Its gotten a lot harder to find gold at land detecting sites. One thing that’s helped me is testing. I test every detector to determine:
1/ How they respond to foil / gold range targets.
2/ How some of the various targets read on the meter.
While there will never be a detector or skill set that will let us make conclusive gold / aluminum calls, knowing the various ranges helps you to avoid some of the obvious junk. While it’s easy to “dig everything” at some sites–at others–(often those with the big numbers and activity)–the amount of aluminum would just be overwhelming. I’ve had good success this year by going in to dense junk and learning to spot anomaly responses. Most of these 22k rings were found by going into heavily worked sections and looking for unusual responses. This comes from being able to move past, caps, hairpins and a few of the most common tab varieties.
The two photos show:
1/ Some common tab “categories”. While there is certainly gold to mimic any one of these, knowing the various tab ranges with any discriminating detector you use is an important skill. I divide them into: (from left): small ovals, pear shaped, round ring pulls, square (old style) ring pulls, large ovals and “jumbos.”
2/ Some targets that show up around the gold / foil “line”. I’ve included both “low” and “high” (cake tray type) foils to make the point that this is an important distinction. While there are certainly gold targets that come in in the “low” foil range–these will more likely be chains, bracelets, earrings or very small rings. Where you have an overwhelming amount of foil–recognizing “high” foil range targets is an important skill.
Tension bandage clasps are also excellent testers. Clip one to your hat and test it folded in half. If you are hearing this–you won’t be missing much gold. Round “can inserts” also mimic small gold well. I’ve also included a “zinc” penny in the picture in that these show up close to where a lot of 22k hits–what would otherwise be the “top” of the gold range. I test various 22k rings to see if they come in higher–or lower than the cent.
The two gold testers on paint sticks are “sizers” that help me to have a consistent benchmark for testing any machine’s “range”–how far from the coil a given size target is. Using the same testers all the time will help you to develop these “coil-to-ear” type skills. These skills let you know right away if something is deep or shallow and what size it is –by the tone strength. From this you can also deduce how solid something is. I recently found this nice 22k ring that stood out from the surrounding caps and foils in that it was a small, deep, strong (for the size) signal. These are the two testers I use to develop this type of accuracy on gold range signals.
The idea is to be able to focus on this “small gold” range—but still be able to recognize the obvious junk within this category.