Nokta Legend metal detector, best machine 20024

Written by John Howland.

The Collins Dictionary defines the word 'legend' thus: If you refer to someone as a legend, you mean that they are very famous and admired by a lot of people. It's a definition that certainly covers the Nokta metal detector bearing that name - it being both famous and widely admired.  Here's why.

There are multi-frequency detectors (MFs) and simultaneous multi-frequency detectors (SMFs). Both have their adherents, so which is best? That depends entirely on where one regularly hunts and how one hunts, not forgetting other aspects of the equation. These will include considerations about after-sales backup, accessories such as coils, warranty factors, and even the retailer's reputation. Taking these in reverse order, let's get the dealer question out of the way first.

Here in the UK, hobbyists enjoy a healthy detector retail market populated by an excellent corps of retailers, particularly Nokta's UK agent, Peter Turrell's LP Metal Detecting. I have no hesitation in recommending LPMD, having known its founder, Peter's father, Mick, throughout my 45-yrs in the hobby and watched it grow under Peter's guiding hand

MF detectors offer the operators a series of frequencies ranging from 4kHz up to 81kHz, dependent on the detector's make and model. What MFs don't do is transmit those frequencies simultaneously, unlike SMFs. Because MFs transmit one chosen frequency at a time, their electronic target analysis systems are less complex and, consequently, cheaper to produce. This is usually reflected in their (generally) much lower price tag. Many seasoned MF aficionados prefer to tune their detectors to the frequency that best responds to the target type they are looking for…gold, hammered silver coins, copper, and even ferrous objects.

Nokta's Legend is a true SMF transmitting 4kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz, and 40kHz frequencies synchronously. Why? Simple. SMF is a 'catch-all' system. Lower frequencies penetrate deeper into the ground/wet sand, while the higher ones - though slightly less so - are more sensitive to small gold items. The single frequency MF option is also available to Legend users.

With a price tag of around the £679 mark and 'package deals' that include ancillary coils and other extras, it's hardly surprising that the Legend is so highly regarded. Be under no illusion; the Legend is high-end tech-spec with features usually found only in the £1,200-plus end of the detector market. What sets it apart is that it carries a mid-range price tag. From a commercial aspect, that's one helluva potent mix.

NM have shoe-horned the Legend's electronics into the same chassis as their dynamic Simplex+ model. As a result, the build quality and architecture are typically Nokta - robust, with the esoteric quality that only comes with experience in that when you pick one up, it 'feels right' or, as mariners say about yachts …if it looks right, it'll sail right.

Where there's muck, there's money…

…As the old English saying goes. But where there's muck, there should also be a small coil, and anyone searching the coastline needs that 'edge'. Beachcombers often avoid high-trash areas of beach like the plague. Other hardier souls work these junk-filled venues pushing their and their metal detectors' capabilities to the limits of performance.

Large diameter coils are not ideal for use in trashy areas because of one serious drawback. They are prone to 'target masking,' when two targets - one junk and the other, say, a gold ring - fall within the coil's diameter. Here the junk target, often being the stronger signal of the two, 'masks out' the gold ring.  Not only are some areas of beach loaded to the gunnels with junk and metallic trash of all kinds, but they're also loaded with valuables. Unsurprisingly, these places are near impossible to detect successfully with large diameter coils, and I include the Legend's 11" coil. Predictably many Detectorists give the trashy areas a wide berth.  The key to unlocking the vault is a small diameter coil no larger than six inches.  The likelihood of two targets falling within a small coil's diameter is vastly less probable.

Here, I'm hoping NM's 6" coil (LG15) will excel in much the same way as does the elliptical 9.5"x5" (SP24) coil used with my Simplex+. The prospect of using an SMF metal detector in anger will be a milestone in my forty-five years of hobby involvement.

It's a given that electronics and water make poor mixers. So, if you're taking your expensive metal detector anywhere near water, especially saltwater, it must be waterproof to survive an unscheduled dunking. The Legend is fully submersible to three metres (9.8425ft), and if you fancy doing a Mel Fisher, you'll also need the requisite submersible headphones.

In Part Two, I'll tackle some popular (read here, trash-filled) sections of local beaches where my Simplex+ and SP24 coil got their baptism of fire. How will the Legend and the 6" LG15 coil cope? Did it cope? You'll find out soon.

In the meantime, and throughout most of August, the Legend and I will go where angels fear to tread. You'll see the results in Part Two a couple of weeks hence.



Author bio:

A former investigative freelance feature writer specialising in military history and Cold War espionage, he's also a former Deputy Editor of a consumer magazine. He lives with his wife Margaret and his other constant companion, Chesney, an energetic Cockapoo, in Poole, Dorset, on England's central south coast.

He began his metal detecting career in 1977 and has hunted widely on the Mediterranean coast, Europe, the United States, and the UK. He's contributed articles to the metal detecting and treasure press and was the driving force behind the formation of the UK's representative body, the National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD), in the early 1980s. During his time as the NCMD's General Secretary, he had the pastime of Metal Detecting recognised as a legitimate hobby by the then Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR) when the NCMD was welcomed into the CCPR's Outdoor Pursuits Division. As a result, he's both a ferocious advocate and defender of the pastime.