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Gbonus uralias

When To Walk Away....

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Hello all,

I find myself spending - what I think - is too much time on chatter with my X705.
Trashy areas that within the chatter of tones/numbers from trash, a diggable tone/number pops up.
But it is never consistent, even after changing my direction and speed of swing etc.
Yet I still seem to spend too much time and energy on that signal that turns up as nothing. 

Now I have gotten better at picking targets out of clutter, and of those times I do note that the signal was indeed "Consistent" .
So I have proven to myself  - the solid signal means target and warbled-inconsistent tones are not.

I keep telling myself to leave it and keep moving, but tend to second guess myself wondering if I'm walking away from a good target and the proverbial "What if". 

So is it best to keep my first thought and spend that extra time?
Or good for the odds and better to move on and spend time on known targets.

Cheers
G

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2 hours ago, Gbonus uralias said:

Hello all,

I find myself spending - what I think - is too much time on chatter with my X705.
<snip>
G

I think you've already answered your question..

However, if you're still in the process of learning all the idiosynchracies of your machine and are still not totally trusting your decision making when it comes to false numbers and/or inconsistant tone returns due to a myriad of metals within the coil's sensory grasp -- I say dig a couple / few more.. Reconfirmation of what you already know to be true should wipe out the last bit of self doubt re those "what if's.." It's a simple matter of a bit more proof to yourself is all..

This goes against the grain of "dig it all," but when you're already starting out knee-deep in trash and don't have a repeatable signal within a grouping to begin with, you need to be able to trust your judgement call for moving on..

Swamp
 

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I agree with everything Swampstomper Al said above; I will elaborate some.

First question,

How long have you been using your X-Terra?

I have never hunted with an X-Terra, but I do swing a Minelab Explorer, and you definitely do have to hunt those machines slower than others.  I will guess that the X-Terra is somewhat similar.  The benefit is that (at least with an Explorer) you will be able to dig deeper (and thus often older) coins than many other machines.  HOWEVER, if -- as you implied in your other post -- you are concerned about "covering ground fast," like your partner does, I would not suggest an Explorer for that task.  A faster machine that can be effectively used with a faster sweep speed, such as an AT Pro, would be better if you are just trying to quickly cherry pick coins and such from large areas.  It's all about what your goals are; what you are hunting for, etc.

With that said, if you haven't been using the machine all that long (and it sounds like maybe you haven't), then unfortunately there are no "short cuts."  Each machine has its own language...subtleties and nuances in the audio that you learn, over time, to understand and become "in tune" with, which -- as you gain experience with the machine -- then helps you make your dig/no-dig decisions quicker, and more accurately.  And what I mean by "no short cuts" is, in order to learn your machine's nuanced language, you must LISTEN CLOSE to the audio, watch the display's output carefully, before you dig...and then when you dig the target, to mentally relate what the target turns out to be with the audio and visual output your machine gave.  And you have to do this OVER AND OVER with THOUSANDS of targets of all types, before you get really in tune with your machine's language.  Many long-time hunters will STILL dig trashy signals at times, ON PURPOSE, just to "prove to themselves" that they know what they are passing up...

You probably already know this, but CALLING YOUR TARGET is, to me, the way to learn the machine's language.  Before you dig, say to yourself what you think the target is.  Do not dig it, until you have an idea.  "I don't know, this is some sort of junk, like a piece of can slaw" is a fair guess, for a scratchy mid-tone signal.  But try to call EVERY ONE.  Eventually, you will be able to say "clad dime, 7 inches deep, next to a nail."  When you are right, remember it -- and what the machine was telling you.  When you are wrong, see HOW WRONG you were.  In other words, if you hit a target, you rotate around it while "working the target" listening to the audio and glancing at the visual ID output, and then you decide it's a penny...and then you dig and it's a copper washer, yes, you were wrong, technically, but really, that's likely the best you can do.  That's a "successful call."  Not much difference between a coin, and a copper washer; there aren't many clues your machine can give to differentiate, so really, that's a "success."  Conversely, if you call "quarter," and it's a crushed aluminum can -- what went wrong?  What can you do different next time, to get a hint that it's not a quarter?  

