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    In June of 2000, I purchased a used Fisher 1235X detector.  At first, I had nothing but bad luck with it; all I could find was junk.  After a week or two, I started finding some coins, and even a little junk jewelry.  However, within 3 weeks, I had found my first silver ring, and my first gold ring.  I went on to find many coins and more jewelry with it.  Now, it is primarily my backup/buddy machine.  Also, it's a proven "competition" detector.  Light-weight, hipmountable, quick to pinpoint, turn-on-and-go, not to mention it sounds off on a silver dime "on edge".  The frequency shifter that's built-in really helps as well.

   In the late summer of 2000, I also purchased a Fisher CZ-5.  I love it!  I've found literally hundreds of dollars in clad, lots of jewelry, and lots of old coins.  It's a very easy to use detector, and very user-friendly.  The three tones it uses for tone ID are very distinctive.

    In March of 2001 I got a 10 1/2" coil for my CZ-5.  This thing is great!  I love it!  I can cover ground faster, plus I can get better depth.  When I first got it, I took it out to a sand volleyball court to practice pinpointing signals.  I didn't really expect to find much there, since that site gets hit hard.  I did manage to find about a dollar in clad, a Hot Wheels car, plus lots and lots of trash!  Pulltabs, bottlecaps, and foil galore!  At least I learned how to pinpoint the target.  I took this coil out to a schoolyard I've been hunting.  It really helped me cover ground, since this schoolyard was a couple acres in size.  I've also learned how to tell when the target is in the plug I dig, or still in the hole.  That schoolyard is TRASHY!

    In September of 2001, I finally managed to get the 5" "hockey puck" coil for my CZ.  This little coil is going to become my secret weapon.  I am able to pick up targets right near sidewalks with rebar in the concrete.  Target separation is great.  Pinpointing is a breeze.  In fact, with this coil, the only time I really use the pinpoint feature of my detector is to run a depth reading.  It's really sensitive to smaller targets.  I found a 1961 Mexican 1 centavo coin at about 3".  That particular coin is about the size of a Half-Dime from back in the early 1800's.

    In December of 2001, I got a Sony Mavica FD-75 digital camera.  I've been able to post LOTS of pictures, especially of the jewelry that I've found.  However, in January of 2006, it finally went kaput.  I replaced it with a Kodak Easy-Share C340 5.0 megapixel camera.  Now, I can take high-resolution pictures of the goodies I find.

    In Febuary of 2003, I was able to buy a "demonstrator" CZ-20 with 10.5" coil.  The "demonstrator" part means it was used in the showroom to demonstrate how the unit operated, and possibly in the field.  This particular unit is completely water-proof, submersible to 250 feet.  I plan on working the lakes like crazy with this detector.  Also, since it's water-proof, I can use it on those days when it's raining, and not worry about getting my CZ-5 wet, since it's not water-proof.

    I use a Lesche Standard Digging Tool to dig my plugs.  It's a really nice piece of equipment to have.  I also have a couple different shovels.  One is a regular garden shovel, but it's only about 3 feet (or less) long.  The other is a construction-type "Sharpshooter", with a long, narrow blade.

    I also use a Vibraprobe 460 to pinpoint my targets.  It's really helpful with the extremely shallow targets; those that are within an inch of the surface, if not actually just in the grass.  I can use this pinpointer to exactly locate the object, then just insert the tip of my Lesche into the ground and pop the target right out.  I always replace the dirt I remove, but squirrels actually cause more damage to turf than I do when I'm retrieving shallow targets like this.

     I have a water scoop that I use to retrieve targets from the bottom of swimming areas when I'm using my CZ-20 in the water.  It's about 54" tall.  The "bucket" is oval shaped in cross section, to give you a better chance of getting the target when you scoop.  The holes allow the water and sand to drain out, leaving rocks, shells, and hopefully, the target.  I have a small magnet strapped into it to help catch all the small magnetic pieces like bobby pins, etc.  The pipe insulation you see wrapped around the handle allows the handle to float, so I can drop the scoop, and not have to worry about the scoop sinking away on me.

    I have built a floating sifter box.  I use this in the water by scooping the material (hopefully with the target) with my water scoop, then dumping the material into the sifter.  Since the mesh keeps large targets from falling though, and, it's in constant contact with the water, it will wash the sand out very quickly.  Then, you can spread the remaining gravel, shells, sticks, etc., around until you see the target.  This is invaluable when you're in an area that has a lot of gravel on the bottom.

    I have a couple of sandscoops.  One is the typical handheld sifter that's about the size of a #10 can of coffee.  It was nice to start out with, but I found a better one.  The sandscoop I really like to use has a 5" bucket, with a wire mesh strainer.  It's mounted on a pole 28" long.  It's just the right length for me to swing it down and scoop up a target without me having to bend over.  I've also found it's a pretty good sand mover for when the target is deep.

    I bought a cheap, small, plastic three-tine hand rake for less than a dollar at a discount store.  I use this in woodchip playgrounds to dig with.  This is nice when there are other people around, as a concerned parent won't see me using the Lesche (looks like a knife) and call the cops.  Also, the rake moves the woodchips much faster than the Lesche would.  I've dug some rather deep holes in seconds with it.

    One thing I've realized, is that kneepads are important!  Try kneeling down on rocky or damp ground to retrieve a target.  See what I mean!  I got a cheaper pair of kneepads from a hardware store.  They really save my knees.

    I also started keeping a small toolkit in the trunk of my car.  I have spare batteries, a brass-bristled brush, stiff nylon-bristled brush, small "keyhole" saw, electrical tape, spare nylon bolts and wing nuts to connect the coils to the lower stem extensions, a small pruner to take of roots in the hole, spare O-rings for my CZ-20's battery compartment, a jar of Vaseline for my CZ-20's O-ring, and lots of qt-size Ziplock baggies.  I'll add more stuff as needed.  I'd like to get some extra velcro wraps for coil cables, etc.  I don't actually take this kit out into the field with me, but leave it in my car.  Since I'm never very far from my car, I'm not very far from it, either.

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