Metal Detecting Jargon / Terminology


After much searching across the many metal detecting forums, and with the help of our friends over at KellyCo Metal Detectors I have gathered a large (but probably not exhaustive list) of metal detecting terms and jargon used throughout the metal detecting community.

If you are new to metal detecting I hope this list can help you learn some of the terms and jargon that gets thrown around and help you make sense of what we are talking about.

Air Test: A test is performed by moving various sized metal samples beneath the metal detector search coil to check the detector’s features and target response. This test is not an accurate indicator of ground depth penetration capability.

Alkaline: A type of battery able to sustain longer periods of the current drain with greater storage life when compared to the standard carbon-zinc type.

All Metal: Any operating mode or control setting which allows total acceptance of any type of metal targets. Usually associated with the Ground Balance mode. Also a phrase for the hardcore detectorist “I’m going all-metal today.” All metal modes are frequently used in virgin sites where most targets are interesting. All metal means that you will be digging a lot of junk targets.

Archie, Arkie: An Archaeologist.

Audio Gain/Gain: A setting on many detectors that increases or decreases the volume for deeper targets. “I had my gain at 15.”

Audio ID: See Tone ID.

Audio Response: See Target Response.

Auto-Tune: Circuitry which continuously retunes the detector’s threshold to the initial manually tuned audio level. The retuning rate following target rejection or drift can be preset or variable.

Back Reading: A false signal, when operating in the discriminate mode, caused by a rejected target coming within one inch of or contacting the search coil bottom.

Barber: The Barber dime (named for its designer, Charles E. Barber, who was Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1879 to 1917. The design was shared with a quarter and a half dollar of the same period.)

Bench Test: An air test to determine at what approximate discriminate settings various metal samples are rejected or accepted. The test is conducted in a non-metallic area.

BFO: Beat Frequency Oscillation, an older detector that uses the induction balance principle. Often used in very cheap metal detectors and rarely used in coin shooting anymore. Often associated with “old school” detectorists who don’t want to give up their machine.

Black Dirt: Organically-rich dirt common in very old sites, especially in the Eastern US. Desirable hunting grounds.

Black Sand: Iron particles that are so small they look like sand. This is desirable at gold-hunting sites, but not at old coin-hunting sites. One of the most extreme components of nonconductive, negative ground minerals. Also called magnetite (Fe304) or magnetic iron oxide.

Bling: Fancy jewelry, which may or may not be precious metal. “Here’s my bling for the day.”

Body Mount: A configuration whereby the control housing is separated from the control shaft and fastened to the operator’s body lessening arm fatigue and expanding usability for shallow water hunting. Also known as the hip mount.

Bottlecap Magnet: A machine that indicates bottle caps as a good signal such as coins. “That detector is a bottlecap magnet, I got sick of it.”

Bucket lister: A very special, once-in-a-lifetime find.

Bust Coin / Draped Bust: A very old US coin minted from the late 1700s through the early 1800s. Quite rare to be found by detectors.

Cache: Coins or jewelry deliberately buried together. Often buried in a jar, box, or can. Pronounced “cash” (not “cashay”) A cache may also define a “cluster” of coins or precious objects found near each other, even if not in the same hole. Any intentionally buried or secret hoard of valuables.

Cache-Hunting: Specifically searching for old caches: requires a different approach to a site than regular metal detecting, since caches were buried in places where specific criteria were met: such as near animals that would make noise or discourage looters or near landmarks that could be easily found.

Camp Lead: Melted lead is often indicative of a campfire during the US civil war.

Canslaw: Shreds of aluminum cans left after being hit by a lawnmower. These give a wide variety of signals due to their size variation and can make for a difficult hunting environment.

Carbon-Zinc: The most common standard dry cell battery type.

Cellar Hole: The remains of a very old home site which had a basement or storage cellar: sometimes lined with stones, sometimes just a depression. Objects have often been found behind stones or between them. Most detecting finds for cellar holes are in the surrounding ground, not in the actual cellar. Hunting near a cellar hole requires great care due to the instability of the ground and poorly marked wells.

Chatter: the sound a detector makes when it’s badly tuned, or sometimes when running with high sensitivity for maximum depth: a sort of static. You’ll often see more advanced detectorists running with a lot of “chatter” to find deeper targets.

