Print view

Jim Thomas sued me over the Treasure Scope Test article! Read all about the lawsuit in this report, including Jim's cowardly retreat the day before the hearing!

Treasure Scope "Quad" Report

by Carl Moreland

Fig. 1: Treasure Scope "Quad"

First Look

In April, 2000 I attended the Texas Treasure Show where I met Jim Thomas, owner of "Treasure Scope" long-range locators. Mr. Thomas had a booth set up for selling his LRLs, and even gave a one-hour seminar on long-range locating. It was quite interesting, and you can read more about it in the Treasure Scope Test article.

At the Treasure Show, Mr. Thomas was displaying three models: the "Night Hawk" ($995), the "Raven" ($1595), and the "Oro Grande" ($1995). I have since obtained a model called the "Quad," shown in Figure 1, which is very similar to the "Oro Grande". It consists of a control box with a swivel handle, and a set of 5 antennae protruding from the front. The 5 antennae are arranged as a central antenna, surrounded by 4 others that are commonly mounted on a metal plate. The control box, shown in Figure 2, has a power switch, battery test button, a small knob marked "Disc", and a large vernier control that is unlabeled.

The control box is a typical experimenter's project box, and has a battery compartment on the bottom that accepts a standard 9v battery. On the back of the box there are labels indicating the vernier settings for gold, silver, diamond, paper money, platinum, and brass. These labels, plus the ones on top, are from an office-type thermal label maker. The handle appears to be a bicycle grip, and has a smooth ball-bearing pivot.

Fig. 2: Controls

The instruction manual that comes with the Quad is fairly short, and describes the basic methods of using the device. Most of the illustrations are crudely drawn. However, there is also a video tape which shows Mr. Thomas demonstrating the features of the Quad. The quality of the video is extremely poor — it appears to have been taped at a public park, with some excessive background noise, and the recording quality indicated that it was at least a third or fourth generation copy.

The video covers two models: the "Model II" and the "Quad". They have the same controls, differing only in the number of antennae. The Model II has a main antenna and two side antennae, making the scan "narrow side-to-side but broad vertically", about +/- 70 degrees we're told. It is made to use with a metal detector. The Quad adds two more "parasitic" antennae which, as Thomas explains, focuses the scan in the vertical direction, so that pinpointing can be achieved without a metal detector.

In the video, Mr. Thomas shows how to select the desired target mode, by setting the vernier control to the number indicated by the label on the back of the box. He also explains that the center antenna should be fully extended, with the "parasitic" antennae mostly extended. The device is swept just like other swivel box -type dowsing locators (such as the Electroscope), and the user should feel a "hesitation" as the antennae sweep by a desired target. He claims that 2 silver dollars have been detected at a range of 1/4 mile.

For pinpointing with the Quad, Mr. Thomas explains that the four parasitic antennae should be extended beyond the center antenna, which will create a very narrow scan, both horizontally and vertically. To determine the exact location of the target, the Quad can be tilted downward and swept; when a "lock" is felt, the target is directly where the Quad points.

Fig. 3: Inside the Quad

Closer Look

To the uninitiated, a first glance at the Quad (as well as the other Treasure Scope models I saw at the Texas Treasure Show) gives the impression that it is a technical piece of equipment, mostly because of the control knobs. Externally, it has the appearance of being home-made, not having quite the "polish" of a device that is professionally manufactured. This is largely due to the labels, but the front plate that holds the four parasitic antennae also appears to be hand-made, and the control box is a common experimenter's box.

The inside of the Quad is shown in Figure 3. Construction is actually clean and neat, unlike other LRLs such as the Electroscope, the LectraSearch, and the Dell VR-800, all of which were made with crude materials, using excessive hot-melt glue, and horrible soldering. In contrast, the Quad has a small circuit board with a functioning circuit, wiring that is neatly laid out, and clean soldering. The 5 antennae are attached to the front of the box, the center one directly, and the four "parasite" ones attached to a single aluminum plate.

The two chips on the circuit board have both had their identification numbers sanded off, preventing a casual looker from figuring out how the circuit works. However, it's still pretty easy to determine what they are, based on how they are wired up, and from making measurements of the circuitry. For example, probing across the main antenna and the parasitics with an oscilloscope shows that there is a sinusoidal waveform, whose frequency varies with the setting of the vernier knob. There are two commonly available single-chip "function generators" which can produce a sine wave — the Intersil 8038 and the Exar XR2206 — and the remaining components connected to the left-hand chip indicate that it can only be an Exar XR2206.

The right-hand chip is connected as a battery check circuit. Again, based on the hook-up and the usage, it is a quad comparator chip, most likely an LM339 as this is a very common part. The entire schematic circuit is shown in Figure 4.

