Sunday, July 16, 2017

7/16/17 Report - A Metal Detector Beginners Observations and Experiences Plus Commentary. New Tropical Disturbance Brewing.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tropical Disturbance In The Atlantic
There is now a disturbance that has a 20% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.  You would expect this to continue heading west and turning north at some point.

No significant increase in surf is predicted for the Treasure Coast yet.


NPR's Alex Chadwick talked with Slate contributor Emily Yoffe about her latest Human Guinea Pig experience: metal detector-ism. Subsequently Emily wrote a post on having the subtitle Metal Detecting Is The World's Worst Hobby. I listened to a few minutes of the NPR interview and read Emily's article.  I found the article interesting because it clearly presented the impressions of someone just giving metal detecting a try.  And as you would guess from the subtitle, Emily and her family, didn't like it at all.  You might wonder why.

First of all, the Staffordshire Hoard was one of her first references to metal detector finds that she made.  With images of such sugar plums dancing in her head, surely the reality must have been a shock after going out and finding the typical junk.  The point of that being that expectations need to be realistic.  Big treasure hunting dreams usually come true only after a lot of effort. Optimism is a plus, but patience is required.

The author of the article (Emily) called a metal detector salesman to purchase her first metal detector and told him she wanted something her seven year old could easily use and she wanted to find Civil War relics because she lived where they could hunt for those.  She was surprised when the salesman told her the seven year old would probably only want to go metal detecting one time.  That is about the way it turned out.  He also told her he had been detecting for three years (pretty much of a beginner himself) and had never found any Civil War relics.  She was surprised that a salesman would tell her something like that.

In her post she said, I started metal detecting for the latest episode of Human Guinea Pig, the column in which I do things people are curious about but wish someone else would do for them. But metal detecting was something our family actually did want to do, even without Slate's encouragement. It was my daughter's idea, actually. She requested a metal detector for her 7th birthday—she had seen a TV commercial that promised diamond rings and other amazing treasure.

Many people are curious.  They sit and watch and try to get a glimpse of what you dig, and they ask if you found anything.  Emily actually tried it, spurred on, it seems, by her seven year old daughter who was enticed by a commercial.  I guess the commercial worked to sell one metal detector, but the result was an entire family being turned off by the experience, and perhaps many more people being negatively influenced by her interview and blog post.   

She, as I suppose most beginners, was confused by the variety of detectors offered on the web.  That must be very common.  I receive a lot of questions from people wanting to get started who don't know what to buy.  

Here is something else she said that I believe people need to pay attention to.  The beep of the metal detector, like the car alarm, the busy signal, and the colicky baby, belongs in the catalog of irritating sounds. The booklet that came with my Tracker IV instructed me to study the different tones emitted by the machine so I would know the kind of metal being indicated. But I could never keep straight whether the chirp that resembled a dying sparrow meant iron or the drone like that of a truck backing up meant copper.

I agree one hundred percent that metal detector sounds are irritating.  Do they have to be so cheap and unpleasant sounding?  Most are.  Secondly, and more important, it isn't easy discriminate a lot of the sounds.  A musician might have an easier time with it than the average person.  In my opinion, that is one of the better reasons for visual displays.  (You might remember my recent post discussing aural versus visual signals.) 

After some discouragement, she consulted a neighbor who was a detectorist.  He showed a box of his finds, evidently exciting her interest to some extent again.  He did another thing for her.  She said, Phil adjusted the arm length on my Tracker IV, resulting in the immediate relief of what was becoming a debilitating case of metal detectorist elbow.  It wasn't long ago that I referred to the importance of a properly adjusted rod.

Metal detecting isn't something that someone with no experience or help can easily jump into on their own.  It is not as simple as buying a detector, turning it on and admiring the finds.

Emily's post (no pun intended) should be of some assistance to metal detector manufacturers.  It might also be of some assistance to beginners, as discouraging as it might sound.  If you are a beginner, expect to put in your time learning how to use your metal detector and find treasure.  It can be an activity that provides a world or interest and education.  Take your time to get educated before making a lot of commitment.

I personally found Emily's observations interesting.  They might be of value to both metal detector manufacturing companies and retail outlets. 

And here is the NPR radio interview here.

Happy hunting and happy learning,