The one big problem I found with dowsing and detecting simultaneously is that you need to use both hands and therefore you have no hand free to carry a digging implement. Small digging implements can be carried in a finds bag and for a long time I carried a ‘T’ handled foot assisted trowel on a tool belt, which has worked reasonably well. But now metal detectors go considerably deeper than they have in the past, it has become necessary to use a small spade. In fact I use a Draper Mini Spade with D Handle. The digger is 720mm (28in) long and has a rounded point hardened steel blade with foot bars. The high strength Glass fibre shaft makes it extremely strong yet light, weighing just under a kilogram (2.2lbs). Now I have been able to drag this spade quite successfully by fitting a quick release loop through the D handle and attaching that to a tool belt. That’s fine on a beach or grass or bare earth (it even leaves a trail so you can see where you’ve been) but if, as I often do, you search among growing crops then the crop is likely to be damaged and the farmer won’t be happy. So I needed a way to carry the spade without it making contact with the ground.
I came across the Bigg Lugg belt hook pictured above (there is also the McGuire-Nicholas 93333 Monster Hook Cordless Drill Holder Holster Belt Clip), which after some experimenting has proved to be the ideal solution. I first tried using the hook on my trouser waist belt on the opposite side to my detector, the problem with that was that the spade acted like a pendulum and kept swinging too close to the detector head and causing a signal. I then remembered, Phil, a detectorist who sadly had lost one arm in a motorcycle accident. Phil used a belt hook to carry his spade behind him, although I didn’t realise at the time why he carried his spade in that position. Once I moved the hook round to the rear, searching became nice and silent once more (until I hit a target, that is). An added bonus was that if I moved too fast the spade tapped gently on the back of my legs to remind me to slow down.
Another slight problem remained, which was the weight of the spade on my waist belt made my trousers slip downward and to keep pulling them up was a bit of nuisance. I resolved that one by using a separate dedicated belt for hook and spade. So I can now dowse and detect simultaneously on any terrain without any distractions.