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GB_Amateur last won the day on July 10 2016

GB_Amateur had the most liked content!

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About GB_Amateur

  • Rank
    Silver Member

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  • Gender
  • Location:
    Southern Indiana
  • Interests:
    Any and all metal detecting; geology of gold
  • Gear Used:
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, White's TDI/SPP, Minelab X-Terra 705, Fisher F75 Black

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  1. Concentric Versus DD Coils On White's MXT

    http://rnb-innovations.com/ Substantially Boost Battery Power In These Great Machines! ALL SPECTRA SERIES, MXT, MXT PRO, M6, DFX, DFX-E Series GMT, GMZ, TDI SL, ULA/SIERRA MADRE, CLASSIC 4, CLASSIC 5ID. This is what their website says for the HP3100mah model. At $150, though, I'd have to think about it a little longer... Regarding the Energizer lithium non-rechargeables, here is a decay (discharge) curve. You can see that if you are concerned about over-voltage with these you can just 'burn' off the early part, quickly, and then you're in the safe zone. And they are substantially lighter: 15g each compared to 23-25g for typical alkaline non-rechargeables. Still, they are also very expensive compared to alkalines. In the long run I'd guess the lithium rechargeables would be a more cost-effective choice for those wanting to go as light as possible. (Note: I just measured the voltage on a barely used Energizer Ultimate Lithium at 1.78V, so the graph is a bit misleading, with a high end of 1.6 V.)
  2. Was talking to my sister yesterday (she has an MXT w/10" DD and 4"x6" DD). She said she was headed to a construction site with lots of rubble (rocks, dirt clods, piles of excavated ground) and wondered which to use? She lives in Colorado which, in my limited experience, has just moderate ground in the parks and school-yards. With your timely post, I'm wondering if the 5.3" Eclipse is the solution. No more head scratching; just post here and get good answers! Second question -- I cut and pasted this Dave Johnson quote from Steve's excellent review of the MXT here (Equipment Review sub-site): "Back in the late 1990's and very early 20th century, the MXT was developed around the 10x6 elliptical DD. When you're used to that searchcoil, stick a 950 on and the 950 feels downright clumsy with its muddy response and bad masking characteristics. Downright insufferable. The 950 searchcoil geometry was designed for completely different platforms. But, if you ask "does the 950 work?", well, yeah, it does. Wrong question. Sometimes engineers/designers view things from a different 'angle' than end-users. You obviously like the 950 coil on the MXT. Care to comment?
  3. Comparing Some Detectors In Trash & Hot Rocks

    Always good to hear objective opinions, and find that every detector out there has a few warts. Your sidebar lists the White's V3i. Why didn't you include that in this overview? I understand why no Gold Bug 2, but thought the V3i would fit this description.
  4. From Mining Gold To Mining Neutrinos