Choppy: The sound a detector makes when it finds an object that is almost discriminated out. Often used to describe a questionable signal (see also: iffy signal) “That coin had a real choppy signal, but I dug it anyway because the site is so old.”

Clad: New coins which have been formulated with mostly non-precious metals: in the USA, these are typically silver-colored coins after 1964. This designation also carries over to copper pennies by association but after 1958. These coins are usually a sign of modern activity. If they are absent from a hunt, but older coins are present, it’s a highly desirable location.

Clad Magnet: After particularly difficult hunts where only new coins were found, you may refer to yourself as a “clad magnet.”

Coil: The round thing at the end of a metal detector. See Search Coil.

Coin Depth Indicator: A visual indicator used in conjunction with calibrated circuitry to indicate the depth of buried coins in inches or millimeters.

Coinball: A chunk of dirt with a coin inside. Often the last moment of anticipation before discovering the coin’s type and age. Sometimes, the edge of the coin is visible.

Coinshooters: A metal detector enthusiast who looks mainly for coins.

Coinspill: A more generic form of pocket spill: wherever coins were lost in groups.

Concentric: A search coil configuration using one or more transmit and one receive windings having unequal diameters aligned on a common center; most recently arranged on the same plane and called coplanar concentric.

Conductive Salts: One of the major mineral types which make up the positive ground matrix. Wet, ocean-salt sand produces a positive rise or metallic type response on an air-tuned threshold.

Conductivity: The measure of a metal target’s ability to allow eddy current generation on its surface.

Control Housing: A metal or plastic box which holds circuit boards, indicators, meter, controls, and power supply.

Convertible/Combination: A metal detector configuration allowing versatility in operator handling, i.e., handheld to body mount.

Coplanar: Any search coil configuration in which transmit and receive windings occupy the same level or plane.

Copper: Referring to a US large cent or colonial equivalent. “Nice to find an old copper.”

Crusty: Used to describe a target that is in bad shape. “That large cent was a bit crusty.”

Crystal Controlled Oscillator: A transmit oscillator employing a crystal to maintain stable output frequency.

Depth Penetration: The greatest measure of a metal detector’s ability to transmit an electromagnetic field into the soil matrix and produce a target signal.

Detection Pattern: The densest or strongest region of the search coil’s electromagnetic field where detection occurs. Its shape is balloon and changes in size directly proportional to the target surface area.

Detuning: Adjusting the audio threshold into the null or less sensitivity tuning zone. Also a method of narrowing a target signal width manually for precise pinpointing. This is accomplished by returning to the audio threshold over the target response area.

Dials And Smiles: Someone who loves tweaking their metal detector: which is often an old or obscure machine without any form of computerization.

Digger: The tool used to dig your targets. Also used to describe a person who detects. “Hello, diggers!”

Dirt Fishing: Metal detecting in the dirt (versus beach/sand/underwater.)

DISC: See Discrimination.

Discrimination: Adjustable circuitry which ignores or nulls audio responses from a specific conductivity range allowing positive responses to be heard from metals higher in conductivity above the discriminate control setting. Designed primarily to eliminate audio response from trash metals. See also Motion Discriminator.

Double Blip: A signal characteristic common to elongated ferrous targets such as nails or coins lying close to the surface detected in the All Metal no-motion mode.

Double D or 2 D: See Wide Scan.

Draped Bust/Draped Coin: American coinage design from 1795 to 1808. Highly desirable and rare.

Drift: A loss of threshold tuning stability caused by temperature change, battery condition, ground mineral content or detector design.

Drop: A dropped bullet often associated with the US civil war.

Eddy Currents: Small circulating currents produced on the surface of the metal by the transmitted electromagnetic field. These currents then produce a secondary electromagnetic field which is then detected by the search coil receiver windings resulting in an inductive imbalance between the windings.

Electromagnetic Field: An invisible force extending from the top and bottom of the search coil created by the flow of alternating oscillator frequency current around the transmit winding. See also Detection Pattern.

Electronic Pinpointing: An automated detuning feature that narrows signal response for the purpose of target pinpointing.

Elliptical Coil: A search coil with an ellipse shape. This coil can be either concentric or wide scan type.

EMI: Electromagnetic interference “The EMI ruined my day.”

