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Why do we detect? Passion, Fun or Profit?

I haven’t posted a blog in almost a year, and I really haven’t had the urge to. I saw a post on Face book this morning that got me thinking. Is the problem we have with laws against detecting mostly our own fault? Have we become like pirates in the public’s eyes? If we were all in the hobby for passion, fun and sharing the love of this great hobby. Would we still be losing land to hunt on? Is what we get to make or keep so important that we loose sight of the big picture. Helping out someone in need just because they need?

The post went like this:

What would you do?

two years ago I asked a lady and her husband if I can metal detector there yard and they said why would we want you in our yard looking around and they told me no…… And now they just came to my house and asked me if I would be able to find his wife’s wedding band they were playing with the kids in the backyard and it came off her finger they know about where it is at they marked off the spot in the snow for me to look in they told me that is the only spot they want me looking in and I asked them when summer comes around would I be able to look in the yard and they said no we just want you to come up now and look for the ring we don’t know no one else with a metal detector.

What strikes me is the range of reply’s, from don’t do it, to charge the hell out of them! Are we really that hard up for cash or in need of property to hunt? Perhaps this guys has another reason he doesn’t want anyone digging in his yard. Maybe he is the head of a town council that will ban detecting in the area once you refuse to find the ring. Look at the bigger picture people. We need to put our hobby in the best possible light. So it takes you an hour to find the ring, first off you have made 2 more people see the incredible benefit of metal detecting. Wether you get to hunt there property or not they will tell there friends! We don’t know who these people are! Is one a writer who will then tell this story on a larger scale, or just 2 people that need your help?

What are your thoughts?

I am not judging here, everyone is entitled to do as they see fit. I for one would like to see more people see the bigger picture.

Happy hunting

Chicago Ron


Meeting with Cook County Forest Preserve to address ban on detecting.

Well it has been a work in progress for quite some time. Pat Anderson president of the Chicago club sent an email to the president of the Cook County forest preserve in Oct 2012 asking for a meeting to address the ban on detecting in Cook County preserves. He also included a plan for training and a permit system to regulate when and where hunting was allowed. No response was received until June 14th of 2013. That response from the district was merely a thank you for writing, these are the rules for detecting.

The Task Force has hired an attorney, Anne Shaw, to help with their situation, and a letter from the attorney went out the other day to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

This is the districts reply.

Hello Everyone:

This is to advise you that the General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County recently has received several requests to meet with various individuals for the purpose of discussing the Forest Preserve District’s current prohibition regarding metal detecting activities in the Forest Preserves. In response, he has scheduled a meeting, to which you are hereby invited to attend, for Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at 536 North Harlem Avenue in River Forest, Illinois to discuss this issue further.

At your earliest convenience, please contact me, Beverly Buckley, at  to confirm your attendance at this meeting.

Thank you for contacting the Forest Preserve District of Cook County regarding this matter.   We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.


We need attendance.

Any detectorist or supporter able to attend should send an email to Beverly Buckley reserving a spot. We need everyone attending to be respectful and show detecting in the best possible light. If anyone has letters from returned items please bring copy’s to present. Also some bags of dug items to show how much garbage we remove from the environment.

Any other Ideas please post here and I will share them.


Ron Guinazzo

Chicago Ron

The “Reality” of Metal detecting on TV.



The first 2 episodes of Dig Wars aired last Wednesday at 9pm CDT on the Travel Channel. Over 100 people were in attendance at the premier party, and the response was awesome! There has been a huge response to the show through email and social media, and the overwhelming majority so far has been very good. However, there will always be some who are not happy no matter what you do!

The cast of Dig Wars are all concerned with showing the real side of detecting. The truth is, we were not chosen to do a show on metal detecting instruction or ethics. We were chosen because we are each good at what we do, and we have personality. We also happen to abide by the rules that govern this hobby…which is good for the hobby.

