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Fail Miserably and your silver count will skyrocket

19 Jun

Here at The Dirt Is Good To Me, I have shared my joy of metal detecting and occasionally, tried to make myself useful by talking about the very few things I have learned (I am not very smart).

Prepare yourself however, to receive the ULTIMATE SECRET to becoming the SILVEREST, GOLDENEST, MOST RELICabulous hunter in the planet. Yes, after reading many biographies and self-help books, it finally hit me. THE SECRET has been in front of my face all the time. The secret is:


In the context of metal detecting, failing means digging a LOT of trash. Mountains of it.

Fail and pay attention. That’s it. Basic. Brutal.

I just learned that Babe Ruth held both the Home Run record and the STRIKEOUT record. He didn’t just miss the ball a lot; he missed the ball more than any other baseball player in history!!! How do you like them apples?

So go out there and (responsibly) dig a lot of holes. Pay attention and dig the trash and then try again. I guarantee that your gold, silver, and relic finds will go through the roof.

Thank you for looking!

I thought I scratched The One

13 Jun

Went out at lunch time today with my XP Deus metal detector. I returned to my deep silver park safe in the knowledge that there thousands of silver coins there waiting for me to dig them up.

I was working an old creek bank when I got the signal; deep with no VDI but with that unmistakable sweet audio signal. I went down to dig it and run into my old friend dried clay. That’s a BIG problem in this park. As we are in the third day of 100+ temps, the ground is quickly drying up and at this park that means hard as heck clay. So inevitably I scratched the coin in the hole. When I pulled it out my heart sank. I was looking at the reverse of a very worn old silver Mercury dime with what looked to me to be a D for the mint mark:


The date on the obverse of the coin looked like a 1916 to me. Oh man! Although the nick was very small it was still noticeable. I was bummed. I texted my friend Stevouke and he asked that I send him a picture of the reverse. When I took the picture, I enlarged it on my phone and I could see that the mint mark was in fact an S not a D.


Upon further inspection, I now could see that the date was more like a 1918 or 1919. It’s a keeper alright, just not The One (as Stevo called it). Which makes me feel better. When I do pull that sweet 1916D from the ground, I want it in as pristine condition as I can get it!

Oh, and let me get this off my chest: I shared my settings on my Deus with a guy I’ve never met at one of the forums. I gave him the very same settings that have been getting me all this loot. Well, he tried them and couldn’t find anything but tin cans. So he posted about how I gave him these settings that got him nothing but trash and would someone else please help him set up his Deus properly so he doesn’t waste anymore time digging trash. Ha! the ungrateful rat bastard! It’s alright. I’ve shared my settings with two people; one is a local guy who is pretty cool and then this ***hole. There, it’s off my chest now.

***UPDATE*** The guy has since said that he didn’t mean to insult. After he re-read his own post, he said he could see how I would read it that way***

Thank you for looking (and letting me rant)!

Another V nickel

18 Apr

On my way to my Karate class on Tuesday, I stopped at the oldest park in Wichita for a few minutes of swinging my Deus metal detector. This park, aside from being the oldest park in Wichita, is also a one-block size park. The implications of this is that this park is one of the most hunted parks in the city and, because of its size, the likelihood that every square inch in it has been detected is high.

HOWEVER, no place is ever really hunted out. I agree with Tom Dankowski when he says that most of the coins ever dropped are still in the ground due to depth and masking. I believe this is especially true in this park. I began hunting this park back in my Ace250 days with no finds. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I found the first coin here with my V3i. It was a wheat; then, nothing.

I returned with the Deus and the place began to pop. I’ve found numerous wheats, a Buffalo nickel, an Indian Head from the late 1800’s, a 3 ring bullet possibly from the Bleeding Kansas days, and a hulking gold chain. This tells me that the stuff is there.

Well this is kind of a long preamble but I have reason for the long winded introduction. Like I said, I stopped here on my way to Karate and after about 45 minutes I got one of my wrap-around signals that was consistent enough so I dug it:




I love V nickels! This is my third one ever and the second this year. 1910. I wish it was in better shape but I’ll take it.

Now, why am I going on and on about this park? For starters, I believe my Seated coin is here. The park is old enough. Then, this very small park is heavily infested with iron which means that many coins could be masked. Finally, I learned something new about the Deus yesterday that, if correct, could prove to be a game changer.

I can’t wait to get back to the park to see if I am right!

***Last minute edit: If you get a chance, visit the website Scintillating Silver. You can find the link on the right under the Blog Roll. This guy posts some very interesting stuff about money. Check it out***

Thank you for looking.

