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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Disappearing signals

I love to search for Spanish treasure coins on the Treasure Coast of Florida Spanish 1715 fleet wreck sites.  I find my slow methodical treasure hunting style and choice of metal detector are well suited to finding small thin silver targets such as these Spanish reales. 

Before I got into Spanish treasure and modern jewelry hunting, I searched for the same kind of metal detecting finds in England.
I learned many valuable lessons while searching in the fields of England for hammered silver coins, but none more important than dealing with disappearing signals. 
Many years ago I was metal detecting on a field that had been plowed and worked ready for planting by a farmer. 
A shrill high tone in my Sovereign headphones had me all excited about the prospects of recovering a hammered silver coin.  
After digging up the area with my fork the signal vanished, more digging and nothing but frustration. 
I just could not find the target anywhere and decided to fill the hole in and move on.  
Passing the disturbed area of ground on the next pass,  "Gary the Rottweiler" took over and I decided I just had to investigate some more.
It was a good job I did because as I approached the hole from the different angle I saw these two pieces of hammered silver from the late 1500s stuck to the side of a clod on top of the hole. 

After I swept my search coil over the clod of earth with the hammered silver clearly visible, I still could not get a target response. 
When I moved the clod with my boot the hammered silver rang out loud and clear.
Fast forward many years and the same kind of thing happened again on the Treasure coast of Florida, only this time I was prepared and there was not a cat in hells chance I was walking away. 
I was searching a four foot cut on a Spanish 1715 fleet wreck site beach and heard the unmistakable sound of a small silver reale. 
The signal disappeared after scooping and dumping the sand, I simply pushed the sand pile around with my foot and the signal reappeared. 
The nice silver one reale was safely recovered instead of being left on the beach because I did not understand the difficulty of a metal detector to find small thin targets on edge.
That is the reason why today I always investigate other beach hunters dug holes and sand piles on the beach, just in case they walked away from a target on edge. 
Do not be alarmed if this disappearing signal act happens to you, especially when you are using a metal detector that is sensitive to small thin targets. 
As I mentioned in a previous blog,  never walk away if you heard a two way repeatable signal. 

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