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Hello everyone,

This past July I had my roof redone. I decided to research metal detectors to find the nails that inevitably get strewn about after such a job. I decided on a Garrett Ace 400, as it seemed to give the most bang for the buck at a mid-level. My wife and I both agree that one should never buy the least expensive tool to do a job, but not always the most expensive , as it would be a lot of money sitting on a shelf. I only found about 70 nails, a testament to the people that did the job! While I was doing this search I also came upon many videos about metal detecting, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities that I could entertain in my area. I live in a very rural part of one of Virginia's northern peninsulas. As it happens it is a very old county, one of the first established. In addition the War of 1812 happened a bit here as well, particularly in my backyard. I knew I was going to be hooked, as I am also sort of a history buff.

I set up sort of a "grid" system in my backyard using 6 6' blaze orange driveway markers from Lowe's, 3 on each side of the yard spaced 6 feet apart. I use 3 on each end so I can jump one one every pass, so that I always can line up between 2 of them. I use the 6 foot fiberglass rods because they are about the width of a full swing side to side, and all I have to do is lay one down to know where to put it next. Seemed like the best way to "grid" search my yard.

At first I dug up a lot of Iron whatzits, but as I got used to the detector, I started turning up coat and sleeve buttons that are about 200+ years old. I found some musket balls, Shot, and even a WW1 army jacket button. Didn't find any coins until I got to the house, and all were new. Of course I found my share of aluminum, mostly beer and soda cans from the construction of the house. I was starting to get stuff like all the people in the videos, so I was hooked.

Luckily for me there is much more to explore, all of the land in front of my house has always been farm, and was bought from the developer by a farmer due to the housing crash of 2007. I asked for permission to detect the farm two weeks ago when the farmer came to collect the crop, and he said "have at it"! He also directed me to 200 acres more he owns down the road. 

Thus far I have searched about an acre of the 300+ acres I now have permission to. I have found many more buttons, all colonial, copper and Tombac and gilt. I have found three coins, one 1809 half penny, an 1879 Indian head in almost perfect shape, and what I think may be a King George copper that is in "field shape", no identifying marks but rings when dropped on a table. I also have found a sun-face pendant with sparkly stones for eyes, and a lot of horse tack and colonial buckles, some spurs, and other odd stuff.

I also have an 1800s Steamboat landing close by, map locations of a few colonial houses, and an old Baptist Baptism site. The oldest maps I can find so far are from 1917, so I'm working off of them to find the houses. I have already located one that was pushed into the woods on one part of the farm.

Needless to say I guess, I have a lot of work to do! I retired in October, and because some of my search areas are water or river, I bought a Minelab Equinox 600 and waders, because most of my search would have to be in the cold months. I am hoping the Equinox will be a step up, but in going over where I searched with the Ace 400, I didn't find much more. I like the 400's "baseball bat" approach on land. I also downloaded an app called Tect O Trac which is very useful for geolocating my finds, keeping records, and showing patterns of finds.

Looking forward to interacting with y'all! sorry for the tl;dr. 




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Welcome to the forum.  Yep you are hooked and acquiring the Equinox 600 was a good move.  It will take you to the next level with its ability to hunt in both multi and single frequency.  Check out the Equinox forum here, especially Steve H.'s compilation Equinox Essential information post below.  I live just up the road in northern VA just outside the DC beltway and have done a lot of CW relic hunting in the central and northern part of the state and was interested in exploring the peninsulas for the reason's you cited.  I highly recommend Andy Sabisch's Equinox Handbook as a great resource and you can read about my personally recommended Equinox relic settings in that book on pp. 87 -88.  Just post in the Equinox forum if you have further questions.  PM me if you would like to meet up relic hunting or for some in person Equinox instruction down your way some time.  I'm always up for a good metal detecting day trip. 

Tect O Trac is a good, inexpensive program but it does have some limitations.  One program that I have found to be very useful with similar capabilities and more is OnX Hunt to which I upgraded from Tect o Trac.  It is a more expensive subscription-based program (depending on how much information you want available) but it gives you property lines, public/state/local/federal property boundaries and registered property owner information as well as tracking, finds markers, and the ability to save photos of your finds as well as a host of other "information layer overlays" including weather.  



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Mr. Goldman,

Thanks for the info! Just ordered the Equinox Handbook. Wish there was a link I could have found here to give Mr. Herschbach a cut of the Amazon purchase. Looked at OnX Hunt, it might be good for the future when I am used to "fixed income". Right now I am well aware of the property lines here - the landowners are pretty stodgy, and some live out of state. I use land records often! It's also Hunting season, so it is quite dangerous to be where I am detecting. Luckily I know a few members of the local hunt club, they have been polite so far asking me if they are getting in MY way. It's ironically the opposite of what I hear from others. I will seriously consider your kind offer. It would be a valuable exchange. Just make sure you have some Blaze Orange and leave the antlers at home!

The reason I was attracted to this forum over others is the knowledgable discussions and polite members. I have read some of Steve's reference material already. I hope I will eventually be an asset rather than a "seeker". I consider myself fortunate already to have a "target-rich environment" at my disposal, not one day has passed that I found nothing. The soil is so good you can almost run your detector wide open.





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Welcome. It sounds like you have found the perfect hobby given your interests & situation, I suspect it won't  take long for it to become a passion. Enjoy!

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Welcome to the forum. You're pretty lucky to have all that land to pick at. Should keep you busy for many years. Your skills will get better especially as you hit familiar grounds and learn the machines.

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Thanks everyone. I'm used to "pics or it didn't happen", forgive my omission in my post. Here are two photos of what I have found so far, forgot to mention the cut Spanish silver 2 Real pieces I found the first day out in the field.



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Great hunting and lots of good finds with your detecting skills as a newbie.

Wish you luck in the coming weeks and months ahead learning the 600 as it is a very good unit.

Good luck and keep us updated as you are in a great area for some nice finds.

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