Faint Signal: A sound characteristic of targets that are sometimes deeply buried or very small in size.

False Signal: An erroneous signal created by overshoot, ground voids, or highly mineralized hot rocks. See also Back-Reading.

Faraday-Shield: A metal foil wrapping of the search coil windings or metallically painted search coil housing interior for the purpose of eliminating electrostatic interference caused by wet vegetation.

Fattie: A thick Indian head penny or flying-eagle cent minted between 1859 and 1864. The coin is noticeably thicker than newer Indian head pennies.

Ferrous: Descriptive of any iron or iron-bearing material.

Ferrous Oxide: An oxidized particle of iron that generally becomes nonconductive and makes up the natural negative ground mineral matrix. Hematite, which is also iron oxide (Fe203) will respond as positive or metallic. See also Black Sand.

Fill/Fill Dirt: Dirt that’s been brought in, effectively increasing the depth of old objects/coins. Not a good thing for coin hunting.

Find: Something you found worth keeping. “That’s a good find.”

Flag And Bag: Finding and putting objects in Archaeology bags, and leaving a small flag where found. Usually done as a part of an Archaeological survey.

Freestyling/Door-Knocking: Driving or walking from property to property asking permission to metal detect without a rigorous plan.

Frequency: The number of complete alternating current cycles produced by the transmit oscillator per second. Measured in cycles per second. VLF Very Low Frequency = 3 to 30 kHz; LF Low Frequency = 30 to 300 kHz;MF Medium Frequency = 300 to 3000 kHz; HF High Frequency = 3 to 30 MHz.

Frequency Shift: A feature that suppresses the audio interference (cross-talk) between two detectors using identical transmit frequencies in close proximity.

Friends: Additional good targets in a single hole. “It has friends” upon discovery of another signal in the same hole.

Gawker: Someone who is intent on watching you metal detect.

GL/Good Luck: Often used in emails and forum posts. Frequently used with “HH” (happy hunting.)

Grand Slam: Finding four of the same coins from different eras in the same hunt. With dimes, for example, finding a Seated, Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt variety on the same hunt. Very uncommon.

Gridding/Gridded: Detecting using a pattern as you walk along, most common is “straight” or “circular” Sometimes it means doing a rough check of a location before careful detecting. “I gridded the area first and decided to start by the old tree.”

Ground Balance – Factory Preset: A feature that eliminates the manual ground balance control and its adjustment from the operator’s setup procedure. This adjustment is performed internally by the factory to optimize operation over an average range of non-conductive soils.

Ground Balance – Manual Adjusted: A feature requiring a manual control adjustment procedure to neutralize the effects of negative minerals in the search matrix.

Ground Balance – Self Adjusting: A feature that senses a change in-ground mineral content and continuously readjusts the ground balance while in operation. Sometimes called Ground Tracking or Automatic Ground Balance.

Ground Balance: A state of operation using specialized circuitry to ignore the masking effect that iron ground minerals have over metal targets.

Ground Filter: Complex circuitry is found in motion-type detectors which separate the mineral signal from the metal signal allowing it to be further processed by the discrimination circuitry.

Growl/Grunt: The sound many detectors make when they’re detecting iron signals (when the iron is not discriminated out.)

Halo: An area immediately around some targets where the metal has leeched over many years. “That target had a large halo.”

Hand-Held: A metal detector configuration whereby the operator holds a shaft or handle which supports the search coil and control housing. Also called pole mount.

Head: See Search Coil.

Heartbreaker: A high-quality coin or artifact that is found, but something bad is wrong with it (such as a digger scratch, or damage from a plow.)

Heartstopper: An impressive object when first viewed in the hole. Often used to describe something that looks great that turns out to be junk (such as an amusement park token or junk gold-colored ring)

HH: “happy hunting”: often used in emails and forum posts to sign the end of the note. “GL/HH”

High Tone: A sort of squeal made by many multi-tone detectors when high conductivity targets (such as silver) are found. Typically desirable. “That’s a nice high tone!”

Hip Mount: See Body Mount.

Hockey Puck: A very small metal detecting coil, often used to metal detect sites with a lot of junk.

Honey Hole: A spot that produces good finds hunt after hunt. Often kept secret.

