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Metal detecting terminology

  • All-Metal Mode - A useful metal detector setting that detects all metal objects with no discrimination.
  • Audio Threshold - The audio level produced when no target is being detected. The audio threshold must be adjusted to the lowest audible level.
  • Audio Tone - The frequency or pitch of the sound made by a metal detector.
  • Beat Frequency oscillator (BFO) is the simplest type of metal detector. The BFO metal detector employs two radio frequency oscillators which are tuned near the same frequency: a search oscillator and a reference oscillator. The outputs of the two oscillators are fed into a mixer and a low pass filter, producing an audio signal.
  • Black Sand - Also known as Malagnite, is a black iron oxide in mineral form. This is one of the highest mineral conditions that a detector has to contend with.
  • Cache - Any type of concealed treasure consisting of a quantity of money or other valuable metal objects.
  • Clad - Coins that are still in circulation.
  • Classifier - A filtering device, typically found at the head of a sluice, which helps prevent large debris from falling into a gold pan.
  • Coin Shooting - Hunting for coins regardless of location or era of coins targeted.
  • Composite Digger - Trowel usually made of durable plastic that helps prevent coin damage during recovery.
  • Control Box - Contains the detector's main circuitry, the various controls, displays, the speaker, batteries and electronics.
  • DD Search Coil - A special configuration of the transmitting and receiving coils to minimize the effects of ground minerals.
  • Dighole An indentation left by other metal detectors who have previously hunted an area.
  • Discrimination - The ability of a detector to reject an unwanted target, or accept a target such as jewelry or coins, based on the metallic composition and characteristic signature of the objects.
  • Frequency - The number of times per second the energy transmitted from a detector's coil changes direction. Higher frequencies are used to find targets such as gold nuggets, while lower frequencies are best for general purpose metal detecting.
  • Ground Balance - The Ground Balance is achieved by adjusting the control for the neutral response to the mineral content in the ground. May be done manually or automatically depending on your metal detector's model.
  • Ground Tracking - The ability of a detector to continuously measure the ground's mineralization and automatically adjust the detector's ground balance setting for optimum performance.
  • Halo Effect - Certain metals, when buried for long periods, oxidize and leech into the surrounding soil, resulting in a metallic halo around the buried object.
  • Hip Mount - The detector unit is attached to the belt and not to the stem.
  • Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) - A graphical display that indicates target information, detector settings, target proximity, battery life, etc...
  • Mono Search Coil - Refers to search coils with only one ring, where both the transmitter and receiver are located.
  • Motion Mode - Refers to the setting where coil motion is needed to detect targets.
  • Neutral Response - Indicates no change in the detector's threshold tone.
  • Notch Discrimination - Targets above and below these discrimination settings.
  • Nulled out - Whenever a metal object will not be detected because of interference of a trash metal located too close, a zeroing out of a good target caused by trash located near it.
  • Pinpoint - A mode of operation that allows the hunter to determine the precise location of a target.
  • Pulse Induction - Used primarily for heavily mineralized environments such as the beach and is found in many of today's quality detectors.
  • Probe - A long screwdriver-like device usually made of brass used to penetrate the ground and physically locate a detected target before digging it up.
  • Prospecting - Hunting for valuable metals such as gold, silver or coins.
  • Relic Hunting - Hunting for targets with historical value.
  • Salt Elimination - The detector's ability to eliminate the interference of salt mineralization, which adversely affects detection depth and target identification capabilities.
  • Search Coil - The flat, typically circular disk swept over the ground to sense the presence of metal.
  • Sensitivity - The adjustment that determines how deep or small a target can be detected. The higher the sensitivity, the greater the detection depth.
  • Shaft - The adjustable stem that connects the control box and the search coil.
  • Surface Elimination - The metal detector's ability to ignore all targets located on or near the surface, very useful in heavy trash areas.
  • Very Low Frequency (VLF) - Most detectors today are based on the VLF technology. The VLF detector combines two coils: the outer coil acts as a transmitter, using alternating current to create a magnetic field that is distorted by a metallic object and the inner coil acting as a receiver, reading the secondary magnetic field created by the conductive object.