find Coke cans at 12'' , how did they get to that depth? Beach detecting is just a mystery to me!!

Back again!
This time of year it gets a bit quieter (sales wise), grass is getting longer ,crops are up, a lot of detectorists suddenly find they have no where to go, so detecting is put on hold until August.
So detector cover sales take a dive  and drop by about  30% compared to the Autumn to Spring period
Detector sales normally change and the main buyers are beginners or beach detectorists
This time of year as cover sellers we have to be on or guard as people buy covers thinking they are getting a detector, someone will buy a XP Deus cover for £9.95 and then send it back because the £1300.00 Deus was not included ! and it's not just the odd one ot two that do it.
It's mainly people who want a detector for the Summer hols as cheap as possible for use on the beach and they do not not read the ebay listing and just buy what they see on the picture.
Very annoying.

i have started to buy a few detectors in again at sensible prices, so i can sell them them at sensible prices
if i pay top price for them , then i have to sell them at top price, meaning it may take a year to sell  it, not good!


Just got back from a week on the isle of Skye, took a couple of detectors with me but not a lot of detecting done, not a lot of beaches to go at ,and such a vast amount of land with little population you would have to be very lucky to find anything unless of course you lived there and had a bit of local knowledge 
I had an hour on a beach with the Equinox , what a great beach you could dig everything without thinking t was going to be a piece of foil or Aluminium, there didn't seem to be any 
I got a 1 pence, a lead weight , a spinner and a bullet!
Bought 10 detectors in this week they will be put up for sale soon.

I have been testing a few different detectors this week , mainly due to the fact i have started to buy in a few more Detectors that i have not tested before , it's amazing how good the Deeptech detectors are, i have just tested a Warrior and Gold and they are up there with the best, also the very underrated Rutus Ultima matched my Equinox easily.
You do not have to spend a future nowadays to get a very decent detector

I also tested the new Whites TDi Beach Hunter which was superb.
I tested a Tesoro Supertraq and a Whites DFX both were dire, if i had to use these i would not bother going out
The Lobo was great in the first 3" after that forget it
The DFX was alright in the first 8" after that useless.

After my 6 year love/hate  relationship with the Deus i have decided to sell it and it will be up for sale soon, i spent hours on Saturday comparing it to the XP ORX, i found the ORX to e slightly better and the signals were better, maybe it was the way the Deus was set up , but after 6 years i am sick of messing about trying to get some sense out of it.
You can get maximum performance out of the ORX without all the Deus distractions.

We went on an undetected field yesterday , it looked interesting, ridge and furrow with plenty of features, it was a bit grim signal wise but we plugged away, 5 buttons and a musket ball plus a Cartwheel penny was about it, until i sheltered under a tree when the heavens opened, it was next to the road so when i got a 'Coke can signal' i expected just that, but out popped a 1817 Shilling followed by a 1820 Shilling going over the hole again another signal,  a half crown 1819, first one i have ever found, time to go home, right place, right time! if it had not rained i would not have found them.

On my own this week, i decided go on a very very well detected  6 acre field , loads of very nice stuff has come off it during the last 15 years but it has been battered to death by many different detectors, i have decided to do it all again using various detectors and line and pins, I've done about 100yds by 25yds up to now in two sessions, the bit i did on Sunday did not produce much but i dug about 15 non ferrous that had been missed  before, i started with the Equinox i got a couple of pieces of lead at good depths considering  the size of them, this is where it excels on low conductive signals at depth, then the very annoying EMI's kicked in causing me to abandon the Equinox for the ORX did a couple of lines with the ORX fitted with the X35 11'' coil, i found 2 x .22 shells and a Medieval belt mount at about 6'', trouble with the Deus and the ORX is the read out on the screen (or lack off, one of my pet rants) how can a company that  creates a detector with wireless technology, loads of different options and settings, lightweight, great stem, make a detector whose readout that is close to useless, ever the  simplest low end detectors can produce that.
I don't have an obsession with looking at numbers on a display but sometimes it would useful to have a  second opinion on what i am hearing though my headphones , then based on the two i can decide whether to dig an hole or not, the Deus and ORX love iron and will give a great signal on odd shaped iron and flat pieces of iron, but the ID only seems to work to about 8'' then everything is 95 on the readout or similar, meaning ''there is a piece of metal under the coil but no idea what it might be'' reason i need to know is that i detect mainly on permanent pasture that i full of Limestone, if it's non ferrous then great i will happily spend half an hour digging up one target or ever an hour, that why i use Minelabs where the signal matches the readout, regardless of depth, on the ORX the 'iron probability meter is a complete joke as are the horseshoe and horizontal/Vertical  lines options on the Deus, if you own a Deus next time you get readout telling you its iron dig it up , a lot of the time it's wrong! particularly on deeper finds. (rant over)
Where were we, the last line i did with the ORX produced zero, thought id run the Equinox over it , just as an experiment, i got two clear targets the ORX had missed, one was a pewter button at 8'' the other a small piece of lead at 6'', so the ORX went back in the car, and the Equinox was reinstated, the EMI's seemed to have disappeared, so with the ''Summer Rain'' and everything else not a great day really, there's always next Sunday!


