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a 1970 "Orion 121" detector
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: November 17, 2017 11:00AM
Here's one from CL. Not sure how the seller knows it was from 1970. Anyone know what this one was capable of ? Eg.: depth on a coin-sized target ?

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/atq/d/vintage-fisher-orion-121/6365662559.html

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Re: a 1970 "Orion 121" detector
Posted by: Old California
Date: November 19, 2017 09:50AM
Tom,

That's a clean Orion 121, looks mint hardly used.

The Orion serious operated very smooth, a step up from the T-10 & T-20 series. I think Monte had positive experiences with the Orion series, I sure noticed differences and prefer using Orion 120 or 121 over a T-20.

Fisher added the double stack knob with the Orion 121, bottom knob for tuning the upper knob acts as the on/off feature simply with pull-push. Rotating the upper knob increases/decreases volume.

These are extremely smooth, less need tuning and getting a buried penny size target 3" to 3.5" inches is pushing it, quarters a little deeper dimes a little less. The Craigslist Orion 121 you seen is hard wired, Fisher Scope experimented quite a bit adding features along the way changing the T and Orion series using same model name.

Here are two different Orion 121 models, same circuity just one has a connector accepting both large and smaller coil. These are fun to use, still use them for surface targets. They operate somewhere between 70 to 80 khz if memory serves me right. Think it's more in the 70's khz, decent separation in iron but lacks Compass TR performance. Still, A fun oldie to poke around with.

I prefer using the smaller coil, easier to swing and although not as deep as larger coil the smaller coil is more sensitive. Also added a wire armrest from another Fisher model M70 onto the Orion with small coil, the Orion you see on Craigslist will swing well with the curved handle.

That's about it, Nothing like a Compass but Orion series are still fun to use.

HH, Paul



AKA..Paul (Ca)

Whites GoldMaster BFO
Compass Klodike BFO
Bountyhunter BFO
FisherScope TR
Metrotech TR
Detectron TR
Rayscope TR
Mity Mite TR
Garrett BFO
D-Tex BFO
Goldak TR
Relco BFO
Jecto BFO
Teknetics
Roach TR



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2017 10:01AM by Old California.




Re: a 1970 "Orion 121" detector
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: November 20, 2017 05:36AM
Great info. Paul. Thanx !

Once Upon a Time ... long, long ago with a Fisher Orion 121 detector.
Posted by: Monte
Date: December 02, 2017 09:05AM
Tom, sorry I didn't catch your post as I don't pop onto this Forum all that often. Too busy elsewhere I guess. The link isn't any good, but the memories of using that old TR back in '71 and '72 still linger when I reflect on "the good old days" of detecting. Coins and a lot of interesting small 'keepers' were aplenty, and generally shallower and easily found with minimal higher-conductive modern trash.

I had a Compass, a Garrett and a White's detector at the time and my older brother, Ed, had purchased an Orion 121 with the larger 11" search coil in late '71. On a visit to Elgin Oregon, a smaller, older town in Eastern Oregon where he was a patrolman, I rode the late shift with him then went out at daylight to borrow his '121' and check it out in his yard. My brother is the one who got me started using Metal/Mineral Locators back in early '65, but he didn't stick with it.

He knew of the success I was having and figured he'd get a newer/modern detector and bought the Fisher in '71. But even back then a lot of people not savvy with what it takes to be successful easily considered a place "worked out" if they already walked a search coil around it, and that's how he described the old yard at the place they rented. He had searched it a few times over the past week or so before my visit and when I asked to borrow the Fisher and check-it-out at his place, he said sure, but I wouldn't find anything because he had hunted it several times already. Even back then I knew better.

I woke him up as he was still trying to sleep after his shift and I was detecting just outside his bedroom window at the side of the house when I got a very solid, clean signal. So I unplugged the headphones and let the unit sound off loud-and-clear. :) He heard it as it woke him up, and was a bit angered when maybe 8 feet from his window in the open grassy yard I recovered a nice early dated Walking Liberty Half. Strangely (to me) he still wanted to sleep some more. It was a beautiful April day and I drove on south to Imbler to hunt the school grass out front. I compared it with the detectors I had which generally sported smaller-size search coils just as I prefer today, and found it to be an 'OK' detector.

