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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Search coil cover blues

Vince in Ireland asks why bother using a search coil cover. 
I always use a search coil cover, and I go through several every year.  
There are good reasons to use a cover on your search coil at the beach, including protecting your search coil from jagged coral, rocks or wear from abrasive sand. 
Anyone who has a detecting lesson off me knows I am a " Scrubber " when I am beach hunting. 
I like to keep my search coil on the sand when I am metal detecting.
This is the reason why I wear through a minimum of four search coil covers a year. 
Metal detector search coils are expensive and sometimes not as strong as you think they are. 
Search coils can split or crack,  if they are bumped against rocks or chunks of coral without a search coil cover. 
The cost of a plastic coil cover has increased sharply, but buying a coil cover is still cheaper than having to buy a new search coil and paying for it to be installed if you own a metal detector with a hard wired search coil. 
Spraying truck bed liner or other gunk on your search coil is no substitute for a search coil cover. 
Coil cover alternatives, often costs you more in materials and time, spent constantly having to re-coat the search coil.
Sealing your coil cover to your search coil is another bad idea. 
Bodged coil cover jobs trying to save a few dollars look bad if you want to sell your metal detector, and may void your warrantee if you send your metal detector in to get it repaired. It's hard to say you have a bad search coil when it arrives at the repair center looking like swamp thing. 
Avoid securing your search coil cover to your search coil too tight, it  may cause your search coil cover sides to crack.
 I use tape to secure my coil cover to my search coil, but I avoid wrapping it too tightly.  
Plastic zip ties are an alternative, but you have to avoid pulling them too tight before snipping the ends off.
A metal detector is your investment in the hobby, protect the end of your investment that takes the most abuse in the beach by using a search coil cover. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Most surprising place to find gold jewelry at the beach

Great question from Paul in Nevada, who asks what area of the beach are you surprised to find gold jewelry at. 
I have found several ridiculously expensive pieces of gold jewelry in some crazy places at the beach. 
This is one of the reasons why I never under estimate any area at the beach, as you can potentially find gold jewelry anywhere at the beach. 
Within the first few feet of the beach entrance is probably one of the most surprisingly productive areas of the beach, but for good reason when you think about it.
Every day on beaches all around the world, people do a variety of things close to beach entrances causing jewelry to be lost. 
For example, putting their hands in their pockets, either putting keys, wallets or phones away or pulling them out. 
Shuffling or rearranging stuff they are  carrying on or off the beach, picking up kids etc
All these type of things around a beach entrance, lead to people losing jewelry just as they enter or leave the beach. 
I have heard too many stories of expensive diamond rings being found within the first few feet of beach entrances to overlook these areas. 
Many beach or water hunters do not give the beach entrance a second thought, as they head to the lower beach two hours before low tide. 
In my opinion, much of beach hunting is knowing where to search with your metal detector. It does not get any better than knowing the place where people pull their pockets inside out, struggle with heavy stuff, or remove items of clothing.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

VDI screen backlight on or off ?

Lee in Canada asks if I use a backlight when night hunting. 
I do a lot of late night and early predawn beach hunting with a metal detector that has a VDI screen.
I prefer not to have my backlight on, as it is just easier to turn my headlamp on if I need to check the screen.
Walking around on a dark beach waving a bright screen from side to side, draws a lot of attention to you in populated areas. 
Occasionally turning my backlight or headlamp on, means I have to answer less questions. 
One of the main reasons I never have my backlight lit,  is because I search tourist beaches at night and use discrimination. 
I concentrate my efforts towards recovering targets that have a high probability of being platinum, gold or silver, discriminating obvious junk objects. 
If I had to dig all metal targets, I would need to have my headlamp on all the time, like many night beach hunters do. 
Night jewelry hunting is easy using a metal detector with a screen, especially one that you can turn the backlight on with a press of a button. 
I always go out of my way to keep a low profile at the beach, avoiding questions from strangers and yes avoiding questions from other beach hunters at night.
At heavily hunted beaches, not having your backlight illuminated serves the same purpose as leaving your front light off for trick or treaters. 
If you are searching a productive site, you can keep your beach candy and leave the competition in the dark! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Checking out the competition

