Using and interpreting Google Earth

Metal Detecting FindLike many metal detectorists I use Google Earth to have a look at the land that I search and to scope out potential new sites. The Time Shift icon on Google Earth allows you to essentially go back in time, sometimes as far as 1945, which is fascinating research. This icon is particularly useful with crop marks, as some show up better under certain light conditions, with specific crops and when there are certain moisture levels in the soil. On one of the estates I searched, for example, I noticed a field that clearly had strip lynchets on it. These medieval plough lines normally show up as lighter and darker soil stripes across an arable field – on pasture they are best observed as the sun sets and shadow falls across the lines. Read more of this post

“Very Special Indeed” – Minelab And Their CTX3030

Something I guess that we are all used to these days is the hype and marketing thrown at us by companies trying to sell various products. In these modern times this has become completely normal for just about every new or re-vamped item that comes on to the market. Manufacturers are keen to use innovative advertising to attract our attention and focus it onto every new product that is launched. Just like a famous lager, many metal detectors are marketed as ‘probably’ the best at this and for doing that. However, what cannot be sold alongside the product are the persistent and always present variables involved in the ownership and usage of a metal detector.  Read more of this post

John Parker – Minelab CTX 3030 Winner

Minelab CTX 3030 WinnerI could not believe my luck when I received the phone call announcing that I was the winner of the CTX 3030! It was like a dream come true. I’ve always fancied having one and having read several reviews about it, I never imagined for one moment that I would own one, one day. I am still buzzing with joy. Read more of this post

My Favourite Metal Detecting Accessory…

Earlier this month we asked our Facebook community what was their favourite metal detecting accessory. Some of the answers we so good – we thought we’d blog about it. So here are our favourites… Read more of this post

February’s Best Finds…

February 2013 has drawn to a close, and as such we’re looking back on the best metal detecting finds from the Joan Allen community. Our followers and fans keep sharing their finds on Facebook and on Twitter – and we keep sharing them on our blog! Make sure your sharing yours too and you could feature in March’s review!

Charles I Penny Read more of this post

Neil Jones – In Search of Stycas

The field before detecting begunI heard from a friend that our Styca field was available to detect – this field is the hardest field we have in terms of searching, I’m not exaggerating when I say we swing the coil at 6-8 seconds a sweep with the sensitivity and gain up full plus all metal. The field is very highly mineralised and full of iron and it really is the only way to winkle these tiny Saxon coins out.

Read more of this post

Neil’s latest finds with the Minelab CTX3030

A regular on the Joan Allen blog, Neil Jones has been writing about his latest finds that he’s found with the Minelab CTX3030.

In his last blog – Detecting made Simple – Neil gave the CTX3030 a full review and showcased some of his top finds with Minelab’s premium detector. Here’s Neil’s latest blog:

With the growing season in full swing and no fields to search, I was desperate to go searching.

While out driving I noticed the car boot field and thought that I’ve not done that for a while so decided to have a couple of hours on there.

This field gets searched quite regular by other detectorists so I wasn’t expecting too much. I pulled up and got my gear out of the car.

When I do this type of searching I only listen for and dig the higher signals and in this case numbers for pound and two pound coins, plus any thicker or bigger jewellery that might of been dropped. The coins come through at around 29-39.

When I search this type of site I have the sensitivity lower down at 18 and gain at 22, as i am just going for the loud and proud surface and near surface signals. I also swing quite fast which makes a change from being slow and low. The program I used was conduct 50 tones with Gordon`s (“Iron hearted Gog”) tadpole in the lower right corner.

I climbed over the gate and did the short walk to the field and started to search. It was about eight minutes before I got my first high signal which was a one pound coin, I had ignored five or six medium and low signals which takes some doing as you have to be strict with yourself.

The next signal was a two pound coin. It’s a good buzz seeing the larger thick round shape in the soil, another high signal saw me retrieve a small but thick silver ring with a rectangular red stone set within it. I love the thrill of jewellery, be it silver or gold or even costume jewellery.

After several more laying on the surface pound coins which were fresh drops I dug a lovely solid silver brooch in the form of two leaves together, this find I really liked and was my favourite from the field.

Two cheap metal rings followed in succession and then more pound coins. All in all in two hours I had 18 coins, three rings and the brooch, seven of the coins were on the surface.

I found the CTX to be precise and spot on at identifying through tone and numbers, none of the targets were deeper than three inches and as usual the machine was a joy to swing.

The CTX is a great coin shooter and I can’t wait to try the field in a month or so hoping for some fresh drops.

To read all of Neil’s stories, visit the Joan Allen blog and see his finds on the Joan Allen Facebook page.

Detecting made simple: Neil Jones gives the CTX3030 a full review

On his last blog, Neil Jones talked about taking the Minelab CTX3030 out for the first time, and his finds on a building site in Buckinghamshire. Now Neil takes the CTX out for a full review, giving you the full lowdown on Minelab’s new metal detector…

It was Monday night and I couldn’t sleep, the anticipation was getting to me.