    I'm going the other direction. I used to work in that field and would have been on this project if I had stayed. Now I'm after gold. (I enjoyed that, too, but I'm happy with my choice.) I worked on a neutrino experiment (MINOS) in the Soudan Iron Mine in Minnesota. Not as exciting as the Homestake Mine (and not even close to being as deep) but there is quite a bit in common. Northeastern Minnesota is a pretty cool place (and in winter it's literaly a lot more extreme than 'cool').
  5. Day 2 report Sunday I made a shorter (distance and time) trip to a creek close to my house. It is not known (nor expected to) have gold due to it not being glacial till runoff. This creek is only about 10 ft. across even after heavy snow or thunderstorms and typically has slow or zero flow, as now. The real value of this creek (to me) is the amount of exposed bedrock. It's effectively a training ground for future trips to gold country. My launching point is a trail with concrete walk bridge (currently). I suspect this bridge was built when the area was a farm, possibly for getting small machinery from one side to the other. I don't see why it would be needed for livestock. There were adjacent and crossing fences as evidenced by the limestone fenceposts that still survive. These are age markers, and although I can't put a date on them, it's likely they are close to a century old, or older. Nearby (not in the creek) I've found dated artifcacts from the first decade of the 20th century, and a couple Indian Head pennies. OK, enough background. About 20 feet downstream from the bridge is an obvious transverse crack about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide in the limestone bedrock. I've searched this previously and found coins, but those were new (clad era) and likely intentionally tossed off the foot bridge, treating this spot as some kind of wishing well. That was my first stop and I spent at least 1.5 hours of the total 2.5 hour hunt there. I was using the Fisher Gold Bug Pro with 5 inch diameter DD (neutral buoyant!) stock coil. Initially I stood adjacent to the crack and with the detector perpendicular to the crack ran it right down the center. It was constantly going off, signalling iron (in discriminate mode). On this first pass I never noticed any non-ferrous signals. (I had the tone/V-break set at 40 which is right at the ferrous/non-ferrous border.) I went back and walked along the crack with a leg on each side, now swinging perpendicular to the crack axis. Now I started to occasionally get non-ferrous blips, but dominated by ferrous tones. Later I went at 45 degree angles from both sides which also produced an occasional choppy non-ferrous tone. I decided to start clearing out the metal (iron) near the spots which hinted at non-ferrous. I had a crevicing tool and used my fingers as well. The water depth was only an inch or so, thus not much hindrance. Mostly I was pulling out elongated iron (nails, fence wire, etc.) as you can see in the later picture. But sometimes after clearing out the trash (and sometimes even before) I did find some non-ferrous, especially a few coins (see photo), but all new as last year's finds were. At one point I just used the White's TRX pinpointer to find and remove metal since I didn't need discrimination -- I was trying to clear all metals. That did become too big of a task for the time allotted, though. I only worked my way down at most 50 feet from the bridge. There was one other clear crack but it was much narrower -- more like 1/4 inch and I did find one coin there. Better were the limestone steps/dropoffs running perpendicular to the flow direction where I also found some coins on the downstream side, including the dime and nickel highlighted below. Before talking about the finds/targets in more detail, I will note one 'scare' I had. After the first hour it started to sprinkle but it was so light and there was no lightning/thunder that I just kept going. It continued until I ran out of time, but never got bad. I wasn't even getting wet. I noticed the battery bar was at 1 out of 3 so I knew I would need to change it out in the not too distant future, but it still operates fine there. When I got home I put the detector in the garage and did some other things around the house for several hours. When later cleaning up my finds I decided to check an ID and took the detector onto the patio. After running for maybe 30 seconds it went dead and I assumed the battery needed changing, which I did. Taking the battery door off I noticed water (not much) inside the battery compartment and then also noticed water apparently inside the screen, but still didn't think much of it. When I turned the detector on with the new battery, every readout pixel on the screen showed -- not good. I quickly turned it off and removed the battery, and next took out the three scews that hold the faceplate on the remainder of the housing. Water didn't pour out but there definitely was some in there, clinging to the housing and components. For the next half hour, off and on, I blew it out with dry, canned air. The good news is later that night after everything was dry I screwed it back together and turned it on -- worked like nothing had every happened. Phew! Another lesson learned. The first photo shows almost everything I pulled from the creek. There were a couple other very large iron pieces (long wire and some kind of bar/stap) that aren't shown. I've divided the ferrous from non-ferrous. That one wire next to the coins at the edge of the gold pan's bottom is a copper wire from 120 Volt Romex electrical cable like what is installed in the walls of homes, etc. To the right of the coins are a couple (white) pieces of spherical shaped lead, from firearms. That large chunk of iron in the lower right appears to be