Perry in  California asks how I deal with competition at the beach. 
This is an easy question, I have no competition.
In my opinion, the only real competition a beach or water hunter should  have is themselves. 
Other people using metal detectors rarely effect the outcome of your beach or water hunt, no matter how much so called competition you have. You are still only going to get what you find. I never worry about what other people are finding or where other people are finding stuff.
I am too busy doing my own thing and concentrating on trying to go home with something good. Sometimes I go home with gold, other times I go home with platinum lol 
Seriously, the only thing that makes a difference on heavily hunted beaches, are your site reading skills and metal detecting technique. 
Leave all the competitive stuff to the people who care about it, beach and water treasure hunting is all about checking out your finds, not other people metal detecting. 
The more experienced at beach and water hunting you become, the more you realize there is no such thing as competition. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

What to look for in a metal detector

Carl from South Africa asks what do I look for in a metal detector. 
That is a really good question Carl, and in my opinion ease of use and versatility are the keys to choosing a metal detector. 
Those two things make a winning combination on any metal detector, and especially for a beach hunter. 
A metal detector may be known for being very deep or it may have a lot of bells and whistles, but if it just feels awkward using it you are not going to stay out on the beach very long. 
When you are comfortable using a metal detector, you find stuff and you like it even more. The same applies to using a metal detector that is too site specific. The more things you can do with your detector, the more places you can search and the more good finds you will recover.  
In my opinion, the best thing you can do before buying a metal detector is visit your local metal detector store. At your local metal detector dealer, you can pick up various metal detectors and get a feel for them. Probably get a demo and chat with a person who knows the local beaches you intend to search. 
Everyone has their favorite metal detectors, but I do like to try new ones out just to see if they are better than what I use. 
I need waterproof metal detectors for water hunting, but on the beach I have no qualms about putting a plastic bag over a metal detector if I think it will be a better option than my waterproof units
There is nothing worse than a beach or water hunter using a metal detector they are not comfortable using, just because it is a popular metal detector and people find stuff with it. 
There are no one size fits all metal detectors, otherwise everyone would be using the same type of metal detector. 
What is a good fit for you and the sites you search, are always the perfect reasons to fork over your hard earned money for a metal detector. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Minelab CTX 3030 search coil question

Simon in Jolly old England asks what is the best search coil for his CTX 3030. 
In my opinion, the search coil that comes with any metal detector is always the best search coil to use. From past experiences I have found the coil that came with a metal detector always has the best combination of two things that matter the most to a beach hunter, target depth and sensitivity to small targets.
One of those important things is useless without the other, when it comes to search coils.
If I had to choose a good alternative to the 11-inch search coil on the CTX 3030 I would have to say the Coiltek 10 X 5-inch elliptical coil delivers.  The elliptical shape also makes it an ideal coil to use searching a cut on the beach. 
I have had a lot of really nice gold chains fall to the 10 X 5 Joey coil.
Maybe just a coincidence, but I believe the way a smaller coil makes you cover ground slower has something to do with an increase in the amount of jewelry and coins I recover using a smaller search coil.
Saying that, I still prefer the 11 inch smart coil over the other search coil options for the CTX 3030.
It is always best to learn the nuances of a metal detector with the stock coil  before adding extra coils.
Always buy an accessory search coil because you have an area it will better suited to search, or you are searching for a specific target and the coil you want to buy will help detect it better. 
Good luck with your new CTX 3030 Simon. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Using a pin-pointer at the beach

Roger from Belgium asks if I ever use a pin-pointer at the beach and the answer is yes all the time. 
I have a pin-pointer designed for land use and a waterproof pin-pointer that is the cats meow on the lower beach and inside the water.
The faster you can locate a potentially valuable target and get it in your finds pouch the better. 
I am also a firm believer that you should always strive to be an efficient treasure hunter by using your metal detecting time wisely, including target recovery time. 
Anything that helps you go onto the next target faster is a good thing. 
I see many beach or water hunters struggling to pinpoint and recover targets at the beach. 
Using a pin-pointer on the beach is one way you can spend more time detecting targets instead of struggling to locate targets you already detected. 
Less is often more in beach and water hunting, from shorter more thorough jewelry hunts, to small coils and pin-pointers, all things that help you detect more valuable targets in less time. 
 A waterproof pin-pointer can be a great asset along rocky shorelines, where digging targets with a long handled scoop is difficult.  It also saves time when bobbing and fanning targets in the water. As Jax the stray cat says 
"Pinpoint me if you dare " !