A simple and compact method and apparatus for detecting high frequency electric fields, particularly in the frequency range of 1 MHz to 100 MHz, uses a compact toroidal antenna. For typical geophysical applications the sensor will be used to detect electric fields for a wide range of spectrum starting from about 1 MHz, in particular in the frequency range between 1 to 100 MHz, to detect small objects in the upper few meters of the ground. Time-varying magnetic fields associated with time-varying electric fields induce an emf (voltage) in a toroidal coil. The electric field at the center of (and perpendicular to the plane of) the toroid is shown to be linearly related to this induced voltage. By measuring the voltage across a toroidal coil one can easily and accurately determine the electric field.