Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25/14 Report - Surf Increasing Already This Morning As Christobal Heads North. Some Cuts on Treasure Coast. Reasons and How to Conduct A Pre Hunt Detector Test.


Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tropical Storm Christbal will stay to the East of us and the rest of the United States.  It looks like it will be a fish storm now, but it looks like the Treasure Coast will still get a four or five foot surf by Wednesday.  The surf has begun to increase (Monday morning).

Monday morning there were also some one-foot cuts along the Treasure Coast.  Unfortunately those scattered cuts are in sand that has piled up in the past few weeks.  That will not change my beach conditions rating yet - still poor.  It, however, might cause a change in conditions if things keep going in the same direction.

There is also a second disturbance coming off of Africa.

Source of maps:

Looks like the Atlantic is becoming more lively.

Both of the above weather maps are from

Sometimes detectors will fool you.   One will have a grand reputation for depth and excellance but will be outperformed by a cheaper detector or a detector with a poor reputation.   The thing is that there are a lot of factors that will affect the performance and depth that a detector gets on a specific target.  That is a big reason why I explained how to really test a detector yesterday.

You have to be specific about the type of target and the environment.  You also have to be specific about the operating characteristics of the detector.  The detectors performance will also be affected by your settings and how you use it.

One important factor is your sweep speed.  Sweeping either too fast or too slow can cause loss of depth and good targets.  So how do you know how fast to sweep?

I've discussed this in the past but it is worth mentioning again.  Put the type of target on the ground (preferable the type of ground where you expect to hunt) and sweep your coil over the object.  Listen to the signal.   Sweep over it again, this time slower.  Did the signal get louder or less loud?  If it got louder, that tells you that you were sweeping too fast to begin with.  Vary the sweep speed over the object until you get the loudest most distinct signal.  Maintain a constant distance between the coil and object on each attempt.

That is how you can find the near optimal sweep speed for you detector in the environment you plan to work.   The optimal sweep speed can be different for dry land and for wet salt sand, for example.  The best idea is to do your tests where you plan to hunt.

I like the practice of testing my detector each time before I begin a hunt.  It takes only a few seconds to get your sweep speed right.   Try to develop muscle memory for the best sweep speed for each detector.

I think it is natural to get in a hurry and go to fast.

Also test your settings.  Adjust your settings to produce the loudest signal on the type of object you want to find.

Target specificity is important.  Don't test your detector on an object you don't much care about.  Don't use a zinc penny for the test unless that is what you most want to find.

Testing your settings before you get far into your hunt can save a lot of wasted time.  It is easy enough for knobs to get turned between hunts.  It is a big waste of time to spend your first half hour with maximum discrimination simply because you failed to check the settings.  Yes you can simply look at the knobs, but a lot can be accomplished quickly by simply doing a test on an appropriate test object before your hunt.   I can remember times in the distant past when I started my hunt and spent quite a few minutes before discovering an incorrect setting and had to go back and cover the same ground with the corrected settings.  If you have a lot of electromagnetic or radio interference, you might choose to lower the sensitivity setting.

One type of location that can be tough to detect well is around electric lines, underground cables or radio transmissions.  Some detectors will be much more affected by those things than others.  A detector that is not the best in one environment can be the best choice in another.

Coils are different too.  A Dual Surf PI has a larger coil than an Excalibur, but the Excalibur coil gives you more depth under the entire coil than the PI.  The area of maximum depth is only obtained under a relatively small part of the PI coil.  That means that you should overlap sweeps more when using the PI.  You can quickly test coil coverage while doing a sweep speed test.

While doing a sweep speed test, move the coil front to back between sweeps.  You might notice that some parts of the coil give a much louder signal than others.  Check to see where your maximum sensitivity is located under the coil.  You will learn how broad your maximum detection area is and where under the coil it is located.

Just the other day, I tested a Surf PI, Excalibur and ACE 250 on an inland area having a lot of electrical interference.   I used a thin gold ring as my test target.  The Excal gave a good loud signal over the ring.  The 250 did almost as well.  The PI barely gave a signal under those conditions, and only when the ring was located under a small part of the coil and when the coil was moved at a near perfect sweep speed.  The results were remarkable enough that it surprised me.

That is just one example.  Do not over-generalize from that simple test.  In some environments the PI can perform better than the other detectors.  My point is that different detectors will perform differently in different environments, on different types of objects, but the response will also depend upon your settings and sweep speed.

On most tests I will optimize my settings for the loudest and most distinct signal.  In the above test, I  made a variety of adjustments, particularly on the PI to see if I could improve the results.

Once again I want to emphasize the value of testing your detector or detectors properly.  You'll get best results when you spend a lot of time testing so that you really know your detector.

Watch for the higher surf the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,