Monday, February 7, 2011

2/8/11 Report - Choosing a Metal Detector & More

One Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

There is a lot of sand out there.

I don't talk too much about detector technology in this blog. I know there are differences, and I know that some are vastly superior to others even though most detectors made by any of the major manufacturers will do a satisfactory job of doing what they were made to do.

The question is then, "Do you have a detector that will do well what you really want to do."

What do you want to do? Do you have defined goals? Or do you go out and look for whatever might pop up?

Detectors are different. Some are particularly good for one thing and others for other things. It is not always easy to know exactly how good an advertised detector is for a particular task. Advertisements don't give you the most detailed information. And it usually takes quite a while to really get to know a detector and all of its strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.

If you already have a detector, you should spend time just playing with it to explore what happens under different circumstances when using different settings and targets.

I have one detector that is about thirty years old that I still use when the situation is right. It is very good for some purposes.

Some of the most popular detectors today are not very good at some things and have what I consider some very serious weaknesses. You can often mitigate those weaknesses if you really know the detector very well. But for the absolute best results, you definitely need to know your detector.

What got me started on this topic today is an ad that I read. It was an ad published by one of the major mail-order detector retailers. The ad was for the Technetics G2.

Here is what the ad said.

The New G2 is unique among gold prospecting metal detectors for its combination of high sensitivity to small gold nuggets and its versatile function as an all-purpose treasure detector.

The controls and features are tailored to gold prospecting, including a sophisticated ground balancing system, separate control over signal gain and threshold, and a unique discrimination control system. These features also make for a great relic-hunting detector. While the G2 makes for a highly competent coin-shooting detector, its user interface and features are not specifically designed lor this purpose. As a coin-shooter, you will notice that the G2 exhibits slightly lower sensitivity to high-conductivity coins, like a U.S.quarter; this is a result of its specialized design to emphasize sensitivity to small low conductivity metals like gold nuggets.

The new G2 with 19kHz is an extremely sensitive unit able to find the smallest gold and silver targets at extreme depths that other units have missed. The unit has the ability to find good targets in iron. It is superior to any detector made, even those selling for 2-3 times the price.

The G2 is made for nugget hunting and finding small gold nuggets. It sounds like that is what it would do best. Of course the detector manufacturers don't want to unnecessarily limit the possible number of buyers and say that it would also do well at relic hunting, which is probably true.

Manufacturers normally tell what their products are good for but seldom tell what they are not good for. It is commendable that the ad actually says that the detector is less sensitive to highly conductive coins.

There is probably a good reason for telling about the lower sensitivity to some coins in addition to honest disclosure. Many people test a metal detector by doing an air test with a coin such as a clad quarter regardless of what they really want to do with the detector. So the retailer and/or manufacturer, knowing that, is letting you know out front that if that is how you test this detector, it won't test out extremely well, but that is not what it was made for anyhow.

There are some important points to mention here. First, test your detector with the type of target that you want to focus on. Don't just pull out a clad quarter if you want to hunt gold nuggets or gold jewelry. Test a detector with the type of target you want to find.

You need to know what your primary target is and then select your detector and then set it for that type of target.

I've said before that if you want to find silver shipwreck cobs, use a silver cob to test and set your detector. If you don't have one, cut a piece of an old silver dime in quarters and use one slice of the dime to test your detector.

Silver cobs are often small, especially half and quarter reales. And you want to be able to detect the small ones. The larger ones are easy enough to detect if you are set up for the small ones.

Remember, it won't matter much if you miss some clad coins if you are targeting something else.

It is natural for manufacturers and retailers to advertise what their detectors do well. They are obviously trying to sell their products. Realize that they will tend to make their products sound as broadly appealing as possible without being down-right dishonest.

It is up to you to get the best information you can. Don't totally rely upon ads. And try to figure out what you really really want to find and what you are willing to give up to focus on that particular thing.

For a first detector, I recommend a good but inexpensive general-purpose detector. After you gain some good experience and you decide you need something else, then you will be better able to select a more specialized detector, and you will still have your first detector as a back up. If you get serious about detecting, it is good to have a back-up. You can occasionally have technical difficulties.

That reminds me of one poor lady that was hunting a treasure beach during very rough seas and lost here detector to the sea when a rogue wave took it. Talk about bad days.

I saw another ad for another make of gold detector that used almost the same wording that I quoted above for the G2. It was said to be unique too, and also said to be superior to any other detector.

On another topic, the site of the Lacy Hotel has been found. The Lacy Hotel is where the engineer and passengers of the Civil War locomotive were eating when The General was taken at the beginning of what was to become Great Locomotive Chase. Research and underground radar helped find the site.

Here is the link for more of that story.

Forecast and Conditions.

Not much new again and not any significant change in conditions unfortunately. Still a lot of sand on the beaches.

The wind is now out of the northwest and the seas are still calm. It looks like Saturday the seas will increase to four feet. That is something, but probably not enough.

Happy hunting.