Contained in the 100’s of hours of video shot for the first 6 episodes, we all talked about getting permission, covering holes, removing trash and all the other rules that apply. Once done with filming we had no input on editing or content. The editors, in their discretion, may have used a few too many over the top clips, but they did show us covering our holes, and land owners giving us special invitation to hunt their private property. Episodes are only 21 minutes long, they simply can’t cover all the rules, or even all the good finds we made, let alone all the garbage. Yes, there was garbage!

My hope is that people interested in detecting will look up Dig Wars and find my website where they will get useful and helpful information about detecting the proper way. If the show is picked up, the editors may include more of the helpful / informative stuff in each new episode.

We are very proud of the show, aside from some editing and sound mix ups which hopefully will be addressed. I think the first 2 episodes were fun, shared some history of the sites and relics, and showed our passion for the hobby.

Stay tuned, and keep swinging.

Is sharing information taboo? To share or not to share…

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How much secrecy is there really in this hobby?  Am I just too much of a sharer? Where’s the love?

I’ve swung a detector for more than 30 years. When asked, I find myself sharing information, via email, phone, FB, club demonstration, or any other way I can help. I love to share my passion for the hobby, especially with the new guys and gals! Over the years I’ve met a lot of hunters who feel the same way. Does sharing make us the odd ones?

In my last blog, “What detector should I buy?”  I researched prices for the latest detectors, from simple starter models, to top of the line Big Guns. I also asked for input from you experienced hunters. <chirping cricket sounds> A few hunters did share their experience with different detectors. I wish more would feel a need to help.

Granted, not all information should be shared, like my giving beach! LOL  I’ve been asked countless times to reveal its location. Of course that information will go to the grave with me. When you’ve researched a good spot and are finding good stuff, you’d like to keep it to yourself, especially when these good spots are becoming fewer and farther between. I get it. I’m just asking for your valuable opinions about machines, and maybe a brilliant tip or two to help out the beginners.

Believe it or not, I have received some complaints about my YouTube videos from club members and locals. They feared the videos were bringing too many new hunters to the beach. Are we really that bothered by someone else enjoying our hobby and finding what might have been our stuff? The competition may get a little more intense, but most of these new hunters are not diehard, long-hour hunters. Will they steal all my finds? Nope! They don’t have my 30 years of experience, and beginner’s luck is not that reliable!

This blog was started to share information, funny stories, and enjoyment of the hobby. Is it too much to ask that we offer a little help to the newbies in the process? We were all beginners at one time.


Chicago Ron

The nightmare of “What detector should I buy?”

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The Question

I’ve  been asked this question more times than I care to count! “I’m just getting into detecting, what detector should I buy?” As I said in my last post, it depends on where you live and what kind of detecting you plan to do. Today I will cover detectors for basic land hunting.

I knew I needed to do a little research because I have no idea what is on the market today! After spending some time trying to find all the models and prices of just the top 6 selling brands, (there are loads more!) I realized what a nightmare it must be for someone who has no idea what they’re looking at! I have 30 years in this hobby, and I was just getting models and prices, not actually looking at what each manufacturer says the machine can do. I almost quit! Of the 6 brands I checked there are over 30 different models ranging from $100 to $2500.

That is a wide range of detectors. Can there really be that much of a difference?

I have in my mind that the lower end machines don’t go as deep. Is it true? Do we really need all these whistles and bells? Dick stout has raised this question many times. I guess having the luxury of owning several of the high end machines, I didn’t think it mattered. Is it like driving a Ford versus a Mercedes? They will both get you there. One will just get there quicker and in style!

Audience participation time! I’d really like to know which detector(s) in each price range you would buy and why. You can post your reply here.

I will start at $300 and below. “All prices taken from Kellyco website!”

Basic detector: Price range up to $300

I have used 2 of these detectors, very limited use (my kids’ detectors) Ace 150 and 250. The 150 seemed very toyish but will detect targets down to 5 or 6 inches. The 250 got decent depth, but the pinpointing on both machines is not the best.

