Beginners Guide to Metal detecting and Treasure Hunting by Capt. Daniel Berg
The complete guide to buying the right metal detector and basics of successful Metal detecting.
 
 
 

Buying the Right Metal Detector
By Fred Krupowicz and Dan Berg

Metal detectors range in price from around $400 to over $1500. The quality of these detectors varies greatly. Some detectors are designed to be hot on gold while others are better at picking up coins as targets. Some detectors are water resistant allowing only the coil to be submerged and others are waterproof allowing the entire unit to be taken into the surf. Some machines are better in salt water and others fresh. For the most part you get what you pay for. With an inexpensive detector you will dig targets but may recover a lot of trash while with a mid or top range detector you can be more productive on your first trip to the beach. Think about it. If you purchase the least expensive detector it will not penetrate that deep and you may find mostly shallow trash. More than likely you would then not stay in the sport if all you are finding is trash. On the other hand, if you spend a bit more money up front for a detector that allows you to find a deeper buried gold ring on your first trip out you will be hooked for life and that machine will pay for itself in no time.

Types of Detectors
There are basically three different types of metal detectors currently on the market and about a dozen manufacturers. VLF (Motion) detectors, pulse induction detectors and Multi Frequency detectors. Some models are adaptable for beach, land and water hunting, and others have features like better target volume control for hearing through a diverís neoprene hood. Letís takes a quick look at each type of metal detector so you can decide which is the best unit for your planed type of treasure hunting.

VLF (Motion) Detectors
VLF stands for Very Low Frequency. These detectors are also called motion detectors. VLF units can be used in fresh or salt water and on the dry beach. They react to salt and become a little erratic when the coil touches wet ocean sand. The units are, therefore, best for land and fresh water use. These detectors require the search coil to be in motion in order to locate a target. The unit beeps as the target is passed. Most detectors have their own language. For example, a single beep in both directions equals a good target while a single beep in one direction followed by three beeps in the other may mean trash.

Pulse Induction Detectors
Pulse Induction units are best in salt water and generally speaking will pick up the deepest targets. Pulse detectors are designed to ignore salt which is great for anyone working in the ocean. Unfortunately, they can not discriminate iron and junk without also losing good signals. These detectors do not need motion and will continue to sound a steady tone when held directly over a target. Pulse detectors are often the choice detector for scuba diving treasure hunters, especially those working Spanish Galleons. These detectors are the deepest seeking units on the market. The down side is with most you have to have a very good ear and need practice listening for small fluctuations in signal tone to isolate a target.

Multi Frequency Detectors
Multi frequency detectors are a little more expensive but basically offer the best of both worlds in a truly universal detector. The units scan with a variety of frequencies. Since they scan with multi frequencies they can better adjust for the soil composition and mineralization that you are working. What that really means is that these detectors often find more targets per day than pulse or motion detectors. The added benefit is they are easy to use and for scuba divers some have a unique target volume feature that allows you to crank up the target tone. This way divers have no problem hearing targets through neoprene dive hoods and ambient bubble noise.


Additional Features

Within each of the previously listed categories detectors with different features are offered. Some detectors for land (or dry beach) have very sophisticated electronics and meters which display what they have found before even digging the target. These displays tell not only the type of metal it has detected but approximate how deep the target is located. Unfortunately, water machines do not have this feature. We are focusing on beach and water hunting for a reason. On the beach, sunbathers loose all types of items. Keys, coins and jewelry are often left on a towel, and then forgotten until the towel is later picked up and shaken. Once these targets hit the sand itís nearly impossible to locate them without a metal detector. Sunbathers also regularly lather themselves with sun screen or tanning oil. They then bake themselves in the sun. After a while, they walk or jump into the water to cool off. Now the cool water causes fingers swollen in the summer heat to shrink and the rings just slide off. As a general rule gold will be our desired treasure. Gold can be located high and dry on the beach with a land machine. It is ,however, often much more abundant in the surf and deeper water. An added benefit to hunting in the water is that you will also dig less trash like flip tops and aluminum foil.