I had ordered the CTX3030 from Joan Allen that morning for next day delivery, so my imagination was in overdrive. I couldn’t not have one after having a go with Gordon’s prototype machine on the building site a few months previously.

I finally nodded off into detector dreamland. At around 11pm I got a call from my mum that a parcel had arrived, I always use my mum and dad`s address for parcels as one of them is always likely to be in.

I couldn’t get there till late afternoon but when I did I started the unwrapping routine to eventually expose all the parts of the new machine. I laid the instructions on the floor at the side of my kneeling down position and followed them to the word.

To my surprise and for a change I sailed through the assembly without a fault so well done Minelab on that one.

As usual at this time of year there was nowhere that wasn’t in crop to test it so I got in the car and headed for the woods in my local area.

I decided to start on a footpath I had done lots of times in the past that leads to some moorland that has flat mossy grass patches in between the heather where lots of people in the Victorian and Edwardian times used to picnic and walk on there weekends off from work, as there were also stone-built tearooms nearby.

I switched on the machine and heard the Minelab jingle, I purposely left the machine in factory settings to get the general gist of it straight from the box.

I began to swing steadily at the beginning of the path, straight away noticed the low tone of the iron which was immediately interrupted with a high pitch feep feep signal and at 8” there was a well rotted pre-decimal penny. The signal was strong and not the least bit faded as it would have been with the Etrac, and the pinpointing was precise, I didn’t need to use the pinpoint button, I moved on and got several more signals that were all over the 8” mark but no keepers.

The path goes past a small area of moorland I described at the beginning and where my next search began.

I started on the first heather bare patch I came to, after a few minutes I got a strong signal and dug up the top of the handle of a pewter spoon or fork, then another signal got me a small butterfly charm and again the signal was strong and loud.

This is too easy I thought. Most of the signals I get here should be faint but this was not the case with the CTX3030. I carried on for a while and found more coins etc. one hole gave me £4.20 so that gave me a good buzz.

The target trace was precise on all but the deepest coins although even at depth you could make out a faint red smudge.

I decided to finish and go on the laptop to fine tune things and put my own program in. I downloaded Exchange 2 and started tweaking, which is straightforward to do for a change. I used combined and put conduct 708, 614, 511, 288, and ferrous 1191, this made the signals all low to medium tones which would be pleasant and iron was a high tone, response-smooth, recovery-deep, target separation – high trash,sensitivity manual, gain 24, volume limit 30, threshold pitch 1.

I took the machine to a local park and onto a patch of grass I had been scanning for a couple of decades every now and then. I decided to systematically search up and down an area half the size of a tennis court.

The high sound of iron was obvious from the off and an instant loud medium tone, as was beginning to be usual it sounded near surface but wasn’t and was a Edwardian half penny at around 7”. I carried on and at near the edge of the grass border I got a crisp signal with a lovely red splodge on the screen, I dug the turf and flipped it back on the hinge and saw a thick root from the tree in the border.

I started to angle the spade under the root scraping the soil left to right and emptying the hole till I got a signal from the spoil on top revealing a nice 1916 sixpence, I carried on and the machine kept pulling out coins and artefacts including a solid silver 1920’s watch face with enamel dial and gold numbers, when I got back home I looked up my search pattern on geo hunt to see how thorough I had covered the area.

I was really surprised to see how often I had veered from the left or right! What did I miss? This feature is fantastic for those of us who are devout winklers on good Roman, Medieval etc hotspots, this to me is a great tool. Managing all this on the computer is even easy for a computer muppet like me.

I decided to put 50 conductive tones all metal, sensitivity manual, gain 30, volume limit 30, threshold pitch 1, response-smooth, recovery-deep, target separation – high trash which is really the same set up as I had on the E Trac.

Now I was right at home and ready to push the machine to its limits, I went back to the first footpath mention and slowly searched the same length.

The first signal I got was a slight low tone, after taking a little soil out I noticed a tiny turquoise stone set in a tiny silver mount, I was chuffed with this find as it shows how sensitive the machine is.

My next signal was a small medium tone just showing through in-between the high iron signals, at around 6” I could see silver, it was the corner chape of a wallet or something similar with a nice hallmark and a most welcome find indeed.

After a few small shapeless bits of metal and a penknife I got a dodgy iron surrounded low signal and retrieved half of a silver earring and this is certainly a find that does show the prowess of the CTX, a few signals later I got a tiny round silver loop that that wasn’t joined together, now my trust in the CTX was complete!

I cannot wait till the crops come off the fields to try for the older stuff, my next search is going to be 3 days on Blackpool beach which should be interesting.

This detector is so so easy to use, right from beginner to pro it covers all needs from the off, it really is detecting made simple.

