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STORIES

This page is devoted to interesting stories and information as well as from our customers on their metal detecting activities throughout Australia, whether it be gold prospecting or treasure hunting.

If you have a story to share, please send it to us for inclusion on our web-site.

 

INDEX:

Gold Coast Diggers       (Yours truly .... detecting at the Gold Coast, Queensland)

Coin Hunting Lessons

A Sovereign in the Kick at the Two-Up School

The Fourteen Steps

Tracking Down the Gold

Searching for Treasure on a Treasure Island

Shooting for Gold

Profile: Col Murtagh, Coin hunter      

On the Trail of  a Bounty Hunter

Coins, Coins and More Coins !

Tracker IV - What an impressive Machine for the Bucks

A 'Bounty' found with a Bounty Hunter

Silverton And Beyond with the Tracker IV

Hunting Up a Bounty of Gold

'Gold, Gem & Treasure' Magazine

 

 

 

GOLD COAST DIGGERS

 

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Just 'click' on each of the above pictures to reveal the story !

 

By:  Christina Swaneveld

Courtesy of:  'Gold Coast Bulletin'       Saturday  14th July 2007

 

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COIN HUNTING LESSONS

By: Radar (New South Wales)

For years I have read in the Gold, Gem & Treasure magazine how people have found and discovered items and riches I only dreamed about. Mind you, this hasn’t prevented me from doing a pretty good impersonation of a collector and gatherer for the best part of my life, safely storing away little ‘treasures’ and later, (mostly valueless) gemstones and other earthly collectables found around various areas of NSW and Queensland. I suppose, therefore, it was inevitable that eventually I would come to buy one of the better inventions of modern man, a metal detector.

But what sort of detector should I get? I didn’t have a fortune to spend and what was I going to look for anyway? Although the idea of finding the largest gold nugget imaginable really appealed to me, getting out to the goldfields on even a semi-regular basis was out of the question in my case, so I opted for a coin and relic detector.

After reading and re-reading articles and information on detecting and detectors, making a few phone calls and then reading some more, I decided to go for a Bounty hunter. Then I had to decide what model in the range. After making a decision, then changing my mind about three times, I finally settled on a Sharp Shooter II and a Tracker IV for my teenage son.

I still remember the first time out with the Sharp Shooter. I went to a location I thought would be quite rewarding and found nothing but pull-tabs and bottle caps. I told myself that at least I was able to find something. The next time out I found one $2 coin and thought I had won the lottery.

The third time out I found a $2 coin, two 20-cent pieces and two 5-cent pieces around the base of some play equipment. I was getting better and kept at it. I had mixed success but each time I detected I felt more confident and was able to detect differences in the signals (even in the same tones) that were coming from the detector. It took a few months for me to realise that not only was I learning to locate and recover items much better, I was also learning to listen to what my detector was telling me. There were often occasions when I wouldn’t be doing very well until I realised that I wasn’t concentrating, or more precisely, that I wasn’t listening to the detector.

Let me give you an example. On the Sharp Shooter there is visual display where a little arrow points to a particular item when you get a signal. A $2 coin usually causes the arrow to point to the middle of the screen, and also gives (generally) a medium sounding tone. But I have occasionally I have found a $2 coin when the arrow points to where you would expect it to point for a 20-cent or 50-cent coin. The tone however (although it’s the same medium tone for all three) is that for a $2 coin. The difference is ever so slight but detectable if you are concentrating. So what you might say. Digging a 20-cent coin instead of a $2 coin can’t be so bad. There are however, some areas that are quite sensitive and while you don’t want to risk making a mark for a possible 20-cent coin or a pull-tab, a $2 coin might be worth the effort to recover it carefully.

I’m not writing this article to extol the virtues of Bounty hunters or any other brand of detector. I have had heaps of fun with the Sharp Shooter (and my daughter’s Fast Tracker) but there came a time when I wanted to try something different, so after more reading and phone calls, I purchased a second-hand Tesoro Silver Sabre II.

The Silver Sabre II and the Sharp Shooter II are like chalk and cheese and I am still learning to use the Tesoro properly, but the fun and enjoyment I have had from both machines is immeasurable. And both machines have paid for themselves in coins.

My experiences are probably similar to most people in that there was no one looking over my shoulder and telling me what to do. When I bought the Bounty Hunters, David Cooper of Treasure Enterprises in Queensland sent me some great material on coin and relic detecting to read, which I have done many times. I have found that it takes time and practice to apply all that I have read in the various books and magazine articles.

One point that is always stressed by experienced authors of articles, is the need for thorough research. Now, going to libraries and council chambers and looking up historical books and maps may not be your cup of tea but research can take many forms. It can be as simple as going to your local parks on a Saturday or Sunday and spending a quiet hour or two reading the paper and watching what other people do when they go to a park. Where do they sit? Do they play games in a particular area? Is there a favourite tree that the kids climb? All these things and more can be relevant to detecting.

I live in a large country town that has several big parks. In one of these parks I have found well over 100 coins, including 11 pre-decimal coins. I found three or four of these pre-decimals around an old oleander tree that had been recently trimmed back. There were other oleander trees about but I couldn’t detect close to the base of them due to the thick growth.

Recently, as I was driving past the park, I noticed that another one of the oleanders had been severely pruned so I detected around it and in next to no time found a 1914 sixpence right in against the base of the shrub. It was a very welcome find for a collector and gatherer like myself. The point I’m making is that it pays to observe what is happening at potential detecting sites.

I’m still learning and while I’m learning I’m enjoying the challenge and wondering about what the next target will be. I tell myself and my kids not to expect to find good stuff all the time because that way, you won’t be disappointed and will receive many pleasant surprises. I can hear some readers mumbling that if you discriminate properly there shouldn’t be many surprises. Well, we know that some bottle caps can impersonate $1 and $2 coins so well that it’s a wonder they haven’t been officially proclaimed as currency. We also know that ring-pulls and gold rings seem to have a lot in common as metal detectors are concerned.

I vary the amount of discrimination I use to suit the area in which I’m detecting. So, for me, there will always be surprises.

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:       'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'  Magazine, Australia.    December, 2002.

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A SOVEREIGN IN THE KICK AT THE TWO-UP SCHOOL

By: "Capricorn"  (Queensland)

The increasing use of "plastic money" is making it a little harder for treasure hunters to find present day currency, however there is a plus side! When you find a two dollar coin it means you have avoided digging an additional 199 holes, which is what would have been required to get the same value in one-cent pieces!

All jokes aside, jewellery and other valuables are still being lost (and found with metal detectors), in fact, I have found there is more junk jewellery lost now than ever before. During my 22 years of metal detecting I have learned that the rewards are there by way of more valuable items if you are prepared to put in the time.

When treasure hunting, I find it also pays to do a lot of research on an area rather than just walking blindly into it. Two of the best places to start your research are the local historical society and library. You’ll also find that over the years, various local clubs, churches, schools, as well as the local council, have produced many small booklets detailing local events and activities.

And when questioned, many of the ‘locals’ and characters of the district will reminisce about certain things that have occurred. For example, where the local ‘two-up’ area happened to be. For those who are too young to know and any overseas readers, ‘two-up’ is one of Australia’s gambling icons. Two coins are tossed by a person (the ‘spinner’) into the air and the bets are wagered on them coming up heads or tails. It’s illegal to play it except on Anzac day.

