Go Ahead, You Knock Yourself Out…

Try as I might to keep up with all the latest technology I can’t talk much about the latest and greatest when it comes to the newer machines. Can’t afford them and don’t need them. As a result I’m not the guy to send “how do I” questions to and lest you forget, I’m the old wino who has trouble getting down and up and who loves knobs and switches.

What I Do Know…

I’ve been around since cavemen roamed the earth and have witnessed a lot of changes when it comes to metal detectors. They’ve gone from heavy to light…. bulky to stick me in your pocket…. and do it yourself to sit back we’ll do it for you. I’ve used BFO’s, TR’s, VLF’s, PI’s and WTF’s and despite being dressed up and juiced up here we are still pretty much dealing with the all-metal and discriminate modes.

Whatever your detector of choice your primary goal is to get optimum depth and that’s best dealt with by working with and around the all-metal and sensitivity/gain features. That often means digging it all and dealing with excessive chatter. Now if that’s not your cup of tea, go with the disc mode but set your disc control to a notch below nickel acceptance so as to still hear most gold items. That’s been my modus operandi for years.

If you’re a staring tekkie/meter reader and you get one of those iffy signals (erratic/spastic readout) try turning down your audio threshold to just below audible, increasing your sensitivity to see if you can coax a decent numerical readout. Works about 50% of the time.


Because I’m a coin hunter I’m content with 15kz or thereabouts but if you after relics you’re going to want something higher and if you are primarily a beach hunter the multi-frequency detectors have a lot to offer. Also nice to be able to change frequencies when you are participating in one of the 500 detectors at once events, a.k.a. “let’s beat the living hell out of this area”…

Tonal ID

I like this feature though I don’t need multiple or gradual audio. Two or four different tones work for me. Audio ID, along with numerical readouts definitely save me time and effort and at my age I appreciate that. Having said this I could live without a visual guesstimate and would gladly sacrifice it for less weight.


I’ve not used all the various coils that are available today because (1) there’s too damn many, (2) I can’t afford them and (3) in my opinion most are eye candy. I’m also a coin hunter and stick with the manufacturers 5 to 7 inch offerings as well as the smaller “sniper” coils. They’re designed by the folks who made the machine and they’re practical for most types of hunting. The larger coils are okay for areas seemingly devoid of targets, for relic hunting and/or if you have a very large area to cover.

I understand the interest in new searchcoils when they come out. If they can offer more depth, better separation you want to give them a shot but honestly how many of those coils do you have and do you really use them all?

Detector Designs

I love the current efforts at design and weight (Deus, Equinox, etc.).  I would love however to see these designs incorporate a few switches or knobs. I know they add weight and the detector faces don’t leave a lot of room for such but they needn’t be large. I just like to “know” where I’ve got my detector set. Touchpads drive me crazy. For that matter remove the visual meter/readout. It’s a nice feature but one that’s become a crutch of sorts over the years.

Never a doubt

Right now I own the White’ MXT Pro, *MX Sport, 6000di S2, Garrett VLF/TR Groundhog, Freedom 3 and I’m seriously thinking about dusting off the ole Groundhog and reliving the good ole days.

Other than making sure my detector is ground balanced that’s it folks! That’s pretty much how I do it and how I see it. I will leave the technical, manufacturer induced lingo up to you and if you want to go more into those areas check out Joe Patrick, Bob Sickler, Andy Sabisch and Monte Berry. Old timers who can talk tech. Bob’s “The Detectorist” book is excellent as is the “Treasure Hunter’s Handbook” by Andy Sabisch. Monte Berry can usually be found on his AHRPS forum. Tell him I sent you….

More on Tesoro from Joe Patrick
Q&A with Joe Patrick
A Guest Post by Joe Patrick
Bob Sickler, the Detectorist
Bob Sickler, a Guest Post
Monte Berry Q&A


My metal detecting experience started sometime in the early to mid 70’s when the pickings were good, the competition non-existent and the technology easy to understand. The computer, the internet, social media? Non-existent!

In the beginning I dug every response because I didn’t have the luxury of discrimination and digging every beep paid off. Silver was plentiful and every so often a ring or two would surface.

More than anything I was preoccupied with finding places to hunt – the older the better. I spent a boatload of time in libraries, driving back roads and talking to people. I had a long list of places to hunt…old schools, churches, picnic areas, carnival grounds, amusement parks, old homesites and swimming holes to name a few.

Sadly things are different today and the atypical sites are slowly but surely disappearing thanks to the inlfux of new detectorists and the lack of concern with our image. As a result research is even more important than it was 50 years ago. Do yourself a favor and don’t be so preoccupied with having the latest and hippest metal detector because honestly it won’t matter if you’re still hunting the same ole places and please, I don’t care about the “this baby found coins that my older detector missed”….  For the most part you found them because you were paying attention (see Is It the Detector or Is It You?)

You might own the latest and greatest and you might have all the coils, pinpointers and shovels but if you’re hunting in the wrong place you’re pissing in the wind! Spend your time, your money and your brain power discovering new places to scan your coil. Not easy but they’re out there.


*My MX Sport is for sale. Like new condition and has waterproof headphones. Price ($475) includes shipping (US). If interested contact me (see top of page).





