The weather here hasn't been very summer like, while Australia is having heatwaves and severe bush fires we've been wet, with regular snowfall. The lake levels are at crisis point where the nearby towns are close to getting flooding. The rivers and creeks are all roaring with water washing around some nice flood gold 🙂
JW and I decided we'd go prospecting yesterday for a bit of fun, we went to one of our old haunts, we've done this area and this particular spot so many times and every time we think it's hunted out however JW's 10" X-coil got a fair few bits there last weekend and this weekend he was going to try the 12" X-coil to see how it goes there. It was raining heavy at my place when I left and JW's house was also meant to rain all day but this particular spot we were going to the mountains were meant to keep the rain at bay.
Here is a little video of a Dam we drove past showing the flood gates open due to all of the rain, where I was standing filming it I was getting wet from the mist of the water
I didn't notice at the time but if you look hard you'll see two people in yellow jackets standing down at the base of the dam having a shower in the water 🙂
I went not expecting to find anything but I just enjoy the hunt anyway and as it goes with gold, you never know. I wanted to try out the 12x6" X-coil on the GPX 4500 as I've never used that combination at the spot and I've mainly used my QED lately so the GPX is getting dusty. The reason this area is such a challenge for the GPX is the massive high voltage power lines that run through it, they're connected to the Hydro Dam and with all the flooding going on they must be really pumping out the electricity. As I've mentioned in the past the QED handles the power lines fine at this spot although it is very sensitive and I do spend a large part of my day digging shotgun pellets when using the QED here. I am sure a KQED-spert could tell me ways to get around that, maybe changing my mode from Mode 1 to one of the higher less sensitive modes would probably work. It's the reason I don't like using VLF's here too, pellets... pellets.... pellets 😞
When we arrived I strapped myself up with the GPX, all my cords and harness were in a big tangle and fired it up and no audio, bugger! did I forget a cable. In a massive panic I went back to my backpack and searched for a missing cable. It turns out all I'd forgotten to do was plug the speakers into the Steelphase SP01, I'd plugged the SP01 into itself with a loop of the cord 🙂 It shows how long it's been since I've used my GPX, forgot how to plug all the cords in. I really like not having all these cords and harness with the QED.
I've run the GPX at this spot a number of times and it has found me gold, prior to getting any X-coils I used to use my 14x9" Evo here, I had to have the gain quite low and audio in Quiet to get it semi stable but it never really ran nicely, I was never able to get a smooth threshold. I have one of the early Australian made GPX's which I believe were a bit more noisy than the modern ones too which doesn't help.
There are lots of old tailings piles at the spot, most aren't worth detecting as they're just big rocks, and the ones that are worth detecting have been pounded by every man and their dog, including myself and JW many times.
Someone had dug a massive hole, it looked quite fresh, It looked at least 15 inches deep and all they got was a rusty bit of metal that they'd left beside their hole!
The little 12x6" X-coil was working quite well on the GPX considering the power lines, It had a bit of pulsing but the threshold was mostly pretty good considering, I had my gain on 12 most of the day in sensitive extra with audio in boost and was pretty happy with how it was running, a stark contrast to when I used the EVO here I had to keep my gain down at 8 with audio in Quiet and it was still noisy. It's always my go to coil for high EMI areas, the smaller size and I guess whatever else the manufacturer has done has made it a pretty good coil for EMI.
I was struggling to find any good targets though, it was only probably 10 minutes after we first arrived that JW came over to show me his first bit of gold so I knew there just had to be some gold left here. I can't expect to come close to his GPZ + small X-coils though, there is no better combination in my mind for finding these small gold bits at depth.
Here is a photo of the dirty great big power lines with all that flood power running through them 🙂 The weather held up mostly well for the day, a few showers, a few minutes of hail but mostly sunny.
It kept getting a signal on this big rock, it's loaded with quartz in lines through it, hitting it with my pick did very little so I gave up on it. The photo doesn't show the size of it, it was three times bigger than I am 🙂
Seeing I was desperate to find some gold at this spot and didn't have much hope for myself I resorted to my usual tactic of flipping big rocks over, it's worked here in the past. I guess those who have detected the ground before me didn't do it and the rocks added enough depth that they missed the gold under them.
I was regularly finding these little skinks living under rocks, I believe they're rare and endangered so I was always very careful not to injure any of them.