One such ‘two-up’ spot here in sunny north Queensland came to mind while I was contemplating my navel at home one night. It was just near the old bridge that was built early last century, which crosses the creek known locally as ‘The Swamp’.

During the summer months when very heavy rain falls, particularly when a cyclone comes nearby, the amount of water caught in the upper catchment areas is phenomenal, and the river overflows and floods this particular spot.

This area is surrounded by giant bamboo canes, some up to 30 feet high up to 4 feet thick. Even in the early days, it must have been an ideal site for the "two-up" school giving good protection from the local constabulary.

As for the police, the only way they could have gotten the drop on the ‘school’ would have been by boat, but even then they would have been seen for miles.

I hadn’t visited the area for more than 20 years but if my past experience was anything to go by, I knew there were plenty of coins still to be found as well as some early relics.

I wanted to be prepared for anything so I decided to pack all my detectors into the car. They included a Minelab Sovereign, a White’s Eagle Spectrum, a Garrett GTI, a Bounty Hunter Quick Draw II and my trusty Bounty Hunter Tracker IV.

When I arrived, I noticed that the area was littered with all sorts of junk (it seems some other people knew the spot) but I still felt it would be a good place to try out the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV as this detector loves this kind of trashy area.

I had no sooner turned it on, using the Tone Discrimination mode set on ‘Low’ to reject all the worthless rusty steel items, than I received my first signal. It was a positive one with a high pitch from both directions. I had only dug down about three inches when out popped a gold coin! ‘It couldn’t be?’ I said to myself but sure enough, it was a gold sovereign in extremely good condition.

The way I work I would have eventually detected it but to get it first up was just amazing luck.

During my time treasure hunting, I have found many valuable coins and artefacts other treasure hunters have missed because they simply don’t bother to grid an area. They just wander around like lost sheep.

To grid a site properly, I have found it best to rope an area about 100 metres long and about a metre wide. I know that this isn’t always possible due to obstructions such as trees and bushes as well as the contour of the land, however, you must be the judge of that at the time. I carry with me about a dozen plastic tent pegs and about 3 lengths of nylon rope, each of which is about 100 metres long.

Find a starting spot and then position one tent peg about every 20 metres. Twist the rope around the top of each peg and when you come to the end, measure one metre across and work back the other way to where you put in the first tent peg. This will give you a detecting area 100 metres long by a metre wide.

With your detector, sweep slowly from left to right and then right to left, moving forward by about one half a coil width at a time. I know that this sounds rather slow but believe me, it’s the only way to make sure that you cover the entire area.

When you come to the end of the ‘gridded’ area, just move the first rope and measure one metres width replace the pegs to form another rectangle and start detecting as before.

When you have covered an area about 100 metres long by 100 metres wide, move the tent pegs and rope to a position, which is at 90-degrees to the area just detected, then grid the new area like before and continue detecting.

If I’m in an area, that produces plenty of coins, I find it to my advantage to grid out and detect the same area yet again at a 45-degree angle. By doing this, I have found many more coins.

As any serious treasure hunter knows, by detecting at these 3 different angles you have more chance in finding coins. Coins are not always found lying flat in the ground. They can be found at odd angles or sometimes on their ends. If you only detect once and in one direction, it is almost certain that you will miss many targets.

Anyway, back to the story. I spent the next four hours in serious detecting mode. Sure enough there were heaps of coins here but alas, no more sovereigns (or even half sovereigns) came to light that day.

Every now and again I used some of the other detectors and while they found the odd coin or two, because of the type of ground and trashy conditions, I tended to use the Tracker IV more than any other. It proved itself by finding coins time and again.

It was a good day given the fact that the only other time I’d detected here before. My tally for the day was one sovereign, four florins, four sixpences, seven threepences, 30 pennies and five halfpennies. Surprisingly though, I never found any shillings.

By mid afternoon the weather was getting a bit dismal and it started to rain. Not wanting to provide a crocodile with a free dinner (the salties frequent this stretch of water), I called it a day.

As usual, the next day was bright and sunny, so after a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs washed down with strong coffee, I started off about 7am to find a partner for the sovereign.

I gridded the rest of the area and found another 16 coins but alas, no further sovereigns. During the course of the two days, several artefacts came to light including belt buckles, which registered as non-iron targets, penknives, a fob watch, some badges and one ring.

To sum up, the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is an ideal unit for anybody who wants to get started in treasure hunting and you can always pass it on to the kids or grandchildren if you decide that you want to update your detector at a later stage. I know one thing though, I won’t be passing mine on to anybody, I love it and it’s so simple to use.

     

Coins found by the author on his first day at the 'Two-up' site.    The sovereign is in the centre foreground.

 

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:     'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure Magazine', Australia.    November, 2002.

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THE FOURTEEN STEPS

By: Bruce Doherty (New South Wales)

The boiling foam and crashing waves snatched at my heels as I frantically scrambled up the 1.5 metres-high sand cliff, trying desperately to force toe holes into the hard, compacted sand, all the while trying to keep my balance. With metal sand scoop outstretched in one hand and the Bounty Hunter Quick Draw II held over my head in the other, I don’t mind a soaking but I doubt the Quick Draw II nerve centre would have appreciated it much.

It was 7.30pm on a Tuesday evening; daylight saving had finished and the night would have been black as pitch, except that the full moon was rising out of the ocean, casting a bright, silvery light over the water and the beach. I always carry a small K-Mart torch in my back pocket on these night beach detecting excursions but on this occasion the moonlight was all that was needed. The seas had been pounding all week along the Sydney beachfront and this was the first time I was able to get home from work in the city, have a quick dinner and get down to my favourite detecting beach knowing full well that if the pounding waves had cut any beach away, I only had a couple of hours at most to detect at the top of a king high tide.

Having gulped dinner down I changed into my beach detecting gear – old shirt, shorts with lots of deep pockets, and old sandshoes. The latter is a must. Having seen what people leave on the beaches, my advice is to always wear shoes with good, thick soles to give some protection from fishhooks, knives, pins and the like, all of which turn up regularly in the sand scoop.

What detector to take – the Bounty Hunter Quick Draw II or Minelab XT17000? At this stage of the tide, the Quick Draw II was the unit of choice as it would handle wet sand without a murmur, whereas the Minelab would blow your ears off. Stumbling around in the garage’s dim light I quickly assembled the necessary gear – detector, sand scoop, headphones, torch and what else? Spare batteries! Nothing is more annoying than having just a few precious hours to go detecting, loading all your gear into the truck, driving to the beach, unloading, then being all set to detect and turning on and getting a headphone squawk, then deadly silence. Damn! Forgot the spare batteries.

Living on the northern peninsular of Sydney, I have a choice of seven surf beaches within about a 10 minutes drive from home but on this occasion, with pounding surf, I decided to head straight for my favourite detecting area. Pulling into the car park, I took out the gear and walked over to the flight of four concrete steps leading onto the beach – and stopped dead in my tracks, dumbfounded! For years I have been walking down those four steps – now I knew how wrong I was! There weren’t four, there were fourteen! I couldn’t believe it. The amount of sand that had been lost must have numbered in the thousands of tonnes, almost in the course of a day! I shall never cease to wonder at the forces unleashed by ocean storms.

There was not a moment to lose. The 5-metre waves and foam racing up the beach after every dumper were getting closer to the base of the steps each passing minute, as high tide rapidly approached.

