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Tools for Benchmark Hunting?

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I started out just looking for benchmark structures (old churches and smokestacks and things). All I needed was my trusty GPSr and digital camera.

 

Then I went looking for MT TOM (PO0646), because it was in an area with a nice view (I may set my first cache in that area). I found I had to dig through a layer of leaves and dirt and wipe off the disk to be sure I had the right spot and get my picture. (Yes, I know I should go back and take some more pictures of the area - and see if I can find some of the Reference marks.)

 

What tools do people generally take when looking for benchmark disks?

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(a) Compass and tape measure - most descriptions give distance and direction from sundry landmarks; also useful for adding landmarks to description

 

(:) Pruning shears - to cut foliage away from disk or other marker for access and a clear photo

 

© Brush or whisk brook - to clear debris from benchmark before photo

 

(d) Water - to clean marker (and to drink)

 

(e) Whistle - in case of trouble

 

(f) Work gloves - it can get nasty out there

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i take nothing but gps... which is probably why i'm struggling to find 'em!

will now print out maps and directions...

and might consider a tape measure...

 

___________________________________

 

there is no knowledge, only things, which is really old knowledge.

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I like to carry a few of those little yellow plastic tent pegs. They come in handy for marking just how far "25 feet from the center of road" is, or other temporary markers that help me focus my search.

 

Max

Often wrong but seldom in doubt

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My minimum benchmark hunting kit:

  • garden trowel - many markers are overgrown or buried.

  • shop rag - to clean up marker for snapshot.

  • compass - for finding marker and for describing location or photo orientation.

  • pda - for benchmark descriptions and

    entering notes.

  • tape measure - for those occasions when I can't find the marker by pacing off the distances. Also useful if you want to submit an updated description.

  • coat hanger - useful for poking through soil and sod when marker is buried.

 

-- Its from aliens. I seen um. --

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A couple of things to add:

 

I bring a calculator (usually my calculator watch). I use this to calculate the number of my paces (calibrated beforehand) for each distance mentioned in the finding description.

 

I bring a cellphone. Once I broke my leg by slipping on dry leaves on a hillside and could not walk at all.

 

A copy of the datasheet. I don't always have this; sometimes I just write the details on a 3x5 card, but a datasheet helps a lot if questioned - it substantiates your story of what you're doing.

 

Paper (usually the datasheet) and pen for taking notes on differences in the finding description.

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quote:
Originally posted by embra:

I like to carry a few of those little yellow plastic tent pegs. They come in handy for marking just how far "25 feet from the center of road" is, or other temporary markers that help me focus my search.

 

Max

Often wrong but seldom in doubt


 

I thought of doing this too, but when I was at Tractor Supply, I saw they had (I think) 20 of those little orange flags on steel wire for (I think) $7....But they are heavy....But then again, I dont think I'll be needing more than 1/2 dozen at a time...

 

Art

 

www.yankeetoys.org

www.BudBuilt.com

www.pirate4x4.com

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Has anyone used a metal detector to locate a buried disk? It seems it may save digging and eco-impact.

 

Does anyone know of an existing table of magnetic declination in reference to current date? I've noticed that several Azimuth references have been off by several degrees. Any chance that these were determined without adding/substracting declination?

 

I use a Magellan Companion GPS attached to my Visor Handspring so I have something to take notes with, a calculator, and can store cache descriptions, Although, I must admit that I prefer to leave the PDA in the GPS than switch back and forth. I usually carry a lensatic and orienteering compass and I have a WWI trench knife I use to poke around the ground looking buried markers. I carry a 25' measuring tape in my car and 12' one in my backpack but will probably invest in a longer tape soon. Whereas I carry a shop rag with me I think a wist broom would be a smart investment.

Thanks for the tent stake/flag markers idea!

