Interview With Detectorist Roy Cobb

Roy Cobb Metal Detecting Ring Finder

Roy Cobb is a USAF Veteran and an avid metal detectorist. He is retired and a full-time RVer who detects on the road. Roy often metal detects in Louisiana and Florida. When he is not metal detecting, he is active in encouraging and helping budding detectorists learn by sharing tips and being a positive role model in Facebook Groups, metal detecting forums, on YouTube, and on his website.

Below, I interviewed Roy to learn more about his background in metal detecting and had him share some of his metal detecting tips.

Metal Detecting Resume

How long have you been metal detecting, and how did you get into it?

RC: I’ve wanted to Metal Detect for as long as I can remember, I finally got my first detector (an ACE250) in February 2011.  I traded an old 22 caliber rifle for that detector and promised my wife that all my gear would be paid for from finds (and rewards and fees from lost item searches in later years) and I would not use “house money” for anything.

I noticed you have used everything from a Whites Surf PI,  Minelab E-Trac, and CTX 3030. Can you list all the metal detectors you have owned and which one you are using the most currently?

RC: As I said, my first detector was an ACE250, I used it for several years and had it as a backup after I started upgrading.  My second detector was a used White’s Surf PI that I bought from a detecting buddy somewhere around the end of my first year detecting, about a month later he sold me his used Minelab Sovereign Elite.  Those 3 detectors got me enough money that in May 2014, I got my E-Trac.  In 2020 I traded in enough Gold and Silver (I sat on my finds until Gold climbed in value) that I went a little crazy and bought a Minelab Equinox 800 and (in anticipation of a Caribbean cruise we were going to go on in 2021) I bought a Nokta Pulsedive with 4 inch and 8 inch coils.  The owners of the shop where I bought my ‘Nox and Nokta are friends of ours and they were closing their shop and retiring.  They had a White’s MX Sport left and made me a great price on it, so it went home with us too.  While I was detecting in a local park trying to get used to the ‘Nox, a lady walked up and offered me a White’s DFX with extras.  I looked it over and it was pristine, the price was right and she needed the money for some medical bills so I bought it.  I had always wanted a Minelab CTX3030 but couldn’t afford one so I got that E-Trac instead.  Well, I finally broke down in December 2022 and got my CTX3030.  This will be the last detector I plan on owning.  In fact, I am “thinning the herd” and offering my Equinox 800, E-Trac, and MX Sport for sale.  Currently, my primary machine is the CTX3030 for dirt and beach, my Surf PI is my primary saltwater machine.  My E-Trac is my backup for the CTX3030.  I will occasionally get the MX Sport out to stay accustomed to it.

Roy’s Metal Detecting Finds – Silver (Hairbrush Back) Found at the Plantation Site. Right Out of the Ground with a Minelab CTX3030 and After a Light Cleaning

Tell us about some of your more interesting metal detecting finds.

RC: Gosh, there’s been so many over the years… I once searched for and recovered a custom-made Gold men’s wedding ring that had been lost in the Gulf Of Mexico for 3 weeks!  I did a grid search going out from shore until I was nearly neck deep, after 23 in/out patterns, I found it in mid chest deep water in front of the first sandbar.  Another recovery was of 2 women’s Gold rings that were replicas of a US Military Academy and US Naval Academy from the 1920s, they were used as wedding rings for the Grandmothers of the lady who lost them.  I currently have a public park that I am doing that was a plantation in the 1850s and the house stood there from the late 1850s until the 1960s.  I have made some incredible finds in this park so far.  My first was an 1883 no “CENTS” V nickel, then on my next hunt I found a silver piece stamped “sterling” and with a monogram.  It remains unidentified but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s the back of a hairbrush.  And on my latest hunt there I got my first Silver of the year and the very first Silver for my CTX3030, a 1961 Quarter.  We just returned from a trip to Panama City Beach where I found a 1935 Wheat Penny, 11 inches in the sand in the bottom of a 2-foot cut.  The penny was very clean and not all scratched up, I was amazed at how good it looked.

Roy’s Metal Detecting Finds – V Nickel Found at the Plantation and Hunt Tracks and Finds Markers

Metal Detecting Recoveries 

You are a recovery specialist, finding lost rings, cellphones, and keys for others. What tips can you give other detectorists who want to start recovering items for others?

RC: Don’t ever think that the item will be “right here, I dropped it RIGHT here”, it rarely ever is.  Think outside the box, ask them exactly what they were doing and did they actually feel it come off or just notice it was gone?  Use a lower sensitivity than you would for normal detecting if looking for a recent (in dirt a week or two, in sand a few days tops but ALWAYS use your typical settings in water) and I always use all metal or zero discrimination.  Be very careful of the scammers, and don’t go out alone or at night or to a secluded spot.  Talk on the phone with the person requesting you to come out and try to get a feeling for them.  Ask them to describe the lost item before you go out.  I have them text me the description.

What is the best way to promote your recovery services?