Doing the Wrap-Around

9 Apr

I have been going on and on about how I am digging iron signals and finding stuff that is not iron. I was digging around an old park yesterday at lunch happily unearthing rusted nails when it dawned on me that I have not been 100% accurate while describing what it is I am doing.

To be precise, I am not hunting iron signals but wrap-around signals. To understand what a wrap-around signal is, picture your VDI scale from 00 to 99; 00 being iron and 99 being a nice shining silver dollar.


Now take that VDI scale and fold it into a circle:


That’s what the real VDI scale should look like. Wrap around happens when the sweet signal from the high 90’s –97,98,99, bleeds into the low iron readings, 00, 01, etc.

I don’t pretend to understand why this happens but it is common to all detectors. Now, when I am hunting iron, I am not digging the low grunts. Those may be good targets but I bet that when the Deus generates a low grunt, it is accurately identifying iron. I set my Deus with a very low iron discrimination. What I am digging are those wrap-around signals and so far my method is somewhat good as I dig many items that are not iron with those high tone wrap around signals.

One thing I would like to share is the broken nature of a rusted nail signal. Often, the wrap-around signal generated by a rusted nail is broken, kind of like static. Non-iron wrap-arounds are often solid beeps. The other thing about the wrap-arounds is that if I really pay attention, coins that fall in this category of signal still have that sweet audio signal albeit harder to discern. It takes practice; lots of practice. That is the reason why I still gleefully dig rusted iron. It’s all about educating the ear.

So there. Now you know what I am doing.

Thank you for looking!

Hunting the deep 98’s

17 Jan

I read in a forum that when you hunt with the XP Deus metal detector, you should dig the deep high tones that VDI at 97-98. In the past, I never dug these signals because I believed them to be iron wrap-around.

Well, this XP guru says that I am missing lots of goodies by not digging the really deep high-toned 98’s.  So today at lunch I began to dig those signals in earnest.

Right away, I noticed two problems:

1. If you are hunting an open field and you dig the deep 98’s, the field will be no worse for it. However, if you are a city coin-shooter as I am, hunting the deep 98’s at an old park will crater the heck out of the park. The sheer number of this kind of signal at a very old park means you will be digging a hole every six inches.

2. The second problem is related to the first in that if you are hunting an open field, you are likely looking for relics. I am primarily a coin-shooter; so what’s the problem? The problem is that all the deep 98’s I’ve dug thus far have been little odds and ends such as small bullet casings, small gears, tiny buttons and such. Nary a coin in the hole.

In conclusion, digging the deep 98’s is great when I am in an open field but it is back-breaking labor at an old city park.

By the way, I hunt on Deus Fast with 12KHz and zero iron volume. I will continue to investigate this deep 98 situation and play around with the settings. It is entirely possible the Deus guru didn’t give me all the information he had.

I Believe I Can Fly!

28 Dec

Once again, the plans of Deus and Man went awry. I had decided to take my XP Deus metal detector to a hunt with Stevouke for lunch but I had to take my lunch earlier than I had planned. I went to a lot where a house stood recently. Somebody had beaten me to it. There were fresh holes and a number of dug items left on site. I still pulled 4 memorials and a clad dime that they missed.

Since I had 45 minutes left, I drove to a school and 20 minutes into the hunt, I got a signal very much like the one I got yesterday when I found the Walking Liberty half. The VDI was high but the audio was sweet. So I dug it with the hopes of scoring another half. What I got instead is about as sweet:



These are my first silver wings. Other hunters in the area have found silver wings and now it was my turn. They are large and heavy. I did nick them a little bit but for the most part they are in good shape.  I couldn’t get a good picture of the markings but it says Sterling on the back. Not that I needed to see the marking to know I had silver!

This is the 5th piece of silver I have recovered since I learned how to interpret this one particular signal on the Deus. I began studying this signal when me and lawdog1 from the Friendly Metal Detecting Forum went hunting together. He had asked me to check a signal with my Deus and I dismissed the signal as iron. The target turned out to be a wheat cent and I turned out to be a dunce.

Since that day however, I started to listen more closely to this particular signal. It is a composite signal with a sweet element to it. What I’ve done is to learn to isolate the sweet element and investigate further regardless of the VDI I get.

In the case of the wings, an additional note is that they were standing upright and so I was hitting only the tip of one of the wings. I wished I had taken a picture of them in the hole but in the excitement, I didn’t think of it.

And there you have it. I sure hope this streaks holds until at least tomorrow when I hunt an old church site with Steveouke.

Thank you for looking!

Never, never, never, NEVER!…

4 Dec

…skip a site because you’ve heard it has been hunted out.