Stumbling down the steps, I jammed the earphones on, plugged into the Quick Draw II, noted the almost musical sound as the On/Sensitivity knob was turned (this is to let the operator know that the unit is working), then dead silence. Let me take a moment now to explain the Quick draw II operation.

For those not familiar with this unit, it is a motion detector. That is, the coil must be moving to generate a detection signal but after the initial cacophony after switching on, the unit operates silently until a target is detected.

This is quite different to the Minelab XT17000, which sings in the headphones continuously. The other excellent feature of the Quick Draw II is that the coil can be used over wet sand and can be completely submerged in sea water without uttering a sound, until a target is detected. This is the complete opposite of the XT17000, which sings with ever-increasing intensity as wet sand is approached, and is impossible to use within one or two metres of the damp sand, let alone sea water.

Because I do a lot of beach detecting, the Quick Draw’s ability to handle wet conditions was a real revelation when I first bought it, and without it I would not have been able to detect at all on this particular night. The signal tone is quite different for different types of targets, with $1 and $2 coins and gold jewellery giving very sweet signals. With practice, it is fairly easy to tell whether the signal is worth digging. With the Quick Draw, I leave the discriminate knob at about one o’clock all the time (having checked all the settings at home, using various denominations and silver and gold rings buried in six inches of sand, I find that one o’clock discrimination gives me the best of both worlds), just turn the On/Sensitivity knob all the way, and I’m ready to detect.

Anyway, back to the beach. Long experience on eroded beached has taught me to go directly to the base of the sand cliffs which form, and detect along the very base. Worthwhile targets tend to accumulate at the base of the sand cliff but don’t neglect to sweep up the face as well. On occasions, the coins can be seen protruding out of the cliff like raisins in a pudding!

As I moved onto the sand and began detecting along the sand cliff that had formed on one side of the steps, the signals began coming fast and furious. When a beach has been this badly eroded, many of the targets are one and two cent coins (which give a very sweet signal on the Quick draw) but every now and then the target turns out to be a well-encrusted, corroded pre-decimal coin, which must wait for closer inspection at home for identification. One thing about a beach that has lost a lot of sand, is that almost every signal is a dig-able target, and such was the case this night.

The $1 and $2 coins are easy to identify immediately as their size and colour are distinctive and they don’t seem to corrode too badly, but this might be because they have not been buried in damp, salty sand for anywhere near as long as some of the pre-decimal currency. These one and two dollar coins are, of course, very acceptable because they help pay for the detector but what always fascinates me most are the ones that are encrusted with sand, usually corroded to some extent, and are not readily identifiable by size and weight.

Over the years I have detected coins from almost every country in the world and it always give me a kick when I find something really unexpected – like a Russian rouble or Norwegian krona! Our local beaches must be popular tourist spots.

Working my way along the base of the sand cliff, I was scooping out quite a number of smaller coins, very encrusted, which I assumed were all one cents but everything was going in the pocket for sorting later at home.

More music in my ears and another good signal! Crouch down, scoop the spot, check with the detector. Signal still there, scoop the hole deeper, oblivious to other sounds around me, until suddenly the hole is covered in inches of foaming water and I leap to my feet with the detector at high port! Time to go, with the crashing waves and incoming tide getting closer every minute. I waited while the foaming water drained away, tried a quick scoop, checked the hole and no signal. I’ve got it in the scoop! Leaping for the top of the sand cliff just in front of the next foaming onslaught, I shook the wet sand out of the scoop and sure enough, the heavy ‘chunk’ on the bottom heralded another very welcome $2 coin.

Back at home I emptied the contents of my sandy pockets onto the back porch table, as numerous tongue-lashings by my better half have trained me not to empty sandy pocket loads onto the dining room table. The grand total for this night’s work was seven $2 coins, five $1 coins, $4 in other assorted decimal currency, one English halfpenny, two threepences, and one of those occurrences of beach detecting that always keeps me going back for more – a 1922 two-shilling piece and a 1922 halfpenny found side by side. Were they dropped in 1922 by the same person?

Because many of the coins were sand-encrusted and in various stages of corrosion, we now come to the question of how best to clean them. The decimals in current use need only be cleaned to ‘useable’ standard, whereas the others, particularly the unusual foreign or pre-decimal Australian coins such as the 1922 two-shilling piece, I try to clean to the best possible condition because I keep these in a collection of oddities to show off to family and friends.

I use a number of methods and for the main ones I must thanks past contributors to Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure for letting me in on their secrets. The most used method is for the bulk of detected coins and results in rapid cleaning up to useable standard. I use a rock tumbler that I built myself many years ago (but which can be bought at any rock shop for a reasonable price). This method involves placing the coins to be cleaned in a one-litre tin with a screw cap, adding sufficient water to cover the coins to a depth of about two centimetres, then adding about a dessertspoon of washing machine detergent, and a handful or two of coarse river sand. The screw cap is then done up water tight, the tin given a good shake to mix the sand, detergent and coins together thoroughly, then the tin is placed horizontally on the two rollers of the tumbling machine. When the electric motor in the tumbler is started, one roller is driven while the other revolves freely, and the current is regulated to turn the tin at about 15 revolutions per minute.

I generally allow about four hours tumbling time before stopping the machine and carefully loosening the screw cap, as the process does generate some heat which pressurises the container to a certain extent.

The contents of the tin are then tipped into a plastic kitchen sieve and washed thoroughly under the tap, then spread out to dry on an old towel. In most cases, the coins are now cleaned of sand and most surface corrosion, to the point where they can be used in the local shops. Any which are still unusable, I put aside to go in with the next lot.

The next method is electrolytic, which I use on ‘other’ coins that I don’t want to subject to the highly abrasive tumbling method for fear of damaging them further.

It is quite a simple method but does involve keeping a close watch on the item being cleaned, as too long in the cleaning bath can cause irreparable pitting to the coin.

The most basic way to carry out this type of cleaning is to take an ordinary 9-volt battery and attach about a 30cm length of electrical wire to each terminal. To the other end of each wire attach a small alligator clip (K-Mart, Tandy). To the lead attached to the negative terminal of the battery use the alligator clip to attach the item to be cleaned, and attach an article of stainless steel to the other.

Immerse both items in a solution consisting of three tablespoons of cooking salt dissolved in 500ml of ‘No Frills’ white vinegar in a non-conductive, transparent container such as a glass or plastic jar. It needs to be a clear container so you can see what is going on.

If you have connected the leads correctly, the cleaning process can be seen to be happening by the stream of small bubbles pouring off the coin. If not, you will need to reverse the leads. This is where one has to be careful regarding the length of time to leave the article in solution. I find it is a good idea to take it out after a minute or so, wash, dry, and inspect it. Do this every minute or so until you are satisfied that you can’t do any better without damaging the article.

The only other thing you have to be careful of is that the solution has to be changed when cleaning coins of different metals, that is, all silver type coins in one solution, copper coins in another, otherwise the silver coins will finish up with a coating of red copper, which is very difficult to remove.

If you want to take the cleaning stage one step further, hand polishing with a good metal polish like Brasso will take the item to as good as it is possible to get. Using any or all three of these cleaning methods, I have taken sand-encrusted, corroded metal ‘lumps’, completely indistinguishable as to origin or denomination, and brought them back to a clean, polished, almost as-good-as-new state – apart from pitting, which is irreparable.

So, next time the surf is booming and the sand is being shifted, get down to the beach and start detecting!

