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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Keep your eyes on the beach

Although I often use a metal detector with a display screen, I hardly ever watch the screen when I am metal detecting at the beach.
Old habits die hard, Im a listener and a watcher when it comes to searching on the beach and inside the water.
The more beach and water hunters rely on metal detector screen readouts, the more good things they are likely to walk straight over. 
I still see people worried about this or that set of numbers, where a target falls on the screen etc, and I think to myself why is it so important?
Why must a target have to fall into a certain bracket or be a certain number, in true Jack Sparrow fashion I look at read outs on metal detector screens as more like a set of guidelines.
No matter if I am searching for modern jewelry or old coins and artifacts, I just refer to readouts on a metal detector display screen as good second opinions.
My eyes are glued to the beach, not my metal detector display screen because I do not want to miss out on one of the real joys of beach combing, seeing something good washed up on the sand.
The same applies to water hunting, I try to eyeball things inside the water, not on my display screen.
These 300 year old pieces of Spanish silver and pewter plate were detected by my "Twin optical scanners" washed up in the high tide line on the Treasure Coast of florida. 


Another beach hunter with a Minelab Explorer was searching in front of me at the Spanish 1715 fleet wreck site, probably watching the display screen instead of the sand being walked over.
I have found way too many pieces of jewelry, paper money, designer sunglasses and old shipwreck artifacts to ever watch anything other than the ground I am covering. 



Excalibur battery pack review

Nothing puts a damper on a beach or water hunt like a flat battery, especially when the beach or water hunting conditions look good.
I am the type of person who likes to be ready for any beach or water hunting situation by planning ahead. 
That includes making sure I am at the beach metal detecting, instead of running around looking for batteries or driving home for a spare battery pack.
Several years ago I replaced the insides of my Minelab Excalibur battery pod with rapid charging packs, but recently I put the "Full Monty" in my Excalibur battery pods.  
The EX 3000 lithium -poly battery pack by RNB innovations, allows an Excalibur user to search for days on a single charge. 
I already have close to 40 hours in on one charge of the EX 3000 battery pack,  and I have been told that I will easily get 60 hours from a single charge using an Excalibur with a 10-inch search coil. 
I am looking forward to seeing how many hours I get from a single charge using my Excalibur with a 15-inch search coil. 
Changing an Excalibur battery pack is quite a simple thing to do,  it must be because I can do it lol !


It involves removing two set screws located under the glued plastic end cap cover at the end of the Excalibur battery pod.  
Use a paper clip to help you break the seal of the plastic end cap cover, then gently wiggle or pull the end cap off and pull the old pack out. 
Unplug and connect the new battery pack, push the silica pack and new battery pack in the battery pod.
Apply a little lube to the O-ring before pushing the end cap back on the battery pod and fastening the set screws. 
If you have done this before, you will notice the EX 3000 is easier to install than other battery packs, as it is a little smaller. 


Charging the EX 3000 battery pack takes approximately 4 hours, the battery pack does not have a charge memory so you can recharge your new Excalibur battery whenever you feel like it.
No more having to buy and take several batteries to the beach, just in case you run out of juice. 
This will also come in very handy for people traveling abroad, who have a chance to use their Excalibur, without the hassle of taking battery chargers and electrical convertors.
Believe me I have been there and done that, my dear mum plugging my Excalibur battery in after I fell asleep from jet lag the first day of an England detecting trip, it was not the fried breakfast I was looking forward to. 
I have also seen no drop off in power or erratic operation as the hours have rolled over using the EX 3000 battery pack.
My only problem is having enough time to go beach and water hunting with my Excalibur, trying to see if I can get to the 70 or 80 hours of battery life I have heard other Excalibur users have reached from a single charge. 
If you are thinking of upgrading your Excalibur battery, so far from my testing of the battery pack I see no reason why the EX 3000 should not be a good investment.
The EX 3000 battery pack is reasonably priced and can be purchased at metal detector stores and on Ebay, or email rnb.innovations@gmail.com 



Saturday, September 10, 2016

How to detect gold chains at the beach

Gold chains are some of the most difficult to detect pieces of jewelry at the beach, especially if you use a multi frequency metal detector. 
Although you probably have a better chance, there are no guarantees you will be able to detect gold chains using a pulse induction or single frequency metal detector. 
I wish I had a dollar for every person who contacted me with stories of metal detectors not being able to detect gold chains, no matter what type of settings or search techniques they used. 
Gold chains are difficult to detect, but not impossible if you know your metal detector and know how you have to use it to detect gold chains.
All of these gold chains were recovered using Minelab multi frequency metal detectors, on the beach and in the water, notice they have no pendants or extra large lobster claw fasteners.


