How To Master Metal Detecting Unreliable Targets Signals

How To Master Metal Detecting Unreliable Targets Signals

Metal detecting is a popular and rewarding hobby that can bring you a sense of accomplishment and some interesting finds. But it can be tricky, especially when it comes to tracking down those elusive, unreliable target signals.

To master metal detecting unreliable target signals, there are a few key strategies you can use:

  1. Learn your metal detector: Become familiar with it and its settings so you can adjust it for optimal performance in different environments and conditions.
  2. Practice with known targets: Test your metal detector with known targets like coins, jewelry, or other objects of known metal content to understand how it responds to different types of metals and target sizes.
  3. Use discrimination and sensitivity settings: Discrimination and sensitivity settings can help you filter out unwanted signals and improve the accuracy of your metal detecting.
  4. Use a smaller search coil: A smaller one can help you better discriminate between signals and target smaller objects more precisely.
  5. Scan the same area from multiple angles: By scanning the same area from different angles, you can better understand the signals you’re receiving and help rule out false positives.
  6. Take your time and be patient: Metal detecting requires patience and persistence. Don’t rush and take the time to thoroughly search an area, even if it means digging up a few false signals along the way.

By using these strategies and practicing regularly, you can improve your metal-detecting skills and become better at identifying unreliable target signals.

It can take time and patience to master the art of metal detecting, and learning how to respond to those intermittent target signals is a key part of that process. With the right tips, tricks, and techniques, however, you can start to master metal detecting unreliable target signals and find the treasures that have been hidden away in the ground.

Read on to learn more about how you can become an expert metal detector and uncover hidden gems.

What is Metal Detecting?

Metal detecting is using a detector to find buried metal objects. The detector sends out low-frequency electromagnetic pulses that are reflected back by nearby metal objects, alerting the detector and marking the target’s location.

This allows metal detectors to be used for various activities, such as finding buried treasure, identifying metal defects in manufactured products, and archaeology. Unlike metal digging, metal detecting does not require you to dig up the ground, so you can continue to use a metal detector even if the ground is wet or you have certain types of plants growing nearby.

Why Do Unreliable Target Signals Occur?

Target signals can be inconsistent, intermittent, and unreliable, making it difficult to track buried objects with a metal detector. Many things can affect how well a detector can detect targets, such as the ground mineralization, topography, and sensitivity or discrimination settings of your detector.

If there is a large variation in the ground mineralization, it can affect the reading of the detector and cause it to send out an intermittent, unreliable signal. Similarly, a difference in the topography, such as a large rock, may cause a detector to send out an unreliable signal.

Other factors that can affect how well a detector can detect targets include the sensitivity and discrimination settings of your detector and the type of ground you are searching in, such as loamy sand or hard clay.

Tips for Mastering Metal Detecting Unreliable Targets Signals

The first step to mastering a metal detector is identifying the specific type of unreliable target signal. Once you have identified the type of signal, you can think about adjusting your detector settings or techniques to make them more responsive to the ground and therefore more reliable. Here are some tips that can help you to master metal detecting unreliable target signals.

– Ground balance – One of the most effective ways to combat unreliable target signals is to ground balance your detector. Ground balancing your detector allows you to adjust the settings to account for any differences in the ground so that the detector is less likely to send out an intermittent signal.

To ground balance your detector, you can use a coin or even the back of your hand, and walk in a figure-of-eight pattern. The ground mineralization will affect how a detector responds and, therefore the type of ground balance required. For example, if your detector is reacting to large amounts of iron in the ground, you may need to ground balance for iron.

– Discrimination – If different types of target signals appear in your detector, you can use the discrimination settings on your detector to choose which signals you want to respond to. For example, if your detector is picking up a large number of nails, you can reduce the number of nails that your detector responds to by increasing the discrimination settings.

– Ground conditions – If you detect hard ground, such as clay, iron, or rocks, these can affect your detector’s response to the ground. Therefore, you may need to adjust your detector settings to encourage it to send out a more reliable signal. For example, you may need to turn down the ground balance to reduce the iron content in the ground.

The Importance of Ground Balance

Ground balancing your detector is important in mastering metal detecting unreliable target signals. Ground balancing allows you to take into account any variations in the ground, such as iron content, and adjust the settings of the detector accordingly.

This helps reduce false target signals and pick up more reliable readings from the ground. Ground balancing for iron is the most common type of ground balancing that you will need to do when detecting. This can be useful if you are detecting in a heavily mineralized area, as it can help to reduce the number of false signals caused by excessive iron.

Ground balancing for salt can also be useful in certain areas. For example, if you are detecting in a coastal area, ground balancing for salt can help to reduce false signals caused by the salt in the ground. When ground balancing for iron, walk in a figure of eight patterns, with your coil approximately 10 inches above the ground.

Move your coil to the left and right so that it is parallel to the ground, and then move it forward and backward to be perpendicular to the ground. Finally, lift your coil up slightly so it is above the ground, and then sweep it from side to side.

When you have finished ground balancing for iron, turn down your discrimination settings so that the detector responds to a lower number of targets.

Techniques for More Accurate Detection

– Adjusting your coil – You can subtly adjust your coil to reduce the number of false target signals further that your detector responds to. You can move your coil as close to the ground as possible without touching it to try and identify as many targets as possible. However, getting your coil too close to the ground makes it more difficult for the detector to respond to targets.

– Using single pulse audio – Using single pulse audio instead of continuous audio can be helpful when you are detecting heavily mineralized areas. By using single pulse audio, you will be able to hear only one audio tone when a target is detected. This audio tone indicates that the target is relatively deep and likely to be a good find.

If you hear two audio tones when a target is detected, then the target is relatively shallow, which means that the target is probably a piece of junk that is too superficial to be of any use.

How to Interpret Target Signals

Knowing how to interpret target signals is important to mastering metal detecting unreliable target signals. There are many different types of target signals, each related to a specific type of metal buried in the ground. Here are some of the most common types of target signals.

– Good target – A good target will produce a clear, consistent signal and be relatively deep in the ground. A good target is usually the type of target that you are hoping to find when metal detecting.

– Bad target – A bad target will produce a noisy, inconsistent signal and is likely to be a piece of junk. However, there are different types of bad targets, and it is important to know how to distinguish between them.

– Short and wide/swimmy target – Short and wide/swimmy targets are common with gold jewelry. Short and wide/swimmy targets can also be caused by aluminum and copper.

– Long and wide/tangy target – Long and wide/tangy targets are caused by iron pyrite, also known as fool’s gold.

– Long and narrow targets – Long and narrow targets are caused by silver and copper. – Short and narrow target – Short and narrow targets are caused by foil, brass, and lead.


Metal detecting can be an extremely rewarding hobby and a great way to spend time outside. However, it is important to master the art of metal detecting to find the treasures buried in the ground.

There are many different types of target signals, and it is important to learn how to interpret them to identify the type of metal buried in the ground and, therefore what might be hidden in your detector.

Ground balancing, discrimination settings, and careful adjustments to your detector are all important ways to combat inconsistent and unreliable target signals and improve your chances of finding buried treasures.

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