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:       'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'  Magazine, Australia.      June, 2001

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TRACKING DOWN THE GOLD

By: Peter Fontaine (Queensland)

Over the Christmas holiday period this year, I decided it was time to upgrade my trusty Minelab SD detector. What’s more, I rationalised that as the temperature was around 38 degrees (C), it was far too hot for detecting.

The trouble was, the gold bug bit me quite hard and with no other gold detector to use while I was waiting for my new replacement to arrive, what was I going to do? You know how it feels when you can’t get out detecting; things were getting quite desperate and then it hit me like a ton of bricks – why not use my Bounty Hunter detectors to look for gold? They were excellent in finding heaps of coins and relics, so why not gold?

I packed the Bounty Hunter Land Star with the 10-inch coil as well as the Tracker IV with the 4-inch coil and off I went. At least it would stop the dreaded gold bug biting too much harder. The area I chose has produced a lot of gold nuggets over time, ranging from sixty grams right down to 0.3 grams. That said, this same area has been flogged by myself using the SD and by a lot of other people using all makes and models of detectors. The ground is very highly mineralised and full of hot rocks and I thought it would be a good place to try out the Bounty Hunters.

The Land Star detector with the large 10-inch coil was the first cab off the rank and I had no problems tuning it to the ground conditions, despite the high voltage power lines which were only 100 metres away. As usual, I was in the All Metal mode which is the best mode to use for gold prospecting, particularly if you are looking for small nuggets. It was only a short time before I received my first strong signal, which turned out to be an old rusty side-board lock. I found it at a depth of eight inches, which wasn’t too bad.

After four hours of detecting, I still hadn’t found any gold but plenty of other relics and the odd coin or two. This proved that the Land Star was holding its own in finding targets even after the SD’s had been over the area time and again.

It was now time to try out the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV, I chose another spot at a nearby creek bed where there were lots of large rocks. The overburden had been deposited on the creek bank and over the years, the fine material had been washed way leaving the large boulders exposed. The big coils couldn’t work here but it was easy for the 4-inch coil.

                                   

Peter detecting the rocky boulders                                      The result using the 4" search coil  ....... gold !

It was getting late in the afternoon when I received a good signal. It took me quite some time to recover the target in between two extremely large boulders but it was worth the effort. The small 1.3 gram gold nugget set my adrenalin pumping and I doubled my efforts to find more gold in the area. It wasn’t long before I found the second piece, weighing 0.7 grams, followed by another four pieces for a grand total of 5.8 grams. Not bad for an area that had been flogged by those SD’s!

The one thing which did impress me regarding the Bounty hunter Land Star and the Tracker IV detectors, was their stability in the face of electrical interference from the nearby power lines. And here’s a hint, because the detectors work silently and respond only to metal targets, I put a small tack on the tip of my boot to check that my detector was working. It took a little while to get used to, as I am accustomed to a threshold hum all the time with some of my other detectors.

I cannot understate the ability of these detectors, especially the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV. This is the first time I’ve used it for gold prospecting and it won’t be the last. Next time I go back, I’ll test the Land Star using the 4-inch coil. I’m sure it will perform as well as if not better than the Tracker, because it goes far deeper.

I have heard of many gold finds in other States using these detectors under similar circumstances. They won’t out-perform the SD detector but given the right conditions and using the right coil, they should form part of the armoury of any serious gold prospector.

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:       'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'  Magazine, Australia.   May, 1999

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SEARCHING FOR TREASURE ON A TREASURE ISLAND

By: B.F.S.  (Queensland)

Just off the coast of South-east Queensland are a number of large sand islands. These very popular holiday destinations have all the trappings to lure a vast number of people. As any treasure hunter worth his salt is aware, concentrations of people plus having a good time and a ‘bit’ of alcohol will equal a vast amount of losses.

Recently, I purchased a Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II metal detector complete with 8" and 10" search coils. Now, what a better place to try out my new detector than a place loaded with masses of coins and other choice items. Yes! I know the rule – always read the instruction book first, but being the impatient type, I tend to set the detector up and away I go!

Firstly, I picked an area outside the beach bar, which had a wooden decking right over the beach. I had often watched the resident gardener raking this sand very carefully. I knew full well what he was looking for because frequently he would stoop down and pick up something and quickly put it in his pocket.

The Sharp Shooter II has a number of different modes to choose from. These include All Metal, Disc. (Variable Discrimination), Notch and Auto Notch. At this particular site, I used "Auto Notch" which eliminates most of the rubbish including steel and aluminum pull-tabs but always gives a clear medium tone signal on $1.00 and $2.00 coins which only show up in the centre ‘Zinc Penny’ segment of the LCD Target Identification meter. I was also using the 8" coil, which tends to be the better coil to use in this case. However, when I need to have more depth, I switch to the 10" coil, which can increase the depth by up to 20% in most situations.

As it was about 5 am, I had the whole beach to myself with just a gentle land breeze blowing and the light pounding of the surf. What bliss! The sand was loose and easy to dig. The first signal I got was a repeatable medium tone. I shuffled the sand away and yes, a $2.00 coin emerged which is one less for the gardener! Then I started to get an intermittent signal, so I reduced the Sensitivity knob a little and the noise stopped. I found the search modes were very easy to change. I simply pressed the relevant push-pad for the mode I wished to search in and you’re there!

Well, as I progressed along the beach finding coin after coin - $1; $2 and 50c pieces plus all the other low denomination coins. The low tone always predicted a 5 or 10 cent coin which, in most cases, it was correct. But then I received a very high-pitched tone, almost echoing signal. "Interesting" I said to myself. Again, I shuffled the sand away and about 30 cm down a beautiful shining 22 carat gold ring emerged. This was later handed in to the island police station being the right thing to do.

Now, after gaining more confidence with the detector, I decided to use the ‘Notch’ mode as well as setting the adjustable Discrimination control to just accepting 5 cent coins which give that low tone. I searched in that mode and then when a signal is received, I pressed the Auto Notch push-pad to check out the target. I had some very interesting results by using this method, including knocking out the dreaded aluminium ring pull-tab but still retaining a signal on a low-grade 9 carat gold ring, which I keep with me as a test target.

Now, one more easy place to search. Every night people are encouraged to feed the dolphins. This involves one getting into the water about waist height and feeding dead fish to the lucky mammals (I’m sure they enjoy it, the dolphins that is!) And yes, of course, things will be lost with all the excitement of these dolphins splashing about. As any fellow treasure hunter will know, the combination of cold water and rings don’t mix.

Whilst washing their hands to remove the "fishy smell" after feeding the dolphins, a ring can easily slip off into the water and sink very quickly in the water and into the sand. In the panic of trying to retrieve the ring most people scoop up the sand or step on the ring thus allowing it to buried deeper again. Eventually they give it up as a bad job and are resolved to the fact that they will never see their ring again.

I waited a couple of days to get the right tide combination as I find extreme low tides better as it enables me to get out a bit further than normal so a good early low tide was chosen for searching this area. This time I fitted the 10" submersible search coil and read the instruction book for extra tips before I left. I chose to use the ‘All Metal – Ground Trac’ mode this time. From my vast experience in beachcombing, I find that hardly any rubbish is found in areas such as this.

Searching salty wet sand can be a challenge for some detectors. So by carefully reading the instruction manual and adjusting the Sensitivity control at its best position, I was able to get good coverage on the wet sand with minimal ground noise.

