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Target Masking And The Gold Racer

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It has been said that the Gold Racer is probably not your best choice for hunting sites with lots of iron trash, Probably true, especially when hunting cellar holes and such, but detectors that do better give up sensitivity to small gold like micro jewelry which is what I like to hunt these days. I have begun a concentrated learning process on the idea of target masking and applying it to the use of the Makro Gold Racer. The idea is to read what can be found, then apply, then read some more, rinse and repeat.

So far, these techniques have proven useful. Gleaned from posts here and other places, they are fundamental ideas that come up a lot wherever the topic is discussed.

  1. Use a smaller coil. For this the 4X7 elliptical was purchased
  2. Increase recovery speed. Using iSAT of 9 seems to work best here
  3. Decrease Gain. I have been doing this with good result, but still keep it pushed as high as the specific site will allow. More iron=less Gain thinking.
  4. Slow sweep speed. Though the owner's manual recommends a faster sweep, slightly above a crawl is working well.
  5. Hunt in All Metal Mode
  6. Dig iffy signals

The idea of working on this particular idea was originally started simply as a way to work some really trashy sites visited recently, but the idea has much greater application, as was found today. The study of target masking shows why loud and clear. The presence of junk influences the sound and TID of good targets if they can be heard at all. All Metal Mode sees everything and lets you sort out the iffy yourself, which can be very tedious and slow, but it will work. More good targets can be recovered even from relatively clean sites. Plus you will get a lot of exercise.

So this is the idea in mind, and the current set of techniques to make use of it, and this morning was applied to a volleyball court hunted before with stock coil and normal sweep speed. Three stud earrings were recovered, all iffy signals. One garnet, two cubic zirconias. I do not think any of them were even real gold, which may contribute to the iffiness, but these were targets of the size and shape I want and would not have been dug before. It appears useful to not be overly reliant on the screen id, and pay more attention to the tone.

Having issues with this small coil now again too, a large number of false overload signals were found today. Removing the coil cover and replacing it did not help this time, lowering the gain did, though I pushed it back up whenever I got the chance. No metal at all could be found in these various hot spots. The ground is saturated from recent rains, but the phenomena did not seem to correlate with low spots and the ground has had a couple days to dry out.. This replacement coil does seem to relieve the constant overload problem I had with the first one, and usually does not do this, but I am kind of wishing I had gotten the small round dd. Who knows.

Any who have suggestions and ideas concerning target masking as a concept or technique to get around it, please chime in. Learning to unmask with a Gold Racer could be a great tool. What I know so far for what is worth.

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Great post! Nothing to add on my part other than - when in doubt, dig it out!

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17 hours ago, SLGuin said:

Any who have suggestions and ideas concerning target masking as a concept or technique to get around it, please chime in

Considering the stud earring finds you definitely are on the right track and I believe your idea of more iron= less gain is the way to go.  Just my thought and you probably have already considered the same thing and it may not prove useful real word but I think in theory the 5" coil would help slightly with target masking.  Assuming both coils (7" and 5") are DD theoretically you would with the 5" coil less ground coverage but a slight increase in target separation which should equal slightly less masking in theory anyway.  It's hard to say for sure if purchasing a 5" coil would be worth the slight increase if any, in target separation.  It's too bad you can't just borrow a coil to test.  

I've lately trying to catch up on projects around the home that I didn't have the time to do before retirement and making it to some of my Grandson's soccer games who lives some 60 miles from me and spending some time with him doing other things.  I haven't got out much lately to detect lately but am really enjoying my retirement just the same.    

I admire your tenacity SL. I hope you can hang in there as I think it's an interesting and worthwhile endeavor you are on.    


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Thanks Steve and Terry,

Dig it out is my new motto, it seems more digging is the way for sure. It is surprising what is still there and how it sounds/looks from the machine. Which is why it is still there of course. The basic idea is to simply dig everything not certainly iron, at least until some sort of understanding of the better targets in all the noise comes clearer to mind.

Keith Southern has a thread on the Dankowski forum where he links to a video that shows a master trash hunter in action. His vid shows the thing like no other I have seen, and is truly inspiring. http://www.dankowskidetectors.com/discussions/read.php?2,112649

I think you are right about the 5" coil Terry. Probably I will eventually have to get it to see. The minor issues with the 4X7 are an irritation, but show the value of a smaller coil. It is quite a bit more sensitive to small, in fact smaller than I need to go for desired targets. Unless the iron covers the target outright, separation is a key concern and even a little bit more is going to help. Might clean up the signal with even less ground to evaluate at any one time too.

An interesting thing is just how far away from the target the trash can actually be and still influence the signal. Pretty much the longest dimension of the coil, and beyond the readable depth of the detection field. That influence can make a good target look like junk or junk look good. Here is the great value of Keith Southern's video, he picks right through it with a pretty large coil and in all that noise knows just what he is looking for. Amazing. Some good tips in his thread too, really worth a read or two. 

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Just back from another morning's hunt with the small elliptical coil. A very tough site for this coil, lots of false overloads there for no reason at all that I can see. Removing the coil cover and hunting without it does not stop it, so put it back on. Lifting the coil causes the overload to stop, but no signal comes and no VDI, in fact no sign of metal at all. Seems to operate as it should then will come across a spot here and there where it wants to overload just as if a target were laying on the sand. I can make no sense of this nor correlate it with any particular variable.

One thing that must be involved somehow is the extraordinary sensitivity of this coil. It must have some way of interacting with something on these sites, it does not do this everywhere. This coil will find stupid small, smaller than I need by a big margin. That is saying something because my target of choice is stud earrings. That kind of sensitivity is a mixed blessing, it is more sensitive but less specific. This is due to the tiny little pieces of junk that id like small gold and actually increase the junk I dig without seeming to offer any increase in good targets recovered. As an unmasker, this is not working because it seems to create more than it relieves.

The stock coil finds what I want easily with far less trouble, so that is going back on. Heavier and not as well balanced, but the better choice for what I am doing. Detecting is always a compromise, for now this looks to be best for this application. My experience for what it is worth.

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I have never used small coils to hunt micro jewelry because the extra sensitivity is not needed (stock coils are hot enough for micro jewelry) but mainly because of ground coverage. Then again I have not run into target separation/masking as an issue on beaches.

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The masking I was concerned about was on only some specific beaches that are old sites where buildings had been torn down. Soooo many nails, spikes, bolts, etc. The places sounded almost as bad as the Keith Southern video I linked to above. But in that vid he also used a coil that looked to be almost exactly the stock coil on the GR and plowed right through it at high gain on that Nokta Relic. The GR can be set up in a way that is very similar to what he was doing, so that is what I will try next.

It almost doesn't matter though. I would have had to try it anyway just to see if I could get a little more from these places. It is like an obsession, this matter of always trying to get just the tiniest bit more performance. I am a recovering academic, there must be a 12 step program for that.

I remain convinced that despite difficulties, the Makro Gold Racer is the most versatile of the high frequency detectors and will be the easiest to adapt to what I want to do if it can be done at all. I am getting coins out of those bad sites that should not be there so I know it will unmask those, but am not as yet getting as much gold out of them as I think should be there. It is a fun learning experience, and there is always something to try.

I tell you what though, if I was hunting wiry specimen gold, that is precisely what I would use. That 4X7 is nuts on wire no matter what it is made of. The very thing that makes it bad for beaches would make it great for that.

Almost everyone says small coils are best in trash. Keith Southern does not think that is universally true, and now neither do I. The stock coil is sensitive enough for micro jewelry, both Steve H and Tom D said so. And now so do I.


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