Metal detecting - The Trash To Treasure Ratio
By Dan Breitenstein
When you swing a golf club, you sometimes put the ball close to the peg, sometimes you're a hundred yards away. When you swing a baseball bat, sometimes you hit the ball, and sometimes you miss it completely. That's what makes it a sport. It's a challenge to perfect it , to be as good as you can be. Just like baseball, golf, or bowling, metal detecting is a sport.
I know countless people who metal detect and they stand there telling me how they wish they could find something of value. The truth needs to be told here - it needs to come out of the closet. Anybody can metal detect and be successful at it. You don't need the natural ability to hit a ball, or the coordination of a ballet dancer. You use your eyes, your ears, and most importantly, your mind.
We use a ratio in metal detecting that shows us just how good we are called the trash to treasure ratio. It's so simple to use and a powerful learning tool. Simply put, it's the ratio of how much trash we dig to how much treasure. The best way to improve our "score" is through knowledge. I frequently step up on my soap box and preach the values of research. I'm a firm believer in it because it has consistently proven to increase the treasure part of my own personal ratio. There is an unbelievable advantage in knowing where to metal detect.
The next factor in improving your ratio is knowing what your machine is capable of doing and knowing what it's telling you. Having a working knowledge of your machine gives you the flexibility to try different things for varying circumstances. I use the term "working knowledge" because it reflects experience - hands on in the field. I spend a couple of months with a new machine in the field just shaking it's hand and getting to know it better. Every sound your detector makes is telling you something. You need to learn to understand it's language. I try the different coils and modes until I'm comfortable that I can go out and do it well. Just like everyone else, I dig junk for days....sometimes many days. But that experience raises the treasure side of my ratio even more.
Having a good working knowledge of the other obstacles we face is the frosting on the cake. Learning about soil conditions and how my detector handles interference from mineralization are more contributing factors to success. Learning about negotiating close to sidewalks and under power lines leads to a higher ratio.
All of these things and many more will improve your trash to treasure ratio. When you're sitting there reading "Treasure and How To Find It" look upon yourself as that golfer practicing his swing. When you're out in the yard and digging up all that junk (learning what your detector is telling you) picture yourself as the baseball player in the batting cage hitting ball after ball to better his score.