GOLD AND METAL DETECTORS
Metal Detectors for Family Adventures
Growing up my family lived on a large piece of property, down a long gravel
driveway, out in the middle of an endless view of vacant land as far as I could
explore and more. Today that land has tens of thousands of houses on it, and
though the bare land may be gone, the memories will last a lifetime. One of
those memories is that my dad had a metal detector, an old school style that
was probably pretty nice for it’s time. It got the job done, and it was a lot of fun.
I remember the stories that my parents would tell me on how they used that metal detector to explore
even bigger swaths of land when they were growing up, and all the really exciting and interesting things
that they would find. There’s a lot you can do with a metal detector. For my family it’s all about taking a
family trip to new places to explore on a quest for gold, meteorites, old coins, old guns, parts of our
cowboy and gold rush history, and so many other possibilities. It’s fun to research and plan for new
expeditions, whether they are a day trip with a nice picnic snuck into the middle of our day, a weekend
camping trip, or a small hotel in a neat and historic town.
The most important part of jumping into the hobby of metal detecting is your equipment, with the metal
detector being the central most important piece of equipment to run. It is critical to your success to buy
a metal detector that will do what you need it to do, as well as a metal detector that won’t sound off on
false or really frustrating finds like can tabs. You need to be able to filter out the noise, so you can target
worthwhile treasures and valuables to keep it fun.
There are a lot of great accessories for metal detectors that you may also want to venture into.
Headphones, shovels and spades, possibly different sized and types of search coils, a pin pointer type
metal detector to hone in on your find. The first thing you want to think about is what types of items you
are going to target in your quest for treasures. If you will be doing metal detecting in creeks or other
water filled areas you will want to make sure your metal detector is water proof. If your looking for gold,
you would want to find a metal detector that is good for coin hunting, gold nuggets, and jewelry.
Gold and Metal Detecting Tips & Techniques
Auras can be obtained on gold down to a quarter of an ounce or less, meaning all the way down to a
single gold coin or nugget! The camera can even discriminate between different metals – all from a
distance (up to 100s of yards depending on target size) and can be used anytime during daylight hours.
You really can see the color of the money (providing it’s metallic or contained in metal) and what’s more
you can get started for much less than the cost of a commercial long range locator – you may even
already have most everything you need!
How a Metal Detector Works
What a metal detector does is it transmits magnetic energy into the ground and senses distortion in the
magnet field caused by the presence of a metal object. They all do different things when they find metal
or gold type objects, and the better quality of metal detector that you buy, the better the identification
will be from the unit to tell you what it is you have found, and how deep you need to dig to pull it up.
This is great because you will spend less time digging up bottle caps and things, and more time directly
targeting gold and other valuable metals and things that you want to find.
Types of Metal Detectors
Today’s metal detectors have two primary detection technologies. The first one is known as Single
Frequency, or it is also known as Continuous Wave. The second one is Multiple Frequency, also known as
Dual Frequency or Pulse Induction. Each frequency technology has it’s own detection characteristics. The
most common models today are the VLF or Very Low Frequency models. A nice upgrade to the top of the
line models would be the newer Pulse Induction Units. Metal detectors can be an expensive investment,
so it’s important that it is durable, dependable, and will last for generations. Make sure the model you
get is waterproof, as you never know what you will encounter in your expeditions and you don’t want
fog, dew, or rain to turn your expensive gold getter into a paper weight that you can no longer use.
Treasure Hunting With A Metal Detector
I recommend buying a book on gold hunting, or joining a few good quality treasure hunting websites,
and treasure hunting forums, to see what other metal detecting enthusiasts are searching for and
finding. Some gold detector brands will come with information on a CD that will give you a high level
view of some treasures that have been found, or that people are on a quest for, but everybody gets
those CD’s, so some of those adventures may not be very fruitful. There are a lot of good videos, and tv
shows as well, that will get your gold bug moving as well.
Common Metal Detector Features
Metal Detector Discrimination Level
Discrimination is a metal detector’s ability to tell the difference between one target and another. This is
important because you want to know if what the metal detector is finding is a quarter or a bottle cop tab
or cap. There is nothing more frustrating than digging six inches of rocky dirt about a hundred times
finding nothing but garbage. You want to buy a metal detector that will skip those items, or sift through
the white noise so that it only gives you the best chance at finding something interesting or valuable.
There are models that will auto adjust out the noisy targets, and ones that allow you to custom tune it as
you get better and better at looking for treasure and getting familiar with your new metal detector.
Metal Detector Ground Balance
Ground Balance is where the metal detector bypasses minute levels of metal like iron and other metals
so that you can find the more important objects that you are looking for. Many of today’s metal
detectors can automatically balance out these objects. Some models have the ability to manually adjust
out these objects. The automatic ones often have a multiple ground balance that allows you to select
either automatic or manual depending on the conditions of your ground search and what you are
Metal Detector Target Identification
Target Identification is one of the best features of a metal detector that enables your metal detector to
distinguish between different targets to identify a dime, a penny, a quarter, silver jewelry, junk that can
be skipped, gold, and more. On a high quality model where this feature is completely dialed in, this will
save you from digging up things that you aren’t looking for, so you can focus on the treasures that you
want to find.
Metal Detector Operating Frequency
Operating Frequency on a metal detector is the number of times the signal is transmitted and received
by the detector during every second. The Lower Frequency detectors can scan deeper, so they offer
better overall detection depth. The general purpose models typically operate at the lower frequencies,
where the high end target specific models that look for gold, as an example, use higher frequencies.
Metal Detector Sensitivity
Sensitivity is the ability to detect metal objects from a distance. Just like if you have your volume on your
stereo turned down low, you can’t hear the sound, the same goes for your metal detector. If you have
the sensitivity turned down, it allows you to drown out the noises from objects that you aren’t looking
for, but just make sure you don’t set it so low that it doesn’t detect anything. You need a nice healthy
balance or you will miss some good finds. An example where you would definitely need to turn the
frequency down is if you are in an area with high mineral content.
Metal Detector Search Depth
Search Depth is the depth to which your metal detector is able to search for objects. The Lower
frequency metal detectors can scan at deeper depths. Your soil composition can impact how deep you
can scan, as can the coil you are scanning with. Larger coils can search deeper, where the smaller ones
will search more shallow. The rule of thumb is that your coal can search one and a half times it’s size in
depth, so if you are using an 8 inch search coil, you will typically be looking for an average sized coin at
about an 8 to 12 inch max depth.
What Can I Find With A Metal and Gold Detector
As you begin to figure out which metal detector is the right one for you, you should consider the climate
and the soil composition in your area. The three main types of metal detectors are land based coin and
relic hunting, beach and under water detecting and prospecting for gold and precious metals. The most
common type is the land detecting type, which will locate coins, gold, jewelry, relics, and historical
building materials. If you plan to target creeks, lakes, beaches, rivers, or the ocean, you maight want to
consider a beach or under water model. The models that will work near or in saltwater will require
specialized equipment because of the electrical properties of salt and water, and they also need to be
Garrett AT Max Metal Detector
Garrett's Most Advanced VLF metal detector
Built for professional treasure hunters – works in any
Maximum depth design
Works in water up to 10' deep, perfect for streams and
Great target discrimination and sensitivity
Large backlit LCD display
Multiple search and selection technologies
Multiple filtering features – filters out trash
Wireless headphones and connection
About The Author
Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This
website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and
passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and
experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our
website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight
products and services that you might find interesting. We
frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This
does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is
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on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no
extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any
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The Best Metal Detecting Treasure Hunting Experience Awaits!