Not much happening this time of year, June and July are the whose two months of the year sales wise, and probably detecting wise too, i went out this morning and spent 2 hours driving around and checking out fields , most were out of bounds, grass too long, Cows on the field, i don't have any problem with detecting with Cows but when i fill the hole in they have a nasty habit of tugging at the grass (to eat it} and the clod comes out leaving a load of holes.
The fields i have with Sheep on them are not as short as normal this year, except of course the fields i don't want to go on.
I ended upon on four stubble fields , i only have 100 Acres out of about 20,000 acres, but the corn as been cut very early this year.
Stubble fields always do it for me, not sure why?  because i prefer Pasture, but then reality hits. stubble too long, can't push the coil though it, i decided to test the ORX against the Equinox, nothing in it really , i tried the Equinox with the 6'' coil on it, didn't find me any more but it was easier to use.
I had had  a fairly grim day and was about to go home but decided to have 10 mins with a Makro Racer 2 i had received in a part ex deal a couple of days earlier , it came with 3 extra coils including the NEL Tornado 13'' x 12'' Coil, i love this coil and i knew it would  improve the Racer, i tried it on my test bed and it was deeper and more positive than my Equinox, but nowhere near as good among  iron. i was swinging above the stubble and getting quite  a few nice positive signals, it was a pleasure to use and i stuck at it for another hour, think you might be hearing more on the Racer!

We went to a local stubble field last Sunday, one of only a few i have permission on, it's been detected on for 40 years , but no one bothers with it now only me.
There are still signals on it so there has got to be a few decent finds left, not a big fan of stubble but all the pasture land i have is either too dry or the grass too long, plus of course with stubble we only get a small window of opportunity so we might as well go for it.
I took four detectors with me Racer 2 with Nel Tornado coil, Equinox/CTX and ORX.
The Field is about a mile long, i parked about half way along it, first of all i used the Racer and walked to the end of the field and back again, 10 non ferrous targets found, nothing of interest
next i did the same distance with the Equinox, again 10 non ferrous items, when i compared the Racer items i had dug to all the Equinox signals i had dug all the Eqiunox targets were smaller, pretty random test , but why had i not dug any high conductive targets with the Equinox and why had i not dug any low conductive targets with the Racer
On my test bed the Racer with the Nel Tornado coil on it out performs the Equinox overall.
I was gong to get the ORX out next but ran out of time, i went in to training mode , my new detecting friend is struggling so i gave her a couple of hours of tips!

I went out on the same field again last night, started with the ORX and after i had found 10 non ferrous signals i swapped to the Racer, spent about the same amount of time on the field and found one non ferrous target, not quite sure what is happening here because on the test bed the Racer fitted with Nel Tornado coil is the best out of them all.
A lot of the time it is down to sweep speed.
Probably back on the same field on Sunday, where i will be in 'test' mode


Just got back today from a week on Anglesey , where  (we) Lesley (my Wife) , myself and Cocker Spaniel Finley are walking the coastline (slowly) 

