3 Great Reasons To Begin Metal Detecting

Judi on August 11th, 2009

Using a metal detector to find treasureThis is perhaps a first in the metal detecting blog world, because I am just a beginner metal detecting enthusiast and I am inviting all of you to come along with me on my journey as I learn all about it, and take my first steps into the world of metal detecting!

First, I think it would be fair to let you in on my reasons for wanting to take up this hobby or sport, if it can be called that.  I am so new to this I don’t even know if metal detecting is called a sport or not! Anyway, the most obvious reason for taking up metal detecting would be that I like to hunt for treasure, or more accurately, I like to find treasure.  I think there is a bit of the treasure hunter in all of us, and I am excited to feel that thrill for the first time…that thrill of finding my first relic, or valuable coin or possibly even a beautiful piece of jewelry.  I would like to feel that connection with the past, to hold in my hand something that hasn’t been seen in decades or even centuries.  To know that this item meant something to someone who is long gone and to know that now I have it to care for.  Wow, that is going to be cool!  Or maybe I could help some person who lost something that means a lot to them.  That would be super cool!

Secondly, I think this will be a great way to get out and get some fresh air and exercise.  It may sound cliche, but anything that gets you up off the couch and moving is good for your health.  At my age, I really need to be “using it” or I’ll be losing it later!  I have learned that lesson from watching my mother lose her mobility in her old age, mainly because of her sedentary lifestyle. I am determined to not end up in a wheelchair like her if I can do anything about it. Metal detecting looks like an great activity to add to my life; something that will keep me active and interested for a long time.

Beyond that I just feel like I need some new interest in my life.  “If you’re not livin’ then you’re dyin’” as they say.  I am sure I will meet new friends through this adventure, and no one can have too many friends. I know I’ll have a lot of fun along the way.

I hope that this blog can become a resource for all of those who are just beginner metal detecting enthusiast, as I am.  But I also hope that you veterans will stop in frequently and pass on some of your valuable advice and metal detecting tips for us newbie detectors. On with the hunt!

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Treasure Hunting In the School Yard

This really interests me because I know of an old school building near Fairfield, Idaho.  I have passed this sight on the way from Boise to Sun Valley and have often wondered if I could find some coins or other treasure there.  I think the next time I head up that way to visit my friends I’ll stop at Lori’s house and check out the old school yard.  Maybe I’ll get lucky like these two!

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The Golden Rule Of Metal Detecting

Judi on September 4th, 2009

As a beginner metal detecting enthusiast, it is easy to get excited and want to rush out to the nearest school yard, park or beach and start digging holes all over the place.  Every website that I have visited has a metal detecting Code of Ethics page and this blog is no different.  But why is there so much attention given to this subject?

In the city where I live there used to be no ordinances governing metal detecting in the public parks and school yards.  That all changed when a few people abused the privilege and didn’t follow the code.  One day a school child tripped in a hole left by a metal detectorist and broke his ankle.  That was the end of metal detecting in public areas!

It took a lot of convincing by local metal detecting clubs for the city to allow metal detecting again in the parks and schools.  They had to prove that it was possible to retrieve a target without digging!  That is how it is done now, with only a blunt probe, like a long screwdriver, to remove the target from the ground.  All metal detectorists in my city have to purchase a permit and prove that they can remove the target that way if they want to hunt in public areas within the city limits.

They did this to protect innocent people from harm all because a few people were too lazy to fill in their holes!  But just imagine if it had been your child who’s ankle was broken or even your own ankle.  I’m sure you can understand why it is so important to follow the metal detecting Code of Ethics.

Not only that, but if you go onto private property without permission and start to dig holes you are trespassing and destroying someone’s property.  Both of those activities are crimes.  I don’t know about you, but I did not get into this hobby to be a criminal or to hurt people.  I started metal detecting because I wanted to find some cool, old stuff, get some exercise and meet a few interesting people.

This just amounts to following the Golden Rule and using some common sense.  Not too hard to do!