I flipped over this massive rock and a spider ran up my arm and under my t-shirt sleeve, I panicked and shook my arm and brushed at it to knock it off. A side effect of living most of my life in Australia is a fear of spiders, NZ doesn't really have that issue and poison or dangerous wild life aren't really something you concern yourself with however the Australian in me kicked in and I wanted to get it off me quick smart. I did that and looked down expecting a little harmless NZ spider and to my surprise it was an Australian Red Back Spider (Australian black widow). A Deadly venomous sucker that could have killed me and it was the biggest one I've seen in my life. We used to see them quite a bit in Australia but I never expected to see one here. It's a shame I didn't put something next to it for scale to show just how big it was
Shortly after this photo I introduced it to my foot. After doing some research it turns out they do live in the area and they're trying to get rid of them as they're an invasive species that came in from Australia, I am surprised they survive the winters, the grounds often frozen solid here in winter.
After my scare I decided I'd stop flipping rocks and started detecting the cracks in the bedrock. The grass growth from all the recent rainfall has made life difficult too, normally this place is dry and brown.
I found a good area of bedrock and detected along various cracks in it, ones that didn't have too much grass and found my first bit of gold for the day.
A little guy but a real screaming signal. I was never going to miss this one, it sounded like a 22 shell does.
.247 of a gram! Quite big for me lately 🙂
I checked that spot a lot after that hoping for more, I even dug more soil out of the crack and checked it hoping there was another undetectable bit deeper but I was all out of luck so I moved further down the crack and had target, very faint, not a screamer like the previous one but sure enough another bit of gold.
This one was quite deep down in that little crack there
It looks about the same size but it's very thin, not much to it.
0.103 of a gram.
Here is a little video showing when I get them, it also shows there is no knock sensitivity of the 12x6" X-coil even with my gain up high seeing this question is often asked about various X-coils.
I kept hunting around but found no more gold for the day unfortunately.
Someone went to a lot of effort to prop this big rock up, I checked under it but nothing.
I later switched to the 15x10" X-coil but I had to lower my gain down a fair bit as it was being messed with by the power lines, I knew it would be as my 14x9" Evo is terrible here and it's even bigger.
I also found some weird sheltered spot under some rocks where it looks like some crazy wild animal has been living bringing back the bodies of it's victims. After my Redback discovery I thought this could be anything, maybe an African lion or the elusive Bigfoot so I took off quickly.
I didn't want to join the bones 🙂
And that was it for the day, 2 for me for a total of .35 of a gram. KFC time!
I've been a little hobbled with the sore ribs from my misadventure in Baja. I hate being cooped up, so I was out poking around in the placer fields of Yuma despite really bruised ribs from my crash in Baja. Anyone my age has broken ribs in their misspent youth, but at 65 yrs old, they mend much more slowly. Nevertheless, I get bored and have to be outdoors. We had some rain in Sunny Yuma last week and in some locations in the desert canyon washes ran a lot of water. I went out exploring with the GPZ 7000 and the 17x12 X-Coil. I wasn't really interested in trying to dig deep targets with my bummed up ribs, so I concentrated on newly exposed desert wash walls. I passed on a ton of probable trash targets not wanting to dig deep trash that would trigger muscle spasms and shorten my day. Ultimately, I marked some good sounding targets for later examination and dug a few that showed shallow hardpack. Towards the end of my morning I waved the coil over some bench gravels with old drywash fine tailings. I got such a clear signal that I knew if it was trash, at least it was very shallow. I pushed the gravels around with my boot and the target moved proving that it was indeed very shallow. I got out my plasitc scoop and started sorting out the likely target. On the second scoop I get a booming tone that normally indicates old copper scraps or pieces of copper wire. I was amazed to see this gold nugget in my scoop. This nugget doesn't register on my El Cheepo Weed Scale, but even the best scale might find this nuggets weighs in at a few grains. I believe that the toe of the 17x12 X-Coil which measures at about 8 inches in the sweetspot is far hotter than the Minelab 14" standard coil. I didn't mention that I used the 17x12 exclusively in Baja, and was going over ground I covered last year with the standard Minelab coil. I found at least 8 gold nuggets that I missed last year. Nevertheless, feast your eyes on this magnificent gold nugget the X-Coil hit with a hard tone. I have no affiliation with X-Coil, its manufacturer or distributor.
Today I had to drop my wife and daughter at the airport in Queenstown near JW's house, they're off to Australia for a week to see family. It's too hot for me this time of year over there so I decided I'd stay home. JW had the day off work today due to the weather so we decided we'd go for a detect, it's been wild weather lately.. so much for summer, fresh snow on all the mountains this morning and during the day the snow kept coming down. By the end of the day the mountains had a good coating. My wife's flight ended up being delayed over six hours due to the weather so they had a boring time at the airport waiting while JW and I were out detecting.
The snow was building throughout the day. This was not long after we arrived, much more by the time we left.
