I put in some serious days of detecting old patches in Gold Basin in order to get a solid idea of what I personally missed with the Z14 and give my coils more of a workout. Most of the spots I hit were patches I personally found and I doubt anyone else has ever detected, that way I can gauge what exactly I was passing by and get a good feel for the differences between the coils I have with me.
However, the first patch I hit was on in Lost Basin proper and not one of my own. I had once met an old timer detecting here as I was exploring back in 2014 and he explained he had found this patch in 2002 and it had produced up to a 1.5 oz'er and about 3-4 ounces in total, mostly deep. It's about 50'x50', seen 3 GPZ's I am aware of, 25" coils, and about 2 decades of detecting.
I put on the 17x12, which I was given free by the manufacturer, and began a mental gridding. 12 t-hold, low smoothing, 19 gain, HY, Normal. About halfway through I got a very subtle signal, but it was repeatable. I kicked off low smoothing just to hear the difference and the signal was definitely bigger...maybe wider is a better term. Kicking into Difficult the signal disappeared. Back to my normal settings, I boot scraped an inch and saw the top of a large rock which I assumed was the signal, but after pulling it aside with my pick the signal got stronger. I ended up with a solid ~0.3 grammer at about 10 inches. I'm certain this target didn't make a peep on the Z14.
You can see the big boss man overseeing the operation here to the upper left, and also the old dead twigs which the old timer had at one time raked aside, which was what drew my attention to the area to investigate at first. Grand Wash cliffs in the background, the Grand Canyon is directly behind them. Visible is the foreground is the filled in hole, you can see this is pretty typical Lost Basin reddish dirt. I would classify it as mild to low-medium "heat". Some run Difficult here, but I see no need for it.
Here is a video of the lack of sensitivity at the tips of the 17x12. It's really noticable when trying to pinpoint and oddly it makes a big ole 17" round easier to pinpoint with for me than an elliptical. I feel as if the 17x12 is like detecting with a 14x8 except with a lot of extra plastic around the edges and with the depth in the center of the coil of a 17" elliptical. It's odd. I'm not sure it's my choice for rocky washes anymore because that sensitive area towards the center is hard to get over everything.
Next I moved to a wash in Gold Basin which had produced a lot of sub-1 gram stuff for me in the past and I put on the 10" to do some crumbing. I slowed down and really made an effort to listen for tiny blips but after running through about 40 feet of wash bottom without a piece of gold I decided to grab my Gold Bug 2 and run back over the same ground because I swore I should have had some dinks by then. A lot of caliche is exposed here, and for those who don't know what caliche is, it's basically a limestone conglomerate type rock that acts as bedrock in the desert here. It can be soft or hard as concrete.
Almost immedietely I had a strong signal on the side of the wash, which I assumed must be a small bit of tin. I grabbed the GPZ/10" and despite my best efforts I couldn't get any type of real signal to repeat for me. Going back to the GB2 I recovered the target and it ended up being a 0.03 gram tiny nugget, which upon looking with a loupe was quite porous and had tiny microscopic bits of quartz within it, a very common occurence for nuggets here as much of the gold forms within breccia in shears and shattered fault gouge here so it often encapsulates almost microscopic bits of quartz.
Due to these non-sluggy sort of targets, the VLF seems to hit much harder on them than the GPZ/10", which probably explains why I can't seem to get the sensitivity on my tiny nuggets as others seem to be reporting, even in other parts of AZ. A 0.1 gram nugget of gold from here might only have 0.05 grams of gold in it, and discontinuous geometry, which is hard on non-VLF machines.
I moved on another 5 feet and hit another pretty definite target on the GB2, this time it was a paper-thin flake, I think it was about 0.05 grams. Just holding it in my fingers lightly was enough to bend it. It's at the tip of my pointer finger. It would make a sound on the 10" if I waved it in my scoop right over the coil, but it couldn't hit it at about 1", just too thin even for the GPZ, and that's why I missed it I think. I put my GPZ back in the truck and decided to just run through the last 30 feet or so I had covered with the 10" just out of curiosity.
I almost immedietely hit another signal, faint but repeatable. At about 6" I pulled out a 0.2 grammer right on caliche. Not sure how I missed this one, might have gone too fast with the 10". It ended up having a lot of quartz too, and some hematite.
