Tag Archives: metal detecting theory

The snow is done

27 Feb

The snow storms are done and we are now facing dry weather for the foreseeable future. I hear here and there that we broke records. I did try to detect in the snow one day at the park. It was interesting to see that all the shallow pulltab signals had turned to iron signals since we had close to a foot of snow on the ground. I took that as a huge learning experience!

Now I know for sure that the Deus will report deep signals as iron no matter what they really are. I suppose that this is the case with most detectors. The lesson of course, is to dig every deep signal. Now, the thing I finally came to learn with the Deus that I didn’t learn with the other machines I’ve owned is that even though the Deus reports the signal as iron, the tone is definitely not iron. I don’t remember if this was the case with the White’s V3i or the other detectors.  So many deep, non-ferrous items will display this way on the Deus but it is not fail proof; I detected the oldest, most used part of one of the oldest parks in town and every deep iron signals with a high tone ended up being just that; rusty iron. Nonetheless, I think I have now decided to dig every deep iron signal that comes with a high tone.

It feels like I haven’t detected in a long time. I am itching to go out there. On the other hand, all the school snow days (and my own snow days) gave me and my boys a chance to have a good time out there. We went sledding, had snow-ball fights, and even built a snow man. Good times.



We named him George. Not the most impressive snowman in the world but it was our first ever.

Thank you for looking!

A Bit About Metal Detecting Forums

11 Feb

This post is again, mostly directed at new and new-ish metal detectorists.

Chances are that one of the first things you did after you decided Metal Detecting might be the hobby for you, was to hit the Internet. Upon doing so, I am willing to bet you ran across one of the many metal detecting forums out there.

I remember when I ran into my first metal detecting forum. I chanced upon TreasureNet, arguably, the Big Daddy of them all. Man!, to say that I was star struck is an understatement! Some of the things those guys post there are just epic. And the stories! Oh! Some of the stories posted there made me go to bed with visions of untold treasure dancing in my head.

I was so in love with the hobby and with the possibilities, that I entirely missed the warts. I then found several other metal detecting forums where I learned much of what I know today.

Forums are a great way for information to collect and for information to be processed. They have an organic way to correct themselves via peer review. These forums are veritable metal detecting universities. Read them often however, and some things may begin to rub on you. My desire with this post, is that you will learn to take what’s useful from these forums and ignore the rest. There is a risk when reading posts in the forums, that you will throw the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bath water.

For one, ALL the metal detecting forums are misnamed. They all should be named something like “Mostly about metal detecting forum”. Many personal opinions about many non-metal detecting related subjects are posted in these forums. I would be ok with this were not for the mean spirited posts. And I am not talking about flaming wars here, whereas a heated discussion about a particular facet of the hobby takes place. It seems all the forums have rules and regulations about inflammatory or degrading speech but often, posts of this nature are allowed to develop quite nicely before anyone jumps in and stops them.

This is understandable since all forums are ran by volunteers and no one should expect volunteers to stay glued to their computers to correct things. Still, the behavior continues and it is a real possibility that at one point you may get tired of it and stop visiting the forums. This is unfortunate because, the forums are by far the most effective way to disseminate new information about our beloved hobby.

Some forums have a section specifically designed for all non-metal detecting discussions but my experience has been that many people ignore these sections. I think that most people who post hateful attacks (and yes, political affiliation attacks are hateful as are racial attacks and gender based attacks) don’t see their behavior as wrong.

If you are a police officer, a person of color, or if you live an alternative life style, you may be offended or angered by some posts. It seems to me that this happens in bursts, often after a particular person joins a forum and gets to make a lot of noise before leaving. Again, keep in mind that the majority of the people visiting these forums are decent, hard working folk who don’t post about their views because, well, because these are supposed to be forums about metal detecting.

Expect near-religious zeal about metal detecting brands. I actually think this is kind of healthy. Some of us, have tried many brands of detecting equipment but some, find their love and stay with it for the long run. No harm done. Just be respectful when expounding on the virtues of your chosen machine. Go Ace 250!!! (I couldn’t resist)

Most of the forums are heavily conservative. This reflects the demographics of the average metal detectorist. Now please, I am not in any way suggesting this is a bad thing, It is just the way it is.  However, it can come as a shock to a non-conservative when they visit a metal detecting forum, expecting discussions about metal detecting,  to find a number of posts that have nothing to do with metal detecting and the prevailing flavor of the conversations is conservative.

Another thing about metal detecting forums you might as well accept is that they are male dominated and male centered. I’ve seen valiant efforts made by some forum administrators to make their forums more gender neutral or female friendly but they might just as well try to stop the tides of the oceans.

