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Tag Archives: rants

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!

Why do I do it??

29 Aug

After several weeks of not even looking at my detectors, I finally went out for a four hour hunt. It was glorious. I dug up what seemed like a thousand holes and found only ONE thing even mildly interesting: a tiny silver-coated locket. I don’t have a picture of it but it is round and it has a hinge so I assume I’ll be able to open it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I had a great time alone in the park, answering the call of the tones as sailors of old answered the call of the sirens. Among the legion of trash, I dug up a handful of center-fired bullet cartridges (probably 25’s, although I am no expert) wondering once again if it was legal to shoot your gun at the park back in the 30’s and 40’s. Also, I unearthed a couple of very rusted square nails and about 30 lbs of aluminum foil. OK, OK, I didn’t really weigh it.

So, any reasonable person would ask, why do you this? It is sheer madness to spend 4 hours digging for naught but trash. What can I say, it’s a detectorist’s thing.

I cannot speak for anyone else but for me, it really is about satisfying the 9 year old inside me. Yep, now you know it; I never grew up. That tiny locket is all I needed as a reward. Sure, a couple of old coins would have been nice too but the locket will do. I can’t wait to open it and see what could possibly fit in it.

There is much more of course. The wind, the trees, the squirrel that humorously and noisily gnawed on a black walnut (I think) right above me as I was trying to decide whether to dig or not, and so on. But at the end, I spent 4 hours just for the sheer curiosity of it.

No one else will know what’s buried in the parks. Only those of us afflicted by this weird sickness can know. And there are so many interesting things buried; each with a story.
I mean, back in August of 2011, I was detecting the banks of the Arkansas when I dug up a golden coin. I still vividly remember the excitement. I even remember that, convinced it was a gold coin in the hole, I looked around to make sure no one else saw the bounty I was about to receive. Alas, it was not a gold coin but a shekel. In fact I dug up fifteen of them from that hole.
Sheqels
The coins were from the 90’s and worth about $5 American. What in the world were 15 Israeli coins doing buried in the mud of the Arkansas?

I will never know but no other person in my beloved city can even begin to ponder this mystery. Only me.

And that’s why I do it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Detectorist

9 Aug

I was watching a British show about metal detecting and in one episode, one of the characters corrects a civilian by telling her that his machine was a metal detector but that he was a metal detectorist.

I had heard the term detectorist from British dirt fishers before but over and over my online spelling dictionary would flag the word as erroneously spelled and when I checked, the dictionary would not give me an alternative spelling.

Thinking this was odd, I have looked for the word in online and physical dictionaries and have failed to find it.

I rather like the term. The ending of the word: -ist, suggest a person who does something and in this case the activity is detection. I like the general sense of the word; whatever else we are, we are detectorists first. I may be looking for silver coins but I am detecting all kinds of other metals in the ground.

Why is this important you may ask? The answer my friend is solidarity. Dirt fisher and Hunter are fine and well but hardly universal. We need a name to bring us together. Heck, at our meeting with the state archaeologist we were asked what we called ourselves and we all threw a number of terms at him. I think we settled, rather uncomfortably, on the term Hunter.

I just now read a post by Detecting Diva where she pins this lack of standard name for us as a pet peeve and I for one agree with her.

So spread the word. We are Detectorists. Sure, Dirt Fisher is cool and so is Hunter but lets present a united front and call ourselves detectorists to the uninitiated out there. Coinshooter and Relic Hunter are good for the specialists among us but I humbly suggest saying something like “I am a Metal Detectorist of the Coinshooter species”. Ok, that may get you beat up on the playground. Most certainly we are not vandals, or looters though.

As for me, I am a Metal Detectorist, a Coinshooter, a Park Hunter, and a Pulltab Afficionado.

Thank you for stopping by.

