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There once was a man…

2 Aug

I went out detecting the other day for the first time in forever. For my sortie I selected the Mighty Compadre.  I got to the park and dug a hole or two when an older man approached me and we had a great chat about the park and such. He showed me the trash he had picked up that day while looking for keepers but eventually he left.

He hadn’t been gone for 5 minutes when a younger guy approached me. He was on his way to detect the same general area where I was hunting. He said he had been hunting the park for a long time and he hardly ever saw anyone there. We talked for about an hour about all things detecting.

By the time I went home I had 9 chewed-up zinc pennies and a bunch of detecting stories. Gosh I missed this!

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Stories From The Dirt

20 Feb

If you have been detecting for a while, you probably have collected your fair amount of stories of the ‘weird’ kind. Here are a few of my own.

 

I started detecting back on May of 2011 and I’ve had a number of experiences that fall in the category of interesting.

Snake In The Hole
Once, at my favorite silver park, I cut a plug and when I lifted it, a 3 foot snake jumped onto my chest from it. I was frozen in terror as the snake wriggled on me while a girl-like high pitched scream escaped my lips. Luckily, most of the times I detect I am alone so my shame was not witnessed.

Ghost At The Window
I was detecting an abandoned property when an elderly man from the neighborhood came to chat with me. He told me that the building had once been a candy store. He was a child then and he and his friends would visit often. The house was scheduled for demolition by the city. As I detected and the man shadowed me and regaled me with inside info about the neighborhood, we heard loud knocking on one of the windows coming from the inside. We immediately looked but no one was present. We shrugged and continued only to have the same thing happen at the next window. This time we both went in and walked inside but found no one and heard no more noises. He was visibly creeped-out and so was I so I moved on to the next property.

The Kid.
I was detecting in a beautiful part of one of the parks in our city where a grove of 100 year old oak trees stand when I became aware of a person watching me about 10 feet from me to one side. My peripheral vision told me this person was about 4 feet high and as I turned expecting the usual curious kid the person suddenly took flight! My heart left me as a very large and very beautiful owl flew into the dense wooded area across the street. The local bird expert at our zoo confirmed that there is a type of owl in our parts that can grow that large.

The Voices
This one is weird. I detailed the event in this post (https://thedirtisgoodtome.com/2011/10/11/first-buffalo-nickel-and-first-war-nickel/). Short version: clear voice in my head directed me to a find.

Aerial Attack
I was analyzing a signal under a tree when I felt something land on my head and a flutter of wings blew air on my face. I reacted, naturally by dropping and screaming, as a hawk was taking off my head. He landed on a branch near me and I meekly moved on to a different spot in the park. Again, my friend, the local bird expert at our local zoo told me there is a hawk the name of which escapes me at the moment that is very territorial and will attack when it feels threatened.

Land Attack.
I was digging a hole on tall grass near the river when I felt a sting on my ankle. I brushed at it and thought it may have been a grass sticker. Later, the spot itched and when I looked, I had two perfectly lined up holes on my ankle. They were not scratches but HOLES. They took a while to heal and they left a nickel-sized discolored spot on my skin. You can still see the hole marks today. At first I thought a snake bit me but after encountering black tarantulas on my outings at the same park, I wonder now if it wasn’t one of them that bit me.

Ghost At The Door
I was detecting with a couple of guys at an abandoned farm site where the old house and a smaller guest house still stood. The guys were hunting the front yard of the main house while I was hunting the front of the guest house. It was evening but there was still plenty of light. The guest house door was open but the old timey screen door was shut. You could see from where I was at that the guest house was empty. However, no sooner I began to scan the dirt that I got a very strong impression of being watched from the guest house. I was about 5 feet from the porch steps so I had a good look into the inside of the building through the screen door and there was no one standing there but it felt as if I was locked eye to eye with someone. I sort of felt threatened. I quickly moved back to join the fellas where they had a good laugh at my expense. Better a laugh than the stare-down of death I got from the ghost.

Share a story in the comments if you have one.

Thank you for stopping by.

My understanding thus far

9 Feb

A long time ago, I made the observation that when I am metal detecting for very deep objects, every metal target ‘goes to iron’. Now I know that that was a poor choice of words.

What I meant to say is that when you are detecting for very deep objects, and for me, that’s past ten inches deep, all targets sound the same as iron would at that depth. With the XP Deus, that means an ID in the high 90’s and a high tone. Of course, with advanced detectors, you can change the tone to whatever you want but be that as it may, the ID probably won’t change.

