Need more advice from the TreasureNet think tank. Disappearing signal?

Jamie Rullestad

Jr. Member
Dec 3, 2020
Detector(s) used
Minelab Vanquish 540
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I hope this isn’t just me. My detector is a Minelab 540 Vanquish

As I move about the farm, I’ll pickup various signals, because, as I’ve learned, farm acreages can be a little trashy. I’ve learned to discriminate nails and aluminum cans, usually opting to dig the latter, just in case.

But sometimes, I’ll pick up what seems to be a solid signal, and I dig, finding nothing. I know it’s not unusual for the target to be very, very small, but when I can’t locate with my pin pointer, I’ll swing the 540 over the top to double check, and the signal is gone.

This doesn’t happen very often, but it is a little confounding. What am I doing wrong?
Upvote 1


Silver Member
Aug 24, 2016
Detector(s) used
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
In the top, right hand corner of the T-Net web page, type "Disappearing Signals" into the "Search" box. Then check-out the thread titled, "False Signals" from March 19, 2019. Lots of great responses there to what you are running into.
When I dig a "U" shaped plug and tilt the plug out of the hole, any dirt removed from the hole is put onto a cloth. When I have a disappearing signal, I can spread the dirt out on the cloth and use the pin pointer on the thin layer of dirt. The disappearing signal is usually a small piece of scrap metal and the pin pointer usually finds it.


Gold Member
Mar 16, 2011
San Diego
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
Detector(s) used
Equinox 800, Fisher Impulse AQ, E-Trac, 3 Excal 1000's, White's GM3 V-sat. White's TM808, VibraProbe, 15" NEL Attack, 5X10 Joey, Steath 920ix and 720i, TRX, etc....
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
It may be that the target is deeper. Sometimes taking the soil off the top of the target will take the "halo effect" also. The halo is just some corrosion of the metal dissolved into the soil causing a bigger target response than what a freshly buried target would generate. Try digging another 6 inches or so and checking again with a pin pointer. Another reason might be a mineral deposit or piece of iron that got broken up when you removed the plug.


Bronze Member
Mar 2, 2015
Bodymore, Metalland
🥇 Banner finds
Detector(s) used
Minelab Excal, Safari, Garrett infinium, Whites prizm 4
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
These two answers above sum it up perfectly.
1) Tiny piece of scrap metal close to the surface and easily overlooked.
2) Air gap from removing dirt(+removed halo) puts the target out of range of the detector. Many of my favorite oldest coins disappeared after cutting the plug and were out of range of the detector and pointer for a few inches. They were over a foot down. I only continued digging the holes because the site is so rich in history. Sadly I stabbed 2 disappearing 2 reales in a row with the digger but at least I got them.


Bronze Member
Apr 15, 2004
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
Detector(s) used
Minelab Explorer II
Compass X100
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
what you'll find is that iron has totally deteriorated and becomes rust flakes. If you look carefully while digging sometimes you can see the different coloration from regular soil but as you disturb the ground - it gets mixed with soil to the point that your 'great' target just ghosted you leaving you scratching your head. Minelab loves iron but then it goes very deep and that's why many people use them. It can also find a good target right next to a iron target. That has been my experience.

Richard Guy

Dec 19, 2019
Detector(s) used
Whites Coinmaster
Bounty Hunter 202
Makro Simplex
Makro Legend
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
sometimes wearing a shoe with metal will target/hit and fool me, that's when I wrap it up:)


Hero Member
Jan 18, 2017
East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
Detector(s) used
Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils
Mine Lab GM 1000 (gold Monster)
Whites TDI SL Special Edition
Simplex Plus 11 inch coil and 9.5 x 5 inch coil
Nokta/Macro Legend Pro Pack

Garrett AT pro
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
those dreaded ghost signals will get you every time


Gold Member
Feb 3, 2009
Detector(s) used
Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
Primary Interest:
Relic Hunting
Minelabs don't like air it seems. Many times over the years it has happened and the target just up and disappears.
Like cudamark suggested just dig a little bit further-and it will be there.
Sometimes the pinpointer will detect it in the loose soils of the hole.
I even have found it happen with the Deus as well-not as often but still happens on the occasional hunt.


Jr. Member
Apr 8, 2021
East Texas
Detector(s) used
Tesoro Cibola, Tesoro Compadre
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I had this happen this past week with my Cibola, and would have dug further had it not been under tree roots. Whatever it was, it will remain there. I'm not going to uproot an entire one foot diameter tree. I had iron crossed out, so I'm not sure rust was an issue for the ghost signal. It was not hitting on a large object though, so I'm just going to let the tree keep what is his.

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