We normally walk the coast for several miles then end up on a beach somewhere where the Detectors come out!
If you have read about my previous detecting sessions on beaches you will know that they are not very successful,
I had a mixed week detecting i found 20 pence and couple of earrings and a dogs identity disc. the last day was on Cemaes bay we were trapped up a corner waiting for the rest of the beach goers to go home, reason for this is that Finley is very much into detecting, so much so he can hear the signal in my headphones he then comes over and starts to dig my hole, not a problem,. but he barks very loudly whilst digging, and sometimes i lose my target!
It was quite sheltered where we were and my thinking was that there would not be any waves hitting the area, meaning there would not be a lot of sand movement, there had to be something that had been missed by other detectorists over the years, i decided to use the same tactic's i  normally use on deep pasture , i went across the area at a normal sweep sweep speed , went across again a bit slower and got a 20 pence that looked like it had been there a while, went back again at a snails pace and i started to get signal after signal, all pre decimal coins a couple of pieces of lead all 10'' to 12'' deep under a layer of stones sitting on a hard pack, i finished with 10 coins in half an hour, unfortunately it was time to go, loads more signals were left although they take a bit of separating I'm sure they will still be there waiting for me next time i am in the area!


Raining today so detecting abandoned, gone are the days were i get soaked for a couple of buttons!
12.30 and it stops, car loaded with gear off i go, stubble field down the road, battered for 40 years and no one bothers with it any more, ideal for a quick session
Decided to do a test whilst trying to find something, i don't take detecting on stubble too seriously , it's very hit and miss so i tend to play about with different detectors.
Today i decided to walk from one side of the field to the other and count the none ferrous items i dug up with each detector
Equinox with 15'' coil- 5
Equinox with 11'' coil -10
Equinox with 6'' coil -14
ORX with 9'' coil-6
Makro racer 13'' x 11'' Nel coil -3

So the detector and coil that performed best on my test bed came last and the detector/coil that came last performed the best.
I have done this test before with the same results
The Racer 2 is one of those detectors that is awesome on my test bed then when i take it on site i can hardly get a signal with it.
I had one last year that impressed me with the standard coil on it, took it to a site with loads of stuff on it, had one signal in half a hour, chucked it in the car and got my Deus out, signals everywhere, i forgot all about it until this weekend when i had one of those, '' I've been here before' moments,
The Racer 2 i have arrived a couple of weeks ago with a 13'' x 12'' Nel Coil, now any detector with a Nel Tornado coil 'does it for me' they normally take the detectors performance to the next level so when i tested it i was not disappointed, it was probably the best detector/Coil combination i had ever tested, or at least in the top three, but having used it twice and testing it against others in the field i can only get big targets with it , and not many of those!
 it finds loads of Coke and the odd piece of iron which you would expect, i know two or three people who use them and they say they are excellent, i have since Sunday sold the Racer i had and gained another one, we'll see if this one works it maybe something simple  sweep speed, settings, ground balance

It makes you wonder how many times we have walked across a field , found nothing and declared it to be baron, yet with another detector it could be full of goodies i have done that with loads of fields in the past.


Back on Pasture today. i think i have got stubble out of my system for another year, if i were in a great area and there were loads of stubble/Ploughed fields about with loads of finds to be had then it might be different, but there is only a small percentage of land is my area that has been ploughed.

All the stubble fields I have permission on have been battered for 40 years, nearly all Detectorists go for the stubble/ploughed fields, so everything that is left is the size of an air Rifle pellet.

Funny sort of day, I went to a worked-out pasture field much better than a worked-out plough site, at least my small finds will be complete!

I took my 2 Equinox’s , Nokta Anfibio and Makro Racer, the idea was to find 5 non ferrous signals, mark them , then go over them with the Anfibio and Racer to see if they gave me a better signal, but I could not get a signal anywhere, so that was a nonstarter, thought I’d have a go with the Anfibio, that lasted for about 10 minutes, I can’t stand the annoying high screeched, broken signals it gives, back in the car it went, next out the Racer, thought I’d have a go with that ,the Headphones were flat, they must have switched themselves on and run flat., back in the car it went!

So forget the testing, I’ll try to actually find something instead, that didn’t last long, my Equinox switched itself off, on rebooting it, it said ‘ER41’on the screen, I did a factory restart on it and the same again, back in the car it went! I’ll have to phone Steve at MSR tomorrow to see if it’s scrap or not.