Why you may ask? The answer is that the identifying circuit in your detector, at least for a Very Low Frequency (VLF) detector, does not go all the way to the limits of the signal. Confused? Let’s see if I can make a picture:

vlf

So, as you can see, your detector can achieve an absolute depth dictated first by the power output of your machine and the size of your coil, and then, by various external variables such as ground mineralization, ground moisture, ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI), ambient temperature, etc. When you get to this limit, you may get an ID or you may not but whatever audio signal you get however, will be the same for ALL targets. There may be people out there with super ears who, while using a detector with variable audio may discern differences in the tone at that depth. I hear people claim this but I haven’t met anyone personally who can do it.

That’s what I meant when I said ‘all targets go to iron’ at the limits of your detector’s signal. Why this happens is beyond my puny little brain. In fact, I could be wrong about my understanding of things. This notion was borne of experience. I have dug thousands of holes in the last 6 years and explored the depths more than most. It really hurts me to see newbies get excited because they get a high tone on a deep target. Sometimes they get lucky, as do I, and pull a keeper from the depths but let me assure you that if you routinely dig signals at eleven or twelve inches (or deeper) as I do, you will have an impressive amount of old, rusted iron for your efforts.

I also do not understand why a freshly buried target can be id’d better than a target which reaches the same depth via natural processes. A detectorist claimed once that his Tesoro Vaquero could id a nickel at twelve inches. To test, I buried a nickel at 12 inches and was able to id it half the time with my machine. In real life, however, I’ve yet to id a nickel past seven inches, and I mean, with a proper id and a tone.

So there you have it. Maybe this is useful or maybe it is pure dribble. You decide. Also, if you are smarter than me and have a good solid understanding of the workings of a detector, please comment below. I could stand a bit of learning.

Thank you for stopping by.

2017…where are the posts!?

8 Feb

I hope everyone is having a great year so far.

Me, I have not even looked at Maurice, or Dragomir, or the Mighty Compadre. I have been somewhat distracted by other issues but I am slowly emerging from that and I hope to start detecting again soon.

We’ve had a few nice days this Winter but alas, I couldn’t make it out.

This year I am really aiming at buying a new detector. I have spoken about it before and no, I am not abandoning the XP Deus. I have been searching for a detector for a very specific type of hunting. I thought I had it with the Blisstool but although the machine delivers what it promises, I never used it enough last year to really extract the benefits. Meanwhile, a new Russian machine has come into play and just recently, a dealer in the U.S. began carrying it. It’s an advanced machine and this is reflected in the price. With a wife and two young ones, I have to maneuver financially to come up with the money. My plan is to work the Deus hard to raise the funds.

Anyway, if you see me out there disturbing the soil, feel free to stop by and say hi.

Thank you for stopping by!

Another British Invasion?

29 Dec

I returned to the spot where I found the gold button from the Royal Army Pay Corps and although I did not find gold again, I did find this curious medal, about the size of  a U.S. dime:

Unfortunately, I broke it into three pieces when I dug it up and I misplaced the third piece but you can see most of the medal. It says: “Queen Elizabeth The Second” and it includes a profile of the queen.

Something brought subjects of the Crown to my beloved city and during their sojourn they dropped some items for me to find later. Now I am really curious as to what else is under that dirt.

I’ll say this again; people who don’t metal detect will never encounter these mysteries and their lives will be duller.

Thank you for stopping by.

Christmas gold

25 Dec

On Christmas eve, the temperatures were holding on the high 50’s and the sun was out and shining. After a while, my family got busy with things and my wife told me to go and hunt.

I wasn’t planning on disturbing the soil this day and so the XP Deus was not charged. I decided to do a little gold hunting with the mighty Tesoro Compadre.

I spent two hours at the park and for my effort I found this: img_2162

img_2163

This read as a nickel and although it is not marked, I know it is gold. The button has the words Fide Et Fiducia at the bottom and a lion atop a crown above that motto.

This it turns out, is a button from the Royal Army Pay Corps. These guys did the finances for the army of the crown. They were vigent from 1919 t0 1992. What in the world this button was doing in one of our parks, I will never know.

The second piece of gold is not less impressive but I won’t picture it here. Also unmarked, it tests as 22k gold with my old acid. It is super soft and about 1 oz heavy. The signal was that of a pulltab. You can id things on the Compadre by dialing the discrimination up or down. Anyway, when I came home, I ran both pieces by the Deus and the id’s remained the same.