RC: I have business cards that I printed up at home and flyers that I handed out to every condo and hotel along the beach in Panama City Beach.  I also did a Facebook page and got probably 15% of my calls from there.  Now that I have moved from Florida, I get very few calls, but I have gotten a few in my new area.

One Recovery Roy Says He Had the Least Expectation of Making but Against All Odds, Everything Fell Together and He Recovered It After It Was in the Gulf of Mexico for 3 Weeks

RV Life and Metal Detecting

What tips can you give those considering full-time RVing on the best ways to store and charge metal detectors?

RC: Be a minimalist, we are basically living in a 35-foot tube, and storage space is at a premium.  Hence the reason I am selling 3 of my detectors.  As far as charging them, I have 1 that has an internal battery, so I charge it on nights when my wife is working.  All of the other detectors have removable battery packs.

In general, what are the rules for metal detecting in campgrounds or at RV lots?

RC: As with any land you don’t own, you have to ask for and get permission before doing detecting.  One RV Park that we frequented in Panama City Beach was fine with it as long as I didn’t dig up the gravel in the sites or road.  I did carry my hand digger and would scrape aside gravel that was loose but never dug in the roads or sites.  In the grassy areas in between, I would “pop” coins from about 3 inches or less but detecting in RV Parks is just a diversion for when I don’t have time to go to a park or the beach.

Are there any groups, clubs, or communities for RVers who metal detect that you would recommend where they can meet others that detect and are full time on the road?

RC: No, not that I am aware of.  I’ve made more detecting buddies through Facebook groups like this one and online forums, or just by bumping into another detectorist while out detecting.  I’ve found by being friendly and willing to stop and talk to folks that you can make some great connections.

Using Tech Beyond Just Your Metal Detector

What apps or software do you enjoy using, and would you recommend other metal detectorists use them?

RC: I started tracking and recording my hunts with a computer program called iDetect and it worked well at the time but became tedious to come home from a hunt and have to clean my gear (which I still do after every hunt) and then sit at the computer for half an hour or more. So I started using TECT O TRAK, a very good app for your phone that records your path walked, records the spot of your finds, and allows you to take a picture of each find.  It is still around and I still use it when not swinging my CTX3030 which has a built-in GPS suite. For research, my primary app and computer programs are MAPRIKA (GPS On Ski Map now) and MAPRIKA Map Designer.  This allows you to import a digital map image from Sanborn or Historic Aerials or Old Map On Line (I think that’s it) into your computer, sync it with a current satellite image and then send the old map to your phone via the MAPRIKA server so you are using your phone’s GPS with the old map.  The only other app you may want works in conjunction with TECT O TRAK and that is “GPS Locker”,  I find with my older phone I needed it but with my newer phone, I don’t.

Example from Roy – MAPRIKA Map Designer with an old Sanborn map image on the left and a current satellite image on the right

Which drone do you use and recommend for metal detectorists who want to use one to research potential places to metal detect?

RC: I have a couple of drones, a Breeze “selfie” drone, and a BUGS4W4K.  I no longer use them for metal detecting, without getting political, the rules and regulations being imposed by the Government have gotten “bat guano crazy”.  It’s just easier to not have to drag the extra gear out and I can always get one of my Part 107D pilot friends to come out and do an overflight for me if I really really need it.  A few years ago, drones made sense to me and if you’re up on the rules and regs then it might be a good idea.

Which forums, groups, YouTubers, blogs, etc., do you recommend detectorists who want to improve their skills read or follow?

RC: I’m subscribed to so many channels, sharing (I’ll sub you if you sub me) works great if you’re trying to build your base up so you can get monetized but I decided I didn’t care to be monetized.  It’s a lot of work to turn out good content.  I make my videos for family and friends and don’t have all the fancy gear.  As for channels, I hate to spotlight any of them, they’re all so good, but here are some that have had the biggest impact on my detecting:

Just remember, anyone can come off as an expert on Youtube.  Search for the particular topic you’re interested in and watch a few different posters.  It will become clear what is good information and what is not.

Final Thoughts


Do you have any final thoughts to tell intermediate to advanced metal detectorists?

RC: I am not competitive, Metal Detecting is a hobby for me.  Do your research and try to learn the history around a site and not just where it is.  Get with someone less experienced than you and help them become better a detectorist.

One last thing, I am primarily a water hunter at heart.  Now that I have been a dirt fisher exclusively for almost two years, I have a lot of respect for those who dirt hunt exclusively.  Water hunting is so easy in comparison.  My hat is off to you, dirt hunters!


I would like to thank Roy Cobb for letting us interview him. To follow Roy Cobb, subscribe to his YouTube Channel @AdventuresInMetalDetecting, or find him on the Friendly Metal Detecting forum username robby4570 or read his website at mtldtktr.wordpress.com

CTX 3030 Handbook by Andy Sabisch

The CTX 3030 Handbook contains the information detectorists need to help quickly master the Minelab CTX 3030 Metal Detector and unlock all of the performance it is capabilities. See the best settings and techniques from advanced detectorists for various soil and sand conditions.

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