In the past, many serious metal detector hunters actually owned two or three different types of metal detectors. One for salt water another for fresh and a third for land hunting Now one good waterproof multi frequency detector can do a good job in most environments. The choice comes from how much you want to spend compared to how much time you are going to spend hunting and if you plan on hunting the dry beach, shallow water or scuba diving for treasure.

Metal Detectors can detect objects down to approximately 6-24 inches below the surface. The exact depth that each machine can penetrate actually depends on: the type of metal you're looking for, the size of the target, composition of the soil, interference from other buried metal objects and experience of the user. When trying to decide on which detector is right for you start by considering what environment you will be using your metal detector.


Beach Hunting Walking the dry sand in search of lost
coins and jewelry. Least amount of
equipment needed.
Equipment: VLF (motion) detector,
or Multi frequency can be used.
Land machine or water proof machine.
Short or long handled scoop.
Recommended: waterproof multi frequency
detector. This way you can discriminate trash
and can also hunt the surfís edge.


Shallow Water Hunting- Walking into the shallow water, usually at
low tide. Often more jewelry and less
junk is found in the water!
Equipment: Pulse induction or
Multi frequency can be used.
Water proof machine.
Short or long handled scoop.
May need boots or waders in cold water.
Recommended: waterproof multi frequency
for the most targets or pulse induction for
finding deeper targets or working areas with
a lot of competition.


Water Hunting Wading into the surf or deeper water. Often
chest to neck deep. This is where the most
gold should be.
Equipment: VLF (motion) detector
(for fresh water), Pulse
induction or multifrequency.
Water proof metal detector.
Long handle or looped scoop
May need floating screen.
May need thermal protection example: wet
or dry suit.
Recommended: Pulse Induction will
find the deepest targets and are great for
working areas with a lot of competition.
Multi frequency detectors are much easier
to use and have a unique target volume
control.

Scuba diving Using scuba equipment to get into deeper
water that wading.
Equipment: VLF (motion) detector, Pulse
induction or Multifrequency can be used.
Water proof metal detector.
Hand rake and catch bag
Thermal protection and all SCUBA
equipment.
Recommended: waterproof multi frequency
for the most targets or Pulse Induction for
finding deeper targets or working areas with
a lot of competition.


Shipwreck Exploration Using metal detector on shipwrecks to find
treasure and artifacts.
Equipment: VLF (motion) detector, Pulse
induction or Multi frequency can be used.
Waterproof metal detector.
All SCUBA equipment.
Recommended: Pulse Induction is detector of
choice for deeply buried targets.
Multi frequency detectors are much easier
to use and have a unique target volume
control so you can easily hear targets even
with ambient bubble noise.



Identifying and defining your intended use is the first consideration when evaluating which metal detector to purchase. Do not be alarmed if you find yourself wanting a machine that can do it all. Most manufacturers make machines that can function in several environments. Once you have identified your most likely search environments and desired targets, it's time to consider and compare some of the other features of most metal detectors:

Metal Detector Features

Depth Although the actual detectable depth will depend on many factors including soil composition, size and material of target, some metal detectors are designed to work deeper underground than others.

Target Alert Metal detectors use one or more audio, visual, or tactile alerts to let you know when the metal detector has picked up a target signal. Inexpensive metal detectors will have the same beep tone regardless of the metal detected. Other more sophisticated metal detectors will have distinctive beep tones based on the type of metal detected. For example, on junk some of these detectors will beep three times in one direction and one beep in the other. The most expensive and arguably the best metal detectors will give you a different tone for each type of target. For example, multi frequency detectors have a low mellow tone for gold and a high pitch tone for coins. Having said that aluminum foil sounds just like gold so as a rule, water hunters dig all targets to avoid missing valuable signals.