It had the larger coil but wasn't what we would consider a deep-seeking detector, and sure didn't match the wild claims they had in their advertising literature, either. I guess that habit hasn't changed a lot through the years with many detector makers, either. Most often coins were shallower, in that typical surface to 4" range, and were handily located. The deepest coins I found with the Orion 121 were in the 6" to 8" depth range, most of those being Indian Head and early-era Wheat-back Cents and Buffalo Nickels associated with the carnival activity that used to be held at that particular site, along with quite a few Mercury Dimes

Most of the coins were still at ±3" but deeper coins came from where they had altered the small park-like area a few years before. In other places, such as older dated parks and resort/picnic groves with other build-up, slow and methodical work with that TR w/11" coil could pull coins from 4"-8" but I never got it to hit as well on some located targets as my other detectors when I was doing some side-by-side comparisons. My brother was a little disgusted that I found that silver half and other older coins in his yard that he had hunted and, naturally, it must have been the detectors fault that he hadn't found them, so on that visit I bought that Orion 121 from him for fifty-bucks. I kept it around for a while until I used it enough to decide whether it was a good 'fit' in my detector arsenal or not, and back in those fast days of detector progression I think I held onto it until maybe '73.

It was smooth and stable compared with many detectors, but my early Compass TR's had that well known, at the time, raspy/scratchy/sparky audio and were such a joy to use that they saw most use for me back then. I also had a White's TR and a Garrett TR and BFO and with different coils they rotated around for different applications and had my interest more than that Fisher. It was better than the T-10's and T-20's I had used, and if I came across a pristine condition specimen in working order today, at a reasonable cheap price, I might snap it up as a wall hanger and use it in seminars and demonstrations of how things used to work. That's what I do with my Compass Coin Hustler, and at times I even take them out for a half-hour to hour of detecting iron nail infested sites.

In general, the Orion 121 was going to perform similar to other TR of the period, most of which operated at or near 100 kHz, and the Orion 121, if I recall, worked at 87 kHz. If you or someone on the forums reading this bought that unit, I would be curious to hear their report on the overall condition and performance afield.

Monte



"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells
Trading Post

Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
'How-To' help for Coin & Jewelry Hunting, Relic Hunting and Useful Techniques.

My Regular-Use Detector Team are from:
Makro, Nokta, Tesoro and White's
Note: Detectors are listed alphabetically by Brand. Models are chosen as desired based on search site conditions.
Additional search coils. mounted on spare lower-rods, are on-hand in my Accessory Coil Tote.
Pinpointers: Using Nokta and Makro Pointers.
Headphones: Using White's Pro Star w/'tank style' ear cups.
Recovery Tools: Using White's Ground Hawg Shovel and DigMaster digging tools.

*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

monte@stinkwaterwells.com .. or .. monte@ahrps.org
(503) 481-8147


Re: Once Upon a Time ... long, long ago with a Fisher Orion 121 detector.
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 11, 2017 06:13PM
Monte: Just now seeing your reply to my post. Yes: By the time you clicked on the Classified ad, I'm sure it had cycled off by then. But glad you recognized the name and model, and could chime in. You are an asset to the hobby !! Anyone who gets you to chime in on their post/question should consider that a privilege.

Detectors were around as early as the 1930s and '40s (or whatever). But REALISTICALLY speaking ... in so far as casual hobbyist usage: When they finally became sensitive enough to be used for individual coins wasn't till the early to mid 1960s. There were parts of the USA that I have no doubt never saw a detector till the early 1970s, for instance. So to have started in 1965, and to have had the "inside look" at the evolution from the manufacturer's/sellers/users point-of-view, is a great voice to have chime in.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Some day, ... 20 or 30 yrs. from now .... someone's going to take all your posts, assemble them as-per-content, and make a book that will be a best seller. Glad that you have perpetually penned all your insights, and shown many hobbyists the ropes.

Tom, I 'Thank You' for the kind words.
Posted by: Monte
Date: December 12, 2017 08:37AM
I started working on a book back in '82, and stepped up my efforts in '84, for a while. Too busy detecting whenever I wasn't working and the detecting part seemed to take over and limit my book time duties. :( Got back into preparing notes in the early '90s and bought a better typewriter, then bought a Smith Corona "word processor" but since I never learned to type, and still haven't, it just didn't seem to come out the way I wanted it to look.