Fig. 4: Schematic

Fig. 5: Element settings

LRLs that actually generate a signal typically have a frequency control for selecting the desired element, and an amplitude control for sensitivity. On the Quad, the vernier knob controls the frequency of the XR2206, and the "Disc" knob varies the amplitude. There are six labels on the rear of the case, with vernier settings for different "elements". The "elements", setting numbers, and frequencies are:

Element Setting Frequency
Gold 4719 9.194kHz
Silver 7439 12.426kHz
Diamond 4501 9.009kHz
P.Money 5310 9.744kHz
Brass 7830 13.084kHz
Platinum 3792 8.448kHz

Because the Quad has a fully variable "tuner", it can be set to other frequencies. This unit came with a hand-written table of "elements" and their frequency settings, including copper, lead, emerald, topaz, cast iron, and gun powder. It is interesting to note that many of the items are not elements at all. It is also interesting to note that practically all of the LRL manufacturers use radically different frequencies, despite the almost universal claim that they are "resonating" the element at its unique resonant frequency.

The Disc knob is marked with numbers 0-9, although it will only rotate from 0 to 8. At 0, amplitude is 1.5 volts (peak) with a DC offset of 4.48 volts. At 8, amplitude is 135 millivolts peak with a DC offset of 4.77 volts. The manual states that 0 means zero discrimination, and is the most sensitive setting. It says that at setting "3", a single silver quarter will drop out, and at "7" four silver dollars will drop out. It concludes that 100 ounces of silver cannot be discriminated out. There is no mention of how distance might affect discrimination, i.e., if a "3" setting will drop out a silver quarter, whether it is a foot away, or a quarter-mile away.

The battery test indicator is positive down to a battery voltage of about 7.5 volts. As the battery voltage drops to 7.5 volts, frequencies reduce about 0.25%, amplitudes reduce about 10%, and the DC offset of the signal drops by 21%. While the frequency is fairly stable versus battery voltage, the DC offset is not. Mr. Thomas makes no claim that DC offset is a factor in the operation of the Quad, but it is (again) interesting to note that the Electroscope LRLs have nothing but a DC voltage applied to the antennae, and some proponents of those devices swear by that method of operation. This only serves to highlight the gross inconsistencies of LRL concepts amongst different manufacturers.

The Claims

I have found very little in the way of print advertising for Treasure Scope, just a couple of ads and a feature in the "What's New" column of Lost Treasure magazine. In fact, the first time I saw this brand of LRL was at the treasure show. At the show, both at his booth and during his seminar, Mr. Thomas made specific claims about his devices, including the capability of locating gold, silver, and other items at a distance. He also gave demonstrations at his booth in locating a gold-and-diamond ring, as well as paper money.

Fig. 6: Treasure Scope Ad & "What's New" feature

The manual for the Quad opens with the following paragraph:

Thank you for purchasing the TREASURE SCOPE. It is a high technology, long range instrument that can detect at a distance through most any container or barrier. It transmits a frequency that is the same as the resonant frequency of the object you are looking for. It has good depth and can detect objects of approximately one quarter of a mile distance, depending on size and length of time buried.

This paragraph makes only a generic claim that the Treasure Scope can detect "objects" up to a quarter mile away. Nowhere does the manual ever state that the Treasure Scope can actually locate gold, or silver, or any of the other "elements". A single-page flyer for the Quad is more specific about the theory of operation:

Everything has a resonant frequency. To be more specific, a molecular resonant frequency at which the molecules agitate. When the object is bombarded by it's [sic] resonant frequency, it is excited to the degree that the proper instrument can detect it.

That instrument is the TREASURE SCOPE. It transmits the proper frequency (through a pretuned selector switch) for gold, silver, diamonds, U.S. currency, brass, and platinum. The handle is ball bearing mounted, and when the antennas [sic] pass before the desired object, they will mechanically lock on the target.

So even though the flyer avoids claiming that the Quad will actually detect anything, it does offers a more detailed "theory", with scientifically testable claims.

In his video, Mr. Thomas describes how he has used his Treasure Scope in a test situation at treasure clubs, and also related this story at the treasure show seminar. He said he takes gold, silver, diamond, and paper money samples, and club members can "wrap them up in foil, they can put them in a steel box and shut the lid, and from across the room I'm able to detect what's in the box with 100% accuracy." This, of course, is a highly testable claim.

Also in the video, Mr. Thomas instructs how to pinpoint with the Quad, by fully extending the 4 parasitic antennae, and retracting the center antenna about 2-4 inches shorter. He claims that this configuration will result in a narrow focus, "like looking down the barrel of a gun." He goes on to say that "with this unit you don't have to use a metal detector in any way to find your target, this will pinpoint it very precisely for you."

Besides pitching his wares at treasure shows and detecting clubs, Mr. Thomas also sells a couple of his Treasure Scope models — the "Thunder Stick" ($895) and the "Raven" ($1595) — through a dowsing rod dealer named Bob Fitzgerald ( A close-up picture of the Raven shows that it is very similar to the Quad, differing mostly in that it has only three antennae. The web ad states that the Raven does not transmit a frequency, but "is an electronic RECEIVER ONLY that detects undisturbed resonant frequencies that the locator is precisely tuned to." However, it has the exact same vernier tuner and sensitivity knobs as the Quad and, if Mr. Thomas follows the common practices of other LRL manufacturers, the circuitry will be substantially the same as well. The Fitzgerald web page goes on to say that the Raven "will detect and pinpoint gold, silver, diamonds, and paper currency," another testable claim.