Have you used the CTX3030 – what are your thoughts? If you’ve been out detecting recently, let us know and share your finds on the Joan Allen Facebook page.


Neil reviews the Minelab CTX3030 and shares his top detecting finds

The Joan Allen blog would like to introduce Neil Jones, who will be talking about his latest finds and exploits from the world of metal detecting.

In his first post, Neil talks about using the Minelab CTX3030 detector and seeing if it lives up to its hype.

CTX 3030 – First trial

Two months before the release of the new Minelab CTX3030 I was asked by Gordon Heritage (“Iron Hearted Gog” on the forums) if I would like to have a go with it.

It didn’t take much persuading even though I had to travel down to Buckinghamshire for around four hours detecting time due to Gordon’s work schedule.

I arrived at Gordon’s and had one of his famous filtered coffees which livened me up a little too much, as I’m hyper anyway and that isn’t good for Gordon as he’s sort of laid back.

We set off for the site which was only fifteen minutes of Gogg time away (35 mins). The site was a muddy building site which had been heavily detected for around a month so this would be a good test for the machine.

Building site:

As soon as we got out of our cars to get set up it started spitting which made Gordon speak a colourful language as we walked to the site.

I was to use the CTX 3030 and Gordon was to use my E Trac. He started me off on a basic setting which he soon changed for me to his tadpole program as that was more to my style of searching.

I set off swinging steady and carefully, I could hear the iron as the site is very mineralised and straight away a low tone which sounded like it was a surface signal ended up being a piece of lead at around 6”, which surprised me somewhat.

The next signal was a similar tone but this time was a hammered half penny at approx 5” and again sounded like a near surface signal. It was lovely seeing the the thin edge of the small grey disc just peeping out of the small clay clod – that’s one of my fave parts of detecting, the slow opening of the parcel while taking clodcam pics I just love it.


I gave Gordon the hammered sign and got the thumbs up then carried on. After a few bits of lead I got a medium tone signal, it was surrounded by iron but was surprisingly clear. I dug out a roman coin of Constantine in quite good condition.

The CTX was so easy to use and understand, searching for finds seemed like taking candy from a baby it was that easy.

The coins just gave themselves up willy nilly, lots sounded like the were just under the surface but were 6 and more inches down.

I got twelve Roman bronzes from that tight area then moved down to a water flooded part of the sight and got a smooth medium tone. I dug a large lump of shiny wet sticky yellow clay from about 2ft in to the puddle and started trimming the lump carefully with my spade till I revealed a tell tale round disc which was a Henry VII sovereign penny. Wow I thought two hammered from the site and its been visited loads by other detectorists.

 Sovereign penny:

Another Hammy sign to the Gogmeister and I carried on, I decided to detect a big area behind a long mount of soil. There was more trash here than the other part but I carried on, a smooth high pitch signal stopped me in my tracks.

Gordon had the CTX set so the highest signals were larger finds and the iron was a few octaves lower. At around a foot I could see a green round disc, the coin was Roman and cruddy but a welcome find at depth and it wasn’t even faint!

Green disc:

I found a few medieval buckles and mounts but the heavens opened and it poured it down making the site too sticky to work.

I saw Gordon stood under a tree so went to join him, on the way I heard another high pitched signal and retrieved a worn Lizzy sixpence. “That will do me”, I thought to myself, me and Gordon then stood under the tree for twenty minutes discussing the machine and our thoughts on it.

We drove back to Gordon’s house and he showed me all the set up on the computer, real hi-tec, I devised my own program and think its the mutts nutts.

My opinion on the CTX 3030 is that it’s the most versatile general purpose detector on the market, very easy to use even on switch on and very very well balanced so easy to swing for long periods. I have now purchased one as the urge was killing me.

I will give more in depth info in the very near future using the CTX on different sites including the beach. Happy Hunting folks!

Neil’s next post will be available on the Joan Allen blog next week. Let us know if you have been out detecting recently and share your finds on the Joan Allen Facebook page.


Part-exchange your old metal detector with Joan Allen


Want to upgrade your metal detector for a better model? Joan Allen are offering some great deals when trading in your old detector.

If you want to sample the delights of the Minelab E-Trac or covet the ability to detect underwater with the CTX3030, then we are giving you the chance to trade in your old detector and upgrade. Joan Allen are offering a minimum part exchange value of £200 on all proper working detectors.

Released at the end of May, the CTX3030 is a real game changer in the world of metal detecting. Using groundbreaking technology and possessing features such as waterproof, wireless audio and GPS locating, the CTX3030 is the ultimate high-performance treasure detector.

Now you can get your hands on one, courtesy of Joan Allen’s part-exchange programme.

For full information about prices and our part-exchange scheme, visit our Finance page on the Joan Allen website.

To apply for credit with Joan Allen, click here.