Ground Balance Many metal detectors have settings that allow you to adjust for minerals in the ground so that the metal detector will not alert you in error. With some detectors you can manually adjust the ground balance; the higher-end metal detectors utilize microprocessors to automatically adjust and cancel false signals from ground minerals.

Detection Mode Many metal detectors allow you to change the settings based on the type of object you're looking for. The four most common detection modes are coin, coin/jewelry, relic (buttons, buckles, bullets, etc.) and prospecting (gold). Some metal detectors specialize in just one or two modes, and others let you search in just one mode or in all modes simultaneously. Being able to set a mode for a specific situation helps eliminate false signals

Sensitivity Most metal detectors allow you to adjust the unit so it is either more or less sensitive to ground minerals, targets in the ground and electrical interference.


Discrimination Discrimination allows you to select which targets you want to dig. This can be very helpful because you can eliminate trash and only dig better targets. This feature is great on land or dry sand. Water hunters as a rule dig all signals because tin foil sounds just like gold. If you eliminate foil you also greatly reduce your odds of finding a gold ring. Most only use this feature in heavy trash areas to cut down the junk signals and save time.

Display Many land detectors (which can be used on the dry sand) have electronic displays. These sophisticated metal detectors display information about what type of target, and how deep the target is buried, before you even start to dig.

Battery Life Many metal detectors use 'AA' batteries. Others are rechargeable. Burn times run from only a couple hours to over 30 hours of operation. Consider purchasing an extra rechargeable battery that can be changed in the field. It is the worst feeling in the world to detect all morning and just start to dig jewelry only to have your detectorís battery run out.

Size, Shape &Weight Metal detectors usually weigh just a few pounds, but some are heavier than others. If you are going to be swinging the coil for hours at a time you will want a light weight detector or the ability to mount the box on a waste belt and only swing the coil and shaft. Water hunters must also consider the detectorís shape. A large flat side surface creates increased resistance. This resistance can quickly slow down or tire out even the strongest treasure hunter.


Other Metal Detector features
- Portable shaft that breaks down or collapses for easy transport
- Waterproof and water resistant units for shallow water or scuba
- Salt and freshwater versatility
- Enhanced sensitivity to coins, gold or silver
- Iron discrimination- some detectors have the ability to null out
over iron
- Detachable control box with belt or chest mount

Budget After deciding what type of treasure hunting you will do and considering the options available, sometimes the biggest consideration is your budget.

Once you have a good idea of what specific features and functions you want from your metal detector, you will just need to find the metal detectors that match your needs and begin comparing them by price. Try to find the metal detector that provides the most value. If budget is a major concern, consider purchasing a used metal detector.

 

 
Beach and Water
Treasure Hunting with Metal Detectors

A complete how to guide to discovering lost jewelry and coins from the sand and water. Includes sections on dry beach detecting, shallow surf, wading, scuba detecting and shipwreck diving.

only $9.95
6.5 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

Beach and Water Treasure Hunting with Metal Detectors is a 70 page downloadable, printable PDF booklet. The text is packed with information and hundreds of color images.

Ever go to the beach and watch a guy strolling down the waters edge metal detector in hand. That guy is not just searching for pocket change. He is looking for and most likely finding treasure. For the purpose of this text we will focus on Beach and Water Hunting. Learn why Metal detecting can be enjoyed as a hobby by those of all ages. Its one of the only activities that can quickly pay for itself while providing the hobbyist with outdoor fun, adventure and exercise. This text defines water and beach detecting into five distinct forms of treasure hunting. Please be aware that many of these types of detecting overlap. For example a beach hunter with a water proof detector will often venture into the shallow surf in search of gold rings and a scuba diver could certainly use his same detector on the dry beach. This text teaches the basics as well as tricks of the trade learned form years of detecting. These techniques make it easy and will greatly increase your productivity. Anyone can discover lost gold and this book will show you how.

This title is now available in soft cover Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.></a></font>
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