This area is known as my nemesis, I've only ever found gold here twice, once was with my Gold Bug Pro when I first started prospecting and another time was when I first got my 12x6" X-Coil also using the QED, both tiny bits of gold. I've struggled to use my GPX at this location as it's right next to power lines and the area is riddled with hot rocks, really annoying hot rocks, the QED handles the power lines fine. The hot rocks combined with millions of shot gun pellets make this area a nightmare for VLF's too. I consider it the hardest place for me to find gold out of my known prospecting areas. It does however have gold, and the gold is often very small stuff, it's a real challenge for me here.
I wanted to try the new 15x10" GPX X-Coil this time as last time with the 12x6" X-Coil I spent a lot of time digging shotgun pellets, I was hoping the bigger coil may just be big enough to ignore the pellets but still be sensitive enough to find some of the tiny gold.
The hot rocks aren't all big either, a lot of them are tiny
This is from dragging my pick magnet across the ground for a few seconds.
The area is quite the challenge to swing a coil too, very bushy and rocky.
The growth of the plant life has gotten a lot worse since I was last here a month or so ago
The rocky areas are often old tailings piles, a majority of them aren't worth detecting though as they're just rocks, no soils involved. This one above wasn't too bad but had no gold unfortunately.
There was plenty of the hot rocks in this area giving me grief. I couldn't run at this location in Mode 11 (No ground balance) as it made the hot rocks so much worse, nutting off all over the place so I stuck with Mode 1, the most sensitive of the ground balanced modes and it mostly handled the tiny hot rocks fine but the bigger ones still set it off. You can't just kick them away unfortunately as a lot of them are buried.
I did managed to find one bit of gold, at first I dug a hot rock but after removing it the signal continued, there was actually two signals after I removed the hot rock however whatever the second signal was it dropped down further into the rock pile to be lost forever.
I'm up quite high on a cliff edge here, you'll see the flooded river below, it's usually a really nice blue water but during flood it goes brown. You'll see the area I dug out to get my little nugget, I have no idea of the depth of it as I may have initially been tricked by the hot rock.
It's a tiny little thing, It had a nice target signal though. I didn't expect at the time for it to be gold as I thought the signal was too good, I was expecting another hot rock.
0.072 of a gram.
The afternoon was getting pretty wet, we were at it rain, hail and shine, the weather kept changing. At one point the hail hurt, got me right in the eyeball!
I just put a plastic bag over the QED to keep it dry, same with the speaker and rear control box. Someone needs to make waterproof covers for it 🙂
That was it for me, I was too wet, I went to see how JW was doing, he of course did better than me with his GPZ / 10" X-Coil combination, I truly believe that combination should be illegal, it makes it unfair on the rest of us I'm sure he'll let you folks know how he did, one of his bits gave me a shock.
There has been a bit of talk with people asking if the X-coils are bump sensitive, seeing my gain and sensitivity settings are on maximum I figure if anyone is going to get bump sensitivity it's going to be me and I get absolutely none so I recorded a video showing it, the video also shows me testing the response on my little nugget after I found it.
I really like the 15x10" X-Coil, it's such a sensitive coil with good ground coverage.
Thanks to Chet for pioneering the new way of doing the patch lead for the X-Coils on the GPZ7000, it makes use of the curly part of the GPZ coil cable and makes changing the coils at the top of lower shaft and the bottom of the upper shaft way more easy. I am testing this new type patch lead here in Aussie now.
The X-Coils have a shorter coil cable (no curls at all) and the curley cable is all part of the GPZ coil lead, the total length of the combined coil cables is the same as always, the GPZ7000 shafts close up same as before.
To change coils, close the shafts as before, undo the clamp mechanism on the lower shaft slide apart and hold with something while changing coils (I just used a peg)
On first installation, join the long patch lead to the x-coil cable and insert up the shaft to the control box as before, once done you don't need to do it this way again, just swap coils at the lower shaft.
If for some unknown reason 😲 you ever want to go back to a standard GPZ coil then you will need to change coils at the control box like before. 😉
The black plastic spacers on the metal plugs need to stay in place to keep the plugs from moving around inside the shaft.
There have been a fair few people asking about X-Coils for the older detectors, GPX4500/5000 etc
Now we have X-Coils for the GPX 4500/5000 a 12" spiral round, and a 15" spiral round, and then a 15x10 spiral, and also a 17x12 spiral, and a few of the 12x6 size coils are out in the field being tried already.
So I'll be heading out to give these a run over the weekend and guess what, No patch lead needed.
15x10 spiral for the GPX
17x12 spiral for the GPX
12" spiral round for the GPX
15" spiral round for the GPX