The sensitivity control on a metal detector can be likened to car headlights in fog. If you have the lights on full beam they will shine back at you, but if you reduce them the way ahead is much clearer. My advice is not to be afraid to use low sensitivity in salty conditions. As I said earlier, the main advantage of wet sand is the lack of junk targets, so the (non-discrimination) ‘All Metal’ mode of Ground Trac is ideal with more depth obtained and even more so with the 10" search coil.

The other main advantage is that the Sharp Shooter II has a Probable Target Identification meter, which can also tell you what the target is even in this All Metal mode without using any discrimination. If it’s a pull-tab it will show you that on the meter. Surprisingly, a number of high-value jewellery items were found in this search area. There were also handed in to the local police station and a receipt was obtained. (I got to know the ‘law’ quite well before I left!)

As a rule, any items not claimed within a specified time become the property of the finder, so next time I’m over I will catch up with him to see whether any of the items have been claimed by the owner.

I found the Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II a very versatile and moderately priced metal detector. It can be adapted to the most challenging situations with careful selection of the different search modes and it has become one of my favourite detectors for use at the beach.

Many a time during my stay I sat on the beach bar decking in the late afternoon sun sipping on some amber fluid bought with my hard found money, On the last day I noticed the gardener under the deck again frantically raking the sand below me. "Lean pickings, mate?" I remarked to him through the wooden slats. He gave me a quizzed stare with not a word, and moved further down the beach out of sight into the sunset.

"Ah well" I mused. "It’s the early bird that catches the worm (or the money in this case!)".

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SHOOTING FOR GOLD

By: Ken McDonald   (New South Wales)

After owning a convenience store for nearly 12 years working 7 days a week from early morning till late at night, I felt it was time that I had a decent break so I decided to put my store on the market and was sold within 4 months.

During that time, a customer of mine who lived nearby, used to come in and show me some gold nuggets from time to time which he had found with his metal detector. When he found out that I was selling my business, he said to me "Why don’t you get a metal detector and then we can go out together?" I thought about this for a while and felt it would be a great idea for a break away from work.

When everything was finalized, I pottered around at home for a while, doing those jobs I should have done years ago. This made my wife very happy but it didn’t give me much of a break though. One day when I was painting the house, a thought flashed through my mind, which reminded me of that customer with his metal detector.

Surely, there is more to life than painting … I must get myself one of those gadgets, I said to myself. So the next time I went to my newsagent friend, I asked him whether he knew of a magazine that contained something about metal detectors. He said, "Yes, there is one, I think." He looked up his trade publication that lists out all the magazines you can get in Australia. He came across one called Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure. I asked him whether he could get a copy for me. A couple of weeks later when I called in to see him, he produced a copy for me from behind the counter.

"Going gold prospecting?" he asked, and I gave him a big grin. That night, I read the magazine through and through reading all the articles and looking at all the gold photos. Knowing that my wife wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about all of this, I thought it best just to buy a cheaper model of metal detector so she wouldn’t go berserk!

I finally decided to purchase a Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, as it seemed to have all the features that I wanted both for gold prospecting and looking for treasure. After trying it out around an old house in the next street, which was being demolished, I was amazed at the number of things I found. Apart from a lot of junk material which could have a fitting place in the Steptoe & Son junkyard, I did actually find some very old coins and a valuable ring in the midst of it all.

I went back again on several more occasions and found many more coins, an old war medal and some of those early lead-cast toy cars which must have been over 50 years old. The paint on them was still quite good but the rubber tyres had perished. A friend of mine who is into collecting toy cars offered me quite a bit of money for them, but I decided that I would hang on to them.

One day, I met that customer (John) who used to come in the shop on the bus and we got chatting about this and that. He asked me how I liked ‘retired’ life. I told him in uncertain terms that I wasn’t retired – in fact, I had been working harder than I did down at the shop - thanks to my wife!

I mentioned to him that I had recently bought a metal detector and told him of some of the things that I had found with it. He was amazed, as he hadn’t used his detector for coins - only for gold.

Being of Scots descent, I am always canny with my money (my wife sometimes says that I am tight as a fish’s ****) so I told John that it wasn’t an expensive one but at least I had found money with it and that I was completely satisfied with my investment. "Does it find gold?" he asked. "Don’t know" I replied. "How about we go to one of the goldfields and try it out?" John replied. "Sounds good to me" I replied.

As John knew some of the local goldfields he had visited in the past, we decided to go to one of his favourite spots in northern New South Wales the following weekend. With everything packed on Friday night, we departed at first light and arrived after a three hour drive. John knew the property owner, so there wasn’t a problem regarding access. After having an early ‘lunch’ at eight o’clock in the morning, we headed off to a high-banked gully surrounded by the largest gum trees I’ve ever seen.

From the research that John had previously done, the area was worked in the mid 1800’s and was later worked again by some Chinese diggers. He had always found some gold here with his Minelab detector on each visit so things looked promising in the quest of my finding my own gold nugget.

After about an hour, John yelled out "I’ve found one, have a look at this!". After struggling up the ‘goat track’, I was faced with a big grin from ear to ear. In the palm of his hand he stuck this nugget right under my nose "Great isn’t it?" This gave me more encouragement to find my own nugget. When we got home it weighed in to just over 8 grams. That’s not the end of the story though!

Just before ‘official lunchtime’ whilst heading back to the van, I thought I would try a rock bar further down the creek from the diggings just for fun. Whilst trying to dodge a big tree root growing out the bank, my Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II gave one tremendous signal. "Blimey, what’s this" I muttered to myself. After digging down a foot or so deep, I found this old rusty shovel. "Bugger" I said. Moving on, and I was getting very hungry by then, I reached this rock bar, and did a quick sweep of the area. All of a sudden, my detector gave a sharp beep near a large boulder. Another shovel or another piece of junk, I thought.

After digging down to about 3 inches, my pick struck something metallic with a dull sound. Slowly scraping the dirt away, I happened to see something browny-gold. "Couldn’t be" I said. Then suddenly, all was revealed – it was a gold nugget!

I yelled out to John, but there was no reply. From behind a tree he suddenly appeared. "What’s up?" he asked. "Is something wrong?" (possibly thinking I had had stood on a snake). "Look what I’ve found", I said, as it was now my turn to stick something under his nose.

It appeared to be about 3 times larger than John’s nugget but due to its unusual shape (which seemed deceptive) it later weighed in to just under 1 ounce. "Not bad eh?" I said. "Beginner’s luck!" he replied. "Let’s have some tucker".

For the next three hours left in the afternoon before we headed home, we managed to find another 4 four nuggets between us – but mine took the cake.

When we eventually got home (after a few celebratory drinks), I was met at the door by my wife who snorted "Had a good day did you?" I put my hand in my pocket and gave her my dirty handkerchief. "What’s this" she said. "You don’t expect me to wash that do you?" Without another word, I undid the knot and there it was (exposed to the world)!

She was flabbergasted, it is the first time that I have never heard her say something. "Is it real?" she enquired. "Of course it is", I replied. "You don’t think I made it, do you?" John, of course, still had his Cheshire grin whilst producing the rest of our finds for her to see.

Well, later she admitted that my new toy was not a toy but ‘something’ can really find valuable things … and … something of real value! Before going to bed, she asked me "When are you going back?" Before I could answer, I had immediately fell asleep after such a hard day, so she had to wait until the morning for that answer. That night all I could dream about was finding that real big nugget that’s still out there.

