Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Few Words of Advice...

You've purchased your metal detector, installed the batteries, glanced quickly through the manual, and now you're ready to take it out for a spin.  You take a couple of swings through your back yard, get a signal, and begin to dig.  And dig.  And dig some more.  Frustrated and empty handed you fill in your hole and begin again.  Second signal...another hole, slightly larger than the first...and there it is - your first find.  Is it foil? or maybe a pull tab?  Or maybe signals are chiming so fast you don't know where to begin to dig.  Sound familiar?  Well, before you give up and relegate your detector to a dark corner of the closet, let me offer you a few words of advice.
  1. Learn your detector.  Read your manual carefully and familiarize yourself with every aspect of your machine from the control box to the coil.  Learn the sounds your detector makes by placing different objects, such as a coin, nail,  and piece of foil, one at a time beneath the coil.  Take note of the distinctive tone each item makes and its target ID on your screen.  Once you are ready to take your detector outside, take your time, move slowly, and listen to your detector.
  2. Dig everything.  The key to metal detecting is practice, patience, and persistence.  Very few detectorists hit gold...or anything else of value...on the very first signal.  Most likely you will dig a lot of trash before you unearth your first treasure.  But removing the trash is essential as oftentimes an iron or foil tone will hide the tones of a coin buried close by.
  3. Diggers and pinpointers:  Don't leave home without them.  There are several different brands and styles of diggers and pinpointers on the market, each with their own pros and cons.  Choose each for their comfort, ease of use, and personal preference as they are both invaluable tools and will assist you in the recovery of items from holes quickly and easily. 
  4. Join an online forum or a local club.  Forums and clubs are communities of friendly and supportive detectorists.  Here you will find like-minded hobbyists who are not only eager to offer tips and advice, but also to share in the stories, photos, and excitement of your finds.  They are also excellent resources for research into and identification of those finds.
  5. Respect your surroundings.  There is an code of ethics in the world of metal detecting.  You are a representative of a hobby that, unfortunately, has been viewed by some with negativity, and we will all be judged by how you act.  Respect private property and do not hunt without the owners permission.  Do not litter and remove all trash that is uncovered.  And most importantly, be as discreet as possible in your digging.  Never dig in a manner which will damage or destroy vegetation and always fill in all holes no matter how remote the location.