My search technique and ultra slow search coil sweep had a lot to do with detecting these gold chains, also being able to recognize the audio response from the gold chains.
Often at the beach, the most disappointing targets you recover are from loud headphone splitting signals. 
The best targets you recover are almost always from short crab fart responses, or faint barely audible signals.
Gold chains of all shapes and sizes without a pendant or a decent size clasp, are the type of signals that have you saying "No freaking way" when you see a gold chain in your scoop basket.
Forget about classic two way repeatable signals when jewelry hunting, try listening for and responding to unusual sounding targets.
I wonder how many beach and water hunters walk away from gold chains because they expect a clearer and stronger audio target response. 
Test a few of these type of gold chains at the beach, you will hear audio responses, just not the type of response you would expect.
The less discrimination you use, the better when searching for gold chains or rings at tourist beaches.
A perfect example of the type of audio response to expect from a gold chain without a pendant, is the same type of response from an open gold ear ring or broken gold ring. 
When you have a break in that gold circle, you get a totally different target response than you would if the ear ring was closed or the gold ring was complete.
Its fun when the slightest of low tone anomalies you stopped to investigate, turns out to be a gold chain in your scoop basket.







Thursday, September 8, 2016

Beach and water hunting rule #1

The number one rule of beach and water hunting in my opinion, there are no rules!
Jewelry, coin or artifact hunting at the beach is not an exact science, but you would think it is on detecting forums and beach reports.
The more unnecessary rules you put on yourself, the more good stuff other beach or water hunters will scoop up.
Here are a few out dated "Rules" of beach and water hunting I hope you do not follow. 

Two hours before low tide is the best time to go to the beach

I cannot remember the last time I checked out a tide chart before going to the beach.  
The tide is what it is when I get to the beach, and I search with the tide not because of it. 
When people contact me to see if I would like to go detecting with them, they always tell me it will be low tide soon.
My answer is always no thanks, and my second thought is always I cannot believe people still wait until two hours before the low tide before going beach or water hunting.
The best time to go to the beach with a metal detector, is when you have the time to go and when you feel like it. 

Wait for improved beach conditions 

If you plan on waiting around for conditions to improve or checking other peoples beach reports,  you probably already missed good beach or water hunting opportunities. 
Just like tide times, the conditions are what they are when I arrive at the beach with a metal detector.
I make the most of what mother nature puts in front of me, and so should you.
Reports of improved beach conditions are only good to the person lucky enough to be there at the beach at that time.
Any person following will get sloppy seconds and a whole lot of competition from other followers.
My idea of improved beach or water hunting conditions is finding more stuff than on my previous beach or water hunt. 

You have to dig it all 

At beaches with a fair amount of targets, I love seeing people digging every piece of junk at the beach, just in case they miss one good target.
Like metal detector technology has not changed, or you cannot learn to distinguish between good and bad targets at the beach.
The more time you spend metal detecting at the beach, the more you learn and the easier it becomes to identify targets before they are dug.
For example, using a VLF metal detector I can tell a pull tab from a nickel, a nickel from a gold ring and a penny from a quarter or a dime. 
When you have a more than good idea what the metal object your search coil is over, you can save valuable beach hunting time at trashy sites by not having to dig everything just in case you miss one thing. 
On the other hand, at a beach with very few targets you can and should dig all targets. 
The point being, you should not have a beach hunting strategy of searching one way or the highway.
I often have people contact me saying they dug tons of junk but no gold yet, what am I doing wrong?
The simple answer is, digging it all. 

If you want to bring home what you are searching for at the beach, avoid following any outdated rules of beach or water hunting. 












Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Beach hunting grey areas

On a recent beach and water hunt I ran across a really good jewelry hunting situation, a hard packed lower beach with small rocks, crushed shell and course sand.
I knew the area had probably lost sand after a week of rough surf and winds coming from a favorable direction, relying on local beach knowledge and previously productive sites helps you to find jewelry on a consistent basis. 
When I started pulling up lead fishing weights of all shapes and sizes, I knew I had a chance of recovering gold.
I recovered a total of 27 lead fishing weights from the area in a four hour beach and water hunt.
A beach or water hunter may be tempted to move away from this type of area, believing it must be a local fishing spot, but that would be a mistake.
An area like this is often either a base layer objects became trapped in, or an area objects were moved to by the natural sifting action of the water close to shore.
Objects of the same size, shape, weight or density, are moved around by the water and tend to settle in areas with other similar type of objects.
Gold rings are often recovered from areas that have a lot of lead fishing weights, along with similar heavier objects like keys or large coins. 
When you start to recover a large number of lead fishing weights, keep scooping them up and never walk away from the area.
At the site I was recently searching, I recovered lead weights on the lower beach and inside the water.
Other targets included three 18K gold rings, a silver and gold coin ring, several large silver rings, a couple of half dollars and several large hotel keys.


Use any grey matter you can to help you locate gold at the beach. 





Saturday, September 3, 2016

Tips for searching eroded beaches

Searching eroded beaches after a storm has passed by, can be a great jewelry or coin hunting opportunity if you make the most of the situation.
I always go for shallow easy to detect targets first, at sites I know from previous experience have the potential to be productive. 
In my opinion, it is important to go for shallow targets first because you will have competition as news of eroded beaches travels fast.
I keep my cake hole closed and head directly to any of my favorite jewelry or coin hunting sites that look like they have been hit hard by a storm.
A perfect beach hunting window of opportunity closes quicker than you think, as following high tides move sand back in over an eroded beach. 
I never over extend myself by trying to cover every beach in the area, my storm hunting plan is always in place because I know what directional wind and waves are needed to erode my favorite beach hunting sites.
Count on seeing many other people metal detecting at the beach, and if you believe the shallow stuff has probably been recovered at an eroded beach, you should quickly move on to searching for deeper targets.
After searching a few select sites for shallow easy to detect targets, I search for deep targets at the same sites and other beaches I know have already been picked over by beach hunters.
Eroded beaches are normally very trashy immediately after a coastal storm, which is why I prefer "Cherry picking" when I know I am in the first wave of beach hunters to hit a beach.
I count on the second wave of "Dig it all" beach hunters to clean the beaches of surface clad coins and junk, before grabbing the deep detecting rig and searching beaches for really deep targets. 
A mistake many beach hunters make, is seeing a big cut and immediately searching the same way they always do.
For example, digging every metal target and concentrating on detecting deeply buried targets.
When mother nature just turned the beach upside down and gave you a chance to easily detect stuff that was previously buried under several feet of sand.
These three 18K gold beauties were recovered after hurricane Sandy moved past the Florida coastline back in 2012.
Vintage Cartier diamond and emerald ladies ring, heavy jade and mine cut diamond mans ring from a late 1800s shipwreck ( appraised at nearly $8000.00 ) and an amethyst ladies ring. 

Try to remember to search an eroded beach as it is now, not how it normally is. 







Monday, August 29, 2016

Going around in circles for gold

A couple of people recently asked how I search for gold chains after I recover gold pendants at the beach.
Not all gold pendants are lost off gold chains, I am sure many gold pendants come off silver chains too.
All experienced beach or water hunters will tell you, the first thing that comes to mind after finding a gold pendant is where is the gold chain ? 
Detecting gold chains in not that easy, detecting a gold chain without a pendant or a decent size clasp is even tougher, but it can be done if you have a good search technique and a little luck.
When I recover a gold pendant, I immediately start searching the area for the gold chain it probably came off. 
The main way I search an area after I find a gold pendant, is by searching in a spiral pattern away from where I scooped up the pendant. 
In my opinion, using a spiral search pattern away from the area you scooped the pendant, is a more effective than searching in straight lines. 
When I believe I have searched a wide enough area for the gold chain, I circle back towards the pendant recovery site to see if I can detect the gold chain from a slightly different sweep direction.
Nine times out of ten I do not recover the gold chain I am searching for, but when I do recover a gold chain I do not complain about the odds. 
Using a spiral search pattern earlier in the year, is how I recovered this sweet 1.5 ounce white gold chain with sapphires on the clasp, after first finding the 1.5 ounce gold pendant. 
I figured the gold chain must have been a decent size one to hold the pendant.



The gold chain was recovered approximately six feet away from the hole I pulled the pendant from, sometimes it pays to walk around in circles at the beach. 
Three ounces of gold, instead of walking away in a straight line after recovering 1.5 ounces of gold.