Last, there is a lot of information in the forums of dubious value. I won’t mention specifics because that may fall in the category of opinion. Personally, I try everything. That’s how I know the information was useless. LOL! Or maybe I just didn’t do it right…

All I’ve said so far becomes evident as you continue in this hobby. Although the forums are not perfect they are an invaluable resource that may require a bit of adjusting on your part. It will be worth it.

Thank you for looking!

The Worst Metal Detecting Advice You Will Ever Get

8 Feb

Hey there boys and girls!

Do you want a hobby that’s not only hugely entertaining but also hugely profitable? Look no more! Metal detecting is for you!

I am a seasoned metal detectorist and I am here to tell you the ONLY way to achieve success in this wonderful hobby.

Follow my simple advice and you too will soon be swimming in a pool filled with gold rings and silver coins.


Go out and buy the most expensive metal detector out there. Don’t worry a bit about researching it since we all know that if it is expensive, it must be the best. Whatever you do, don’t waste your time trying to figure out what kind of hunting you will be doing. No no no. Just go to the first Mega Metal Detecting web site and buy the most expensive thing you find there. These folks REALLY care about you and they would not put these machines in there if they didn’t have your best interests at heart.


Take the machine out of the box and start swinging! Don’t read the manual! Reading is for suckers. Don’t invest one second of your precious time learning the features of your machine. If you don’t find a gold ring or a Capped Bust silver coin right away then you didn’t spend enough money on equipment! I mean, failure in this hobby is NEVER your fault but rather it is the fault of those lazy, dumb engineers who don’t know a gold signal from a pull tab in the ground.


Avoid making any kind of effort. Don’t research and most certainly, don’t spend more than 15 minutes a week detecting. If you followed my advice in step one, you should only have to hunt for 15 minutes once a week to fill your pockets with loot. Avoiding effort includes having to dig a hole deeper than two inches. Come on, digging deep holes is just plain ridiculous! Who wants to dig deep when there are plenty of goodies in the first two inches of soil?


If you fail to find anything of value by this point, then you must resort to the ultimate in metal detecting and buy one of those directional doo-hickies that work on the basis of ultra-dimensional- energy-waves. Sure, they cost upwards of $3000 but the folks at the Mega Metal Detecting Store wouldn’t be selling them if they didn’t work, right?


If all else fails, then you are ready to receive my patented, super secret maps drawn with a magic pencil that was infused with rare earth metals by the ancient Celts. It came to me via my ancestors and it is a closely guarded secret in this hobby. For only 19 easy payments of $249.99 U.S., I will send you a map of the park of your choice with clearly marked X’s where the loot should be. The stuff is guaranteed to be there provided you don’t block the power of the map with negative thoughts and by having oxygen in your lungs.

There you go. Happy Hunting!

****If you haven’t yet figured out this is a spoof, then let me tell you this post was inspired by two posts out in the interwebs: One by Benny The Irish Polyglot and the other by NerdFitness.****

A Natural Progression

25 Jan

When you first start metal detecting, or when you acquire a new metal detector, there is (or should be) a natural progression in the growth of your signal processing skills.

By signal processing skills I mean the ability to discern the good stuff from the trash by reading and interpreting the sounds and other information your metal detector gives you.

During the first stage, you are just trying to make sense of the interface of your machine, be it just knobs or a fancy color screen and also you begin to get your ears accustomed to the tones your machine produces. During this stage you begin to figure out what the obvious coin signals look like. The coins you find at this point are relatively shallow and probably lying flat in the ground (or on the ground).
My recommendation for this stage is to set your machine with a high discrimination setting and get to learn the high conductive targets. Don’t spend too much time at this point trying to figure out mid tones but do spend a little time on the nickel signals.

After you know your shallow high conductive signals, you want  to open your detector a bit more and start looking at the mid tones or low conductor signals. I know some people who have been hunting for a very long time and don’t spend much time looking at the low conductor signals. This is a personal choice but if you ignore all mid tones, you will miss on gold, nickels, and many cool relics. Now you want to start learning what your deep signals sound like.  Different detectors do this in different ways but if you have a detector with variable sound, meaning your deep targets sound fainter than your shallow ones, then this is the stage where you want to dig lots of faint signals so you can get a good idea as to what your machine is telling you. I think it is at this point that you begin to get a really good handle on bottle cap signals.

