Friday, December 16, 2011

12/16/11 Report - A Bit About Detectors

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Detectorist Finds Viking Hoard

Here is one item of that Viking hoard, which is thought to be worth five figures.  

Thanks to Joan T. for sending the link to that story.  Here it is.

Photo from source story.

I recently received a few emails more or less asking what is the best detector.  I haven't written much about that lately but if you have been reading this blog since it began, you probably know my stance on that.  I guess it might be time to repeat because even if you have been reading this blog for a few years, I don't think most people will remember posts that are more than a year old.  That would really be expecting way too much.

I don't put much emphasis on detectors.  You might have noticed that.  There are some people that will swear that their detector is best, and there are some people that spend a lot of time searching for the best detector, and some that try to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of their detector.  That isn't me.

I've used a good number of detectors but feel that most detectors produced by the major manufacturers will do a good job.  I think detectors are something like golf clubs.  You pick the one wouldn't say that a putter is better than a driver.  There are circumstances when one is better and circumstances when another would be a better choice.

I guess you could also compare detectors to fishing lures.  One might be good for one type of fish and another better for catching another type of fish.

I still use one detector that I've had for 25 years or so.   Obviously it isn't the latest or greatest but it works well and is the best choice under certain circumstances.  It is very good at detecting small gold rings like those I mentioned in my most recent post.

I've owned and used Whites, Garrett, Fisher, Tesoro, Minelab and a variety of custom made detectors.

Despite the advances in technology, it doesn't seem to me that detectors have improved much in the past twenty or thirty years.  Most of the changes that have been made are not that important to me.  I don't need or use much discrimination or target ID or things like that.

There are improvements that I'd like to see, but the manufacturers don't seem interested in doing the things that I'd like to see.
Different detectors do have different operating characteristics.   As do detectorists.  Some detectorists go out and wander around, some are very methodical, some are interested in finding one type of obect and others want to find something else.   Some have patience and some don't.   There are a lot of ways that detectorists are different, and those differences will have more to do with what you find than the detector you use.

In order to recommend a detector for one person, you have to know where they are going to hunt, what they want to find, and something about the detectorists operating characteristics.

I often recommend using no discrimination -  especially when hunting on a beach.  But there are some people that simply have no tolerance for trash.   They might need some discrimination just to keep going.  Or if you hunt vacant urban lots, discrimination is more important.  Those are examples of how the detectorists' personality and the situation can affect the detector that you use.

Since the blog is mostly about beach and shallow water hunting rather than hunting more trashy sites, that is part of the reason I recommend using no discrimination.   In my opinion, using the least discrimination possible, is always best unless you simply don't have the enough time to remove all the targets and are willing to miss a few good items.

Despite the advances in detector technology, in my opinion detectors have not improved much in the last 30 years.  As I said, I still use an old detector from time to time.   It has a lot of features that make it good for certain situations.  That particular detector does not, however, ground balance well in wet salt water sand.  But for dry sand and inland hunting, it is often my choice.

I won't go on with that any more today except to say that it is good to learn how to use your detector.  I don't think mot detectorists experiment with their detector enough.  I recommend using a variety of test targets to practice with whether it is on the beach or in your back yard. 

Take out some objects and see what your detector sounds like when passing the coil over thma at different depths and speeds.  Learn your optimal sweep speed.  Learn to know what your detector is telling you.   See what happens when you change the detector settings.  Practice, practice, practice.

I haven't been on the beach much this week.  I've been inland for a few days, but it looks like the beach remains in poor condition.

It looks like conditions will not improve over the next week or so.  

The wind is from the east and the swells coming from the east/southeast.   That is not very promsing.

Use your time well.   When conditions are poor, do a little exploring.  Try some new places and new things.

Happy hunting,