a small axe head of some kind, although I couldn't see a hole for the handle. The second photo hightlights a couple interesting (to me) finds. Both the clad dime but especially the nickel 5 cent are extremely worn from being in the water. I was later able to discern the date on the dime as 1997-D but the nickel never showed any sign that it ever even had a date, and that includes after I tried to clean it up with Scotch Brite (synthetic plastic steel wool substitute). The copper-nickel alloy used to make these is so hard that, at least on the Jeffies, it's nearly impossible to obliterate a date even from decades of circulation. (Buffalo nickels did lose their dates, but the date was raised and not protected by the rim as was done with Jeffersons.) I don't know if there is something extra caustic in the creek water or if it's just mildly acidic and years under these conditions causes a rapid deterioration compared to just being in the ground. More interesting (doesn't take much ) is that small bit of metal between the two coins. It appears to be natural, rounded from water flow like you see on gravel pebbles. It is not attracted to a rare-earth magnet and reads an ID of 45 on the GB-Pro (40 is ferrous cutoff and 58 is nickel 5 cent coin). Typically that is considered the foil region for most coin detectors. It has a mass of 0.24 grams and I measured its Specific Gravity at 7.7 --> 8.3 which doesn't match any common pure metal, but some bronzes (especially classic tin-copper alloy) fall in this region. Still seems strange and I wonder where it came from. Well, at least I know it's not gold... Next time? Always the optimist, but I'll settle for a Seated Liberty as a consolation prize.
  6. Hold that thought, if you can handle this long story. I made it to two creeks this weekend. I'll report on the first here and the other (for reasons you'll see later) on the Coins & Relics sub-site. Went to Salt Creek at Gatesville on Saturday hoping to get in some detecting. When I arrived I decided to first (that'll teach me) do some scouting. To give you an overview, we (just need to fill out a Dept. of Natural Resources = DNR form at the Country Store to become part of 'we') have permission to prospect/recover along about 2 1/2 miles (4 km) of the creek at Gatesville, and south. (There is about 1/2 mile north where we also have permission.) Most people (this should sound familiar) only set up their equipment within less than about 1/4 mile of the Store. I've been on two scouting trips previously and decided to do "a bit more..." Saturday with weather in the (unseasonal) mid-upper 70's (~25 C) and the creek very low from lack of rain in the last month. I figured it'd just be an hour or so and then I'd get out the detector. I decided to go light (too light as it turns out), putting on my hip waders, a hat with neck shield, my US Army field belt (wasn't in the military myself -- bought this at Army Surplus over 30 years ago, but you can still get them and their great for attaching all your bring-along gear, IMO) and a Garrett Super Sluice pan. Meant to bring my plastic scoop (forgot that). The pan hooks on my belt which is good when you need your hands free and/or are moving slowly. Walking quickly (e.g. down a road) it bounces too much so just carry in my hand. Put a snuffer bottle and plastic sample bottle in my pocket. Headed south and got down to the creek after about 0.2 miles along the road. I'd been on this first part before so I moved quickly until I got to my previous stopping point, then slowed down and tried to take in the details. I was looking for bedrock, either in the creek or along side. NOTE: DNR does not permit digging outside the channel, so if you find a bench you just have to leave it alone. I think this is to preserve the natural vegitation and prevent added erosion. About 45 minutes into my trek I noticed what looked like bedrock in the creek. But when I investigated it was soft (soft enough to break when standing on it) so I concluded it was clay ('false' bedrock)? Soon after that I arrived at a feeder creek and tried to figure if where it intersects the main creek would be a good spot. Within the next 50 m I noticed some uplifted layered rock which I figured was broken (limestone) bedrock. There wasn't a lot exposed but I picked one chunk and decided to collect some ground on the downstream edge of it and then pan. Since I had forgotten my scoop I just used a fallen tree branch to loosen the top couple inches of gravel and then start scooping with my hands. When I got down about 6 inches -- it was easy to dig because it was basically under the water line so just a kind of slurry(?) -- I started putting material in the pan. Along with sand and gravel there was a lot of soft, wet gray clay and I put that in, too. I got what I think you would call half a pan's worth. The Super Sluice is pretty large (15 in dia.), and thick so it's heavier than the typical plastic pan. Further, I'm a complete novice (as you'll see shortly) so I wanted to take it easy. Nearby was a fallen tree over a 2 ft (60 cm) deep, clear pool so I sat on the tree and started to pan. Now, I think it's supposed to take about 2 to 3 minutes (or even less) to do clean this amount of material by panning. But being so inexperienced I didn't want to screw it up so I decided not to worry about time. I looked at my watch (12:05) and figured it'd take me about 15 minutes. I was breaking up clay from the start but every time I washed off the top silt I would find more. By 15 minute mark I had finally gotten all the clay broken down but probably still had washed out only 1/2 the material. The Super Sluice has very deep riffles (only three) and it seems to clear slowly when working through them. I finally got down to where I needed to switch to the non-riffled