 

EMike

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I keep the trunk loaded with various things. 2 100ft tapes , 1 25 ft tape, Data Sheet, GPS and a compass are essentials. A long but thin screw driver (serves as a ground probe - Very useful to minimize digging). I also bring my Garrett Metal Detector (used originally for Beach combing). I dont usually use this at a site, but if the referneces are all/mostly gone, sometimes measuring just isnt enough. Ive found a number of buried disks this way but most of the time (90-95%) the descriptions, and measureing and few probes are enough to locate the buried treasure.

 

"Problems are merely opportunities for interesting solutions which can be implemented by those with the courage to be different."

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I am using my Radio Shack metal detector to find the capped pins that haven't been found for many years.

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I'm not much of a BM finder (find way more non-database BM's than listed BM's). In the vehicle I have:

 

Clipboard (makes me look official)

Tape measure (ditto above, but too short at 12ft)

80 penny nail (also used as tentpeg hole maker)

Toothbrush (good on metal plaque or tooth plaque)

Pigskin glove (or golf glove from driving range)

Compass (differentiate SW from S side)

Photo reflector (collapsible fabric disc)

Sidewalk chalk ...to be added

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oops.

 

Shovel (short D-handled that USFS likes campers to carry)

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One of the most useful things I have is a long probe, specifically an electric fence post I got from a building supply (Lowes) for about $1.

It is basically a piece of 3/8” rebar about 48 inches long. It has a triangular metal plate welded on about 1 foot from the business end. I sharpened the point with a file and epoxied a file handle to the other end.

 

I find that I can get good ground penetration without having to bend over and the triangular plate lets you use your foot to push with.

 

In addition I carry a household caddy with the following items:

 

Trowel

Baster from housewares to get water out of a hole if you spray it with water to wash it off.

household sprayer full of water

paper towels

garden gloves

cheap paint brush for dusting off the mark

100 ft tape measure

compass

clipboard

digital camera

 

And of course a gps

 

I just bought a rolling tape measure made by Luskin for $30 today. They can be found cheaper.

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Some days, I'm lucky enough to have a loaded survey truck at my disposal. Shovels, metal detector, laser distance meter, orange vest, traffic cones, flashing lights... etc. Most times it's just me and a motorcycle, GPSr, digital camera, notebook/printout, and maybe a small shovel. My watch, a Casio Pathfinder, has an electronic compass which I use quite a bit too. Sunscreen and a hat if I'm going to be out all day.

 

I usually tailor what I bring with me to the task at hand. Working outside and all over the county like I do, I've usually got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to come across before I get there and bring the appropriate tools. All of the above lists are excellent.

 

Keep on Caching!

- Kewaneh

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After last weekend -- HD1222 -- I may start carrying some sort device to siphon water from a recessed area that i think may hold a benchmark. icon_wink.gif I think that my wife has a turkey baster that she won't miss till next Thanksgiving....

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quote:
Originally posted by embra:

I like to carry a few of those little yellow plastic tent pegs. They come in handy for marking just how far "25 feet from the center of road" is, or other temporary markers that help me focus my search.


 

I used to have to mark broken sprinklets, and i used the LONG bamboo skewers and the orange tape used to mark in construction. The skewers are for kabobs on the BBQ (about 14").

 

I 'Probe" with a putter with the head broken off. ( I use this to find buried headstones in cemeteries while doing genealogy)

 

geocan.jpg

 

Trash-out, EVERYtim

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Thank you Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy, I just ordered one of those metal detectors. (Delivery in 7 - 10 days.) I will try to post any results I have to this forum.

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In addition to most of the stuff mentioned above, I'm going to start carrying a water pistol with a water/vinegar mix. Got chased by two dogs today, both big, one really serious about defending his territory (or having me for breakfast). Back when I was in high school, I ran the 880. Today, 39 years later, I ran it again and set a personal lifetime best. The worst part is: I got chased both times while attempting to appraoch the same mark (HV8708), once from the north and once from the south.

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1.GPSr

2.Back-up,GPSr

3.Complete data sheets,original and geocaching.along with them all calculated to feet,angles and bearings of all the marks mentioned.

4.Carpenter Pencil,to etch the mark to the data sheet,done on all recovered marks.

