Iffy Signals. To Dig or Not to Dig

Your out in a field somewhere detecting away, sweeping side to side when you come across a lovely crisp signal. Instantly you put your machine down and start cutting the turf full of excitement of what it maybe. You find the object and either give out a 'wow' or a 'tut'. Could be a coin, artifact or a bit of trash, but you knew you had to dig it because of the nice crisp signal you got off it. Off you go again sweeping away and you come across the easy to tell low iron grunt, "nope" you think, "its trash, I'll leave that" and walk on.

I used to do the above in the early days of my metal detecting. Only listening for that super signal that says 'DIG ME', or that low grunt signal that says 'LEAVE ME'. I expect you can relate to it yourself.
Now that brings me to the object of this post, the signals in between dig me and leave me. The signals that have acquired the name 'Iffy Signals'. They are the signals you come across and think do I or don't I dig. Very experienced detectorists have developed an ear for these signals and can tell you that its a bottle top, a ring pull, bit of lead or it is a coin. Mind you, they do slip up now and again as its near on impossible to be 100% right all the time.
So what do we do about those iffy signals when we come upon them. I used to think well, its not a nice crisp dig me signal so I used to leave it. Now thinking back I cringe at all the good stuff I might have missed because I was just digging the nice dig me signal. What changed my mind was not so long ago I was out detecting a large farm field. A couple of hours into it and after much sweeping the only signals I was getting were the low iron grunts here and there and i knew it was trash and left it. Not one nice crisp signal came along but, I came across a signal that I would normally leave. It wasn't the iron grunt nor was it a nice crisp tone. It was just spits and spats with a weak not so good tone. As I hadn't dug anything for quite a while I thought I might as well dig it and have a peek. Low and behold it was an old Viccy penny, I never expected that because of the awful signal it gave off, I was used to the normal crisp signals pennies give off.

First thing I did notice was how deep it was, must have been a good 10 inches deep. That got me thinking and I starting digging similar signals as I came across them. Hell I dug a lot of rubbish, a lot more than normal but in between digging all that rubbish I was making a few good finds, coins and interesting artifacts were popping out like never before and I had a renewed excitement in me. Never again do I leave an iffy signal, unless its that low iron grunt I dig it. As I get more and more experienced as a metal detectorist maybe I will be able to leave a few signals and not worry about leaving a good find behind, but until then to this day I dig any iffy signal.

I have found out that there are a few reasons why an iffy signal can occur. One main reason is as above, the target is deep and the machine just about picks it up. Other reasons can be the target like a coin can be on its edge or next to a bit of iron, or an artifact made of different metals, ground conditions and I expect a whole host of reasons.

My advice is until you become a very experienced detectorists who can tell whats under your coil before you dig it then I would say dig all iffy signals. You will dig a lot more trash, and have to work harder but believe me, the result will be more good finds.

Happy Hunting,

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