All metal detectors come with manuals. Read through the manual comprehensively. You need to know certain things, like how to "ground balance” and when to do this.
The best way to become familiar with your new machine is to give it a test run. Try using the different settings. You remember more of something you have actually done than just something you have read. As you go through the manual, test out your metal detector and make sure that you understand how each setting works.
Take your metal detector out for a test run. See how it performs out in the field. When you go out searching, make sure to follow an ordered path, as opposed to a random one. This way you won’t miss any spots.
This means learning to use the "discriminator.” Metal detectors can be set to make different beeps when they detect different metals. Play with the settings and get familiar with the signals. You will need to train your ear to notice the difference in the sounds. You can begin doing this by placing various metal objects around an area and then detecting them. The more practiced you get, the more accomplished you get.
The majority of metal detectors have speakers, but there are benefits to wearing headphones. Depending on where you are detecting, there can be many other noises to distract you. If you are out on a beach by the ocean, there might be the noise of the wind. If you are in a public place, there might be people talking or noises like traffic. Wearing headphones will help you to focus on the sounds coming from your metal detector. It will also reduce the amount of curious people coming up to talk to you about what you are doing.
Think about what you might want or need while you are out.
The basic tools to bring with you are gloves, knife, probe, trowel, shovel, and ground cloth. You can carry all of these things with you in a tool belt to make them easily accessible.
The gloves protect your hands.
The knife and probe are used to specifically locate something you hit on. Cut the ground with the knife, and use the probe to pinpoint the exact location. The probe will cut in half the time it takes to dig out your treasure- or junk. Yes, you will encounter lots of junk.
Have a pocket, or bag, designated for the junk you find, which you can later throw in the trash. The trowel and shovel are simply for digging up more ground.
The ground cloth is just a piece of cloth, although you can buy ones specifically for metal detecting which have hooks and handles on them. When you dig up the dirt, put in onto your ground cloth. This makes it easier to find your object of interest in what you have dug up, and it also makes it much easier to transfer the dirt back into the hole it came from. If you are new to metal detecting, you might also want to get a cover for your coil. These only cost about $10 and protect your coil from damage. When you are starting out, it takes a while to learn to maneuver the machine without scraping it on the ground too much. Replacing the cover is much less costly than replacing other parts, so it is worthwhile. These covers make your detector slightly heavier and also reduce the amount of depth you get. For these reasons, many people don’t like the cover.
The sensitivity setting controls the power, or depth, that the machine detects. Depending on the environment, though, high sensitivity can frustrate your search. Constant beeps can drown out an important beep. Do not just put this setting on full and leave it there; it is adjustable for a reason. Turning down your sensitivity will get rid of some of your false signals.
Sometimes the amount of something, such as iron, in the ground can send false signals to your detector. Ground balancing can often get rid of these false signals. Turning down the sensitivity is sometimes the best option though. Metal detectors can be sensitive to things other than metal. Salt, for instance, can interfere with a signal. Working at an ocean beach would be an instance where this would be a consideration. Turning down the sensitivity can stabilize the signal.
Depending on where you get your metal detector, you might not be able to try it before you buy it. If you can’t test out various ones, then do a bit of research and figure out what you think might suit your needs best. Smaller coils are lighter and easier to carry around. Smaller coils also get to the goods among other targets better. Larger coils cover more distance and get more depth, but they can’t get into hard to reach places. Serious searchers will often pack more than one coil size or type. Knowing what type of treasure you are hunting will also help to determine the type of detector you get.
You might come across some unforeseen problems when you go treasure hunting. Some people go out at night to avoid traffic, noise, and other distractions. At night, though, there are different creatures out and about. You might encounter a skunk, which isn’t too bad, unless you surprise it! If you are a night-time hunter, some night vision might come in handy.
Some other dangers to be aware of are: boards with nails, abandoned wells, used needles, sunburn, glass, wire, fire ants, wasps, snakes, bears, and poison ivy/poison oak.