5.Henchmark,My Buddy.

6.100' tape

7.50' tape

8.metal detector

9.trowel,brush

10.x-tra batteries

11.field note book,for detail

12.compass,back up compass

13. small laser level,w/tripod

14.digital camera

15.sometimes the wife

16.sometimes the dogs

17.sometimes my mind

18.pocket knife "oops utility tool"

19.lighter and matches

20.flashlights

21. brush clearing eqipt.

 

And a BIG OAK STICK

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS*GEOTRYAGAIN **1803-2003 "LOUSIANA PURCHASE" "LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION" http://www.lapurchase.org http://arkansasstateparks.com/lapurchase/ http://www.msnusers.com/MissouriTrails

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quote:
thinking about getting a used metal detector, but it would have to be under $100...

 


 

I thought I needed a metal detector for benchmark hunting so bought a Bounty Hunter Quick Draw II at a local pawn shop for less than what they sell for on Ebay.

 

Boy, am I disappointed. Am looking for old BMs along abandonded mining railroads. The railcars spilled too much ore so everything is mixed together. The detector has not done any good. Maybe I can get my money back on Ebay.

 

1950 Surveyor

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Hey GEO*Trailblazer 1, question about:

 

13. small laser level,w/tripod.

 

Is this for the "1 foot below level of track" type measurements?

 

Also I've been thinking about compiling a photo album (along with the datasheet) of my past finds to show the local sheriff that I may be odd, but I ain't making it up.

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I use it to project angles to reference points,And Azimuths sometimes,yes you could use it for that as well but have never encountered it here.

 

Most of the old tracks are gone now as well as some of their BM's but have found quite a # of them.

 

Our local Sheriff was so impressed he got 15 new Magellans for the Patrol Cars.

FEMA,SEMA are mapping here now for the new systems upgrade to the GPSr among other things,Fire Fighters,and Rescue Teams,after the Tornado that went through Pierce City Mo. 5-4-03 We are not as prepared as we think we are when it comes to these type matters.I have been in Search and Rescue all my life and was never so inundated, as when I went that night with the Old Flashlight and the Trusty GPSr,logging my moves as we went through the Town.

At the time Geocaching was my reaosoning behind the taking the GPSr everywhere I went.

It now has here become the thing to have and use.There for a long while it was new technology and not accepted but............

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS*GEOTRYAGAIN **1803-2003 "LOUSIANA PURCHASE" "LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION" http://www.lapurchase.org http://arkansasstateparks.com/lapurchase/ http://www.msnusers.com/MissouriTrails

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quote:
Originally posted by GEO*Trailblazer 1:

.... 13. small laser level,w/tripod.... I use it to project angles to reference points,And Azimuths sometimes,yes you could use it for that as well but have never encountered it here.


 

What make and model do you use?

 

Cheers, Kerry.

 

I never get lost icon_smile.gif everybody keeps telling me where to go icon_wink.gif

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? Just say's made in the U.S.A.,Meets all Goverment standards.No Brand Name.

630-670 nM

 

I wish that it was as accurate as this one though.

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/SIM/sim_metrology.html

Mainly just to experiment with.

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS *GEOTRYAGAIN*

 

**1803-2003** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE" http://www.lapurchase.org

 

"LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION" http://arkansasstateparks.com/lapurchase/

http://www.True-Meridiansubscribe@yahoogroups.com

 

[This message was edited by GEO*Trailblazer 1 on July 25, 2003 at 05:07 PM.]

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All I carry in my 4x4 truck are a shovel, hammer, vise grips, screwdriver, machete, Kenson 165cft survey tape, K&E re-con compass, couple GPS units, chaining pins for a 'dead-man' in measuring distances, copy of description, pink flagging, old metal fences posts I scrounge up for setting a witness post if it needs one, some metal NGS signs.

 

I carry these things all the time, I moonlight (I am retired) for a Surveyor (use to be my boss). I search out section corners, plat and property corners, NGS, USGS control etc for his estimating jobs and weather he will take them on. Looking for GPS suitable sites etc.