Anyway, I ALWAYS call EVERY target, before I dig.  It's a constant learning experience.  Time, time, time, repetition, repetition, repetition, dig targets, dig targets, dig targets.  There are no short-cuts.  You have to learn the language of the unit, and your brain learns by repetition...trial and error...associating audio and visual ID to target type, and then making mental notes.  

Finally -- decide what your goals are on each hunt, as I said above.  If you are out at a new park, and hunting with your buddy, and just want to come home with a pocket full of clad, you don't NEED to carefully interrogate every "iffy" signal.  Pick out the obvious ones, dig them, and move on.  Conversely, if you are trying to hear the deeper whispers, because you decided that on that particular hunt you are after the deep, old coins, then you need to KNOW your machine and its language, and move more slowly and carefully, really listening to the audio as you slowly rotate around the target making multiple sweeps of the coil over the target from all angles.  It really depends on what you are trying to do on a given hunt, what your goals are, what you are trying to dig.  

This is getting WAAAAY long-winded, so I'll stop here.

Hope some of this helps...

Steve

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The only way to learn is to satisfy your curiosity and dig those questionable targets.  We all dig junk, even the more experienced detectorists, why, to satisfy our curiosity and learn from the process.  In that respect you can come away from a hunt a more seasoned detectorist, particularly if you dug that dodgy high tone which turned out to be a coin next to another junk target, or a pull-tab that in fact turned out to be a gold ring.  

Unfortunately when people post their finds on forums, they rarely offer up the amount of junk that they retrieved in order to obtain all their good targets.  On our local forum some of the more experienced detectorists do post their junk targets, mainly to help those new to the hobby to realise that the junk to coin ratio isn't always that favourable.  If I had a dollar for the number of dodgy targets I dug that turned out to be an unexpected surprise, I'd be a rich man.

Another couple of things to consider is compatibility to the detector itself.  Personally I have found some detectors that have tones that I could simply not live with, no matter what other good features it offers.  Took me a while to find a couple specific detectors that have tones that please my ear, and provide the type of target information I was after.  If you don't gel with a particular detector over a reasonable period, then there is the possibility that you never will.  I didn't enjoy using the x-terra 305, didn't like the tones nor the conductivity range numbering (prefer 0-99 on a vlf), yet loved the tones from both the Explorer and Deus.  

A more practical solution is to look at what you can do about the amount of junk and "iffy" targets that you come across, especially if targetting shallow coins in junky parks.  What sensitivity are you running - try running with a lot lower setting to limit the amount of targets the detector is seeing , dumb the detector down so to speak.  You are looking for shallow coins, not 10" deep colonial gear. 

Try using more discrimination or notch out parts of the conductivity range that your are not interested in - no point in listening to a barrage of tones when there is no need to.  Notching can be very good for cherry picking shallow coins, as long as you have a wide enough notch width to cater for things like coins sitting at odd angles or on edge under the surface.   

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This thread has quickly turned into a keeper.  Excellent posts with great advice, everyone.  I'm going to reread these multiple times and even make some written notes to review before my next hunt (which won't be this weekend, unfortunately :sad:).

On the subject of gain settings, I think I (and maybe many others) got off on the wrong foot from day 1 and never recovered.  It seems obvious that higher gain is better.  This is 'confirmed' by air tests where you notice turning up the gain allows you to pick up the object farther (deeper) from the coil.  Seems simple....

