Metal Detecting 101 – The “Halo Effect”
Metal detecting and the Halo Effect. Learn what it is, why it occurs and how to successfully retrieve your targets.
There is a certain adrenaline rush when your detector finally emits a strong signal after hours of hunting. Now it’s time to recover your treasure. You dig up a plug of soil and start scanning the plug with your detector. If it responds to the plug, it is usually easy work to break the dirt apart until your target is located. If you do not get a response on the plug, then it is time to scan the hole. If your metal detector gives you a response on the hole, continue using your digging tool to remove small chunks of dirt from the hole. You can take individual handfuls of dirt and wave them in front of your search coil until you have located a piece of treasure. But what happens if your metal detector has signaled, but you can’t seem to find the target in your plug or in the hole? Don’t give up looking, whatever you do! A great find may still be within arm’s reach, however elusive it may be.
The “Halo Effect”
Metal detecting hobbyists get stumped when they’ve done all this recovery work and still come up empty-handed. Interestingly, there is such a thing as the “halo effect,” which amplifies a target—but makes pinpointing difficult. The halo effect is a process that happens when a metal object is buried in the ground for a long period of time. Ions from the metal oxidize and seep into the surrounding dirt, making the target seem bigger. This can cause small targets to seem like large signals, but it is also the reason older targets can be easier to locate than new ones. Veteran treasure hunters report encountering coins that gave a signal MANY times—only to disappear when trying to retrieve them. Their advice is to dig down further until you find the coin or other item. There is a really good chance it is still in the hole!
Here’s Why Hobbyists Carry a Garrett Pro Pinpointer
Garrett Pro-Pointer II Pinpointer
There are other scenarios that can make it hard to find a target. You may have knocked the target on its side while digging; or in sand or soft soil, the target may be sinking each time you dig. If your metal detector has a pinpoint mode, try that, before you give up. Searching endlessly for a target is extremely frustrating. It’s times like this when you really need a pinpointer! You see, the halo effect has been broken when you cut a plug of soil. Therefore, your detector no longer sees the target. However, a small hand-held metal detector—such as the Garrett Pro Pinpointer may be your answer. This tool easily fits into any size hole and features side scanning capabilities. The Garrett Pro-Pointer alerts you to your target with an audio indicator and the handle vibrates. The audio sounds a series of beeps that get faster as the pinpointer gets closer to the coin or object. The same goes for the vibration feature, which increases as you get closer to your target. You’ll be glad you have a trusty pinpointer when the treasure is at hand.
Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Pinpointer
Garrett gives you choice with two pinpointers that include the weatherproof Garrett Pro-Pointer II and the orange waterproof Pro-Pointer AT. Simplicity is what you will notice on the Pro-Pointers and also, on all Garrett metal detectors that the company produces. Ease of operation, yet with features to grow into as you gain experience in the field.
Double and Triple-Check Your Hole When Retrieving a Target
Don’t forget that there are often multiple targets in one hole. Experts say this happens all the time—whether it’s a small cache or coins were in a container that spilled or disintegrated. You never know why, but one target can indicate more in the same vicinity. One detectorist reports finding $12 in quarters in the same hole!
Find Target Recovery Tools at MetalDetector.com
You will find just about every type of target recovery tool at MetalDetector.com. Just click on the Browse Shop tab in the top navigation, and you can Shop Accessories. There are subheads for each accessory category, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.
To learn more about the safe recovery of coins and other valuables, be sure to read the following articles from our Learning Library:
What are the Best Digging Trowels and Shovels for Metal Detecting?
What are the Best Metal Detector Pinpointers?
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Video: Selecting the Best Metal Detector Pinpointer – How to Video Guide
Product: Makro Pointer Waterproof Pinpointer