The Truth

The Treasure Scope Quad has a signal generator that is connected across the main antenna and the four parasitic antennae. A flyer for the Quad claims that the antenna signal creates a resonance with a target, when the signal is tuned to the proper frequency. This theory appears to be based on science and not magic, and is therefore scientifically testable. If this concept has any merit whatsoever, then there should be a body of research that backs it up, along with reports published in scientific journals.

What we find, however, is a total lack of pursuit by the scientific community for this concept. I have found no evidence that anyone with credentials in real science is conducting research in long-range detection using low-power sinusoidal "resonance". The concept of using a low-power sinusoid, transmitted via horribly mis-sized antennae for the frequencies being used, to "resonate" a distant object in such a way that a dowsing rod will respond, is nothing but pure fantasy. In fact, this is exactly the same theory professed of the so-called "molecular frequency discriminator" (MFD) -type LRLs. The proponents of this concept have apparently borrowed heavily from real scientific methods, such as "nuclear magnetic resonance", using similar scientific terminology in an effort to convince themselves, and others, that they are not dowsing. They typically have no real science background, and are usually hack experimenters, of the same variety as those who claim to have made perpetual motion machines and "free-energy" devices, but cannot ever seem to demonstrate them.

But the most telling evidence that the theory of operation of the Quad is bogus, is its uncanny resemblance to a dowsing rod. In fact, that is all it is: a dowsing rod with a do-nothing circuit added, to make it look technical. The claim that the antennae will "mechanically lock on the target" is false. As this is a dowsing rod, some people will feel a "dowsing response" (usually a hesitation or dragging sensation) as they sweep it past a target, but this response is purely psychological. It is not based on any physical interaction between the device and the target, something that can easily be demonstrated by placing the device in a mechanical holder, and sweeping a large target in front of the antennae. When this simple test was performed, the device did not move, at all.

Therefore, the only way the Quad can even "appear" to work, is if someone is holding it in their hand. Again, this is further evidence that it is nothing but dowsing, because all dowsing devices require that they be held in order to "feel" the response — it is the person holding the device that actually causes the response. If a physical sinusoidal resonance was really occurring, then it would be a simple matter to electronically detect and signal this effect, much like a metal detector beeps when a target disturbs the magnetic field.

Unfortunately, it is the dowsing response that fools so many people into believing that LRLs can really detect a distant object. It is a simple matter for an LRL dealer to "demonstrate" their device using visible targets, showing a prospective customer what to expect when they try it. And when they try it, they usually get the response they were told to expect, due to psychological conditioning. This is exactly what Mr. Thomas does at treasure shows. However, when I saw him performing this misleading demonstration, I asked if he could still detect his target (a gold-and-diamond ring) when he could not see it, and did not know where it was. He said he could, so I challenged him to a simple test using paper cups to conceal the ring. He was highly reluctant to do this, but finally agreed. Although he had been demonstrating his LRLs during the treasure show with 100% "success", when we did the paper cup test, he failed to locate the ring even once in six attempts. This is explained in more detail in the Treasure Scope Test article.

My own tests of the Quad failed to produce any response whatsoever. The device gave no indication for a 1-ounce gold bar, a 10-ounce silver bar, and a stack of 20 one-dollar bills, even when the targets were very close, and plainly visible. However, because operator skill might play a role, the best test is one in which an experienced user demonstrates the device. Generally, the most experienced user should be the manufacturer himself, and so I offer my $10,000 prize money to Jim Thomas, if he can successfully demonstrate one of his LRL devices. Since prior knowledge of target locations could influence the response a user feels, demonstrations should always be performed using a double-blind protocol, which will closely replicate field conditions, where target locations are completely unknown.


The Quad is a dowsing rod, with a total material cost of around $30-40. The other Treasure Scope models I've personally seen — the Raven, Ore Grande, and Nighthawk — are also dowsing devices, and I suspect that all the other Treasure Scope devices are dowsing rods as well. Externally, the Quad has a homemade look to it (as do the other Treasure Scope devices), of about the same quality as other LRLs I've seen. Internally, it has far better quality than the typical LRL, but the circuitry has no real physical function in the operation of the device. The only purpose of the circuitry is to make an ordinary dowsing device look "technical", in order to justify a ridiculous price. The instruction manual and video are of poor quality. The operational theory of the Quad is bogus. The claim that the Quad will mechanically lock on a target, is false. The claim that the Quad will detect any "object", is false. The only "things" the Quad is capable of detecting, are gravity and strong wind.

Copyright © 2004 Carl W. Moreland, all rights reserved.