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quote:
Originally posted by GEO*Trailblazer 1:

? Just say's made in the U.S.A.,Meets all Goverment standards.No Brand Name.

630-670 nM


 

NO make and model makes it difficult to understand how you "project angles to reference points,And Azimuths" especially being a "laser level" and all. So how do you do this?

 

Cheers, Kerry.

 

I never get lost icon_smile.gif everybody keeps telling me where to go icon_wink.gif

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From the Point,

I assume a Direction Based on True North,Observation of the North Star Polaris at Culmination,as nearly as I can determine.

I am not a rocket scientist yet.

This point is in a plumb line of the point and the Star.

Using the laser like a sight on a weapon,to align these points.A stake is marked at a forward point 30-100'away.

I assume this point as zero,and numbered in right ascention to 360 degrees.

I then roughly calculate using protractor,or compass.

You can also use the prism to project from a point to a point at angles.

Something I saw on NASA TV working with prisms and mirrors.

I can usually asuume the angles very easily.

 

N = 0 or 360

E = 90

S = 180

W = 270

Like I said I only play around with it.

If I could afford a Transit or a total station I could really be accurate.....ehhhh

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS *GEOTRYAGAIN*

 

**1803-2003** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE"

http://www.lapurchase.org

 

"LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION"

http://lewisclark.geog.missouri.edu/

Initial Points Page

http://www.True-Meridiansubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Re: metal detector. Radio Shack seems to have one at the same price. (Cat # 63-3005 $39.99) The nice thing about RS is if you don't like it you have 30 days to return it. And no S/H price.

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quote:
some metal NGS signs.

Elcomino,

How and where do you acquire NGS signs? I would like to reset a couple posts and replace a couple metal signs in our area.

 

EMike

 

EMike

"It's what you learn after you know it all, that counts."

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Re: metal detector. Radio Shack seems to have one at the same price. (Cat # 63-3005 $39.99)

The nice thing about RS is if you don't like it you have 30 days to return it. And no S/H price.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Don't Waste your money, It is a childs detecor and has NO depth or discrimunation.

 

geocan.jpg

 

Trash-out, EVERYtime

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I think a 'childs detector' is about what one needs for benchmark hunting.

 

I'm no expert on discriminator features, but is there a discriminator setting for brass/bronze that would reject a lot of other metals?

 

Some disks aren't brass or bronze - there's aluminum ones and some other types too. Sometimes the description says which type of metal, and sometimes it doesn't.

 

As far as the depth feature is concerned, we're not going to want to look for anything below 2 or 3 inches for benchmark hunting. An inexpensive metal detector won't reach farther than that anyway, so it's by default a depth discriminator.

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Yes there is a discriminator on mine at least. Part of learnig how to..is the Noise that each type of metal emitt,you start by placing a Nickel,pop top,gold coin(if you have it) and several other items of metal in diffrent forms.

You then learn the sound of each one.As well as entensity,that gives you the approx. size,Analog meter.

But....................in the setting for the Caps, brass,Alum ect, it is one setting,and I really now HATE aluminum cans,they are the same setting as brass disc.And I find alot of them around benchmarks,especially the ones near roads.

So if you think it will help you find them faster it wont,you spend alot of time on cans........................But its still fun,I enjoy it who knows where that next Gold Coin or Diamond ring got lost.I have found alot of interesting things around the older BM too.

 

Always gain LANDOWNER Permission when detecting on private property,alot of these marks are now that way.

I have had land owners go with me to find the points too..makes a good way to meet your neighbors.

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS *GEOTRYAGAIN*

 

**1803-2003** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE"

http://www.lapurchase.org

 

"LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION"

http://lewisclark.geog.missouri.edu/

Initial Points Page

http://www.True-Meridiansubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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quote:
Originally posted by GEO*Trailblazer 1:

From the Point,

I assume a Direction Based on True North,Observation of the North Star Polaris at Culmination,as nearly as I can determine.

I am not a rocket scientist yet.