But I had seen some of the things my friends would print off using their Computer, and heard folks talking about something called the Internet and that I could maybe find out about what detector makers might be making? Hummm, maybe if I got one of those modern contraptions, it would make it easier to type and save and organize material I was working on for a book, so I think it was 1995-'96 I bought a Packard-Bell computer.

I didn't find very much value so far as manufacturers sharing things they were working on, but I did stumble across some places to visit where folks talked a lot. Well, maybe a bunch of them talked a lot, but I can do that on my own. :shocked: So I would read what people were discussing and noticed it wasn't too much different from sitting in at a Club Meeting or visiting a metal detector dealer who didn't really use detectors, or maybe it was just people spouting off about something they had heard or read and they took it to be correct. In short, things haven't changed a lot and like today, back then I would see things that were not quite the correct answer, or questions people asked that were going unanswered, so I thought I might be of help and started responding on a Forum or two.

Fast forward to today, about twenty-two years later, and I still spend a lot of time, sometimes all night long or often during the day, answering e-mails and PM's or posting on Forums. Behind me on a work table here in my den sits all of the book material I have been digging out of this box and that box, along with notes I've made along the way, just waiting for me to get busy concentrating on my metal detecting book, and also for my kids and grandkids doing a personal history. Two different book projects I have to get busy on, and hope to make some good progress while wintry weather has now eliminated any detecting opportunities due to very cold weather and frozen ground.

We made a lot of fast, progressive strides in detector design and development from '65 to '96, when I built my first 'locator' to the time I got my first computer, and I had a lot of things to discuss in the book. But this past twenty-plus years has seen even more growth in different detector designs and features for Recreational Metal Detecting, and at the same time so many early-era hobbyists have passed on, that newcomers to this great sport haven't got a clue what those early BFO and TRs were like, or even the first VLF-only then VLF/TR-Disc. models offered or required, that some book material might be boring for many who own and use the more recent detector offerings.

The reading part is where you can lose a lot of people's interest because it doesn't mean anything to them. That's why I still enjoy doing my day-long classroom seminars I started back in '81 because I have a couple of older detectors I take to the presentations to help demonstrate the GOOD things we had back then and walk thorough the progression to what we have now, demonstrating and explaining what we had, how to benefit from them, and lead up to what people own and bring to the seminar so that they have a better understanding about the strengths ... and weaknesses ... of our modern-day detectors.

I have trimmed my detector arsenal to the current 10 detectors, 7 different models, that make up my Regular-Use Detector Team and the 'extra' units I have in my 'Specialty-Use' group as 'loaners,' to some that are to help demonstrate the good old days, like my Compass Coin Hustler TR or Yukon 99-B or a Garrett Hunter BFO from the late '60s period .... all working and in great condition. I used to collect a lot of detectors, some that I had used and some that were just 'unique.' For example, you know about the Compass 77B and other Yukon and Nugget series TR's, but at one point I owned all but one of the hand-held and hip-mounted versions of the Compass Klondike series, with all of their available search coils. Ever see or use a Klondike model?

Finally, realizing I wasn't well off to afford a big room for a collection and worthwhile display I started parting with my detectors and today I only have what works well for me and the places I am able to get out to hunt, and keep just three or four old but working demo units. As it is my den wall today is an example of how caught up we can get hanging onto or adding a detector to take on the difficult challenges we are likely to face based upon the site conditions we encounter. I can only dream about how times were and wish I could take any one of the ten units hanging there and be transported back in time to even the summer of '68 when I got my first factory-produced detector in-hand. Those were the glory days, to be sure.

Humm, I guess I better shut up and get bust cleaning and organizing my den so I can delve into working on that book!

Monte



"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells
Trading Post

Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
'How-To' help for Coin & Jewelry Hunting, Relic Hunting and Useful Techniques.

My Regular-Use Detector Team are from:
Makro, Nokta, Tesoro and White's
Note: Detectors are listed alphabetically by Brand. Models are chosen as desired based on search site conditions.
Additional search coils. mounted on spare lower-rods, are on-hand in my Accessory Coil Tote.
Pinpointers: Using Nokta and Makro Pointers.
Headphones: Using White's Pro Star w/'tank style' ear cups.
Recovery Tools: Using White's Ground Hawg Shovel and DigMaster digging tools.

*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

monte@stinkwaterwells.com .. or .. monte@ahrps.org
(503) 481-8147


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