This year, while hunting a postage stamp-sized park from the late 1800’s with some friends, I found a gold bracelet that at 10K –the bracelet was unmarked, will bring around $400 U.S. once melted. The park is notorious for not yielding anything anymore and yet, there it was, under the coil of my XP Deus metal detector.

The reason why a place is likely to never be hunted out is three-fold:

1) People continue to use a site, even empty lots, and thus the site is replenished with new drops.

2) People who have hunted the place may not have been at the top of their game and thus missed lots of stuff.

3) Considering that a typical target takes up about a square inch of space, well, you do the math.

Plus, there is another mystery to consider here. I don’t know why, and I doubt anyone else knows either, there are many targets that will only be detected at a very specific angle. I had read about this phenomenon from day one but I experienced it first hand well into my first year of detecting. I had hit a private yard from two directions perpendicular to each other (90 degrees) and had returned to do a diagonal search. Going over a spot I had gone over twice in the previous hunts, I got a sweet signal on the AT Pro (my machine at the time) and a VDI that said quarter. I couldn’t believe that I had missed this before. So I decided to go around the target and run my coil over it from different directions. To say that I was shocked is an understatement. I only had to deviate about 15 degrees before I lost the signal completely. COMPLETELY! Not a peep. Not a grunt, whisper, moan. Nothing. Unless I hit the target from that very narrow angle. I dug the hole and at about 4 inches or so, if memory serves me right, I pulled a dateless Standing Liberty quarter.

So lets now think about the fact that a typical target will occupy about 1 square inch of space. Even in a small park, or lot, or yard, we will have a sizable number of square inches to contend with. Add that to the fact that the majority of hunters don’t grid as carefully as they should, or if they do, they eventually tire and get careless, and now you’re beginning to see why there are still good targets left everywhere. Now, remember those targets that will only sound off at a very specific angle and my point is made.

Last, I want to mention something Tom Dankowski says (Tom is a legend of this hobby). “80% of all dropped coins ever, are still in the ground”. He says this because there are several factors making these coins undetectable, the main one being masking. Another one is depth. Tom says that these coins will yield only to the very experienced hunters or to metal detectors of the future.

So there. Don’t be discouraged, the stuff is there. Go get it.

***you can tell when I am not hunting or when I am not finding anything because I start waxing philosophical LOL!***

Thank you for looking!

New tones for an old ear

9 Jul

I continue metal detecting with my new XP Deus metal detector.

I have been using the Basic 1 program with high discrimination. I figured I’d ease into it. Well today, I hunted with some of the other programs and I even tried a custom program.

Oh boy! I like running my metal detectors wide open. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that then you have to hear all the trash and iron signals, and although I am used to the cacophony, it is going to take me a few days to the new tones. The high tone is not near as high as I am used to and the low is not near as ‘grunty’ as I like my iron tones to be.

Still, being able to collapse the machine and being able to hunt in true wireless mode (no transmitters to clip anywhere) is a joy. Once I get the tones down, I will be unstoppable!

Thank you for looking.

The Very Definition of Masochism

27 May

I have gold fever. I can’t deny it. I want gold and lots of it. To that end, me and another hunter, Stevouke, have vowed to dig pull tabs until we both find another gold ring.

The problem is that the very goal seems infinite. There seems to be an endless number of pull tabs and this makes the job seem unmanageable. Maybe I am over thinking this but I thought one way to make the task less daunting was to set boundaries to it somehow.

Stevouke is doing this by keeping a count of the pull tabs he digs. Me, I decided I needed something more tangible and visual. Here is my idea:

plastic jar

If you ever wonder what pain looked like…

I am going to see if I can find a gold ring before I fill this gallon container with pull tabs and foil.

Thank you for looking!

Iron Semantics

21 May

Do you want to discriminate iron? Or do you want to identify it? There is a subtle difference here. To be sure, your detector has to identify iron before it can discriminate it.

I believe the term discriminate comes to us from the time when detectors only had one tone and had no visual identification system. Basically, the machine would beep and then you would adjust a discrimination knob until the beep stopped. This was how you could tell if the beep was iron or if it was something else.

Nowadays, with the digital displays and with the multiple tones to help us id the targets under the ground,I think it’s important to know when the detector has identified iron. Knowing if your ground is laden with iron is very useful. Also in some machines anyway, if you discriminate iron, you may miss good targets sitting next to the iron. In other words, let the machine tell you when iron is present.

I run my machines wide open and I let the detector tell me when the iron is there. It’s all about getting more information about what’s under your feet.

Does it make a difference? I think so.

Thank your for looking and Happy Hunting!