Running out of detectors. good job I took 4 out with me, so my back up Equinox comes out, I moved fields (to a more battered one), got 8 signals in 6 hours, found one item, a Medieval clothes fastener, time to go home



Before I start to ramble I’ll put you out of your misery concerning ER41 on my Equinox, Steve at MSR had not come across it but asked Minelab the question , they said it was a fatal error meaning my Equinox was scrap ☹ , but it came back to life and I used it last Sunday, So there you go! 😊


Not much time last Sunday so I ended up on the battered stubble field along the road that I vowed not to ever go on again, loads of signals but few finds, this got me thinking (dangerous)

I have spent the last 6 months prating about with top end detectors on worked out sites and although I have learnt a lot and enjoyed myself, I have found very little.

As I have mentioned before I record my findings from every outing , Finds/Rubbish/ Holes dug e.t.c, , this I have done every week for over 20 years, every year it averages out at 34% (or thereabouts) of the holes I dig contain a find, since using the Equinox it as gone down to 25% , I have been digging more but finding less , e.g. last week I dug 50 holes and found 2 buttons and fragment of a buckle, that’s 6% of my total holes dug produced a find, virtually everything else was so small it could not ever have been anything, top end detectors have now reached a new peak in terms of sensitivity , which has got to be good hasn’t it ? or are we now digging pointless holes to spend 10 minutes trying to retrieve half an air rifle pellet!.

Most half recent detectors will find 95% of the stuff in the ground that is a recognisable coin/artefact

From this weekend I will be going back to normal detecting, i.e. going into a random pasture field in the middle of nowhere and hopefully finding something or not, but do I use the Equinox? I do prefer it for worked out sites because I dig everything that makes a noise, I find it very difficult to ignore a signal.

But on a new Pasture site foil on the surface is going to drive me mad, so the CTX may come out of retirement, I find it easier to leave targets in the ground with that, with the Equinox they sound so good you must dig them.

I feel a new test coming on, I may pick a new field and do a couple of hours with each and see what the results are.

So what next from the detector manufactures? we certainly do not need any more sensitivity thank you, how about a bit more depth and better discrim? are we nearly at the end of the road?


I mentioned a few weeks ago that i could see my CTX coming out of retirement, Sunday before last it did, i was using my Equinox on a small paddock right in the middle of a village i have permission on, it's estate land i have permission on,the paddock is about 30 yards sq, right next door to the farmhouse where the farmer lives who farms the field, opposite the hall in full view of the paddock, (sorry i seem to have digressed , rant coming!) i had been there for 5 mins  and guess what, (we have all had this problem before) a guy appears to ask me if i knew this was private property i was detecting on and did i have permission to be there, really??
I explained if i was day hawking i would not have chosen to do it in that particular field ,( a bit of joined up thinking may have come in useful on this occasion). after that he spent half an hour telling me about every bit of treasure he had read about in daily newspapers over the last 20 years, luckily his Wife dragged him off for Lunch and i managed to start detecting again
Anyway back to the CTX, i used the Equinox for about an Hour , but it was hard work picking signals out, because of it's location the field was full of metal, but i was getting the odd Georgian Halfpenny and button plus a shoe buckle, so i thought ' i'll get the CTX out , looking though the rose coloured specs i had on , i would surely would be able to pick the non ferrous out a lot easier, that lasted for 5 minutes , i did not realise the shear volume of iron on the the paddock , i could not even get it to work, back in the car it went, i have moved on now and i don't think i could get into the CTX again, so it will be featured on my Website shortly for sale shortly, it's the best by far i have ever tried.
I did the same with an Explorer 11 years ago, they are still great detectors, but i can not go back.

Anyway i got fed up of the paddock and went to try another field i spent 20 mins on last year , i found quite a few bits ,including a Silver thimble but at the time the grass was a bit long.
On getting there i could see it was now occupied by a physic Horse that i had dealings with in the past, we had a hate/hate relationship, animals in fields do not bother me but his one had an agenda!
Only an hour to go before home time so i decided to have ago in the next field that i had not detected on before, grass a bit long but could not be bothered to move, first signal was a threepenny bit follow quickly by another two , i ended up with 12 pre-decimal coins (no silver) a musket ball and a couple of buttons, i was just getting into it when my day ended, my (lifetime guaranteed ) Spade  snapped in half and the sole fell off my boot shortly after, ahh well it was near enough home time anyway. Funny sort of day