In the real world, not in air, you have 'noise' from ground and neighboring targets.  Now maybe some of you in pristine parks have just coins with occasional aluminum (foil and can slaw) which is so spread out that you seldom have two targets in the same coil 'footprint'.  And your ground is mild enough and consistent enough that you can crank up the gain until internal circuit noise (and/or external electromagnetic interference = EMI) starts to become an issue and swing away, happy as a lark.  Those aren't my conditions by a long shot.  Further, if those really are the conditions then I likely don't even want to hunt there because it's either a new park built on 'clean' land (no previous dwellings/habitation) or it's a park that's been hunted to death over its productive lifeltime.

Here's a thought -- instead of starting with the factory settings (which are set so you get a feel for the detector's operation, and even that is more of a gut feel by the engineers) and then cranking up, go lower, and lower, and lower... and see how your finds change.  How deep are you getting in real ground?  Are you picking up items you haven't seen, maybe because of target confusion with gain set too high pulling in neighboring targets?  Test the entire scale from min to max.  Try this on undug targets and then dig to see how deep your cutoff really is.  (I've just started to appreciate this recently because of things others here have said in their posts.)

It is more fun finding treasure than testing, but you can't do the former well without paying your dues with the latter.  In another side interest of mine, one of the wise veterans recommended 1 hour of study for every 3 hours of 'play'.  And I don't think he was one of those "do what I say, not what I do" types.  I'm pretty sure that was his regimen.  What the right ratio is for detecting I don't know, but I doubt it's 0 study, that is if you want to get better.  Studying can be fun, too, and can be done in the fields/parks/schools while you're hunting.  But if your goal always "pull as much good out of the ground for the limited time given" then, IMO, you may be missing something (and probably not even fulfilling your goal, anyway).

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Truly excellent responses - thanks gents! Here is my own effort though it just repeats many of the thoughts laid out above.

Because I test so many detectors, I spend a huge amount of time finding a target in a park, then analyzing it with multiple detectors. I have fairly bad ground with high magnetite content. Coin signals tend to shift to ferrous signals at 6 - 7 inches. I also just use detectors a lot paying more attention to what the detector is doing than caring about what I am finding.

My hours to finds per hour ratio is horrible when I do this, but interestingly enough I enjoy all this. I enjoy learning a new detector and trying to figure it out.

I guess the point I am trying to make here, and it is related to your other thread on ground coverage, is that for the vast majority of people this is a hobby. That means it is supposed to be enjoyable. People enjoy detecting for many reasons. There is finding stuff obviously. There are tech types that hardly detect at all but obsess over inner workings. Some build their own detectors. Many people like me like trying and comparing different detectors.

Some people move fast and recover shallow targets in volume. Some prefer taking it slow and going after deep targets. Style varies tremendously. Few of us will really make any money at this - we do it for fun.

For me at least the learning part really is part of the fun. The sad part only comes in finding out just how limited all our detectors are and how little difference there is between top end models. Most have an edge of one sort or another, but it is a hair splitting edge. The old nail that fakes out one detector fakes out most of them, but one might be just a little better at discerning the trash. Just when you think you have the magic detector though, it fails on a target another succeeds on.

There are targets that are clearly good. These are the one people cherry pick. There are the clearly bad targets. There is also that huge class of “iffy” targets. Ones at the edge of detection depth. Ones mixed with trash. Ones that sound good one way and not another. Many avoid “one way” targets as probable trash, but lots of those are just good items next to trash.

I tend to think all targets should be dug, but that is usually impossible. So I look at it more as a time and patience thing. If time is limited, or my patience thin, I just go for more solid targets. You can pretty much just dig coins if that is your goal, with almost no trash, if you just go after solid, clean hits. The more time I have, the more patience I have, the more “iffy” targets I will dig. In the process I dig more trash - welcome to metal detecting. Sometimes in some well detected parks, you either dig those borderline targets or you may as well stay home as all the easy targets are gone.

The more time you spend with a detector the better your skills get at recognizing good targets, but rest assured all of us run into targets where we say “I just don’t know”. It sounds good one way and not another. If I have the time and patience, I dig it. If not, I move on.