Hot Rock: A rock that contains a higher concentration of nonconductive ground minerals than the surrounding matrix to which the detector is balanced. A metallic (positive) response will be heard in the motion and non-motion modes and a null or negative drop in threshold are heard in the all-metal, ground balance mode over these rocks.

Hunted Out/Hunted To Death: A metal detecting site that has been heavily metal detected over time.

Hz or Hertz: Cycles per second. See also Frequency.

Iffy: A signal that is difficult to interpret, but hints of a good target. “That’s an iffy target, but I’ll dig it anyway.”

Indian: A US Indian head cent (1859-1909)

Isolator: A nonmetal stem that attaches the search coil to the control shaft eliminating metallic interference in the detection pattern. On some detectors, the entire lower shaft is made of a nonmetal substance.

Joke Tags: A small personalized metal plates with an engraving of the metal detector’s name, left behind in holes for other detectorists to find. A practical joke. Often these are made up using crawdad/lobster cage ID tags.

Key/Semi-key/Key Date: A coin of low mintage numbers that have a higher value.

kHz or Kilohertz: 1000 cycles per second. See also Frequency.

LCD or Liquid Crystal Display: Used on a metal detector as a graphic visual indicator same as a meter/needle indicator.

LED or Light Emitting Diode: A semiconductor that produces an illuminated visual response.

Loop: See Search Coil.

Low Tone: An audible signal that typically represents low conductivity targets like gold or pull-tabs.

Magnet Fishing: Using a high-powered magnet on a line to pull ferrous objects from the bottom of a creek or lake. A common “side-hobby” of detectorists.

Masked/Masking: When a piece of iron is nearby a desirable target and alters the way the detector responds. May also describe a mode on a metal detector that temporarily removes all/part of discriminating.

Matrix: Refers to the total volume of ground penetrated by the transmitted electromagnetic field, which may contain varying amounts and combinations of minerals, metals, salts, and moisture.

MDing: Metal Detecting

Memorials: A US one-cent piece with the Lincoln memorial on the back. (1959 to present)

Merc: The US Mercury Dime (1916-1945): 90% silver

Metal: Metallic substances such as iron, foil, nickel, aluminum, gold, brass, lead, copper, silver, etc.

Metal Detectorist: A person operating a metal detector in the field. This name is preferred by many over Treasure Hunter.

Meter: A detector component that provides visual information to aid in target identification. Meters feature either an LCD or needle indicator which may display intensity of signal, target depth, target identification, type of metal, or battery condition.

Mineral-Free Discriminator: Any metal detector that can reject or ignore trash metals while simultaneously balancing ground mineralization.

Mineralized Ground: Any soil that contains conductive or non-conductive components.

Mode: A condition of operation, selected by the operator, for specific desired function(s).

Morgan: The Morgan Silver Dollar. (1878-1921): 90% silver

Motion: A mode of operating for most metal detectors: requires the coil to be in motion to detect accurately. “I was in motion discriminating mode.”

Motion Discriminator: A detector type that requires search coil motion to activate its simultaneous ground balance and discriminate functions. See also Mineral-Free Discriminator and VLF/TR.

Narrow Response: A target that produces an audio response so short that pinpointing is almost not needed.

Negative Ground: Soil that contains non-conductive minerals which have a negative or nulling effect on an air-tuned threshold.

Neutral Ground: Soil that has no nonconductive or conductive mineral properties. Lacks mineralization.

Newbie: Someone new at the hobby

Ni-Cad or Nickel-Cadmium: A rechargeable type of battery cell.

Nicked: To hit and damage the coin/object with your digging tool. See also “heartbreaker.”

Nighthawk: Someone who detects illegally at night.

Nine-Two-Five: .925 Silver: an indication of a high-quality silver (Sterling)

No-Motion: Refers to any mode of operation that does not require search coil motion to trigger target response. Also called non-motion.

Non-Ferrous: Not of iron. Metals of the precious class (i.e., gold, silver, copper, etc.)

Non-Motion: Programs and modes on a metal detector that do not require the coil to be in motion to work. “I switched to non-motion all-metal mode to pinpoint.”

Notch Accept: Operation whereby all target responses are “tuned-out” except those the instrument is adjusted to accept in the notch “window.”

