Apologies also for the delay in reporting back as I've been on Jury Service so it's a case of juggling the time in court, writing the blog, cleaning the finds and photographing them! Quite a few members have pm'd me asking when we're going to give feedback on the new coils and software.
This report is going to be slightly different to our usual posts as it involves two extra important aspects; the initial assessment of both the V4.0 update itself and the new 9" High Frequency coils.
The test area is part of a 40-acre, newly drilled, spring-wheat field with the seeds just about germinating. This meant that the surface was covered in fine linear tracks showing where the drilling machine had deposited the seeds with no seedlings showing.
We have surveyed this particular area several times since 2013 so it will be interesting to see what other items are recovered, especially using the new software and new HF coils.
Firing up the Déus using the new V4.0 update resulted in a new three-tone start-up sequence tone.
The start of the exercise saw the new coils set to the GMP mode, 28.8khz with one on Manual GB and the other on Tracking.
Both machines appeared to be equal in terms of performance.
I've used Tracking several times in the past (sorry) and found it satisfactory, if a little erratic. The new set-up appeared to be very stable with the Tracking GB settling at between 68 and 71 on our site.
What was apparent was that the mineralisation indicator now appeared at 3 and 4 bars, which was expected as this is a well established Romano-British settlement. Using V3.2 the mineralisation only appeared every now and again. There appeared to be no difference in recovery levels at all between the Manual and Tracking settings.
The 28.8khz setting was chosen as we would normally use the 18khz as opposed to 12, 8 or 4khz frequencies.
The new discrimination level of 6.1 instead of 6.8 may only appear to be a slight move, but the ferrous separation is excellent. In a 10.5 hour session only 2 large ferrous items were recovered and this was when using the 13" x 11" coil. No large ferrous masses were recovered using the new HF coils.
The new coil discriminated all large ferrous items with ease and left you in no doubt in which signals to dig with full confidence.
Another note was that there were hardly any "iffy" signals at all, just dig-able signals.
Excellent ferrous separation was also experienced with the 13" x 11" coil and it must be said that the V4.0 update was indeed enjoyed by both sets of coils used today. Both Rob and I agreed that V4.0 was a step in the right direction and that there were no aspects of the upgrade that were detrimental to the performance of the Déus.
What was a pleasant surprise that, after 8.5 hours, the control unit battery level showed 66% whilst the coil was still running at 100%, testament to the extra HF coil battery capacity.
The Deep and Hot programs also had a run-through, although at a much reduced length of time. The Hot program was similar to the one used on the V3.2 but with the added oscilloscope display, that may take some getting used to. As in the V3.2 version, it is quite "noisy" with several differing tones coming through in quick succession.
Both the "Deep" and "Hot" program signals were double-checked with the GMP program using the HF coil and the 13" coil and no signals were missed by the GMP mode. Again, the oscilloscope in the Deep program may take some getting used to as it is quite unique compared to the numerical readout.
The new HF coil is a lot lighter than the previous 9" coil and this is evident in the amount of effort required to actually swing it!
Both the new V4.0 software and new HF coils performed flawlessly with no issues to report on the first outing.
The general thoughts were that both the software and the HF coils are an improvement with targets coming from an increased depth, improved target separation regarding ferrous and non-ferrous items and precise tight signals.
We will have more to report hopefully on our next outing during the Easter break when we will also have the new XP MI-6 probes to test out too.
As mentioned, this area has been surveyed several times over the last 4 years with the majority of finds being Romano-British.
16 Roman coins including a denarius of Septimius Severus, 4 fibula, Roman mounts, 3 Roman pot mends, Samian Ware fragments, various Roman rim sherds and 2 knapped flint blades.
We met up with the landowner and had a great catch up as we'd not spoken since September last year.
He'd had a new shed built and added 36,000 hens and 1,500 roosters resulting in loads of eggs to be collected.
More land is to be drilled over the next few weeks so we may end up back at this permission soon.
On the way home we called into a local Indian restaurant and enjoyed some superb food with onion bhaji's to die for and the lightest garlic naan bread ever!
The sky was clear and we'd sussed that the International Space Station was due over at 20:26hrs and sure enough it appeared right on cue.
We're on another break this weekend but we'll hopefully back on track over the Easter weekend.
High Definition images of the day's finds can be seen here.