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Metal Detecting Tools Wish List

Judi on September 1st, 2009

Well, now that I have been out in my backyard with my metal detector I have decided that there are a couple of things that I really “need” if I am going to take this seriously.  Tops on my wish list is a pin pointer (see Metal Detecting Glossary).  I am actually getting pretty good at locating the target and pinpointing with the search coil (also called a loop) but if the target is still in the hole, it’s kind of hard to tell where in the hole it is.  Like, is it deeper in the hole or is it off to the side, or did I miss it completely when I dug the hole?  This is where a pin pointer would be really handy to have.  I will definitely have to get one of them. 

I have also heard that headphones are a necessity for metal detecting.  The reason you need headphones is so that you don’t miss faint signals from deep targets.  Also, if you are in a noisy area they can be really helpful. You don’t want to miss something because you couldn’t hear the signal! Of course, I have looked into this on the Internet and found that there are several different types of headphones to choose from.  I think that a volume control is a must.  A lightweight pair would be nice, apart from that I have to decide if I want a pair with only one earpiece or two.  Being a woman and living in the west I can see where it would be nice to have a pair that doesn’t block out all of the sounds around me.  There are rattle snakes to think about as well as general personal safety to consider.  At the same time, I can see where it might be hard for a beginner metal detecting enthusiast to get used to a single earpiece, to know what to listen for, etc.  I am going to have to do some more research and talk to people and maybe try out a pair before I can make a good decision on headphones, so they will go on my wish list for later.

I have a composite plastic digging tool which I bought when I got my metal detector and it works quite well, it seems to be tough enough to “take a beating and keep on digging”, LOL.  I would also like to get a nice long metal digger maybe with a serrated edge to cut through roots and tough stuff like that.  A digging knife would be great to cut through thick turf.  I think a shovel could also come in handy from time to time (but not for parks and school yards)!  I have a big digging shovel but I would like to get a small, collapsible type that would be easy to pack into places.

While I was digging in my back yard, I discovered that my hand got sore from pushing the digging tool down into the ground.  Some nice gloves with padding on the palm are on my wish list now.  I have also seen some knee pads on websites and in metal detecting videos.  I haven’t really needed them yet, but I would like to get a pair to protect my knees (and jeans) from rocky ground.

Sometime in the future I would like to get a jewelers loupe, which is a small magnifier so I can really see what it is that I have found; I have trouble reading the dates on coins, especially in bad light.  My magnifying glass is not working so well for me so I need something more powerful. The only other thing that I would like to get right away is a coin collectors book that tells the value of coins.  I hope I will be putting it to good use soon! 

So, I have quite a wish list of items to get.  I know that I will think of more things to add to the list as I get more experience with metal detecting

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My First Metal Detector!

Judi on August 30th, 2009

I finally made my decision! I really wanted to get the best metal detector that I could afford, one that would be easy for me to learn on and still get me good results when I am out hunting.  I didn’t want to end up regretting my purchase so it took me a while to make my decision.

Proud owner of a White's Prizm II metal detector

I talked to a lot of people and one thing that I found is that everyone has their own opinion about the best metal detector. If you are talking to a retailer, they are going to recommend something that they carry in stock. Retailers seldom recommend something they don’t sell. They might be trying to move a particular brand because they have too many of them and their advice could have nothing to do with what is the best for you.  What I am trying to say is that you can’t expect to get impartial advice from someone who has something to gain if you take their advice. You have to watch out for your own best interests.

If you are talking to a friend or an acquaintance, they are probably going to tell you that the metal detector they use is the best.  Just because they like it, or they used the same detector for years doesn’t mean that it is the best metal detector for a beginner to learn on.  If you know someone who will let you use their metal detector, then you can check it out for yourself.  A metal detector with a lot of bells and whistles might be more technology then a beginner needs.  I didn’t want my first metal detector to be so complicated that I would have to spend a lot of time learning what all the knobs and settings were for. I wanted something I could learn to use quickly and find stuff right away.