Just got back from a nice week in South Wales (Gower Peninsula) never been there before, no idea why, beautiful area 
I took my Equinox and ORX, the beaches down there are vast i managed to detector about an hour a day 
First thing i noticed is that there were actually signals on the beaches! and i managed to dig 17 coins up over the week as well as 40 Crown bottle tops and 42 ring pulls, 5 fishing weights /1 ring (copper) and 15 random bits of aluminium plus cans.
I used my Equinox the most, the ORX was great on the dry sand but useless on the wet sand even in beach mode, i was also digging deep iron on the dry sand due to it's dire discrimination.
I was very impressed with the depth of both detectors.
Just ordered my Nokta Simplex, i should have it on Thursday , I'll than get it on my test bed before sending it off to have covers made for it
Watch this space!


Got my Simplex today, lightweight, easy menu system
Loads of hype leading up to the launch of the detector

Having spent an hour testing it i was left disappointed

Re Simplex -Having done a loads of tests with it , it seems i have a 'dodgy one' it did not compare well with all the other tests i have seen and seemed to give false signals everywhere
It will be replaced soon. I will be sending it to have covers designed tomorrow and hope to have the covers back before the end of the week and up for sale by next weekend (hopefully)
The annoying thing (cover wise) is that the Equinox cover fits on it but the Simplex has a light on the back that would be covered so the cover will have to be redesigned.
Been to one of those fields today that you would think would be full of stuff, behind a very large 17th century hall, half a dozen musket balls. 4 buttons  silver book clasp and a 1877 Sixpence, very happy with that  but should have been loads of gear, but  that's detecting for you!  You never seem to find what you to find expect to find, 
Battle sites are one of the obvious examples , who ever finds anything on a Battle site? a lot of the time the battle site is not even where it's supposed to be ,which doesn't help.
DMV's (Deserted Medieval Villages) are another example , the amount of them i have been on and found nothing is frightening , most of them are on permanent pasture , that's my thing, and i am geared up for it but i never find anything? strange ?
One DMD we went went on ,we found over 500 Hammered and over 200 hundred artefact's (over 10 years) and there were apparently only 11 houses on it, why such a big difference, i recently went on a DMV and found only Roman, bizarre.

Should get my Simplex back from my cover makers on Friday, so  i can then get the new range of covers up for sale this coming weekend and i can also get my Simplex replaced so i can give it a test next week to see how good it really is when i run it over my test bed.

Couple of problems with the launch of the Simplex covers, they need a small tweak and we have run out of labels, so Wednesday looks good! they will be listed on  e-bay first, probably about 50 options.


Looks like my replacement coil for the Simplex is on it's way from Turkey, not quite sure why on finding there where problems with some of the coils a batch could not have been sent out so they could have been sorted out over here, as and when, instead of sending individual coils out to customers from Turkey, Nokta /Makro have always been very good on customer service, i had to send a video of the problem and proof of purchase, not quite sure why these hoops need to be jumped though, they ought to be falling over themselves to sort out any problems out instead of making customers feel like they need to prove they are legit, it seems to only happen with detectors, imagine if you had just bought a TV and it did not work then the manufacturer wants you to send a video of the problem and proof of purchase , then instead of sending you a new TV they send you a part to fit yourself ! , i don't think so.

So this brings me on to the subject of customer service, there are a few dealers out there whose customer service skills leave a lot to be desired , i can think of at least three, no names, but they will do their best to not sort out your warranty claims, and put every obstacle possible in your way they possibly can to prevent it.
i deal with all the dealers so i know what to expect. some are great some are a pain, wish i could name them.

Manufacturer wise the best by far are C-Scope/Minelab and Whites, awesome customer service they work off serial numbers it's either out of warranty or it's not, irrelevant who the owner is, others work on you having the original receipt to claim, hoping of course it has been lost ( me being clinical) very sad.


My  Minelab pro 35 probe went down today, quick call to Steve at MSR (Minelab) and i will be getting a new probe in the next couple of days, i have sent my knacked probe off to him and the serial number has been checked.
Now that's the way customer service should work, and that's the way i work,
With a bit of luck i will receive my new Simplex coil  then i can find out what the fuss is about ,or not.