side of the pan. I started noticing the black sand and the tan sand would float to the top of that -- washing it off and then remixing ("rinse and repeat" ). When I finally got down to about 80-90% black sand I decided not to try washing off any more. (I had not brought a magnet.) One thing I'm really bad at is fanning the material in the bottom of the pan. But even at my skill level I was seeing bright yellow specks, and they weren't mica or pyrite because no matter what angle I viewed them they looked the same. I counted about half a dozen 'colors' and I'm sure there was more hidden in the black sand. Having used a snuffer bottle only a couple times I went slow to make sure I didn't blow away anything good. By the time the only thing left was crystal clear water I checked my watch: 1:00 PM -- 55 minutes after starting panning! I estimate I had between 1 and 2 teaspoons of concentrates in my sample bottle (a white polyethylene over-the-counter medicine bottle about 1.5 inch diameter X 2.5 inch long). Two hours out already and nowhere near a road yet, I keep moving (generally) south. Most of the time I was able to either walk on the gravel bars or wade in the water. There was little or no flow and some places the creek was dry all the way across, so just a lot of stagnant pools. If the water was deeper than a couple feet it started getting cloudy and I decided not to try walking into that (remember, only hip waders). As such, in some places I had to move onto land to make progress and with vegetation being at max -- lots of reeded weeds taller than I -- the going was slow. Often I wasn't even walking on solid ground but rather fallen veggetation, so I stepped cautiously to make sure it was strong enough to hold me. There were some briars with those hooked thorns (similar to rose bushes) -- not a lot but again, enough to cause me to go slowly. Stinging nettle as well, but that's kinda like a mosquito bite (including the itch), so not a big deal. Didn't see much wildlife -- just a beaver. I'm sure there was plenty of wildlife that saw me, though. Fortunately within about 10 m of the creek edge was a corn field and I was able to walk along that but since I really was out there to scout the creek, I kept working back down the creek after getting past the deep pools. Now I mentioned it was a cool (very unusual for early August) day but I still need water, and unfortunately I had 'forgotten' (that's what I tell my wife...) to bring any. I could tell I was getting a bit dehydrated, but since I couldn't hear cars I knew I was still a long way from the road. I knew that eventually there was going to be a private bridge at the end of the permission zone, so I wasn't going to get lost. I kept moving south but then noticed I couldn't see any signs of corn. It's almost 2:00 and I've been out (with no water) for 3 hours. I backtracked to find the cornfield and heard a farm tractor so bee-lined for that. Found a guy with a front-end loader putting topsoil into an old beat-up dump truck and tried to figure how I could get into his sights without startling him. I was unsuccessful. When he finally saw me he down-revved the tractor and opened the window. When I greeted him he said "you scared me; I've never seen anyone back in here before!" He even offered to take my all the way back to the County Store but I declined and just asked for directions to the road. It stil took me half an hour to get all the way back and I immediately got some milk and a (homemade) ham salad sandwich at the Store. I always make sure to buy something there in gratitude to them being the proprieters, intermediaries with the DNR, etc. to make this place accessible. Really nice people. The woman proprieter (she does the talking for her husband and herself ), after I told her where I had been and about meeting the farmer, said "I'm not surprised you startled him; I don't know of anyone whose gone that far down the creek looking for gold." By the time I had eaten (and watched some Cubs whooping the Diamondbacks = baseball) I still was too worn out to do any detecting, so packed it in and drove home. Even without detecting I considered the day successful, having made it 60% of the way to the end of the permitted distance. I'll figure a way to start at the far end and do the last mile in the future, but I did find one (apparently) very good, unspoiled spot which I now know how to access (farm trail). No pictures from this excursion, sorry. If you notice anything I did wrong (besides not taking water and scoop) or have any other advice, like other things to be looking for, I'd really be appreciative to hear it.
  7. It's advertised as such. I'm going to find out for sure today because it's going to get dunked in the creek! And if it finds me some gold you (and everyone else on this site) will hear me shouting, even those in Australia & NZ.
  8. Yes, I've been a member since 2015, but haven't gone to any meetings lately. Really good to read of all your experiences, and glad to hear that Salt Creek has big enough gold to set off my detector (at least I think what you describe will set it off, although maybe needs to be REALLY close to the coil -- I'm sure you and others here can set me straight on that). Coincidentally, I'm heading over there today with my GB-Pro. I knew the creek has fine gold -- lots of people there with dredges, etc. I heard they had detectable gold but also was told they didn't. You get a lot of conflicting info in the prospecting world, at least around this part of the world.... Glad to have people like you around who are reliable. Thanks. Wish Aurora were closer. I used to make trips up your way about 4-5 times a year -- Batavia -- but that stopped when I changed jobs in 2010. (Don't miss the traffic!)
  9. Video - Hunting Parks & Beaches For Gold

