question on signals


Full Member
Mar 4, 2019
New Jersey
Detector(s) used
Tesoro tejon/Garret AT pro
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
i hunt with a garret AT pro. ill sometimes get a great signal and once i start digging. the signal is either gone or not as strong.
what causes this?

also ill get a good 80 signal and go back over it and nothing

i am ground balancing and hunting in standard mode. should i switch to pro mode?

thanks for your responses.


Oct 26, 2021
i hunt with a garret AT pro. ill sometimes get a great signal and once i start digging. the signal is either gone or not as strong.
what causes this?

also ill get a good 80 signal and go back over it and nothing

i am ground balancing and hunting in standard mode. should i switch to pro mode?

thanks for your responses.
Dumb question but are you wearing steel toe shoes or boots. I have hit my boots before not thinking about the metal on them.


Gold Member
Sep 27, 2020
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Welcome kype,from S.E. Arkansas. Watch some of Metal Detecting East Texas with Kevin. He uses mostly the AT Pro and gives some good advice on his modes and settings.


Gold Member
Mar 23, 2007
Salinas, CA
🥇 Banner finds
Detector(s) used
Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
"disappearing signals" is a common lament from beginners. And there's simply no way for anyone to diagnose it from printed text. It would be like asking someone to "please describe the sound of C-major in printed text". It can't be done. It has to be heard. So too is it with md'ing related sound-issues.

Every time I've corresponded with persons who have this issue, and ended up meeting them in person to help out, it always boils down to silly simple explanations (like creature 850's example, BUT DON'T GET LOST IN THE EXAMPLE ! ) .

Another example is the fellow was using a fast motion machine (XLT or whatever), and attempted to slow down and stop over the target each time he'd hear a beep. And since it was a motion machine, and he was slowing his motion (in an attempt to "hear it better"), the target would disappear. Doh ! And when I asked him : "Didn't you read the instruction where it said 'motion required' ?" He said : Yes, but I thought that simply meant moving the coil side-to-side as you walk. And I thought : ''That's a silly instruction. How ELSE do they expect anyone to walk around md'ing, if they're not moving the coil side to side. I mean, duh, do they expect someone to stand there with the coil motionless ? You'd never cover any ground". So he just dismissed that as a silly non-sensical instruction. Without realizing what it meant.

Do you see how no amount of printed instruction can convey that ? You have to see it, hear it, etc....

Another time a buddy was getting a "disappearing signal" at the corner of an old army barracks building. But no matter how big and deep he dug his hole, the signal was deeper and deeper and kept beeping ! After 10 aggravating minutes of enlarging and deepening his hole, he finally called me over to scan it. In 5 seconds I diagnosed it : It was a metal flashing/ribbing on the corner of the building. And he wasn't aware that the edge of the coil was also sensitive. So he was getting a signal from the leading edge of his coil, that he mistakenly thought must be deeper.

So my advice is: Hook up with a proficient hunter, and trade off flagged signals. Watch the signals he'd chase, verses flutters he would ignore. Watch the way he isolated the signal. Watch the way he digs, etc.....


Silver Member
Sep 24, 2013
Scituate, RI
🥇 Banner finds
Detector(s) used
Garrett AT Pro
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
My AT Pro will sometimes give a good high 70's signal on bottle caps, but it disappears when I run the coil over the spot slowly. The machine initially thought it was something good when I went over it quickly, but realized it was trash when I slowed down. That could be what's happening to you.


Bronze Member
Jul 1, 2012
In da bush
Detector(s) used
Fisher's 1266X, 1270X & 1280X
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Pay attention to how close your coil is to the ground as it sounds like a case of false signals from targets that are discriminated out. Often when there's uneven ground, tall grass or a lumpy cultivated field, you could get a decent signal but it will break up or get worse when you get the coil closer to the ground.
A good way to avoid this is to kick the soil or grass flat so you can get the coil right to the ground.
The rule of thumb is that a signal should always get louder or better the closer you get to the target. If it gets worse then you can save yourself the trouble and move on.
I know this specifically happens to an AT Pro as I've hunted with someone who gets fooled occasionally by nail signals.
It happens on my machine too but I've got enough experience to know when it's another false signal.
That's why I wear out my left shoe before the right from kicking the ground so many times!


Hero Member
Feb 18, 2013
Flagstaff, AZ
Detector(s) used
Tesoro Sidewinder Umax, Garrett ATPro, Minelab Equinox 800, Garrett Pro Pointer
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
It's probably just "iron halo". Sometimes rusty iron will ring up as a high tone when it's still in the ground. When you disturb the ground by digging you disrupt the halo, and it will either disappear or grunt like iron does on the ATP. That's my $.02, and you can keep the change!

Tony in SC

Gold Member
Jun 8, 2006
Upstate South Carolina
Detector(s) used
Whites, Minelab, Tesoro, and custom machines
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
Any machine that has auto ground balance or the balance is too high will cancel a target if the coil is moved too slow! That is what's happening when you can read the target fast but not slow. I learned this from Jeff Foster years ago when I bought my DFX. The term going slow can be misleading. Bury a small target and experiment with coil speed. I used a nickel and learned that some machines are actually deeper with a faster sweep!


Gold Member
Feb 3, 2009
Detector(s) used
Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
Primary Interest:
Relic Hunting
Lots of plausible answers to why it happens so far, and many make perfect sense.
Another one on the disappearing target once its dug, is air between the coil and the target.
Different machines can have this issue to varying degree.
Usually the target is detectable with the pinpointer in the fluff soil that is in the hole, or just in the next little bit of dirt yet to be dug.

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