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13 Golden Tips for Metal Detecting Beginners

By Ken Rowsby

1. The search coil (the actual transmitter-receiver) position of your metal detecting machine is very important for effective metal detecting. Beginners often scan the ground with their search coils at close to 45-degree angles. This is not optimal use of the machine and will likely give you a load of false-positive readings. Always remember that the search coil should be in a position parallel to the ground, no matter what.

2. It is also important to retain the same height above ground with your search coil. For example, if you sweep the area with the coil four inches above the ground, then you must keep the search coil at four inches of height all the time. This will enable you to gauge your readings much more accurately.


13 Golden Tips for Metal Detecting Beginners-

3. Speaking of height above ground, the search coil should be close to the ground, but not actually touching it. This takes a little practice, but you must remember that the search coil will get damaged if it constantly bangs into rocks or solid items on the ground.

4. If the area you're sweeping is covered with rocks and stones, then you should simply increase the height at which you are keeping your detector off the ground. This will protect the machine and also help reduce false-positive readings.

5. Whilst it is perfectly acceptable to swing the search coil whilst trying to pinpoint a particular item in the ground, you must be careful. Try not to tilt the search coil forward and backward every time you swing the handle but keep it even.

6. There is an art to swinging your metal detecting machine. You should follow a tight, even and regular pattern. Imagine a loosely coiled snaked when swinging the search coil: start from the right, move it to the left, move up a bit, swing it gently to the right, then move it up again. Repeat this throughout your search, and you will probably find something valuable!

7. Don't rush! You have to be patient and take your time if you want to find those treasures. If you cover a hundred square meters of land in just five minutes then you've probably missed a great deal. The trick is to sweep small areas thoroughly before moving onto the next one.

8. One of the best ways to do this is to create multiple grids in your map so you can cover each area equally, without missing any spot. You can use visual markers to mentally identify the mini-grids so you know where you have already scanned.

9. Even if you've already explored a location without finding anything, try hunting again after winter - the ground will have shifted with thawing and items may now be discovered.

10. If the signal you are getting on your machine is a weak one, it might be because the item you've targeted is lying in the ground at an angle and making it difficult for your detector to pick it up. Approach the spot again from a different angle and try different positions until you get a stronger signal.

11. Don't be afraid to get down and dirty and dig even if you're getting some confusing signals from one spot. It may be that there is some interference from metallic halos from mineralized rocks in the ground. Sometimes the only way to find if there is something worthwhile is to actually dig.

12. If your metal detector is giving you a whole lot of readings that indicate a lot of hot rocks and other items in the soil, it's highly possible that this is unexplored territory and no other detectorists have been there. Rejoice and know that all the gold and silver items are still in the ground waiting for you. You should sweep this area at least twice, each time with your machine set to different sensitivities and you may come across a real treasure.

13. Sometimes you might dig up a whole pile of what looks like scrap metal "junk". However, it's worth bagging the whole pile and taking it home to examine more closely. Sometimes gold and silver treasures are hidden in such piles.

So go out and find that treasure. Happy Hunting.

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