Bubba’s Turn…


Yours truly has not been out and about for a few days but John Howland has been and sent along a tip or two on ground balancing your AT Pro or AT Gold detector.  He also offers up a few things to ponder with regards to the European Union which is currently going through a few ups and downs. Thanks John….



Whether you detect inland or on the beach, correct Ground Balancing (GB) is vital for maximum depth and applies to all machines fitted with the GB facility.  As many readers already know, my beach machine is a Garrett ATPro International, though my ATGold will in some circumstances (high ferrous contamination) find gold where others fail – despite Garrett’s advertising blurb about it being not best suited to beach work!

Nevertheless, there’s a stretch of coastline I hunt where, due to storm erosion at the back of the beach, vast amounts of ‘inland soil’ (and all it contains) swills down onto the beach and foreshore, creating GB figures between ‘55’ and ‘70’, which as ATPro beachcombers will recognise, are unusually high numbers, considering seawater produces readings between ‘12’ to ’14.’

JohnBeach2On a recent sortie and with the GB balancing out at ‘65’ and the SENS knocked back two segments, I picked-up a faint but clear signal over damp sand. Scooping away down to 10-inches and with the signal still audible, I finally located it with my Pro-Pointer. The target turned out to be a run-of-the-mill 20-pence piece. It could have been something more rewarding of course, but the point is that correctly GB-ing the machine really had the ATPro working at maximum efficiency.  It’s from among this eroded soil that many silver, and solid silver coins from 1900 to 1944 have previously come to light. From the signal strength I estimated the 20p-coin could have been another 1 ½ – 2-inches deeper and would still have been located.

Over saltwater-soaked sand however, GB-ing is still just as critical in achieving maximum penetration, though deep coins are a real pain in the butt when wading waist-deep and your retrieval technique is little on the sloppy side; Chicago Ron I ain’t, but I still manage to recover a good percentage of in-water signals.

It’s equally imperative that if your machine is not fitted with auto-tracking to the keep the machine singing like a nightingale and correctly balanced throughout out your searching session, you’ll need to check the state of play at frequent intervals. On the ATPro, this is best achieved using the auto-GB facility and ‘pumping’ as per when initially setting up.

Now, all that’s gone before, and what I’m about to say will probably get Garrett, Whites, Minelab, Tesoro, et al, joining forces to kick my arse outta town. Oh well, here goes!

In the hands of an expert, costly machines will find treasure; no doubt about that. Inexpensive machines IN THE RIGHT HANDS, IN THE RIGHT PLACE, will find more!!! US fly-fishing legend Charles Ritz reckoned that, “All rods will catch fish, but it’s the hand that uses it that gets the results,” or something along those lines – but ya get ma drift?

One of my beach hunting buddies way back, was FID’s late Colin Hanson. Not only could he find gold, he could smell it! It was uncanny. It made no sense. Time and time again I hunted with him on southern beaches and while I went begging, he’d come up with rings, chains and gold watches. Phenomenal! There were times when I could have kicked him in the nuts with frustration.

His favoured machine was an entry level, British-built, C-Scope 200 with a 6”-coil. I never outperformed Colin on the beach, neither did anyone else. On every beach trip I ever went with him, he never once failed to find gold.  I once asked why he didn’t buy a more expensive machine. “What for?” he replied (stupid bloody question I suppose). It all serves to show that it’s not so much the machine but where one uses it….if you can read the beach, understand how the tides work, and where it ‘parks’ coins and rings, you’ll become another Colin Hanson.

The moral of the story is to find a beach, study it and its tidal movements, and act accordingly.  If this is too difficult to take on-board, try Morris Dancing, or, archaeology!


“If the scale do turn, but in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.” (The Merchant of Venice, by Wm Shakespeare)

In the recent European Elections, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) swept the political board bringing Great Britain many steps closer to giving the European Union; a confederation run by unelected bureaucrats, primarily designed it seems, for snouts-in-the-trough, corrupt, sleaze-balls, the Bum’s Rush!

europeanIf Britain does eventually leave this corrupt, inefficient, UNESCO-esque gravy-train, how will ex-pats Brits abroad fare? What will become of UK treasure hunters living abroad in the European Union, say in Poland? Will they become ‘aliens’? Will they be required to take Polish citizenship for example? Will they have to apply for work permits? Maybe they will be forced to return to their native land to find work? What will happen to those of them who’ve spent their waking hours slagging-off the UK government, its principles and its heritage work?

Perhaps it’s a case of what goes around, comes around? I can see trouble ahead (with any luck) …for some!



”Bad men are full of repentance”….Aristotle

I’ll see y’all in the bar!




Filed under Metal Detecting

7 responses to “Bubba’s Turn…

  1. Big Tony

    John, very good to hear from you and a great story about your friend Colin. I understand what you are saying about learning machines that we use. If you find machine that gets you the goodies why trade up or give it up? Then end up struggling to re – learn the new device?
    I also like you posting about the ATPro/Gold machines. You give them a good rating. With your skills consider writing a book about how to use those machines! Also include some tips of other folks that use those machines. There is one person who writes a books on Minelab machines and it has helped me and probably many others.
    As for the EU? Hopefully things will work out for the best!

    • John H

      Hya Big Tony:
      Many thanks for your kind words. I’m firmly convinced that once you get familiar with a machine – any machine – and can interpret what it’s telling you and that you use it where ‘goodies’ and ‘keepers’ are likely to be, then success can’t be far away.

      I certainly rate the ATPro/ATGold as they give the performance I want and as I’ve used them for over thirty years brand-loyalty kicks in too!

      Probably the best metal detector in the price-to-performance equation is the ACE250; it takes a host of coils and performs brilliantly on dry and seawater-soaked sand. Why Garrett ever promoted it as an entry-level is beyond me! JMO.

      A book on the ATPro/ATGold? There’s a thought! I’d sooner do one on Single Malts but can’t find a sponsor! Now, if I can only blend whisky with treasure hunting……….

      John H

  2. Big Tony

    John, while your are writing the book on the detectors you can have an appendix or several chapters if you really have that much information for your favorite Single Malts. This way you will be expanding your field of possible interested parties and make your book a best seller.
    I used Garrett early on the CXII for about four years. It pin pointed so good i scratched a few coins. Live and learn i guess.
    So tell me know before the book comes out….does it get down more than five inches on a US nickle?
    On an old note —the EU—- I hope Putin isn’t involved.

    • John H

      Hi Big Tony:
      I guess you mean the ACE250? I don’t know about US nickels, but I found a US quarter on a local beach at about 5″. I used the 250 with the larger coil and depth was amazing …it would locate those toy cars kids play with at well over 12″. It also found me a LOT of money too!

      Maybe it’s better I write a book on Single Malts and throw in some treasure hunting????

      As for the EU, the sooner we get out of that cess-pit the better. JMO.

      John H

      • Big Tony

        Hey John, not the ACE 250. I owned the Freedom Ace that took three nine volt batteries. That one I should not have sold. After that I bought the Grand Master Hunter II (my mistake before). It took 6 C cell batteries and had a meter on an angle. I still have it – damn good pin pointer machine. I never owned the newer ACE model but hear good things about them.

  3. I cannot imagine the BS that would go on if you two were in bar or pub….damn! What is Garrett anyway?

    • Big Tony from Bayonne

      I am not touching that line even if the three of us were in the same bar together sipping on Merlot

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