My hypothesis at the end of the last blog post was: Would opening the FE all the way from top to bottom for 12-13-14 result in more nickels? Is the FE value of nickels the trick? That would explain my friend's result with using Relic mode. It would also tend to support my supposition that the nickel "halo" is causing the nickels to read lower than FE 12 and more like/closer to iron. This will be by next experiment... which will be covered in Part 2.
Did opening the FE all the way from top to bottom for 12-13-14 result in more nickels? No, not really. They all tended to stay right around the 12 line and in the accepted range for coins in
For 2010, I found that having learned the nickel tone, by doing these experiments and training my ears, I was digging a lot more nickels.
I learned that by pinpointing a signal and then sweeping the coil over the center of the target, a good nickel signal almost always showed a predominance of CO 13, even if it bounced around. Sure, the beavertails are foolers, and I dug more of those this year too. I also found that a repeating 11-14 is almost always a beavertail and not a nickel.
So, my advice for finding more old nickels is to try setting up your screen to be only open for nickel signals and go for a few hunts just for nickels. Set that tone in your head, so it pops out from the trash and noise at that end of the scale. Having learned the tone, you should be able to easily pick it out and will start digging more nickels. The more you dig them, the more you will hone the skill of finding nickels.
I had a question in my mind about depth and what it did to nickel signals, but a very deep shield nickel that came in at a good but weak 10-13 satisfied my curiosity on that point. The nickel signal is just as consistent as the other coin IDs on the E-Trac. CO 13 is a magic number for nickels, much as CO 44 is a magic number for memorial cents. Not infallible, but darn good and better than any other ID detector I've ever used.