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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mixed signals

When beach or shallow water hunting and you think you hear two different tones, always stop and recheck the area after digging the first target.  
I make a habit of always rechecking my holes on the beach, even holes dug by other beach hunters! 
When you think you heard a slight low tone on the initial sweep that picked up a high tone target, you probably did. 
That is exactly what happened when I found my 1836 gold half eagle towards the end of 2011.

The beach that I found this superb gold coin and other US relics was completely littered with ferrous trash targets after large ocean swells had hit the back of the beach.
Crusty bottle caps and corroding nails being the main two nuisance targets. 
This beach was probably not considered a good place to metal detect by local beach hunters, especially with so many busy tourist beaches in South Florida. 
I believe the high amount of trash and lack of "tourist droppings" in the area actually protected the beach from being appealing to other beach hunters, even though the beach had been torn apart. 
It was about a week into a three week period of searching this beach after work every evening before I discovered this old gold coin. 
Every night I would return home with a finds pouch full of ferrous trash, as well as some pretty cool finds left over from the 1830s Florida Seminole indian wars.

Using a small search coil enabled me to pick out good targets between the junk, in an area that my larger stock search coil struggled to recover from the constant nulling of iron. 
I remember receiving mixed broken signals as I slowly swept my search coil over a very trashy spot,  it sounded like a bottle cap but too good to ignore because of a faint low tone. 
After digging the bottle cap, I recovered another bottle cap from the hole. 
Now that is usually the time when most beach hunters would have probably moved on, but because of my prior finds I remembered the faint low tone and swept over the hole again.
I dug another scoop of sand and swept my search coil over what I believed to be a foil candy coin wrapper, partially visible in the glare of my headlamp in the sand pile.
Picking up and holding that 177 year old gold coin was a memory that will stay with me for a long time. 
I hope after reading my gold coin story you will see the value of taking the time to recheck holes and not assuming that corroding bottle cap or penny was the real culprit of that mixed signal you heard. 

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