Notch Discrimination: Filtering circuitry which allows a “window” of desirable targets to be accepted within the entire rejection range of unaccepted targets, i.e., rejecting nails, foil, and pull tabs while accepting nickels and gold rings of the same conductivity. This circuitry can also be adjusted to reject all metal targets while accepting only a specific conductivity range.

Notch Level: A control used to select the target level or target conductivity which the notch filter will act upon.

Notch Reject: Operation whereby all targets within the notch width at chosen notch level will be “tuned-out.”

Notch Width: A finite discrimination range of target conductivities (“window”) at the chosen notch level.

Null: The zone is just below the audible threshold in metal detector tuning. This also refers to the momentary drop or quiet response of threshold sound as the search coil passes over a discriminated or rejected target.

Nulling/Nulling Out: When the metal detector threshold disappears: usually because of a large quantity of iron.

On-Edge –– A coin that is buried in the ground-oriented up and down, rather than flat (parallel) to the ground surface. This can make detecting the coin more difficult.

One-Way Signal: A detecting signal that works when you sweep one direction, but not the other. Often an indicator of a junk target, but not always.

Overlap: The amount of search coil swing advance is not greater than the search coil’s physical diameter.

Overload: When there is too much metal under the coil for the machine to be useful. “I overloaded on that paint can lid.”

Overshoot: A common false signal heard as the search coil passes over a rejected target when using a no-motion All Metal mode in conjunction with automatic retuning. Excessive tuning restoration pushes the audio above threshold level creating a positive response at the edges of the target detection periphery.

Peep: A high-pitched sound at high depth. “That high tone was just a peep.”

Permissions: A place to hunt where you have permission to be. “I went to one of my old permissions today.”

Phase Response: The length of time between eddy current generation sustained on a metal’s surface and the resultant secondary electromagnetic field effect on the search coil’s receive winding. Related to target conductivity.

PI or Pulse Induction: A mode of operation where the transmitter circuit pulses an electrical current into the ground before it quickly shuts down. The eddy currents dissipate immediately from poor conductors such as wet salt sand and ground minerals. Metals hold eddy currents because they are better conductors. When the receiver circuit comes on, it picks up the returning signal from metal; the eddy currents in the ground minerals have already disappeared.

Pinpointer: A small, hand-held metal detector is used inside of the open hole/plug to help locate the target.

Pinpointing: The process of reducing the target to a small area in which to dig, either with the main detecting coil or a hand-held probe. Most metal detectors have a “pinpointing mode” which allows users to audibly construct an “X” on the surface of the ground.

Pinpointing: Finding the exact target location with respect to a search coil’s designated center. Accomplished by interpreting the centers of audio response width in perpendicular directions or scans. See also Detuning.

Plowline: The area that’s left relatively undisturbed in agricultural fields deeper than plows can reach. “This was below the plowline.”

Plug: A hole carefully dug in the ground so that dirt and grass are not harmed. Diggin a good “plug” is the mark of an experienced and ethical metal detectorist as it reduces the impact on properties being hunted.

Pocketspill/Coinspill: A bunch of coins lost from ones’ pocket or purse. Often found in places where people sat in the grass.

Positive Ground: Soil that contains conductive minerals or moist salts which have a positive or upward effect on an air-tuned threshold.

Probe/Poker: A small tool, often made of brass (or tipped with brass) to locate coins before digging by touch. Resembles an ice-pick and is used by pushing it into the ground prior to starting to dig. Brass, a soft metal, is used to avoid marring coins. Experienced probe users can feel the difference between coins and rocks. Probes are often used when a very small hole is desired (such as when using detectors on manicured lawns.)

Pull-tab Magnet: A machine that can’t discriminate out pull-tabs very well. See also “bottlecap magnet.”

Pulse Induction/Pulse Machine/PI: A detector that detects all metals using different technology that is often useful in highly mineralized soils or saltwater. “I need to come back with my pulse machine”

Quick Response: A short time period between metal sensing and peak audio/ visual indicator indication is usually associated with all frequency ranges of TR detectors.

Rang Up: A phrase used to describe a target type indicated by the audio/visual signals of a detector. “That Indian rang up as a dime.”

Reeded Edge/Silver Edge: The grooved edge of many silver coins. The opposite of a smooth edge. A reeded edge is often the first clue of the type of coin found in the ground.