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PROFILE: COL MURTAGH, Coin hunter

By: David Laing  (Queensland)

After spending a lifetime as a primary school teacher in such far-flung places as Bamega, Booroloola Gulf and Ukaka near Kings Canyon, Col Murtagh was looking for something to occupy his time in semi-retirement.

While living at Airlie beach in Queensland in 1997, Col was introduced to detecting by Merv Cotterill, who fired him up with stories of the huge nuggets found in Western Australia and the fact that even Merv’s brother had found a 22 ouncer. Merv then showed him some articles in Gold, Gem & Treasure that were accompanied by mouth watering photographs of giant nuggets and secret patches hidden away in the salt bush and mulga.

Col was hooked. He raced of to Clermont the next weekend where he met Graeme Pepper, the then owner of the detecting shop situated in the caravan park, and a couple of prospectors from Cooktown, Jonathan Porter and Karl Grist, who had each found a lot of gold.

With gold fever surging through his veins, Col bought his first detector, an XT 17000 that cost him $1600. He had no luck with the gold, but on his return to Airlie Beach he found some coins along the shore and his great love of coin detecting started.

Col loved his XT 17000 but while he found it very sensitive and capable of pin-pointing targets from over one foot in depth, he was digging too much junk because the XT had no discrimination. He finally sold it and bought a Bounty Hunter Tracker IV from David Cooper of Treasure Enterprises in Brisbane.

Twelve months later he also talked his best mate and fellow schoolteacher, Bob Muller from Crows Nest near Toowoomba, into buying a Tracker IV, and the great outings began.

By this time Col had found $1,500 in $1 and $2 coins and the friendly rivalry between the two mates of 40 years intensified. They detected showgrounds, beaches, parks and sandpits, and being teachers, were always very conscious of cleaning up after themselves. Col mentioned that he has even found live ammunition on playgrounds.

Over the years Col has found $9,000 in decimal coins, truckloads of junk, buckets of sinkers, jars of cheap rings and quite a few watches.

         Col Murtagh, Treasure Hunter.   

Regarding the valuable items, Col attempts to find the owners by putting in advertisements in the paper or by contacting the police. Any item not claimed in three months he gets back.

Col’s latest machine is a Tesoro Cutlass, again purchased from David Cooper. He likes the Tesoro because its lightweight is kind to his bad back, it has good depth penetration and the single 9 volt battery lasts for months.

Col loves Clermont Caravan Park with its village atmosphere and friendly fellow detectorists and his best find of late has been an 1899 half crown. The oldest coin he has detected was an 1863 English shilling but he rates the friendships made over the years the greatest finds of all.

 

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:     'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'   Magazine, Australia.   April 2004

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ON THE TRAIL OF A BOUNTY HUNTER 

By: Les Makkai  (New South Wales)

Several years ago I stumbled on to some old (Australian) Gold, Gem & Treasure magazines and on the back page was an advertisement for the Fisher Gold Bug I metal detector. After a couple of phone calls I was able to track a second-hand one down with a price of $500.

Feeling lucky and dreaming of finding a big nugget, I travelled to various old goldfields armed with my ‘new’ machine. Well, there are two kinds of luck and I got stuck with the evil twin.

I decided it was time to move on and change tack, so this time I went for a White’s Coinmaster 5000D metal detector, determined to strike it lucky on the treasure trail. I hunted beaches, parks, playgrounds and so on, and managed to find a reasonable assortment of one and two dollar coins but nothing out of the ordinary.

And then I happened onto some more recent issues of Gold, Gem & Treasure magazines and met up with Brian Connolly from Miner’s Den at Parramatta in Sydney (one of Treasure Enterprises of Australia’s ‘Bounty Hunter’ authorized dealers). I decided to update my White’s to a new Bounty Hunter ‘Tracker IV’ metal detector for the princely sum of just $325.

My first outing with my new Bounty Hunter was to several beaches and I discovered, much to my surprise and pleasure, that the Tracker IV ran dead silent even on wet sand and what’s more, it was so simple to use. I have since found heaps of ‘treasure’ with it and have nothing but praise for it as a detector. It’s very cheap and also very efficient at what it does, namely, finds coins and jewellery that have been lost on the beach and in parks and playgrounds.

     A collection of coins & relics found by the author with his Bounty Hunter 'Tracker IV' Metal Detector.

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:      'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'   Magazine, Australia.   November 2004

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COINS, COINS AND MORE COINS !

By: Bob Muller  (Queensland)

My story begins in August 1997 when a mate of mine introduced me to the world of coin detecting. Col Murtagh, who has written for the Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure Magazine, was living in North Queensland at the time and began to brag about the success he was having with his Bounty Hunter 'Tracker IV' metal detector on the various island beaches. 'A renewable source' was the way he described it. Because people keep spending and losing money, all you need to do is to go out and find what they have lost.

My interest was aroused by this 'something for nothing concept' so we thought big and organized a trip to the Clermont area where Col was doing a bit of supply teaching at the time. After swapping a few tales with the hardened but enthusiastic locals, we set out to explore some of the old gold mining areas with our hired detectors, quite confident we'd return that day with a chunk of gold or two in our pockets. Easy money!  All you had to do was to find the right spot. Putting that theory into practice proved impossible on that trip and the result was zero gold. But Col had unearthed a few coins around the old town area of Clermont so I reckoned chasing coins was probably the way to go.

You can well imagine my reaction when a brand new Bounty Hunter Tracker IV arrived at my Crows Nest address in southern Queensland. It was a gift from my dear wife, Marian, who is one of those people who loves doing something for others. Little did she realize at the time that this gift would accompany us on every weekend trip and driving holiday for years to come and that she would be spending a lot of hours with her 'nose in a book' or waiting patiently while her husband checked out the many parks, showgrounds and racecourses in an area spanning Cairns in the north to Hobart in the south.

For Bob Muller, coin detecting has not been a passport to riches but it has provided me with hours of immeasurable enjoyment and with some rewards for the effort involved. In an old foolscap-size book simply labelled "Detecting Records' I have kept details of 203 occasions when 'old faithful' has helped me to find a little more than petrol money. The progressive total at the end of start of 2005, as I write this article, stands at $9,766.95 which I reckon is a fair return on a $325 detector that was given to me as a gift anyway.

It is not my intention to bore readers with the details of my many outings, but there are a few occasions worthy of mention: $181 in March 2000 on a business trip / holiday to Tasmania; $636 during a holiday to the Whitsundays in August 2001; $270 and $331 at the same western Queensland racecourse/showground when I accompanied my wife on business trips in July 2002 and January 2003. There are many other occasions where totals have exceeded $100 but one of my most memorable experiences occurred only recently at the central Queensland town of Hervey Bay. I feel it deserves special mention.

Once again my mate, Col Murtagh, was involved as he was staying in his caravan home at the beachside caravan park at Pialba, and seeing him was part of our trip to the bay for a couple of days. On the first day of January 2005, a guy called Tony reported to someone in the park that his wife had lost her wedding ring on the beach in front of the van park and that he had marked the location. A reward was being offered. Well, a guy called Wayne told his brother-in-law, also called Tony, who in turn told Col.  Col then called me and we arranged with Wayne to show us the location on the afternoon of the following day, which meant that the tide had washed over the area on two occasions.

We learned from Wayne that the spot was indeed clearly marked with a line in the sand from the top of the beach down to the high watermark. We were told two other things. Firstly that Tony, the owner of the ring, had buried a 50 cent piece at the spot where the ring had been lost to assist in finding it and secondly, that someone else had unsuccessfully detected the area that same morning. So here was a challenge for my Tracker IV.