The Old Timer

8 Aug

About five years ago, I was a newbie in the hobby. I want to call myself a newbie still but I don’t know if I can do that after five years of metal detecting. Be that as it may, five years ago I found my first ever Indian Head cent. It was a beautiful (to me) 1900 Indian with a fair amount of wear, probably dropped in the 20’s or so. That I found it in one of our city parks was especially cool to me. At that time, I didn’t know any other metal detectorists. I was by myself and I had barely discovered the metal detecting forums on the Internet.

Finding that Indian was nearly a religious experience for me. I needed to share that experience with someone who may appreciate it. So, after making a video, lost now in the bowels of YouTube (never to be found again) where I waxed poetic about my Indian cent, I put away my equipment and drove off to another park. As I was approaching the park, I saw another guy metal detecting! Forgetting my anti-social pathologies for the moment, I parked my car and ran, well, you may not have called it running, towards the poor guy. I may have told this story here before but bear with me. I asked him if he had found anything and without waiting for an answer I trust the Indian upon him and I told him I had found an Indian Head cent.

Kindly, Richard (that’s his name) asked me, “Where did you find an Indian in this city?” I excitedly told him the particulars of the story and then he told me a little about the history of the park we were standing on and encouraged me to find him in the forums. Richard has been detecting for many years and he was my first ever metal detecting friend. He could have lectured me but he didn’t. Instead he gave me exactly what I needed: encouragement, support, and friendship.

So what’s the point Miner? I hear you ask. The point is rather oblique. The point is to ask “Why do I write a metal detecting blog?” I must admit that when I started this blog, I did it because I was done with metal detecting forums. I am not saying that forums are not important, no. They are filled with political, religious, and other content not related to metal detecting at all but you would be a fool to ignore them. They are also the premier source of information regarding this hobby. At the time however, I was done with them and I felt the only other way to share my finds was via this blog.

Over time however, I’ve come to realize that I mostly write this blog for the people who like me in the past, are just beginning to enjoy this hobby and who may need someone to talk to about this thing we do. I have striven to do like Richard did that day and to remain open to all newcomers although I do get a little full of myself sometimes. I also write an opinion now and again which may make me no friends but the comment section is always open to any rebukes (to this day, I’ve only blocked spam).

Many times I have discussed the state of our hobby and bemoaned the fact that people just want to detect and they don’t want to get involved in the business of keeping metal detecting legal in our communities. It is my opinion that the main reason people don’t get involved is because these days it is hard to find good stuff. Before I can get someone excited about fighting for the hobby, I have to make them excited about the hobby. Just yesterday, I spoke to two newbies and both told me the same thing: we are alone. One told me he hadn’t found anything in 7 months of detecting. And then, another type of old timer came by to gloom and doom yet another newbie (and me) because we had the audacity of not having been in the hobby back when he was finding silver coins two inches down and by the hundreds in the city parks.

So that’s the point. Be kind to people. Be like Richard. We may yet keep metal detecting alive for years to come.

Thank you for stopping by.

The new thing I need in a detector

4 Jul

I hope you all are having a great 4th of July weekend. Please bring your pets in to minimize their suffering during this time of fireworks and revelry.

Here in my part of the country, we’ve had a couple of days of torrential rain so I am cooped up. Actually, the rain stopped long enough last evening to go out bike riding with my youngest and we had a great time.

Eventually, however, my thoughts returned to my favorite past-time. I’ve read discussions on the Web about new detectors being planned and produced and what features we would want. In the past I’ve said I want a detector that is not based on Electromagnetism. Right now my limited mind can only think of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) but alas, an affordable and light GPR unit may not happen in my lifetime.

So if I am to be stuck with the status quo, what improvement would I like? More depth? Better unmasking? Yes, sure, I always want those but what I really, really would like is the ability to identify metals based on their chemical composition and not based on their conductivity. Yeah, that’s it. I want my detector to tell copper, gold, aluminum, and silver apart regardless of the shape and size of the object.

Also, if we can send probes to Mars and land them precisely where we want them to land, why can’t we accurately tell how deep an object is with our metal detectors? I can already hear all of you telling me that you can do that with your brand of detector already but let me break it to you as gently as I can: No, you can’t. Your machine can give you an estimate of depth but not accurately tell you. Granted, sometimes the machine comes close but many times all you get is a ballpark figure.

