Five Day Crash Course in Detecting for Beginners

Five Day Crash Course in Detecting for Beginners

Setting yourself up to detect in five days.  Each day’s tasks are designed in a way that you can perform them after hours if you have a full time job.

DAY ONE: Order and Obtain Equipment

Jump on Amazon and order a detector, headphones, pinpointer, and digging tool.   Forget the decision and just order a Garrett AT Pro, the most popular detector according to our polls, easy to use for beginner, and powerful enough to serve you if you stick with it.  This package includes a detector, headphones, pinpointer and digging tool.  Make sure you get the free two day shipping from Amazon.  Alternatively, if someone is willing to sell you a good used detector for cheap or let you borrow a spare one, go for it.  Just make sure it is appropriate for the type of detecting you are going to do.


Click to view on Amazon

DAY TWO:  Obtain Hunting Partner and Site

Ideally, you will want to locate a partner with detecting experience.  Unfortunately, if you don’t already have one, it is very difficult to get someone to hunt with.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to provide a site to hunt. Think.  Do you own a historic property or have a friend, relative or work with someone who does?   Secure permission to hunt it.

Locate an experienced detectorist through a local Facebook group or by asking around.  Describe the property and invite the detectorist to hunt, and be clear that you are just getting started and in exchange you would like some tips and guidance.   If you cannot or do not want to hunt with a partner, then your road is going to be a bit tougher, but spend this day lining up some permission.

DAY THREE: Unbox and Setup Equipment, Watch Videos

When your machine shows up, unpack everything, install batteries if necessary in the machine and pinpointer, and read through the manuals.   Go to YouTube and watch videos on the AT Pro or other machine, and the Pinpointer.  Watch videos on detecting etiquette, and watch how holes are dug.  Watch how to swing a detector, and remove a target from a hole using your PinPointer.  Make notes.  This should get you started:

DAY FOUR: Practice

Go out in your yard and bury some coins, a nail, a soda can tab, and other objects at about 4-6 inches, a foot apart from each other.  Mark their exact locations with golf tees or something similar.   Put on your headphones, and practice swinging the detector smoothly so that your coil says about an inch or so off the ground and does not raise up at the ends.  Your swing should take about one second each way. Count “One Thousand One”.  Pretend it is an image scanner trying to scan a photo of the ground perfectly.  Practice hitting each of the targets you have buried.  Listen to the distinct sound each makes.  Once you are confident, practice digging each target up, using your pinpointer.   Repeat until you are comfortable turning the machine on, using the pinpointer, detecting the targets, digging, and turning the machine off.

DAY FIVE:  Detect

You are now prepared to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Get up, dress to get dirty, yet look nice, and pack everything in your vehicle.  Take anything you would take if you were going to any other outdoor excursion – insect repellent, food, drinks, tp, first aid kit, and extra batteries.

Arrive at the site, check in with the property owner if necessary, and get to work.  Relax.  Remember your practice in your test garden.  Take your time, keep your swing low and flat.  If you get frustrated, throw a penny on the ground and detect it to get your confidence back.

If the site has been hunted hard in the past, signals are probably going to be scarce, so don’t be afraid to dig anything.  You prefer targets that read above 50 to start, but don’t be afraid to dig and learn.

If the site is very trashy, this can be very frustrating to a beginner.  Again, just go slow, pick a small area, and detect it carefully.  If it is just too much trash, try shortening your swing and going slower.  Once you hear something high and see a higher number, try to pinpoint it with a very short swing, and dig.


Just like learning to play a guitar, or swing a golf club, the detector will take some getting used to.  If you have chosen a good partner with some experience, he will be happy to let you come over and swing when he has found a good target, so you can hear what it sounds and looks like.  He will also come over and check out a target you have found before you dig, and give his opinion on it, and some tips.  He/she will watch you and make suggestions.   This is a huge shortcut over trial and error and can save you a lot of frustration and learning pain.

Trust me, once you find something good, it gets easier and addictive very quickly!

Thank-you, ComFreak



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