I switched on, adjusted my headphones and walked carefully down to the line from the high-water mark to the water's edge which was now some seven metres away. Within about a minute there was the all too familiar 'beep, beep, beep' as I waved the detector to pinpoint the location.

'It couldn't be that easy.' I thought as I bent down with my small spade, watched carefully by Wayne and also by my mate Col who, incidentally, had not yet switched on his detector. I dug wide and lifted out a fair pile of sand.

You've found it !'  exclaimed Col who spotted the gold in the sand before I even had time to focus properly. Wayne assured us that this indeed was the ring and also that he was in a big hurry so off he went with the ring in his possession.

'Well mate, a job well done, but there goes our chance of any reward' was all I could say.

Now comes the interesting part of the story. Col and I walked the beach for a while feeling a little let down but maybe someone else had lost a valuable ring and would offer us a reward. After half an hour or so I left the beach to try my luck in the grassed area beside the van park where we'd found a few dollars the previous day. I found a $2 coin and noticed a tall guy with a little boy in tow, walking in my direction. This guy introduced himself as Tony and he asked me if my detector was any good.

'Too right,' I said. 'I'm very happy with it'. He then asked me if I'd look on the nearby beach for a wedding ring his wife had lost.

'Say that again please?' I asked, unable to comprehend that here was the actual owner whom I'd never seen before in my life, asking me to look for a ring that I'd found only half an hour before.

'Mate,' I said, 'this is your lucky day. i found that ring only a short while ago. I don't have it on me but I can take you to the bloke who's got it.'

Well, Tony looked at me in disbelief. I described the line he'd made down to the exact location and what a great job he'd done in marking the spot. I also told him that the 50 cent piece had eluded us and had probably gone further down the beach with the tide.

The look on Tony's face and his obvious relief when he realized that I was fair dinkum was all the reward I needed. I took Tony up to see Wayne who was playing cards. He promptly placed the ring on the table. To my amazement Tony handed Wayne two $50 notes for his efforts - after all he was the one who had the ring.

'You been fixed up?' Wayne asked , looking at me.

'Not yet !' I said, and he promptly handed me $50. So now it was my turn to hurry off. I had a dinner appointment with my wife but had to find Col to give him his share.

The old Bounty Hunter had done it again. It's probably the most used and most appreciated gift I have ever received. So for any happily married wives who read this story and who want to make their husbands even happier, ring Dave Cooper at Treasure Enterprises of Australia and he'll do the rest.

  Bob Muller, Treasure Hunter

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:        'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'   Magazine,  Australia.   April 2005

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TRACKER IV - WHAT AN IMPRESSIVE MACHINE FOR THE BUCKS

     

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of the 'Bounty Hunter Forum'

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A ‘BOUNTY’ FOUND WITH A BOUNTY HUNTER

By: David Cooper,  Treasure Enterprises of Australia

Ever wished that you could find an undetected spot? A few months ago I was driving along a main road in Brisbane when I noticed that a caravan park had recently been closed. Unfortunately I didn’t have my metal detector with me at the time but made a mental note to add it to my list of future detecting areas.

Time went by and because I had the chance to go detecting for a day over the Christmas / New Year period, I decided it was a good opportunity to go back to the spot and investigate the place, this time not forgetting to take my detector.

I packed my trusty Bounty Hunter Tracker IV metal detector, headphones, coin trowel and a small pick, as well as some refreshments and left reasonably early before it got hot. When I arrived, the picture was basically the same as I’d seen it the last time I’d driven past. I assumed that someone would have detected here before me but as it turned out, it appeared that nobody had. I just couldn’t believe it. There were no signs of any holes having been dug anywhere.

I then had a quick 'walk around' to get a picture of what the park might have looked like. I had never visited it when it was operating and to my knowledge, it had been going for well over 50 years. There must have been at least 200 caravan sites, as well as a playground and a picnic-barbecue area.

        A part of the deserted Carina Caravan Park, Brisbane.

“Where do I start?” I said to myself. Like all treasure hunters who have posed this question to themselves over the years, the answer was obvious – anywhere!  So, I picked a spot in the shade as the sun was starting to beat down.

As with most caravan parks, one can always pick out the sites, particularly if they were ‘resident’ caravan parks as this one was. You could see where people had parked their caravan or mobile home on the concrete slab and beside that there was a grassed or bare area where they moved about or had an annex to sit under and watch the world go by.

Initially I find it best to use the ‘All Metal’ mode on the Tracker IV to check out a site, so it can give me an idea of what types of things are lying about because you never know what you might come across.

With most caravan parks, at night people tend to sit under the stars and chat while having a drink or two but here I was quite surprised at the lack of buried trash in the form of bottle caps and aluminium pull-tabs. However, when a target was located, I switched to the ‘Tone Discrimination’ mode with the knob adjusted to around the 11 o’clock position. The best way to get the exact setting on the beavertail pull-tabs is to flick the 3 way switch to the left and adjust the discrimination knob until the pull-tab is just ‘nulled’ and gives no audio response. Flick back to ‘Tone Discrimination’ on the right. At this position, 5 cent coins will give a low tone and 10 cent coins a slightly higher low tone. All other targets will give a high tone, while the beavertail pull-tab will give a higher broken tone.

At first I found that these areas seemed to be the most productive and within about half an hour I had found a handful of assorted coins and other various bits and pieces. I also found other areas that were quite productive, namely the small pathways that meandered between the roadways alongside some of the caravan sites.

More productive areas were soon to emerge as time went by. On some caravan sites where the concrete slab ended, it appears that washing was hung out on a clothesline that was strung from the caravan to a nearby power pole or tree. Many coins were found here which no doubt would have fallen out of the pockets of trousers hung upside down. A real goldmine ! Some occupants took pride in starting gardens or vegie patches at the backs of their caravans and a couple of rings, as well as some coins, were found at these particular spots.

The playground yielded some low value currency by way of one, two, five and ten cent pieces with a few higher denominations plus a couple of old cars that must have been in a sand-pit at one time or another. The remains of a couple of swings, which can just be seen, produced some coins too but the barbecue area nearby is still to be searched.

As the sun moved around it gave me the chance to search some more sites in the shade. There is no need to knock yourself out when detecting. There’s no point detecting out in the mid-day sun with sweat running off you making you feel uncomfortable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I wasn’t going to cover a vast area such as this in three months let alone a day.

It is all a matter of working methodically by gridding the area, whether physically or mentally. There is no point wandering around like one of Farmer Brown’s cows detecting here and detecting there. It is best to stop and think about what the occupants of the site would have done. Each site is as individual as you are and each person does things differently in different ways.

By doing this and working slowly, one site at a time, you don’t have to go back again. You know that you’ve covered every square inch and that every likely spot has been searched. Make sure that any loose trash is picked up and the area detected beneath it.

For example, when I was detecting one of the caravan sites that was littered with quite a bit of trash, I happened to notice a section of railway line, about a foot long, that had been placed on bare earth behind a concrete block. Knowing it would be useless to leave it there while detecting, I removed it so I could complete the area. When I swung the detector over the area where the railway line section was, I got a loud signal. I dug down about nine inches and found an old jam tin, which had been flattened out.