Brand Model

Retail Price

Actual Price

Minelab No Models
Teknetics Alpha 2000



Teknetics Delta 4000



Fisher F2



Garrett Ace 150



Garrett Ace 250



Garrett Ace 350



Whites No models
Bounty Hunter Pioneer 505



Bounty Hunter Quick draw II



Bounty Hunter Tracker IV



Midrange detectors $300 to &600

No experience with any of these machines

Brand Model

Retail Price

Actual Price

Minelab X-terra 305



Minelab X-terra 505



Teknetics Gamma 6000



Teknetics Omega 8000



Fisher F-4



Fisher F-5



Garrett AT-Pro



Whites M-6



Upper end detectors $600 to $1,000

X-terra 705: I love this machine. I used it in Alaska for nugget hunting (gold package model) as well as on a couple of the iron-infested beaches here in Chicago, and homesites in England. Good separation, decent depth, and in all-metal mode, it’s good for small targets.

T-2 Special Edition: Another great machine recently added to my arsenal. The boost processor mode adds some serious depth. See my T-2 field test video!

Whites MXT: I used Whites for my first 20 years of detecting, and had an MXT for 7 years. It is a great ID and pinpointing machine for targets up to 8 inches. When I was park hunting here in Chicago I switched to the Explorer SE to get the deeper coins.

Brand Model

Retail Price

Actual Price

Minelab X-terra 705



Teknetics T-2 Special edition



Whites MXT



Whites MXT Pro



Fisher F-70



Fisher F-75



Top of the line

E-trac: I used this for about a year and a half, great depth and separation.

CTX-3030: I just got this machine about 2 months ago and haven’t had a lot of time to use it. But again, great separation, I like the fact that it will show both an iron target and the good target at the same time.

Brand Model Retail Price Actual Price
Minelab E-Trac



Minelab CTX-3030



Blisstool LTC64X V3 Standard



XP Daus




I have always offered the advice that “you should buy the best detector that you can afford!” I think the truth of the matter is this; if it is close enough to the surface, and you walk over it, it will be yours! Take the example of Terry Herbert, who found the Staffordshire hoard. He had a used detector that he bought at a garage sale! His find is valued at over $5 million!

How about the guy who bought a basic metal detector, and on his first hunt found a hoard of Roman Gold coins!

Granted these were found in England in plowed fields, and NOT the norm. In the US there are no reporting standards. If someone finds a cache they can quietly tuck it away! I’m sure stuff is found way more often than we hear about.

Hopefully I will get some informed responses from you seasoned detectorists on machines! Let’s give beginners the benefit of our wisdom, experience, trial and error!

Please forward this to anyone you think would be willing to share their knowledge!



“So you want to be a Treasure Hunter!”

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This blog may not apply to long time hunters, but I believe it should be my first. It never hurts to review the basics either.

2 years ago I put out a YouTube video “1 Pound of Gold – 2010 Beach Detecting Total” which has roughly 1.2 million views. As a result of this video’s popularity I receive comments, emails and calls from people all over the world who want to buy a detector, thinking they are going to go out and make their fortune. As a responsible detectorist there is a disclaimer on my hunting blog page which states “for every gold ring I find, I dig hundreds of junk targets.” By knowing your machine, practicing recovery techniques, learning how to read a beach or property, and being in the right area at the right time, you can drastically increase your odds, but the reality remains the same. You’re going to dig lots of junk!

Not all hunters will find something good, but good hunters will always find something!

Is detecting for you?

If, like me,  you enjoy history, have fun finding old , cool and unusual things, meeting others who love history, like doing research, want to feel history in your hand  instead of see it behind glass in a museum, love displaying things and telling stories of your adventures,  give it a shot.

If you have visions of grandeur and are in it for the money… spend your money on lottery tickets!