I spent a lot of time on the internet, looking at the different brands and models.  I have to say that there are so many different metal detectors available that it was overwhelming at times!  I would think that I found the perfect detector and then I would find another one that I wanted to get instead.  I kept going around and around, first this one, then that one until I realized that I was back to the first machine that I was considering!  I felt like I was just going around in circles! I was really confused for awhile but then I realized that there were actually only three or four different metal detectors that I was seriously considering.  Once I realized that I had narrowed my choices down, it wasn’t so difficult to make my final decision.

I finally decided to buy the White’s Prizm II metal detector from a local shop.  I was really impressed with everything I read about the White’s company and their customer service after the sale.  I wanted to get my first metal detector locally because of the support I could receive and because I believe in supporting my local economy when I can.  Ultimately, I bought locally because I could get my metal right away and I was excited and impatient to get started.

I took my new metal detector out into my back yard today and we got acquainted.  I learned how important it is to set the sensitivity level to the right setting to get a stable signal and I got used to pinpointing the target.  I didn’t find anything today but trash and a clad penny that my husband must have dropped a couple of years ago when we took out the old willow tree!  Still, I got used to my machine and I am looking forward to getting out and finding some real treasure!

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Making Your First Investment The Smart Way

Judi on August 13th, 2009

Probably one of the first really important things to decide when you are starting out in metal detecting is what metal detector to get. A good metal detector is the most important tool you will need (and the most expensive one) so your decision needs to be made carefully. You will want to get the best metal detector that you can afford but price shouldn’t be your only consideration.  Other things to consider are your comfort while using the detector and what type of detecting you will be doing.  I have to admit, I am a little confused by all the choices out there!
I think is is very important for anyone just starting out in metal detecting to assess the area near where you live and think about what type of terrain you will be hunting in.  You will get more use out of a metal detector if you don’t have to travel very far to use it.  Where I live, we do not have many beaches close by.  I think that I will be doing more hunting on dry land, in parks and school yards to start out.  In this type of area I will probably be finding coins and maybe some lost jewelry :) .  I also would like to do some hunting for relics in the many ghost towns and old mining settlements that are all over Idaho.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a town that has a metal detector shop then you have a really great resource handy.  In the city where I live there are two shops that carry metal detectors.  My plan is take a field trip to these shops over the weekend and do some hands on research and talk to some local experts.  They should be able to advise me on what metal detector will work best for my needs.
If you can’t physically go into a shop then you can find a lot of information for your initial research on the internet. One of the best sites I have found is www.kellycodetectors.com.  They have a ton of great information that should help us when we are trying to make this important decision.
I am hoping that by the end of the weekend I will have narrowed my choices down to two or three of the very best options for my needs.  Then I can go about making my final decision and finding the best price!

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Metal Detecting Glossary (and a video)

Judi on August 12th, 2009

Here’s what I know

This truely is a first, I’m sure.  Here I have started a blog on metal detecting for beginners and I am a beginner myself…I know very little about metal detecting other than I have been wanting to do it for a long time.  I have never been one to shy away from learning something new, in fact I really enjoy researching a new topic.

So, I am excited to say that in just the short time that I’ve been actively researching metal detecting, I have learned a couple of things!

  1. A “relic” is an old item.
  2. Modern coins that are still in circulation are called “clad”.
  3. A “target” is the thing that sets off the metal detector, it’s what you are hunting for.
  4. A “pinpointer” is a long, electronic devise that you stick inside the hole you have dug, or into the pile of dirt from the hole, and it helps you find the target.


And there, just like that we have the beginning of a metal detecting glossary of terms!  This is just the start.  As we go along I will be adding more terms to this list and hopefully it will help to know some of the terminology as we get more involved in metal detecting.

Below is a really good video showing the “pinpointer” in action, locating “targets”, which turn out to be “clad”… and a few “relics”.  ;)

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