By the third stage, you know what shallow and deep signals sound like. Now you can begin to explore the iffy signals. These are signals given by coins on their side or coins next to trash. This stage takes a long time to master. By now, your confidence to tell a bottle cap from a coin in the ground has grown. Again, you will want to dig a lot of targets to fine tune your skill.

This is the God Mode stage. Not very many people reach this stage. By now, you can read a signal like a book. You can pull silver coins that are sitting right next to iron and trash and you know if a deep signal is iron or not with confidence.

The reason I am telling you this is because I’ve seen new detectorists quit soon after they start because they mix the stages. They start digging iffy signals and deep signals from the beginning and the high rate of failure discourages them. I went through that. One time I was so frustrated because I was hunting for gold in the midst of a sea of pull tabs at a park that I almost chucked my Ace 250 onto the adjacent river. I wish someone had given me some kind of road map when I started metal detecting. It would have saved me a lot of pain. Also, I’ve owned and used a number of detectors by now and I now know how to methodically approach new machines. With practice, the first two stages go by very quickly. The third and fourth stages are a long-life pursuit.

Remember that this hobby is supposed to be fun. A hunter friend of mine called himself  The Clad King when he began detecting. He was having a blast digging clad at relatively shallow depths. After a while, he began to find silver and he moved on to the second stage. Soon after he upgraded his detector as he had grown in skill. That’s how it should happen. Try it.  One day, when you reach the fourth stage and you are one with the signals, you will thank me.

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.

If you are new at this…

8 Jan

This post is for new people to the hobby of metal detecting. It is also for people who are considering entering the hobby of metal detecting. I’ve decided that after a year and a half of detecting, I have some wisdom (which I acquired the hard way) to impart.

First, know this; what you see in almost all blogs and forums are the success stories. You will see many, many posts about the great treasures being found and few to none posts about the great trash being found. You will also not read much about hunts where nothing of value was found.
The omission of our failures in our blogs and forums is really not done with malice. The reason you will not read about our failures is that failures, albeit tremendously informative, are really boring. Who wants to read about the 25 pull tabs you dug up on your last hunt? Nobody, that’s who.

So reading blogs and forums can be misleading, making you think that people find cool stuff every time they go out when that’s not really the case.

Also, disregard the hype about detector X or detector Y. The formula for success in metal detecting goes something like this:


Let’s touch on the variables of the formula a little:

If you don’t have patience, it won’t matter if you have the all the other variables covered. Many a time I’ve hunted when I should have stayed home instead. The hunts when “my head wasn’t in the game” as my friend Stevouke says, were a total waste of my time. On those occasions, I rushed through, sloppily swinging and missing 90% of the targets. Slow down. Cover the ground thoroughly. Listen to the signals carefully. Strive for an attitude of curiosity.

You have to hit the sites over and over sometimes before it pays off. I have lost count of the times when I’ve returned to a spot that I’ve hit many times before and found a cool coin, relic, or piece of jewelry. Do not give up.

Get to know your machine. This point was driven home for me just recently. My Deus was telling me where the targets were but not always in the manner I wanted; i.e. with nice, unambiguous signals. You will have to dig a lot of targets to fine tune your knowledge of your detector. Know the basics that apply to all machines, like ground balancing. You will be surprised how much more depth you will get out of your machine if it’s properly ground balanced. Of course, if your machine doesn’t have an adjustable ground balance then you don’t have to worry about this.

Don’t just mindlessly hunt every piece of turf you find. Research will allow you to maximize your efforts.

So there you have it. You won’t find stuff every time you go out but if you follow my formula you may improve your chances and remember: this is a hobby not a money-making scheme.

Happy Hunting!

Day of the Newbie

29 Dec

Once again, Steveouke came through with a site that screamed Seated coin. Even though the temperatures were in the teens three of us decided it was a good day to hunt.

The players were Steveo, myself, and the newbie, whose name won’t be revealed mostly because I didn’t ask for his permission to use it here. The place was a piece of wind blown prairie where back in 1923 a church got hit by lightning and burned down.  Now, Steveo and I are somewhat seasoned hunters but the newbie is three weeks into the hobby. This fact is kind of important to the story.

And there we were, merrily freezing our rears off when the newbie yelled “Guys!”. We headed over to where he was digging and he proudly showed the first coin of the day, a beautiful 1888 Indian Head cent. With that find, I redoubled my efforts to find that elusive Seated coin.