The area you dig also makes a difference. A ratty old threadbare lawn may tolerate more digging than a beautifully groomed section of a park. Some places I feel free to dig with abandon, and other places I may tell myself I am going in there and digging just ten targets, so I better pick the best I can.

You just need to do whatever it takes to enjoy the process. I have been detecting for over 45 years now because I enjoy it. If you force yourself to do things you don’t enjoy you may not last long at detecting. Some people have limited time and only hunt easy dig areas like tot lots for recent drops, no real digging required. If you want old coins however the “iffy” target becomes your friend. They may more often than not turn out to be a weird rusted item, but they can also be some of the best finds left in old parks, etc. You simply have to accept that many will turn out to be junk. When it comes to gambling digging that iffy target is a pretty cheap roll of the dice!

Some tips. Proper ground balance has a lot to do with target id accuracy at depth. And high gain/high sensitivity levels make target id less stable and tends to make some ferrous more prone to giving false signals. Although many people give up before their ear gets trained, hunting with full tones and no items rejected can paint a much more accurate audio profile of your target. For instance, a ferrous item may have mixed good and bad signals. If you have rejected the bad portion of the signal, all you hear is an intermittent good signal. Full tones will reveal the item as being mixed ferrous and non-ferrous tones. If there is anything you need when dealing with borderline targets, it is more information, not less. Running wide open full tones is the secret many people employ for dealing with troublesome targets.

A compromise is possible with detectors like the 705. Set for full tones (the meter says 99 but I think it is actually 28 tones) and notch out any segments you please, like ferrous. Now, when you get that borderline target, hit the “All Metal” button to open up all the target id tones. This will take a high tone squeaker and reveal that it really is a ferrous target generating a few high tone spikes.

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Thanks Folks!! 

Boy I have some serious reading to do here during my lunch break. Most excellent responses - Thank you all so much! As GB said, I will be re-reading these again for sure! 

I also noticed that this post of mine could almost be combined with my other post on this forum, so I do apologize for the redundancy . 

I have had this 705 for a little over a year now, but hunting maybe 1 to 2 times a week and sometimes a month goes by without (and I'm trying ti rectify that as well) But this X705 is a great machine for sure and as you all say - I need to learn it - and trust it too! Time in the saddle is what it takes.

Cheers all and thanks for your patience with a relative noob. 

G

 

 

 

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one other thing you might consider is coil choice.  If you are using larger coils for better ground coverage, force yourself to use a smaller coil for a bit.  You may find that the faint or inconsistent tones are adjacent targets that arent even under your coil but are affecting it.  Lowering sensitivity helps sometimes, as mentioned, but other times...getting more of just one target at a time by using the smaller coil will help a LOT.

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On ‎10‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 2:17 AM, Goldpick said:

Unfortunately when people post their finds on forums, they rarely offer up the amount of junk that they retrieved in order to obtain all their good targets.  On our local forum some of the more experienced detectorists do post their junk targets, mainly to help those new to the hobby to realise that the junk to coin ratio isn't always that favourable.  If I had a dollar for the number of dodgy targets I dug that turned out to be an unexpected surprise, I'd be a rich man.

Great thread and a lot of good information... as a refresher and things to make me think on my future hunts. 

Based on Goldpick's comment above... I thought I would post my finds from a 2 hour hunt last night.  I was searching for a token that was planted at the beginning of the year by my local club... and was unsure the material of construction so I was digging most repeatable signals above foil.  I ultimately did find the token (ID'd as a pull tab at about 6 inches, and was planted with 3 pull tabs at varying depths around it), but you can see the amount of trash compared to desirable targets in this particular park, honestly, this park is much cleaner than many others I have been to - so the ratio only gets worse from here in my experience.  (My particular new 'favorites' are the condiment wrappers that for whatever reason have started sounding sweet on my explorer).

And to the other comments above, I tried to call each one... it is the only way to improve your "game".  you can never stop learning when detecting.  Tim.

20171026_122228-756x1636.jpg

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