Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1/20/15 Report - How To Select Good Test Targets And How They Can Be Useful In The Field

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.BlogSpot.com.

Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Near Low Tide.
Notice all of the new sand on the front beach.   Not looking good.


I like trying out new detectors.  I like to learn what they can and can not do.  At the same time, I hate using a new detector because I don't know how to use it well.  I guess I have a love/hate relationship with new detectors.

Some detectors take longer to learn than others.  The Ace 350 took very little time to learn.  You can continue to learn to use any detector better for quite a while, but you can become fairly proficient with a detector like that in a relatively short amount of time.  Like I've explained, it is an inexpensive detector and there are detectors that will detect deeper and do a lot of things better, yet it has a place in my arsenal and there are times when I'll use it rather than one of the higher-end detectors that I have.  There are times when it is the best choice for a particular situation even though it is the least expensive.

I've talked a lot about test targets in the past, and I continue to see more and more value in using test targets. It seems I'm always learning.

I am currently learning to use a detector that is new to me, and it hasn't been on the market very long.  Just yesterday I was exploring and comparing the motion and non-motion modes and a variety of other things in a very challenging environment.   I've had it out in the field maybe four or five times now.

I should comment here that when you are learning to use a new detector, you should first do some air testing and some test garden testing in an environment that you are very familiar with.

I have a spot in my yard that I have used for testing for a long time.  I know that spot to be very clean.  The one thing that is not so good about that spot is that there is a good amount of EMI.  That, of course, is not the ideal for a test garden.  It is better to get away from EMI, junk, mineralization, etc. as much as you can for your early learning experiences with a new detector.  Each of those things can complicate the situation.

If you have one place that you have explored many times before with other detectors, you will know something about what to expect and be able to compare the new detector and how it responds with other detectors that you have used there before.

Getting back to test targets.  I was detecting with this new detector in a fairly challenging environment the other day.  I had already spent a few good learning sessions with this detector and was ready to step up the difficulty level.  This beach had a lot of very small pieces of iron, also a lot of very large pieces of buried iron, along with the normal salt mineralization, wet/dry zones and black sand.

Anyhow, at one point I noticed less signal strength than I would have expected from a small piece of foil.  Hmmm.  I took out a small test target that I have used quite a bit.  I know how this detector and other detectors respond to that particular test target under various conditions.  I threw it out on the ground ahead of me and indeed, the signal was not what it should have been or what I would have liked. 

Somewhere along the line the detector was detuned somehow.  I have my suspicions.  I think it had to do with some huge buried iron that I was over or a while, which could have caused the detector to retune.  However it happened, the detector was detuned and my test target quickly confirmed that the detector was performing less than optimally and was out of tune.

That is just one more example of how carrying a test target can help you.  The fact that I had used this test object before and had a good idea of how the detector should respond to it was a big help.

Select a sample of objects that include the types of things that you are interested in finding.  For example, you might include a coin, a small silver object, a small gold object, and perhaps a cob.  Again, select the kinds of things you are most interested in finding.

The most effective test targets will give off a small but distinct signal if the environment is challenging.  Don't use test targets that are too large or too easy to detect. They will give a strong signal even if you are slightly out of tune.  You want targets that produce near borderline signals that will be most affected by changes of the detector settings and changes in the environment.

You can use the same test objects for air tests and in the field.  By using the same test targets over and over, you will learn what type of response to expect from different detectors in different environments.  That will help you compare detectors on the different types of targets in different environments.  It will also help you better evaluate your settings.  Having a well known test target along with me helped me quickly determine that my detector was responding less than optimally, and it also helped me retune the detector to obtain a near optimal response in the environment where I was hunting.

Not much change in Treasure Coast beach conditions to talk about.  Same small surf and sandy beaches.  No change in expected real soon.

Happy hunting,