Some minutes later, we heard the newbie again. He said, “I got a coin; it’s kind of shiny; it may be a cent”. I rushed over to his spot in time to see a GORGEOUS silver edge cutting through the clump of dirt he was holding in his hand. Like a bunch of preteen boys hovered around an unopened pack of baseball cards, we eagerly took turns looking at the clump, then the coin and taking guesses as to whether it was a Seated or a Barber. We could see the words One Dime on the reverse of the coin but the obverse remained obscured by dirt.

Eventually we found out it was a 1909 Barber dime in near uncirculated condition. And at the end of the hunt, the newbie had two totally cool coins and I –and Steveo had none.

Alas, that’s how these things go. I am still very happy for him.  Oh and by the way, that near-perfect Barber was the newbie’s first silver coin. Go figure. 🙂

Thank you for looking!


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!

Boring but important

19 Dec

I went hunting yesterday with lawdog1 who is  a member of the Friendly Metal Detecting Forum. He took his AT Pro with the 5×8 coil and I hunted with Maurice, my trusty XP Deus metal detector.

At one point, he asked me to to use my Deus to check a deep, iffy signal he was getting. The signal was an on and off high signal with an intermittent VDI that told him it was a copper penny. His AT Pro was telling him the target was 8 inches deep.

I hit the spot with Maurice and I got a solid but mixed signal. Although I was getting a high tone, my VDI indicated that it was iron wrap-around. Additionally, the horseshoe said “not iron” (If you use the Deus, you know we have a horse shoe graphic that tells us if we are looking at iron or not). My depth said 9 inches (just a pip on the horse shoe). I was using Deus Fast with the 12KHz frequency (I changed it from 18KHz).

We decided to dig the target to see. I dug an 8 inch hole with my Raptor tool and the target was still at the bottom. I pulled the dirt from the bottom of the hole to verify. I dug about one more inch of dirt and out popped out a 1941 wheat in very good condition.

So let’s analyze.

First, I have to say that I am SUPER impressed with the AT Pro. That’s nothing new. I have been singing the praises of the AT Pro for a while now. And I have spoken very highly of the 5×8 coil. Although it was an iffy signal, the Pro with the 5×8 coil, detected a wheat cent at 9 inches. Sure, we don’t have heavily mineralized soil here in Kansas. Well, at least not where we were at. We do have heavily iron infested sites though. By now you should know that mineralization and iron infestation are two very different things.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that lawdog1 got a signal AND a VDI at 9 inches. We both have been doing this for over a year now and we both know how to tell when a target falls from the sides of the holes to the bottom. That wheat WAS 9 inches deep.

Second, I want to talk about two things that are related. Number one is that when you buy a high end detector vs a medium or low end, you will have to interpret more. Data does not become information until you process it. In this case, the Deus gave me data, i.e. the VDI, the tone, the horse-shoe, the depth. I had to then, interpret that data to turn it into information. My information may or may not lead me to dig a target. To be totally honest, I probably would have left that wheat in the ground. The trade-off between more data vs less data is that you may dig less false positives (trash) BUT, having more data to analyze may very well lead you to miss a good target if you don’t analyze the data correctly. This leads to the next thing I want to discuss.

KNOW YOUR DETECTOR! Lawdog1 has been using his Pro now for a while and he knew that his machine was telling him something important about the target under the ground. I, it seems, need to spend more time with my machine and apparently, I need to dig more targets!

So there you have it boys and girls. The lessons never stop in this hobby. And here, I will regale you with wisdom, for free:

IN METAL DETECTING, THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES. (except that you WILL dig trash 🙂 ).

Thank you for looking!

A typical hunt

19 Oct

I try to get one hunt in every day even if it is for 20 or 30 minutes. Usually, I hunt at lunch time with my XP Deus metal detector but lately, my time has been allocated to other projects. Still, I manage to get those short hunts in and I always manage to find something even if what I find is not of interest.

I went out a few days ago and hit some grass strips downtown. I managed to find some coins and some metal items from days gone by.

coins and old metal items

A typical hunt for me

Actually, I don’t often find this many quarters. I was surprised when I pulled all the quarters from a 5×5 foot area. The ring looks like a Marine’s novelty ring. It is made of brass. I wonder if it wasn’t given out at a recruiting office or fair. The bullet case is an oddity. You can tell it was fired, not dropped so you wonder what was going on downtown back in the day!

The make-up case probably hails from the late 50’s or early 60’s as it had some of the original color and luster still.

The memorials all go to my hoard of copper cents. I hoard all copper Lincolns and wait for the day when the government allows the melting of these coins. I’d say I have collected and hoarded about 100 lbs of copper Lincolns.

So this is why I don’t post everyday. I generally post only when I find something interesting or silver or gold.

Thank you for looking!