Filed under Metal Detecting

31 responses to “Go Ahead, You Knock Yourself Out…

  1. Dave

    I agree with you, the latest and greatest machines are fun, granted, but reality is most of us detect coins/jewelry in parks and most your targets will be in the first five inches of soil. Personally I cannot get past my mxt pro for coins/jewelry though I have recently ventured into one of the newest machines for a try, I sold it and am back to the mxt pro, the id system of the mxt is not foolproof but is light yrs better than the latest and greatest machines, using a combo of vdi numbers, screen id, and audio to make your dig decisions. I can hit coins to 10″ if needed, so I am content with my current coin/jewelry machine. The latest machines are said to reach 13-14″ on coins, but I don’t find this very useful where I hunt.

    • Love the MXT too Dave. Touted it for a long time. The Sport is a good machine too but it frustrates me with the pad sequences. My attention span is not what it used to be.

  2. Howdy Ole Timer:
    You’re bang-on again mate, as bloody usual, but I’d have added, in my humble opinion, that judicious twiddling of the SENSITIVITY knob could prove useful.

    You’re wrong about being around from the time of cavemen…I respectfully suggest that you were roaming the range when the Dead Sea first phoned in sick.

    If you could let me have that MX for say 20-Bucks we could call it quits and your debt would cleared. Whaddya fink?

    i’m just sayin’

  3. Bob (Cro-Magnon) Sickler

    Dick… Your words, “Spend your time, your money and your brain power discovering new places to scan your coil. Not easy but they’re out there.” That about sums it up way back then and now. But I have spent a searing hot nostalgic afternoon with my old Garrett Groundhog not too long ago… I was strapped and wired in like a paratrooper. That was enough to make me appreciate my Garrett AT-MAX very quickly with its wireless audio, probe, and deeper ID systems! I pine for the old days myself, but not too far back! 🙂

  4. So, all that waffle just to sell a detector, nice try Dick, I would love to say your knowledge of WTF technology surpasses my greatest expectations & your abilities to sell snow to the Eskimo are legendary however your comments regarding simplicity, audio only are music to my, er eyes, that picture of the groundhog gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, maybe I need to pop some new PP3 ‘s in the old girl again. John, I up your bid by $1 plus I’ll throw in a used trowel & a lovely half crown (not a silver one though), anyone who wants to outbid me & buy a well used (but looked after) MX Sport can be assured of a ‘proper’ detector worthy of a few more years detecting, never know Dick may even leave a nice silver coin in the box to help you along,

  5. “…if you’re hunting in the wrong place you’re pissing in the wind!” I’m gonna have that carved on plaques, have it printed on T-shirts, caps and hunt vests. Of course you will get your 70% royalties on sales of the “Stylish Stout Sayings” division. Good post.

  6. Tony

    Research and finding new places to hunt – we all need to do that more often, thanks for the reminder!
    The last time I did research I failed to find good spots, I’ll have to get back at that before the fall and cooler weather. I might even knock on a few doors too!

  7. john taylor

    quart of “rebel yell?” sounds like somethin’ hatched
    during the”american civil war!”..hope it ain’t that old!


  8. Ed B.

    Regarding your take on “tonal ID”….My AT Pro has three tones and that’s enough for me……I’ve seen ads for machines that have 20 tones and a new one that supposedly has a different tone for every number from 1 to 99. They must be kidding. Can the human ear and brain differentiate 99 different tones. How much different is #50 from #51 ? or #85 from #86 etc. etc. ? Seems like a case of tech “overkill”.

  9. john taylor

    from a “marketing perspective” having 99 tones available gives a detectorist a phsycological “advantage” that a manufacturer believes would translate into increased sales i.e.: more money. the “schmuck” who believes that is a prospective candidate for purchasing the “london bridge” in arizona…i’m just sayin’


    • “phsycological”….Damn you are on a roll JT!

      • john taylor

        amazing what the “power of da grape” can do! i’m jealous of your notoriety! “master stout!” ehe! heh he! someone’s got to tell ya to ”wear your dunce cap” and go stand in the corner! i’m just sayin’
        i won’t let you out ta dat corner unless,and until you apologize to the ”right reverend” for those ‘”disparaging remarks” directed at him! he’ waiting for you to ship the groundhog to him!..i’m just sayin’

      • Pretty obvious you got lost somewhere along the way….

  10. Joe Patrick

    They say you can tell a lot about a person by the friends he keeps. Well, here is a list of my “friends” and there are plenty of good reasons why I have and use each of them. As you can tell, I too am a fan of detectors that are somewhat simplistic, basic and have real knobs and switches. I like many of the newer detectors but in some cases it’s either price, weight or bad annoying audio sound that steers me away from them. As many have said, it’s more about location than equipment. Good equipment helps though. To each his own!

    My trusty Minelab Sovereign – real knobs & switches – 25+ years old.
    Pillar 4 Reale – real knobs & switches – 30+ years old.
    Garrett AT Max – touch-pads – 3 years old.
    Garrett ADS II – real knobs & switches – 35+ years old.
    Garrett ADS III – real knobs & switches – 35 years old.
    Garrett Groundhog – real knobs & switches – 35+ years old.
    A.H Super Pro – real knobs & switches – 40+ years old.
    Heathkit GD-1190 – real knobs & switches – 40 years old.
    Tesoro Bandido II uMax – real knobs & switches – 20+ years old.
    Tesoro original Silver Sabre – real knobs & switches – 30+ years old.

  11. john taylor

    i ain’t the only one, but i’ll give ya credit for knowin’ a thing or two about ‘dectin’
    after all, not everyone can write a book.it requires a third grade education…
    what do they call that dick? “a pot callin” the kettle black?”..ehe! he heh! ..
    i’m just sayin’!


  12. All you know is what you’ve used….

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