This point is in a plumb line of the point and the Star.

Using the laser like a sight on a weapon,to align these points.A stake is marked at a forward point 30-100'away.

I assume this point as zero,and numbered in right ascention to 360 degrees.

I then roughly calculate using protractor,or compass.

You can also use the prism to project from a point to a point at angles.

Something I saw on NASA TV working with prisms and mirrors.

I can usually asuume the angles very easily.

 

N = 0 or 360

E = 90

S = 180

W = 270

Like I said I only play around with it.

If I could afford a Transit or a total station I could really be accurate.....ehhhh


 

Sounds like a lot of extra work, especially if you don't want to get out and look for Polaris, or if it's cloudy. You can use your GPSr for an accurate location of true north from any point. Just take an east-west reading of the GPSr at your point, then move as many feet away as you want and establish the same east-west coordinate.

 

Now my Garmin III+ does all that work for me, gives a true bearing to the point so I can be accurate to one degree for all 360 degrees. In fact used the process to hide a cache and those who have found the cache have been surprised by another use of a GPSr.

 

Check out GCG6QP Clear Creek Reservoir at

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=72037

 

1950 Surveyor

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Neat,I will have to try it out when I am in Colorado.

I am just playing with these ideas that I have I really don't locate them that way just a check on a few...

I really don't even need the GPSr,but like you say it makes things so much easier.

As a part of a upcoming class I wanted to show several different methods of determining angles.

I have a friend who has a Transit.

I only want to show that you can get fairly easy angles with little work.

I guess my talent ,this comes from a good Dad,who taught me from youth how to keep your bearings in all matters,and your mind clear.And try to be aware of all of your surroundings.

Make reference marks to local objects,carry waterproof matches,water,a pocket knife..and a small first aide kit.Which then became 'ALWAYS BE PREPARED" years to "FOLLOW ME" years to the present GEORIENTEER "LETS ROLL" years..

It still amazes me that.................

when you think you know it allllllllll.........

you learn something new...Happy Geotrails

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS *GEOTRYAGAIN*

 

**1803-2003** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE"

http://www.lapurchase.org

 

"LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION"

http://lewisclark.geog.missouri.edu/

Initial Points Page

http://www.True-Meridiansubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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quote:
Originally posted by Black Dog Trackers:

I think a 'childs detector' is about what one needs for benchmark hunting.


 

For the most part, I agree with this statement; but there are occasions when a 'real' detector can come in handy (I use a White Classic II). My friend has a VERY old one with no auto tuning and a broken discrimination. I often can find targets that his detector will not.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Black Dog Trackers:

I'm no expert on discriminator features, but is there a discriminator setting for brass/bronze that would reject a lot of other metals?


 

Yes. Brass is on the high end, and VERY difficult to tune out. Also, a brass benchmark is a HUGE target, relatively speaking, when compared to coins, rings, etc. I can turn my discrimination all the way up, and my sensitivity all the way down and still get a 'hit' on a brass disk. Doing this eliminates finding things I'm not really looking for.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Black Dog Trackers:

As far as the depth feature is concerned, we're not going to want to look for anything below 2 or 3 inches for benchmark hunting. An inexpensive metal detector won't reach farther than that anyway, so it's by default a depth discriminator.


 

Once again, for the most part I agree, but I have a mark I'm planning for that is supposed to be 18" underground. My maximum depth to date is 14" (not a benchmark), so I'm curious to see what happens when I try it. It's a tri-station in private woods, so I'm working on securing permission, and then finding the RMs so I should know right where I want to dig. Hopefully I can get a hit with me detector before I turn the first shovel of dirt. Of course, to achieve this kind of depth, I won't be able to severely limit the sensitivity as mentioned above.

