Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Chapter 6: The Strip Mine Method or "How to Find What the Others Missed"

Why, you may ask, is the technique called the "Strip Mine Method"? Well, as discovered by its developer Mark B., you will be digging up target IDs that you never gave second thought before. This is done by investigating multiple or complex signals by sweeping the target from various directions or giving it the Minelab wiggle. Let me emphasize that the "COMPLEX" signals I am talking about are targets which normally would be dismissed as "INTERFERENCE". Investigate these much closer!

Beyond the IDing the target, you will also be digging up more co-located targets. Not only does this mean digging up multiple targets in one hole, you will soon find yourself diggin multiple holes within a coil's width. After doing so, and looking at turf you have just ravaged, you will see for yourself why this is called the "Strip Mine Method".

As background, Chapter 5 basically discussed the setting for trashy parks. FAST ON makes the detector reset faster between targets and minimizes masking. GAIN setting can range from 6 to 10. There are no hard rules there. It all depends on user preference and site specifics.

Chapter 4 briefly described the advantages of hunting with no discrimination or Iron Mask. Doing so allows the user to still hear targets displaced in the smartfind or digital ID screens by target masking. (UPDATE:If running on wide open becomes too "hectic", you can always mix in some IM. Not too much as it is my opinion that any kind of DISC reduces depth. IM-14, is just about right to filter our pesky junk and get you concentrating on good targets. Just like if you are new to the explorer, every time I go hunting after not doing so for a while, I find using IM makes for a more enjoyable hunt, just because it is easier)

To give you a vivid example of how this stuff works and what to look for in finding the stuff that others missed, I am posting a typical situation of the technique in practice.

My friend Randy G. wrote the following story after digging up his most productive hole ever. His experience with the technique along with his "wandering probe style" is very effective in "unmasking" the good stuff from where they lie.

In his own words -

"Mark and I were detecting Bings hill and we had just got there. Right off the bat Mark scores a nice looking gold ring. Not being a very competitive or envious person ;) , I was thinking, nice ring Mark, but deep down I kept saying to myself "how the heck did I miss that ring" Confused. I then started thinking I better find at least one silver coin or my own ring because most days Mark spanks me pretty good and it looked like it was going to be one of those days. Every once in awhile I get the upper hand on Mark (not that I'm a competitive person :) ). A little bit later I get me a wheat. Then I move over next to the spot where I pulled out 3 wheat's in one hole while detecting with Michael the other day and I'm getting one of those readings where the numbers and tones are jumping all over the place. The main number that kept locking on was 04-20, but I was also getting 00-27, 00-26, 31-27 and some of the targets sounded deep. I dug a plug and the 1st thing I pull out is a pulltab, than a piece of small iron. I stick the probe into the hole and at the bottom I get 00-26. Out comes a wheat. I stick the probe back in and I get nothing, but I decided to take out some more dirt. I took out about 2 more inches of dirt and rechecked the hole with my probe. At the bottom of the hole I just catch a slight high tone. Take out a little more dirt and I get a 03-28 reading and it sounds like silver. I yell at Mark, here is my silver coin and out pops a 42 Merc. I stick the probe back into the hole and off to the side I get another chirp so I take out some more dirt from the side of the hole. I stick the probe in and I get a bouncer that reads 11-05 and 10-6. I swear to God I tell Mark, here comes my buffalo and I pull out a no date buffalo Shocked . Now I stick my probe back into the hole and I get nothing. I decide to dig down deeper. I take out a little more dirt and I get another 03-28 reading. Out comes a 1941 merc ( I did tell Mark this was going to be a barber but I can't always be right Smile ). I stick my probe back into the hole and I'm still getting a nice tone off to the opposite side of the hole. Out comes another wheat.

Things looked great. We had just got there and Mark had found gold and I had found 2 Merc's, 1 buffalo, and 3 wheat's and then the roof caved in when the park guy came over and told us they don't allow digging in the park anymore.

Mark, I got you in old coins today, but I'll trade them all to you for that gold ring Very Happy . Great find!

HH Randy

In summary, FAST ON allows one to cut thru the proverbial "crap" and hear the tones despite extremely co-located targets. When found, you wont always get the good tone on every sweep, but with slow swings and patient wiggling from a variety of directions, a semi-repeatable tone with a marked static crackle is the key. Digital ID will be way off but the ratios for silver or gold will be there (ex. 4-20, 22-06).

And, ALWAYS RECHECK THE HOLE, not just with the coil, BUT WITH THE X-1 PROBE TOO. There will be targets that the coil cant reach that X-1 can. If youve dug 12inches down for the 42 mercury dime, you might as well check for what else is down there, just like the bust dime that Randy G. found on one of his wandering probe meanderings.

Chapter 5: GAIN Settings (Advanced Strategies)

Having done comparison testing with Gain 7 and Gain 10 recently, these are my findings.

There is an advantage with Gain 10 in areas where targets are close to each other. When a site produces 2-3-4-5 targets on a single sweep. I have noticed that:

1) Your hearing and concentration will naturally numb to faint signals when hit by a barrage of loud ones. This can cause one to start missing targets within a trashy site using a lower GAIN setting. I have very good hearing, but put fatigue into the equation, and you'll probably find yourself ignoring iffy signals when they come three per swing of the coil. GAIN 10 keeps you on the ball.

A shallow target next to a deep dime is likely to be drowned out by the last target as your hearing adjusts from the loud bang it just received. This is similar to when your night vision goes out for a moment right after you light up that ciggy. Or like trying to hear the wife say something over the cacophony of the football stadium as you watch the game. It can be done, but it isn’t as easy as giving her a megaphone to talk over the background noise.

2) FAST ON and GAIN 10 in concept and practice is giving me better separation with co-located targets. Conceptually, FAST recovery makes the detector reset back to the threshold faster allowing the user to ID collocated targets better. Coupled with GAIN 10 in practice, the effect on a deep and severely co-located silver dime is a distinct loud silver tone with a static crackle. The silver tone was not heard on every sweep but was repeatable. I had never heard this tone before, nor have I dug a silver dime, with a pull tab, an aluminum screw cap and a wheat all in one hole just as I did that day.

3) Using the above setting turns Digital ID into a mess. A dime will turn into a penny and a penny can land in foil. Use digital as a loose guide when hunting with FAST and GAIN 10 and go with the tones (now I know what CC’s been saying all along). This is not much of a negative as you’ve got to dig a lot of trash anyway to finds the good stuff in parks.

Gain 7 and DEEP is just as good a hunting set-up for another situation. It is especially good at finding REALLY deep targets. When I say deep, I'm talking "big fish" type deep find stories. It is very effective in sites where targets are farther apart such as those where targets are only 1 or 2 per sweep.

1) It definitely allows the user to identify deep targets with the use of audio alone and helps one to avoid digging up drag queen dimes that try to pass themselves off as silver.

2) There is a distinct audio difference between clad and old finds using this set-up. Faint means old, loud is clad.

3) Digital ID using this set-up is very good and will be correct say 97% of the time.

It is much easier for a newbie to learn to ID targets with lower GAIN and FAST off. Otherwise, the newb may find himself digging every piece of metal he steps over (due to poor disc and ID performance), which will quickly lead him to throwing the machine into the river. Charles Rock Solid Set-Up is the way to go, in my opinion, in learning to use the explorer and most situations.

In conclusion, both set-ups are very effective independently but each is much more potent in specific situations. Use FAST with GAIN 10 for target rich environments where the good stuff is mixed in with the trash. DEEP with GAIN 6-7 is best for cleaner sites with old coins located good and deep. Don't forget to switch into AUDIO 1 every now and then to boost iffy targets.