Friday, January 11, 2008

METAL DETECTORS, some basics

Everybody wants to find that big treasure, some of us will settle for the small ones, but to find almost any of them you have to have the right knowledge and the right equipment.

When you get past reading all of the symbols and get to the point of where you think there should be something buried, it’s always nice to get a signal from a detector letting you know there’s something there. Unless you just like digging holes and moving boulders, you will own at least one metal detector and if you’re like most, you will own two or more. Knowing how to use your detector to maximize it’s signal is one of the most important things you can do. Having the right detector for the job will make a big difference also.

Hunting Spanish treasure sometimes requires different equipment than hunting outlaw treasure because the depths can be drastically different. Most of the outlaw treasure you encounter will generally be less than four feet deep, most will be in the two to three foot range. When hunting in this range a good two-box detector is a must but for some of the more shallow caches you might get away with a good single coil detector with good ground balance circuitry. I was lucky enough to be taught a few things about some detectors by a friend of mine. His information saved me a lot of money and sweat, not having to lug around a heavy detector when a light one would do a better job.

For anyone that is interested, I would highly recommend you check into the machines made by Tesoro, especially the Tejon, the El Dorado or even the older model Bandido I or II. I don’t want this to turn into an advertisement but the Tesoros have a really good ground balancing circuit, which is why they work so well and have become one of my favorite detectors.

If you are looking for a good two-box detector then I would recommend one of the older White’s TM-808s with the separate cave mode. The Fisher Geminis are good machines however I prefer the TM-808 over the Fishers. Another good two-box is the TF-900. This is almost an exact duplicate of the White’s TM-808 but I have heard they work a little better. I have never owned one of the TF-900s but have been told they are fine machines.

Another detector I would recommend is a “magnetic locator” used by surveyors and others to locate steel and iron. The draw back to this machine is it only locates ferrous metals; which leaves out gold and silver. The plus to this machine is the depth. The manufacturer, Schonstedt Instrument Company, says in it’s literature about this product that it will find an eighteen inch long piece of ¾ inch pipe at NINE feet deep. It has been my experience in the field with one of these that this is not an exaggeration. The model I use is the GA-52Cx. These normally retail between $665 and $885 new but if you watch some of the on-line auction sites like E-Bay you can find them for $300-$400.

At this point you are probably wondering why I would even recommend one of these if all you are looking for is gold and silver. There are people who look for antique firearms and buried cannons that would find one of these machines handy, but the thing you need to remember is that outlaws buried their caches inside things such as iron tea pots and dutch ovens. If you know that you are looking for a ferrous object then you just can’t go wrong with one of these. For you metal clue enthusiasts this would be a must have. They are light, only have two controls and run off of 9 volt batteries.

Something we should all already know but may forget from time to time is always check that hole once you pull something out of it. The chance of a second cache a little deeper or a few coins that slipped out of the first one is always present.

I would also highly recommend that you detect trees for clues or even caches. I can guarantee you from personal experience that they did hide things in the trees and at the base of trees.

There are many different types of detectors out there made by almost as many different companies so choosing the right one can be a daunting task sometimes. If at all possible I would try to borrow one from someone you know or even rent one if there is a place in your area and try some different machines and see how you like them. Do your research and try to match the machine to the task you have in mind.

I told you it was just the basics!

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