Q and A with Dan Hughes
Q1: Why metal detecting?
A: Excitement, curiosity, history, and the very real possibility of getting rich quick.
Q2: How did you get into it?
A: When we were in high school, my cousin bought magazines about the old west, and they had detector ads which sparked my interest (this was about 1963). Those ads stayed in my subconscious until I got out of the Air Force and wanted a hobby that would get me outdoors. Bingo!
Q3: How long have you been metal detecting?
A: Bought my first detector in 1974.
Q4: What was your first detector?
A: A Jetco Mustang (a BFO detector), $29.95 at the Woolco store in Montgomery, Alabama. A cheap toy with a maximum depth of maybe an inch.
Q5: What has been your best find?
A: Most valuable – a Civil War belt buckle. Most interesting – a 1935 Radio Orphan Annie Decoder Wheel (remember Ralphie’s Ovaltine message in the movie A Christmas Story?)
Q6: What motivates you to keep going?
A: The health/exercise factor, and the knowledge that the next beep could be the best find ever.
Q7: What advice to you have for newbies?
A: Practice with coins, rings, and pulltabs you’ve dropped on the ground before you start digging.
Start in your own yard. If your house is old you will probably find silver.
Learn to dig without leaving traces before you hit the parks and schoolgrounds.
Q8: What do you love most about detecting?
A: Making a great find. (Duh!) The exercise, the pocket full of jingling coins.
Q9: What do you hate the most about detecting?
A: Cleaning up afterwards. Cold weather detecting.
Q10: If you could go back and start the hobby over, what would you do differently?
A: Start with a professional detector. I hate thinking of all the coins my cheapie machine missed.
Q11: What inspired you to write a detecting book and create a detecting podcast?
A: I retired (26 years teaching broadcasting and running a college radio station) and didn’t want to sit and watch Let’s Make a Deal all day. I wrote for the magazines for years before I did the book. The huge ego that drove me to radio also drove me to podcasting and writing. I love to see my name in print, and to hear my own voice on the air.
Q12: How do you see the future of detecting evolving?
A: No idea on that one. I’m not nearly as active as I used to be, and I haven’t kept up with the newer detectors. I’m still using my Fisher CZ-5 from about 25 years ago. But I think the hobby has taken a horrible hit by the TV “reality” shows that require their stars to be absolute idiots. Let’s face it, nobody would sit and watch a show that was REALLY reality, because after the first 50 pulltabs it starts to get boring.