    Not to mention the pull tabs. Was going to relate this story earlier and I guess I'd better do it now before I forget it completely. (That seems to be happening more and more....) I was at one of my favorite sites (park) and happened to get three different targets in about 15 minutes, in a circle about 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter. I was using the Minelab X-Terra 705 with the 6 in round DD 18.75 kHz coil (probably notching off iron and the very highest conductive bin due to iron wraparound issues). All three of the targets were close in VID. Note, US nickel 5 cent pieces ("nickels") hit around 18. Also note that the X-Terra 705 full range is -8 to 48, missing 0, and only even numbers, with iron below 0 and non-ferrous above 0. 1) got an inconsistent ID which was anywhere from 12 to 18, mostly hitting 14-16. 2) got a slightly more consistent ID, but still 14-18. 3) got a rather consistent 16-18. #3 was a US nickel (Jeffy) at about 4 inches, a bit off horizontal in orientation. #2 was a ring and beavertail (R&B) pulltab, also about 4 inches deep. I think the beavertail was bent back into the ring (which is common). Depending upon which piece you find (just the ring, just the beavertail, or attached), the orientation, how bent or broken, etc. these can get quite a range of ID's, sometimes dead on nickel 5 cent. #1 was a ladies 10kt gold, plain wedding band down in the 3 to 3 1/2 inch level which when weighed and converted contains about $30 in gold content. You can have the modern "square" tabs (thanks, Ronald McDonald House), and yes, I dig those, too. I'll take the R&B's any day.
  10. SS-Al, sounds like you've already had experience with this. Thanks for your advice and concern. Others who are interested/curious may want to check out this book: http://www.miningbooks.com/midwest-gold-prospecting-indiana-gold-dredging-prospecting-book/ written by local (northern Indiana) Chuck Lassiter. I've read it and it's very informative. Bottom line is that finding small/tiny gold (i.e. smaller than can be picked up by a metal detector) is only of secondary interest to me and I'm sticking with panning for that size gold. I've got ~$100 in equipment already and if it cost me another $50-$100 for classifiers, etc., that's fine but that's my limit. I've seen people in action here using dredges, going under the water with their nozzles -- not for me. I wish them good fortune but I'm a metal detectorist and although I can swim, I'm not a diver in any way. According to Lassiter (and he speaks from experience), metal detectable gold is present in the Midwest but (as always) you need to be in the right place. I'm not hanging much hope that I'll find it in my local haunts, but I've been told by one local (not sure how reliable of a source) that he found a piece of gold that, from his description, would easily be picked up by an MD. (He found it while dredging.) But at the least I need to get down to bedrock for that, which, given my aversion to diving, means I'm very unlikely to find any. However, there are other things you can find with MD's along creeks -- I've done that. It's good practice for when I get to go West where I will have a chance. And I won't be tearing up anyone's manicured lawn digging along the creekbeds.
  11. I was a big fan of the Carrot, but then mine went on the fritz. I sent it in 10 days ago (under warranty) so hopefully returns as good-as-new. In the meantime I bought a White's TRX, which is about $20 more expensive. It compensates (somewhat) on the price difference by operating more cheaply (if you go the non-rechargaeable route, anyway) on two AA's. It will also work on a 9V, like the Carrot, but why would you want to except in a pinch? When the carrot comes back I'll do some side-by-side comparisons. But I've gotten used to the TRX and really like it.
  12. UPDATE: Neither piece of jewelry appears to be made of precious metal, other than possibly plating. Necklace piece (or bracelet charm) has a specific gravity ~7.4 and the ring (correcting for weight & volume of stone) is no more than ~9.5 and likely lower. The ring is probably gold plated copper. The charm composition I'm not sure (too low to be even copper/brass/bronze), but not made of any valuable metal that I know of. I suppose there's a chance that the stone in the ring has some minor value, but how often do they put semi-precious stones in plated jewelry? My guess is "almost never". Strick, if I had been detecting most of those 37 years, that would be different. It's only the last couple that I've gotten serious. Still a long way to go, but thanks for the compliment.
  13. I'm guessing you've identified that detector previously, on some forum, but I don't recall reading it. Mind telling us which one and with which coil(s)?
  14. Nice, informative posts. Could you explain in a little more detail what you mean by 'horse tack'? To my understanding that is usually a general term. What size, shape, and composition is it that you are finding?
  15. Thanks to all of you for your help and advice. I should have known this but based upon what you've said and linked, I realize that there aren't simple answers here as far as which classifiers are best. Similar to detecting, it depends upon your intended targets, your ground, and especially on the nature of the treasure in your location. I go forward with new appreciation. As usual, if it were easy it wouldn't be worth doing.