Got my Simplex replacement coil today, plus a simplex cap!
Now lets see what's it's all about.
All the detectors i test are on the same test bed , this was created 10 to 15 years ago, i have been over it 1000's of times with 100's of detectors, most detectors get 1 to 2 hours of me prating about with the settings , some only 10 mins due to the fact they are very simple, with few options.
I don't get free detectors to do tests with, i pay top whack for them, i buy every new detector that comes out, mainly due to the need to have covers made for them  its amazing how many people get sent free detectors so they can stick a video on youtube, not all the video's that are put on youtube because they have had a free detector (may i point out), the ones i find particularly annoying are when two or three detectors are  taken out in a field , a few coins are chucked in holes at silly depths one of the detectors is maxed out (normally the one they are trying to prove is better than the others) and the others are not used to their full ability.
Rant over, so on my test bed on findings were-
It's a nice detector to use, the menu is simple and is easy to navigate , one bit i found  bit annoying was whist navigating though  the menu with a view to changing a setting,  i only had a few seconds to do it , so by the time my eyes had focused on an option it was gone off the screen and i have to start again!
Tests among iron were average, all right but nothing outstanding.
Depth was very good, keeping up with most top end detectors. (audio wise), although the digital read out does not keep up.
So a George 111 on my test bed got a signal and a readout at 9'' then after that i got just a two way signal up to 13'' and no readout, not sure yet until i test it in the field if the discrim still works after 9'' or not , some detectors will just simply give you a signal after the discrim has run out and it could be ferrous or non ferrous.
Next thing i noticed was an alarming drop off (audio wise) of the signal, nice clear loud signal at 9'' then at 10'' very faint signal, i'll give it a go in the field on Sunday , but after that it will be sold, my Equinox and ORX are better  and so they should be, after all this is a £295 detector but great value for money, well done Nokta /Makro.


When i go out detecting on a Sunday i normally set off not having any idea of where i am going, i have permission on two big estates and a lot of land to go at, problem is nothing sticks out so i tend pick a random field or two and go for it, very hit and miss but at least i have somewhere to go.

Today the field i chose was full of large pieces of iron with a footpath running though it, one non ferrous target in 2 hours, think I'll write this field off! this is what I'm up against, I'd sooner have 100 acres with something on it than 10,000 with very little on it.
So i went on the next field to it, i had been on this field before and had found several spoons a few buttons and a Silver Thimble, too late to go anywhere else now so I'll see the day out on here then write it off.
Had about twenty signals with my Equinox , nothing of interest , two spoons a couple of buttons, bits of lead etc. , quite a few large pieces of iron on the field as well.
Anyway this is a good time to test the Nokta Simplex, field with a few targets in it.
I have seen loads of Videos on youtube comparing it to the Deus and Equinox etc., no idea why because it's not in the same league, why not do the test against similar priced detectors the Garrett Aces, The Fisher F44 etc. ??

The tests i have seen have been a bit dodgy to say the least, but there a lot of people out there being dragged along with all the hype
So i'll give it an hour and let you make your own mind up
It is lightweight , well balanced very nice to use, simple, very easy to understand.

First signal gave me a nice two way signal , but it had a slight break in the tone, i thought it was iron and it was, same with the next 4 signals, then i got nice signal two way signal , this was a ring pull at 4'' i wandered around the field and got 10 non ferrous targets in an hour, i really got into it and it was a pleasure  to use, the discrimination was spot on and pinpointing was very precise, i soon got the gist of how deep the target was , the perfect beginners detector giving excellent results.
I looked at my finds with the simplex and everything was a  reasonable chunk of metal and all of it was in the clod, (the top 6'') , most of the items i had recovered with the Equinox before were below 6'' and small, i was done with testing, i just wanted to do some detecting, but i had to do one more test, i just needed to know why the Simplex had not found anything as deep or as small as the Equinox , so i kicked the Equinox in again , found 5 targets and marked them, all of them were very good signals , nothing dodgy, i started to go over the signals with the Simplex, the first one was a very strong , loud signal with the Equinox, the Simplex gave me an iron signal, i picked up the Equinox again to check it, yes i am sure it was 100% non ferrous, i was beginning to doubt the Equinox, i dug it up and got a spoon handle at 7'', seems like the Simplex failed on that one, next up the Simplex totally ignored, it was a Cartridge case, next one a piece of aluminium , the simplex gave no signal whatsoever or the next one which was also a piece of aluminium at 2'', the last one the Simplex got , it was a large piece of lead at 6''.
most detectors will give you an iron signal if they do know what the target is