The problem with these two pieces is that since they are unmarked, no one around here will pay me for more than 10K gold. The thing to do is to send it to a smelter but I quit doing that a while ago when they lost a necklace with diamonds on it and only gave me $18 dollars for my trouble.

I’ll figure something out later. Meanwhile, I have the day off tomorrow and the day promises to be a beautiful one. I will go see what other gold may be lurking under the dirt. Hopefully I can find enough to finance my next detector.

Thank you for stopping by.

The Conquest of Henry Park

23 Nov

A long time ago, I foolishly declared that I would find silver coins in every old park in our fair city. By sheer luck, I’ve managed to do that at almost every old park except for one; Henry park.

I got the information about Henry park’s founding from a city web page that no longer exists. If I recall, the park opened in 1886; a neighborhood park the size of a city block. Today, the park is a flat piece of land with no trees in it. The oldest trees on its periphery, could be from the 1940’s. Only recently, the city put some modern play equipment on one of its corners.

I hunted this park once or twice in the last five years and didn’t find any silver coins. Today, I wanted to give it another shot and took my XP Deus metal detector and two hours in an incredibly beautiful day. For the first hour and half, the park behaved exactly as before. I found nothing but aluminum foil and a few pieces of rusted wire (there are lots of wire at this park for some reason). However, towards the end of my hunt, the park began to act its age. At about 6 inches down I found a 1942 War nickel. A few minutes later I pulled the bottom of a shotgun shell known around these parts as a head stamp. Last came a small silver earring.

Henry park loot

Henry park November 23 2016

henrypark02earringdetail

I see that I need to spend more time at this park. It is incredibly trashy for not having any amenities and for not being used very much. I also suspect that sometime after the Second World War, this park was filled and graded, putting the coins from the turn of the century out of reach. I could be wrong. I aim to find out.

Thank you for stopping by.

Lots of square inches, lots of coins

18 Nov

I hunted a site that has been active in our city’s history since its very beginnings. The school sitting there is the modern version of the school that was there in the 1870’s. Unfortunately, the dirt at this site has been moved countless times as other structures were built and torn down and at least one railway crossed it. Still, I was hopeful a coin or two may have been left unmolested in the ground.

After almost an hour of digging bits of zinc and old brass, I managed to dig a 1940 wheat cent, then my lunch hour was over. On my way back to the car I could see the thousands of square inches I did not ran my coil over, each with the potential of having a coin under it.

I have mentioned this before. If you think of the site you are working as a collection of square inches, then, maybe, you will be more careful about exploring each and every one of those square inches. I am just saying.

Again, I didn’t take a picture of my wheat; you know what a wheat looks like. I am really enjoying my metal detecting these days. I hope you all are too.

Thank you for stopping by.

The return to the Iron Pit

17 Nov

For lunch today, I returned to the Iron Pit. The Iron Pit is a segment of river bank where, a few years back, I found a number of wheats and other old bits just laying on the surface. Eventually the Iron Pit yielded silver and gold and many other cool things. One of the funnest things about the Iron Pit, was finding a relatively large number of small silver pieces; charms, small rings, bits of earrings; that sort of thing.

Along with all that, I found a number of small transportation tokens from the early days of Wichita. I suspect, although I never was able to corroborate this, that this spot was a stop in the InterUrban rail system that existed in my city before the 1940’s. This would explain the amount of coinage and tokens and the bits of silver jewelry (plus two gold rings). This would also explain the high concentration of iron there.

Since I am back to gold hunting, I decided to return to see if the rains of the past couple of years had washed up something I missed. I didn’t take a picture but today i found a number of bits of foil and two non-ferrous targets: a 1928 wheat cent and a brass ring, not the jewelry kind, more like it belonged to some machine. Both items gave nice signals and neither was deeper than five inches.

I think the Iron Pit is ready to give up more goodies. Stay tuned.

Thank you for stopping by.

Fall Day Silver

11 Nov

For lunch today I took Maurice, my XP Deus metal detector, to a section of river bank where I found a number of rings a few years back. My intention was to dig all mid-tones. A good number of pulltabs are no longer buried there and this:
1942mercury

Not too shaby. I plan on returning and finish cleaning the area of all foil and pulltabs.

Thank you for stopping by.