Rejection: An indication of target nonacceptance by a null in threshold or broken sound while operating in a discriminate mode.

Relic Hunters: A detector enthusiast who searches for common objects and not just precious metals. Often searches occur in fields or woods, and often targets reflect early conflicts such as the Civil War in the US.

Repeatable: When the metal detecting signal can be repeated in several directions of coil sweeps. Repeatable signals increase the chances of a good target.

Return: The process of getting lost jewelry back to the owner. “This was my 5th return this year”

RF-Two Box: A radio frequency detector having its own transmit and receive windings separate and in an orthogonal configuration. This detector is capable of deep large object detection while naturally ignoring small targets such as nails and individual coins.

Rosie: A 90% silver Rosevelt dime (1946-1964)

Round Ball: A musket ball from a muzzle-loading gun.

Roundness: A coin or button in the hole.

Rubar: Rusted beyond all recognition.

Scan: Refers to 1) the effective search coil detection width or 2) search coil movement over the ground.

Screamer: A super high-quality signal that is loud in the headphones. “That quarter was a screamer.” Often results in a high-quality find, such as a large silver coin or artifact.

Scrubbing: The search coil is pressed and held in contact with the ground while searching to maintain an even audio threshold. With newer detectors, this technique is used to gain depth.

Scuff Cover: A protective cover for the search coil bottom. Also called coil cover or skid plate.

Search Coil: A circular (or other shaped) plastic housing containing single or multiple transmit and receive windings (wire coils) in a specific configuration. A search coil emits and receives signals from the ground and metal targets. Also called loop, coil, or head.

Search Coil Cable: An electrostatically shielded cable of conductors (wires) that convey signals to and from the search coil and control housing.

Seated: A US coin minted between 1837 and 1891 in half dime, dime, quarter, and half.

Seeded Hunt: A hunt where the finds have been scattered or planted

Sensitivity: The capacity of a metal detector to perceive changes in conductivity within the detection pattern. Generally, the more sensitivity a detector can smoothly provide, the more depth it will achieve in sensing targets.

Signal: An audio response or visual indication alerting the operator that a target has been detected.

Signal Width: The total distance of ground an audio signal is sustained during search- coil travel or scan.

Silent Search: Refers to detectors capable of producing a target signal while operating below the threshold audio. Also called silent operation.

Skunked: Hunting and finding nothing of value. “I got skunked.”

Slow Motion: A description of search coil speed required to operate the motion discriminate mode.

Smoothie: A coin that’s highly worn, often difficult to see details.

Square Nail: A very old nail, often hand-forged. An indicator of old construction (more on square nails.)

Squeak/Squeaker: A signal that sounds like a squeak. Often coins on edge. Also, sometimes refers to a 1964 silver US coin (last year of 90% Silver.) See also: peep.

Stability: The ability of a metal detector to maintain a manually adjusted tuning threshold under the effects of outside interference. See also Drift.

Stingy Site: Sometimes used to describe a metal detecting site where very little is found. “That’s a stingy site.”

Strip Hunting: Metal detecting on the street side of sidewalks.

Surface Area: Refers to the area of a target closest to the search coil where eddy current generation can take place.

Surface Mount: The art of mounting electronic components on the surface of a printed circuit board rather than using the “through board” method. This allows more technology in a much smaller space and with much higher tolerances.

Sweep: The motion employed in moving the search coil across the ground.

Swinging/Sweeping: Moving the detector coil side-to-side during a hunt.

Target: Refers to any object that causes an audio or visual response in a detector.

Target ID/VDI: A meter or display that shows you what your target might be

Target Masking: When large sizes or high concentrations of trash metals drive the threshold into the null zone suppressing weaker, positive responses from deeper or smaller targets.

Target Response: See Signal.

Tear-Outs: When sidewalks or parking lots are removed for repair or construction. This is usually a good time to metal detect.

Ten-Turn: A control that can be manually rotated ten times to cover the full electrical range of the function. Usually associated with tuning or ground balance function.

Test Garden: A mapped plot of buried targets at various depths to aid in learning characteristic target responses and in comparing metal detector performances under a given ground mineral content. Also called test plot or testbed.