I did enjoy using the Simplex but it's not going to replace the Equinox or Deus or any other top end detector and why should it, it's a very good mid range detector

The only reason i was testing it against the Equinox is because it was the only other detector i had with me

There seems to be a lot of people out there selling their Deus/Equinox whatever to buy the Simplex

I think there is going to be a lot up for sale again second hand!

My Simplex with be going to it's new home this week, could have sold it 50 times over.
Such is the power of the advertising path we are currently seeing, new detector wise.
There will be loads sold this Christmas , great , we've got 100's of covers here waiting for them!!


Seems like the second batch of Simplex's have arrived and have been dispatched, every other cover sold in the last few days has been for the Simplex.
Interesting to see Black is out selling Camo , this must say something about the sort of person who is buying the Simplex, not quite sure what!
Camo covers in general  have been outselling Black since i have been selling covers by at least 5 to 1.


I hope to be able to start listing more test results towards the end of this week, i have loads to list.
I had a Whites 6000 XL in the other day not had one in for years, but i knew it would sell straight away and would fetch good money, solely because it's seems to be a 'cult machine' they are terrible detector and i am no idea  why they are so sought after, i put it over my test bed and it was even whose then i thought it would be, i am missing something here??? i could have sold it a dozen times, why??
I score the detectors i test on their ability to pick up various targets on my test bed,  the max overall score is 200, he Equinox scores 192 for example , the Whites got 17 out of 200, the second whose detector i have ever tested, it got one of the 10 iron tests and the one it got is so easy no detector has ever failed.
Another annoying thing about the 6000 is unless you get the sweep speed right you do not get the signal at all, this was common for the Whites machines  around this time (c1994 to 2010), got me thinking about other detectors that have a strange cult following, Compass is another one, people used to tell me it was unbelievable among iron , yes it was unbelievably  bad, i used to be told how good it was on small targets, it's terrible?

The Arado is another one, it may have great in 1984 when there was 10 times more stuff in the ground and it had no competition but it would be useless nowadays, but people still want them 
its all about nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles.


i was talking to friend the other day and he mentioned how the Noka Simplex is an ideal beginners detectors or indeed something that will find the nice chunky obvious finds without having to dig the low conductive stuff that is most likely to be junk.
So is it better to have a standard , average detector or one that is capable of picking up the smallest/lowest conductive pieces of metal you can think of?
As you know i use an Equinox , i have recorded every hole i have dug in the last 20 odd years, i have numerous spreadsheets that work out all sorts of stats , every year my percentage of finds against junk is 33% finds or thereabouts,  i looked tonight at my results and the last two years , both are 25%, using the Equinox

With the Equinox i tend to dig every signal i get ,not wishing to leave anything in the ground, this gives me a lower finds percentage.
so on land i have never been on before am i probably better using a detector that is not as sensitively as an Equinox or do i use an Equinox and ignore the target id numbers under 10?
I do prefer to use the Equinox on worked out sites where i will dig anything, that is on sites where a lot of nice finds have come from in the past

 So is it  better to use something 'normal' on new sites then bring the Equinox or similar out when a 'hot spot' is found? 

So how many of the very low conductive signals are a desirable find?  my Pewter Button collection has increased and i have never found so many Air rifle pellets  and for some reason Spoons?? , loads of them! since using the Equinox.

I may have found half a dozen nice bits in two years that come in the 'very low conductive range' but how many pieces of silver paper and small pieces of non discript small pieces of lead i have had to dig up to get them.

So have manufacturers gone has far as they need to go in terms of sensitivity ?
Maybe we can have a bit more depth now and better discrimination.