“Oh well,” I thought to myself, “I better just check it out and put it with the other rubbish in a heap.” After some further digging I managed to get it out and noticed a glass jar with what looked like some coloured paper inside it. Upon further examination, I saw that they were folded banknotes together with some loose coins. I guess most of you are asking “How much?” Well, like all treasure hunters, I have my secrets but let me say that it was quite substantial.

        This is the hole into which the cache of money was hidden.

After that ‘turn up’ I’d had enough for one day because by that time I’d been detecting for about four hours, so I grabbed a drink from my esky and went for a walk around other parts of the caravan park, checking out areas for future detecting.

The mind boggled as it would take many, many weeks to cover the whole area thoroughly and I’d only detected a small part of it.

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:      'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure'   Magazine, Australia.   April 2002

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SILVERTON AND BEYOND WITH THE TRACKER IV

By: Terry Bloomfield   (New South Wales)

Any morning except during the middle of winter you could find me on the Silverton township ruins north-east of Broken Hill in far western New South Wales . What a treasure trove it was and right on my workplace doorstep. Up until 18 months ago I owned a shop in Silverton. It had originally started out as Kidman’s butcher shop but was better known as the ice cream shop in several movies and in real life.

I would go onto the site ruins for about two hours each morning before opening the shop (after driving the 30 km from Broken hill) armed with my Garrett Gold Scorpion but it had a lot of trouble handling the mineralisation and trash in the soil. Around Milparinka and mount browne it worked just fine because there isn’t much junk in the soil in those places but detecting with it at Silverton was very frustrating.

Then one afternoon a friend who also had a business at Silverton turned up at my shop and told me he had just bought a metal detector which was ideal for trashy areas. That immediately got my attention. Out to his wagon we went and he pulled a very cheap looking detector that had some basic controls and which looked dead simple to operate. It was a Bounty Hunter Tracker IV.

ASTONISHED AT THE ITEMS

For the next few days I used this detector and was astonished at the items that started turning up. The detector was also a godsend for my back because the longer shaft made it easier for a tall bloke like me to operate. It was also very light and as I’d guessed when I first saw it, very simple to use. Two hours detecting every morning suddenly became a delight rather than a chore. The controls are simply ‘set and go’ and anyone can master the unit in just a couple of hors.

Needless to say, a few weeks later I had a Tracker IV of my own and the result was a huge collection of brass buttons, brooches, rings and coins and my most prized find of all, a 1901 New South Wales Police badge which I detected at the rear of the old Silverton Gaol, which is where the New South Wales mounted police had their stables. Maybe a trooper had lost it while saddling up.

                                  

New South Wales Police Badge                                         Other badges and an old watch

Other items which turned up in large quantities were the remains of old mouth organs, pocket knives and pocket watches. Over a period of 15 months detecting for two hours every morning, seven days a week, I covered nearly every square inch of Silverton with the Tracker IV, proving that for as little as $350 you can have an absolute ball with a very cost effective detector.

                     

A selection of coins, rings and assorted artefacts found at Silverton                                            A variety of old clock and watch parts

 IN THE RIG AT ALL TIMES  

My current employment is as a maintenance officer with the Central Darling Shire Council and my area of responsibility in Western New South Wales is the same size as Tasmania . The detector is in the rig at all times and after a day’s work with the Shire, out it comes as there are countless old bush racecourses and abandoned buildings and town sites just waiting for me to detect.

And there are still plenty of old timers in the bush just oozing with information who are only too happy to spill the beans after a few amber persuaders.

For anyone who is into getting some great exercise with a very affordable machine, my advice is to grab on of these little beauties.

 

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:   'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure' Magazine, Australia.   July 2006

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HUNTING UP A BOUNTY OF GOLD

By  Graham May  (Victoria)

 

Earlier this year my wife Helen and I decided to spend a weekend detecting with our mate, Bob, who was camped out in the bush at Linton in Victoria. I own a GP 3000, which was away in South Australia being repaired, and Helen had her SD 2100, which meant that all I had to play with for the two days was our trusty Bounty Hunter Tracker IV.

Don’t get me wrong, Helen swears by this detector and whenever she’s in a real trashy area, she will get the Tracker and detect for relics.

The weekend was supposed to be hot, around 34 degrees according to the weatherman, and I hate the heat. The only plus was because I didn’t have my GP 3000, I had no back pack to wear, just my pick over my shoulder, and an almost weightless detector in my other hand.

When we arrived at our detecting location in Snake Valley, which had been burnt out a couple of weeks before, Helen headed off to my right and Bob stayed behind me to detect near the cars. I had dismissed thoughts of finding any gold and was just hoping for a nice coin or better still, an elusive gold sovereign.

SOME GOOD GOLD NUGGET FINDS

I’d been swinging for about an hour without a murmur and was starting to get quite hot. My thoughts had drifted to the plight of my GP 3000 and without noticing, I wandered into a burnt out area well known for some good gold nugget finds over the years. For whatever reason my mind suddenly focused on the idea of food and I decided it must be nearly time for smoko. I was about to give Helen a call on the two-way but stopped myself.

‘I’ll bet she’s found something’, I said to myself. ‘She always does.’  In fact in the last couple of days she’d found five nuggets in this very area for a total weight of 14.4 grams.

‘Bugger it,’ I continued. ‘I can’t let this go on.’   And with that I decided to get my mind back on the job.

I headed down into a deep gully that was completely burnt out and saw that someone had already been in there and dug some huge holes, none of which had been back-filled. They went right down the centre of the gully and they were everywhere. Since the fire, every man and his dog had been in here;   just this morning we’d counted nine detector operators that we could either see or hear.

But what the heck, I thought, they can’t have swung a coil over every square inch of ground and besides that, they’d all probably been using big coils. In this heat I was quite content to stick with small-scale excavations and started to explore the inside of the slope. Bang! My first signal for the day. At least I’d have something to show for my efforts.

I dug down about 4 inches and once the signal was out, I picked up lumps of clay and passed them over a coil. There was nothing in the first lump but the second lump was a different story. I just knew what it was by the weight. What I didn’t know, until I got the target out, was that it would be the biggest nugget I have ever found!    I guessed its weight at around an ounce.

SHOWED HIM MY NUGGET

I tried to call Helen on the radio but the battery had gone flat so I headed back to the car to get some new ones. Bob was already there so I showed him my nugget, which he found hard to believe given the detector I was using, and then I called Helen.

At first she thought I was kidding but when I told her Bob and I had already weighed it and it had come in at 31 grams, she was dumbfounded.

I have read about stories like mine over the years but I never thought it would happen to me, and certainly not while detecting in the middle of an old goldfield with a detector primarily designed for coin and relic hunting.

Suddenly I didn’t miss my GP 3000 at all.

                                                                    

The smile on Graham's face after he found the nugget !            A closer look at the gold nugget                               On the scale - 31 grams

 

This article has been re-produced, courtesy of:   'Australian Gold, Gem & Treasure' Magazine, Australia.     November 2006

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GOLD, GEM & TREASURE MAGAZINE

 

This is Australia’s only monthly magazine published for the Gold Prospector, Treasure Hunter and anyone interested in Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones.

This magazine is available by subscription or from most newsagents. It is also sent world-wide.

Subscription details can be obtained from the publisher:

 

The Magazine Works

P.O. Box 594

BEECROFT      N.S.W.       2119      AUSTRALIA

 

Telephone / Fax:    (02) 9484 6688

or

Email: magworks@ozemail.com.au

 

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