 

Greg

N 39 54.705'

W 77 33.137'

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I just received my Metered Detector (Metal Detector) from American Science & Surplus < WWW.SCIPLUS.COM >

I took it out into the yard and soon found a 4 X 3/8 inch bolt (about 2 inches down in dirt), 2 small nails, a cultivator tine (1.5 inch down), a twisted wire splice, ear-ring parts and even a tiny piece of tinfoil (which was near surface). The sensitivity seems fine for a cheap device. I have not looked for any buried benchmarks yet but am satisfied with the detector which cost $47.90 with shipping. Now I need to try to remember which NOT FOUND benchmarks in my list might be worth another visit. icon_wink.gif My treasures thus far:

 

Metals_detected.jpg

 

Thanks Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy for the lead on this.

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Happycycler, do you think you can test its limits for us? Maybe take something like a metal lid from a pickle jar and bury it, oh say, 6 inches deep?

 

I think what you have there would be great for some of those bridge backwalls that get covered with a couple inches of sand, gravel and grass.

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No matter the test you are gonna find alot of things you do not want to.I have recovered over 40 BM's with the detector.

In all conditions.

Metal detectors are about like GPSr's or Radio's or car's.There is a model for you.

I have also found things that have made it worth all the trips out??????

In the best conditions, the general Head for a detector goes 6"-10",if you buy a bigger diameter one you can get to about 12"-14",I have not ever found those that say 12"-14" with detector,They are now about 40 + years with the topsoil covering,It makes them 4"to 6" deeper,you have to still find where and dig down a ways to get it to go off.So...........but generally if I would not have had a detector I would not have found the several that were 4"-10" deep.

 

Headphones are a must around traffic areas,the trucks and cars drown out the signal.

 

Alum. and Brass are the same category but put off a slightly diffrent tone,all metals have their own signature(Sound)or tone,this is something that you just have to learn ...It's called FIELD EXPERIENCE.

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS *GEOTRYAGAIN*

 

**1803-2003** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE"

http://www.lapurchase.org

 

"LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION"

http://lewisclark.geog.missouri.edu/

Initial Points Page

http://www.True-Meridiansubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Just wanted to thank everyone who responded to this thread for all the ideas. Some of these I can actually carry around with me icon_smile.gif

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Your welcome

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS *GEOTRYAGAIN*

 

TAKE PRIDE IN AMERICA

 

http://www.doi.gov/news/front_current.html

 

**1803-2003** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE"

http://www.lapurchase.org

 

"LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION"

http://lewisclark.geog.missouri.edu/

Arkansas Missouri Geocachrs Association

http://www.ARK-MOGeocachersAssociatoin@msnusers.com

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ark-Mo-Geocachers

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I just added a can of wasp and hornet killer to my kit. This followed several stings yesterday while bagging SA1925. Real problem was not so much the stings but the problem created trying to photograph the benchmark without getting stung again. Large underground nest right next to the BM and they weren't happy about me or my camera.

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  • GPS

  • PDA (Palm)

  • digital camera

 

Since the descriptions for benchmarks include descriptions (directions), I often end up using the PDA more than the GPS.

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I use a large fannypack to carry the tools that I have found useful. They consist of a 100 ft tape, pin to secure tape to ground, bungee cord to secure tape to trees or poles, clippers to cut roots, folding shovel, scuff pads, brushes, rags, water, compass, gps, white metal detector, and flaggin tape to mark distances and points. A lot of the marks found take quite a bit of time to find. I've found a few that have been 12 to 18 inches below surface. Also if the discrimination is set on high with detector you don't pick up as much trash.

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I know we are not susposed to carry firearms but I was met in Arkansas By a farmer with a shotgun. I was looking for Myrtle . (do not remember the PID)Was on the highway right of way. But he thought he owned to the blacktop. I did not argue with him. actually had a good conversation after I explained what I was doing. But I was rather nervis the hole time.

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I know we are not susposed to carry firearms

 

Why are you not supposed to carry a firearm? Are you a felon or otherwise prohibited from carrying a weapon?

 

It goes without saying that I carry a firearm while 'on duty' but while 'off duty' I am also armed. Of course I am legally armed.

 

As long as you are legally armed, there's no one here saying that you don't have the right to observe your Second Admendment rights.

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