Today is Sunday, detecting day for me!
So lets see what a typical Sunday at this time of year involves

Up at 9am , loads of things to do then off out at 10.45 am, Bev who goes out with me most Sundays rang in sick so it's just me, loads of places to go but nothing stands out as the 'place to go'. 
As normal this time of year I'm normally delivering Christmas goodies to various Farmers so i chose the most extreme Farm for this weeks visit, all the other Farms can be sorted next week as they are near each other.

The Farm in question, is 2 miles down a very dodgy lane where two gates have to be opened, not great if you are on your own! then though another gate into a field, then across two fields, another gate, then across another three fields into the yard, i had 10 mins with the Farmer then off to detect , So I'm about two miles from the nearest road, Moorland,  in the total middle of nowhere, the Farmer  does not live here, it's too bleak, he has a collection of Barns he Farms from,
I have Detected here a couple of times before without any joy, so today i will go in the opposite  direction around the edge of the land, i walked for about an hour before my first signal, a 303 shell, great to dig a hole at last!
Half a hour later a piece of lead, then another 303 shell .Turned around to walk back towards the car , about 2 miles away!
Then i got a nice signal a number 21 with the Equinox , a 303 bullet, then another  21 , this time a George 111 Halfpenny 1806, i detect around the area where i find a coin because you tend to find a few more, more  often than not, i got another similar signal and dug down  to about a foot, nothing, i tried it in all the programs with  the same results, non ferrous and deep.
I spent an hour digging to about two feet, moving limestone rocks was the main problem , you have to move one rock so you can move another, then another and another and so on.
Now after one and an half hours i was getting close, if it's this deep on pasture then it's a hoard , a burial,  a Bronze age Axe Head or similar or land fill, so the last rock was removed's a galvanised gate?? but you have you have to go for it, at that depth it could be anything.
So off we go again ,another half an hour a .22 shell and finally two pieces of lead near the Car. It's 1 degrees Celsius and blowing a blizzard ,4pm, getting dark, gates to open ,time to go home


It's Christmas eve!!
We would like to wish all  Detectorists out  there a 'Merry Christmas and Lucky new year'


I was out last Sunday the 22nd, delivered my last 5  Christmas hampers, then off to what might be my last session of the year, mainly due to the hectic Christmas football schedule that is going to clash with my Sunday detecting day!  i ended up on a 1 acre paddock in the middle of the Village , when you have been detecting for many years you get an idea of what to expect when detecting on a field in a certain location, in the middle of the village i would expect loads of signals , loads of junk and a few nice finds if you can isolate a few signals.
In half an hour i had two signals, both very small pieces of lead, not quite what i was expecting.

So into the next paddock, this is a bit better, more signals, i got 4 pewter buttons and a small musket ball, every signal i dug was a low conductive signal giving a reading of under 10 with the Equinox, there must be an high conductive signal on here somewhere? this was like one of those fields that have been battered over the years and it seems like all the obvious signals have been taken off, but i know that no one had been on before, so what's going on? i then found a Halfpenny of George 111, but it give me a low signal of 9, it was a very worn so that's what i put it down to,
Dinner time then time to move fields, i drove over to the other side of the village and on to another field i have never been on before after half an hour i go my 1st signal a pewter button , then another two more low conductive signals , one was a key that ought to have given a better signal, then into the next field, i got another low conductive number 10, George 111 Halfpenny and penny down the same hole, i now beginning to think something is wrong, i then got a number 3 which would normally be a very small piece of foil, but it was a William 111 Shilling, i waved  my coil over a galvanised gate and got a number 4 back to car a number 6 over my alloy wheel= knacked detector

When i got home i did some tests with my other Equinox and found it was the coil that was at fault, i tested in on my test bed the day after and it only did 6'' max and everything was reading as low conductivity

This explains my last few detecting trips when i have found very little, this is my third problem with Equinox's 
1st one ,knacked back light, second one, software problem, third one , coil problem
I have had a very mixed year , finds wise and some weeks not many signals at all, leaves me wondering how long has the coil been dodgy

I am normally on worked out sites with only low conductive signals left anyway so i would not notice 

I wonder if there are other detectorists out there who are not as experienced as me who would not notice and they could  have the same problem.
Worrying !


I had another Equinox in over Christmas so i have taken the coil off it to put on mine , I'm off out tomorrow and cannot get a new coil until next week.

I am in full swing  with the test results so they will now be updated on a daily basis