Thursday, February 5, 2015

2/5/15 Report - National Geographic State of the Detecting Hobby Overview. More On Pinpointing. One Method Illustrated.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is a good general article on the state of the metal detecting hobby and the opposition.


I talked about using pinpointers not too long ago.  I almost never use a pinpointer but some people do.  A pinpointer can help.   Some pinpointers are inexpensive and not very good while others cost nearly as much as a basic metal detector and are very powerful.  Some can even be used submerged.

You can use a screwdriver to pop coins and other small items out of the ground without any digging, but if you use a screwdriver, you need to be able to pinpoint well.   That is a very helpful skill in any case.

Second. if you use a screw driver, you might want to file down any sharp edges to minimize scratching in case you do make a mistake and hit the object.

In addition to the screw driver, you might also use a probe.  An old antique car radio antennae with the little chrome ball on the end will work.  If you use a probe carefully, you can touch and locate the coin without scratching it.  That method doesn't work well in rocky ground though.

Sand can be sifted quickly, so you won't need a pinpointer on a beach, but you can improve your pinpointing skills by learning to use your detector better.  

There are the obvious things you can do, such as switch to all-metals, non-motion, or pinpoint mode.

Additional methods include cutting down sensitivity or detuning or raising the coil higher to diminish the area that produces a signal.

Another technique you can use in a hole, involves putting the coil at something like a 45 degree angle from the ground and rotating the coil around the edge of the hole to locate where the target lies relative to the hole. (See illustration.)

I often find this method useful, especially when the target is deep and you have to scoop more than once.  This method will quickly tell you if the object is to one side of the center of the hole. 

Some elongated objects can be difficult.  The signal, depending upon the angle of the sweep, can appear to be at the end of the object rather than over the center.  In that case your first scoop might be off-center.  This method illustrated below can quickly tell you if that is the case.

Another technique that can help is to set the coil at a 45 degree angle next to the hole and facing the hole so any movement of the target is detected as you move sand or dirt.  To use that method you should be using a non-metallic trowel or digger.

Also setting the coil by the hole as dirt is dug or thrown towards the coil or onto the coil will tell you when the target has been moved.

In sand I often use my hand to feel for a target when I am getting close rather than continuing to scoop. 

Of course a handful of dirt swung over or onto the coil will also tell you if the target is in your hand.


We have a small surf on the Treasure Coast today.  The wind is from the South, but will switch around this afternoon and be coming from the North, continuing into tomorrow.  The prediction for tomorrow is for a four to six foot surf.  That might create a few cuts, but probably not produce really old stuff.

Happy hunting,