So there you have it. If you are a smart techie, please get working on these things. I am getting older by the minute and would like to see a paradigm shift before I am too old to detect.

Thank you for stopping by.

Are you a treasure hunter?

22 Jun

I went out this lunch hour in the 95+ degree weather to clean up a site that it is promising. This task was assigned to the Mighty Compadre. I just love that little power-house of a detector.

After an hour, I had a respectable amount of wire, nails, foil and even some pulltabs in my pocket. I wasn’t expecting any coins as I know those are beyond the depth capabilities of the Tesoro Compadre and its five inch coil. No matter. I considered my hunt a success. Now I can return with the Bliss and the 15 inch coil to explore the depths of that dirt.

On my way back I began to think about what a different detectorist I am today. Five years ago there is absolutely no way I would have done what I just did. No way José. So what’s different?

I believe the answer is that I stopped being a treasure hunter and became a detectorist.
Wait a minute pullTab!, I hear you say; aren’t those synonyms?  Well, not in my way of thinking they are not.

See, when I began to detect for fun and profit, I was really mostly going after the profit. Finding things that could not readily be turned into cash would just ruin my day. I was rather petulant about it if I am to be honest. I did not accept the reality of metal detecting; and that is that the ratio of trash to good stuff is somewhere in the vicinity of 1000/1 and in some parks around here, that’s actually a pretty good ratio!
I was in other words, hunting for treasure.

Later, as I packed in the hours detecting, I began to relax a bit and began to explore the signals for the sheer pleasure of exploring them. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that shiny silver and gold but now I can really enjoy a sortie even when all I find is junk. I believe now I can really be described as a detectorist true and through. You could say I am no longer one dimensional when it comes to our beloved hobby. I’ve grown wiser… Ok, I’ll stop making myself look good.

Thank you for stopping by.

More about our hobby

9 Jun

Once again, an experienced detectorist adviced a new detectorist not to tell anyone about her finds.
Part of me thinks this is sound advice. I myself, quit posting about any gold I find. There are just too many nuts out there for me to tell them I found a gold ring they may claim is theirs (never mind I dug it from the bottom of a nine inch hole and it was obviously crafted 100 years ago).

The other part of me however, wouldn’t enjoy the hobby if I didn’t have someone to share it with. So I must forge a compromise: I will tell you about the old coins and the occasional “relic” I may find on these here blog.

And as long as I am writing about blogs, I just finished reading the latest post by Dick Stout where he says he has slowed down and so has his blog writing. I know Dick has a lot of opinions and as he is a venerated member of our community you should listen to them as he is right (most of the time). Not to hand anyone their hat but I wish some of the old timers of our beloved sport would post more about the old days and their hunts. As it is, the only time these guys write about the old days is to tell me how screwed up I am for not having lived in said old days. As I said before, we love our hobby and at least I, enjoy metal detecting vicariously by watching metal detecting YouTube videos, reading about metal detecting sorties, or plain hearing about someone else’s experience on the dirt. I am sure Dick has many a story to tell to illuminate and entertain.

All of this leads me to wonder what will I do when I no longer can go out there and metal detect. I love drawing and do damn little of it these days. I love playing my musical instruments, even when I decisively lack any musical talent. I love growing vegetables but these days my two dogs own my yard and alas, no vegetable would survive their attention. I love learning foreign languages although what I do could be best described as auditing foreign languages. By the way, if you are interested in learning a foreign language, give the Michel Thomas method a try. If you do what they tell you, you will be surprised how quickly you can reach an impressive level in a matter of hours. They have courses for French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Greek, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, and Arabic. I like hiking although if I can’t metal detect, I probably won’t be able to hike either. Last, I like writing. I write bad English mostly.

For now however, while I still can stand back up after I dig a hole, I will continue to enjoy this our past time of kings. Here’s to finding some gold no one will ever hear about.

Thank you for stopping by.