TH’ing: Treasure hunting

TH’er/TH’ing: Universal word contractions for treasure hunter and treasure hunting. Also known as Metal Detectorist.

Three Ringer: A three groove Minié ball bullet, often from the civil war era.

Threshold: The desirable, gentle hum made by a detector when no target is detected. A threshold often vanishes when discrimination is “triggered” which gives additional information to the metal detector user.

Threshold: Continuous tone that establishes a reference point for tuning the detector to ground balance it. The threshold tone also establishes the minimum sound level for deep targets in the discriminate mode.

Thunk: A sound many multi-tone detectors make when a good target is being masked by a piece of iron. Sounds like someone “slamming the door” on a good signal. Sometimes it represents a very deep coin.

Toasty/Toasted: A coin that is badly corroded because of a long period of time in the ground. “That Indian head penny is toasty”

Tone ID: Different sounds identifying different target’s sounds on many modern detectors. High tones usually indicate high-conductivity targets such as silver or copper, while low-tones are for low-conductivity targets such as gold.

Tones Machine: A metal detector that requires you to learn the sounds rather than looking at the display to successfully classify what you’ve found before digging.

Tot-Lot: Areas of parks designated for very young children. Often the location for newer lost jewelry. Frequently filled with wood bark or rubber pellets to prevent injury, lost items are frequently just below the surface.

Tot-Lot-Tour: Going from park to park to quickly detect the children’s area for valuables. Especially popular on Monday mornings.

TR or Transmitter-Receiver: Term describing a method of operation of early detectors. Some manufacturers still produce this type of detector. Electromagnetic field distortion caused by mineralized ground interferes with depth penetration as this type of detector does not ground compensate. It does balance conductive saltwater effects so, it is primarily used in saltwater and on low mineral saltwater beaches or low mineral inland locations.

Transect: A linear “lane” of detecting in a broader grid, often associated with Archaeology. “We began to layout detecting transects for this site.”

Trash Pit: An area where everyday trash was put in the past. Often used to describe the regimental trash area of a civil war site.

Trifecta: When three same-denomination coins of different eras/types are found. e.g. A Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt dime all found in the same hunt is a “trifecta of dimes.”

Two-Tone-Ferrous or TTF: A mode of detecting on the Minelab E-Trac detector which is used when there is heavy iron content present. Iron targets give low tones, good targets high tones.

Vehicle: The word used for “car” when detectorist is ashamed they don’t have a cool 4×4 truck.

Virgin Site: A location that has not been metal detected.

Visual ID: A feature in which a visual indication is produced to help identify the target.

Visual Indicator: A meter, LCD or LED that signals a target’s presence.

VLF: Common detector type which distinguishes between different types of metal, such as iron. VLF operates at different frequencies for different purposes.

VLF or Very Low Frequency: See Frequency.

VLF/DISC: Term associated with detectors capable of mineral-free operation in both the Discriminate and All-Metal modes.

VLF/TR: A class of detectors that can operate in both the All Metal, Ground Balance mode and the No-Motion Discriminate, Non-Ground Balance mode.

Walker: US Walking Liberty Half Dollar (1916-1947)

Whatzit: Unknown object of curiosity

Wheatie: US wheat back cent (1909-1958)

Whispers/Peeps: Barely audible tones, often an indication of depth.

Wide Response: A target that produces an audio signal over an area wider than the search coil diameter.

Wide Scan: A coplanar search coil with two “D” shaped transmit and receive windings positioned back to back and overlapping. This search coil type is capable of detecting a target across at least its full diameter. Also called Double-D or 2-D.

Wrap Up: Laying out the finds for the day for a photo or at the end of a detecting video.

Zero Discrimination: Used to describe detectors whose discrimination control allows the acceptance of all metals at zero setting.

Zincoln: A zinc-formulated Lincoln Cent. Often in poor condition. Not a desirable target.

Jason Smith

I am a former Marine who works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. My sarcasm is legendary as is my knowledge of movie quotes. I can name the song or artist of just about any 80s or 90s song. I like whiskey, wine, coffee, soaking in hot springs or my hot tub. I enjoy getting out hiking, taking pictures, along with metal detecting & magnet fishing from time to time. I do enjoy the occasional gaming by breaking out the original NES or SNES. I do spend a lot of time building other websites, (about 30 some in total).

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