I don’t know how many emails I have gotten saying ” I just spent 400 dollars on a detector and all I found is 12 cents, some bottle caps and some nails”.

Metal detecting is probably like basketball; you watch the NBA as a kid and want to be a star. Of the millions who start playing, only a select few get to the big leagues. Is that a reason not to try? No, but be realistic. If you like it (for all the right reasons) go for it!

You’ve decided to give it a go. Great!  Now it’s research time.

What is your budget? How much can you afford to spend? Keep in mind there are more detectors in closets than being used today! If you like detecting you can upgrade later with just the coins you dig if you spend the time hunting.

There are as many opinions about what machine to get as there are machines. Not every machine will do well in every situation. I use Minelab, but there is also Teknetics, Fisher, Whites, XP deus, Garrett, Tesoro and other less expensive brands which can be more like toys, but I have never tried most of them.

Things to consider when shopping for a detector…

Will you be hunting Land? You need to consider soil conditions.

Are you relic hunting,  hunting parks for recent drops (shallow targets), or looking for deep silver in older areas?

For water/beach hunting, will you be hunting freshwater or salt, wading or diving?

Any of the above mentioned brands sell a full line of detectors, from under $200 to over $5,000. If there is a walk-in detector shop near you, go there! Some will have rental units that you can try first. You can also hold and swing different machines, very important if enjoy the hobby and start hunting long days. Buy the best detector you can afford. Read the manual several times, practice in your yard with coins and other targets under a towel. If there is a beach or sandy area near you practice there with lots of different types of targets.  Learn what your machine is telling you. Learn to pinpoint the target (usually the center of the coil) so you can recover the target without damaging the grass.

To prepare for park hunting, practice digging real targets in your own yard first! If you can’t dig a target in your own yard without making it look like a war zone you don’t belong on anyone else’s property!

Join a detecting club! Meet people with the same interests. Find out what machines work well, and what is being found in your area. Ask questions. Find a hunting buddy. Most clubs have monthly meeting with programs or speakers that talk about different aspects of detecting. If you look, the possibilities are endless to learn and improve.

My YouTube video Target Recovery 101 will help beginners as well as seasoned detectorists. It covers some of the things needed for land hunting, and how to properly recover both shallow and deep targets. Practice makes perfect.

The important thing when detecting is follow Detectorists Code of Ethics

Link to Detecting in the USA website, code of ethics page,

Good Hunting!  The hobby we save may be our own!

Time to try out this Blog thing!

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Who’s He?

For those that haven’t heard of me, I’m Chicago Ron. I’ve been detecting for more than 30 years. I have found lots of great finds both mundane and rare, valueless and expensive. I got my start in this hobby in 1983 when I lost my High School ring. My first silver coin, on my first hunt was a walking liberty half dollar, and I haven’t looked back since. I have hunted mostly in the Chicago area. Parks, the woods and the beach. I run hunts in England twice a year since 2005. In the last 2 years i have started relic hunting for colonial, civil war and any era of American history. For me the joy is in the finding, not necessarily the keeping! Some may say I’m nuts to give things back to whomever lost it, but as I started this hobby by losing something, It made it crystal clear what it really means to get something returned.

I have returned over 100,000.00 in Jewelry items, I have donated items to Museums and I have offered landowners some of my finds in gratitude for sharing the history of their property. 

Why a Blog?

Since I started posting video’s on you tube of my beach and England hunt, I have received countless e-mails and calls asking for advice, what detector to get, where to search, how to get permission, how do I find people to return items, how can I find out the rules for detecting where I live, etc. etc. etc.

I have tried to respond to all sensible questions. I figure in this forum you can ask questions and I can blog about my thoughts and give advice for what it’s worth. I don’t consider myself an expert, I just have lot of experience and am always looking for new ways to improve myself and the hobby.

Where to start?

As all journeys should start I will begin at the beginning!

Next Blog: detecting 101, Basic tools and ideas of where to go.