And then another 5 feet again, about 5" and sitting on caliche, a 0.2 grammer that I really should have heard before but somehow didn't. This one I got in-situ before brushing it away as it was wedged in between two cemented pebbles.
And then finally a 0.15 grammer that really wasn't even very deep. Not sure why I missed this one but it was right in the center of the small wash and there is no chance my coil didn't scrub it.
This post got kinda long, so I will take a queue from JW and do a multi-part post. My conclusion (unsurprisingly since we already knew this) is that the target geometry/composition makes a big difference in how successful a person is with the 10" and why I was having trouble understanding why people don't simply just go in with their VLF's instead of the 10X since it's so much quicker and lighter. I know I traded notes with Andy when we first got our 10"' X Coils and he was getting a lot better depth on tiny bits than I was, and I'm sure it's because the gold in the areas he detects is more solid and my gold has a ton more quartz inclusions and porosity. I have some 0.1gram bits that won't make a peep on the 10X even running them directly over the coil in my scoop, and that's due to the target characteristics.
Overall, I'm reminded why I rarely spend much time doing this kind of detecting unless I really need to get a couple pieces for morale. I don't live close enough to gold fields where I can spend my time chasing small stuff like this. That's just me and my personal situation, but I feel it's necessary to state since the majority of posters here live much closer to detecting ground and might not understand why I detect the ways I do. It's 1000 miles drive each way for me to go detecting and I'm not retired so I have to make it pay or at least break even. Next post I'll show you what I normally aim for in my personal detecting and why I do it that way even though it breaks some of the "golden rules" of gold detecting. I believe it will be important to make these distinctions for those new people reading these sorts of posts 5, 10, 15 years down the road and wondering why we did what we did. I feel it's important to not copy what others do online, but to develop a strategy and skillset that matches your local conditions and personal situations. My style probably might not even be optimum 150 miles away in the Bradshaws, let alone across the country or world.
JW contacted me in the morning saying he's got the day off work so if I wanted to go for a detect jump in my car and head on over to his place. This is always a hell yes from me, the world would have to be ending to stop me.... oh uhm... whoops 🙂 maybe more than the world ending.
We were going back to the exact same spot we were at the previous mission so figured I'd either use the 15x10" X-coil or the 10" X-coil, but because the area is very rocky I went with the 10", you need as small of a coil as possible for this terrain.
The 10" can get into some pretty tight spaces. Gold here would be missed with any bigger of a coil.
JW noticed our Davsgold picks looked a little different, this is odd as we both have the same pick so we compared them
The years of wear on JW's pick is pretty evident, his pick has gone through hell smashing up schist for years 🙂 He needs to give it a sharpen, the sharp point on mine is very handy.
I've also upgraded the magnet I had on my pick, it's been excellent. I drilled out a 30mm deep by 20mm round hole in my pick and dropped the strongest magnet I could buy into it with the same dimensions. Now not only is the base of my pick magnetic, the sides are too, it sucks up ferrous junk like mad. I'm very happy with it.
I can move the black sand around on it 🙂
JW was back detecting his highly productive cliff edge armed with his hammer and screwdriver, so I figured I'd go back and check around where I was the other day.
It wasn't long and I had a very faint signal, a few scrapes and the signal improved. The bedrock in this spot is about 4 to 9 inches down. It turned out to be quite a nice bit of gold down in the bedrock that required breaking up some bedrock to get to it. For the first time I managed to record a good part of the find on video as I was so confident it was going to be gold. I've wanted to capture a find on video for a long time.
Here is a photo of the spot I got it, it was actually quite deep, and the gold was on edge, it's a very skinny bit.
My biggest of the day.
I spent the next hour or so checking the area slowly. Plenty of pellets but nothing else.
I moved back down towards the little gully JW was detecting and on the path we bike in I had a signal, I'd done this path bit the other day with the Nox, I'd spent an hour or two on this small area with it but I missed this piece, maybe just too deep for the Nox.
Down through the gravels to the bedrock again.
Almost like a little ball 🙂 This round gold is common in this spot, JW's been getting a lot of it.
I then realized I forgot to balance to my ferrite ring, seeing I'd gone from the 12" to the 10" X-coil I thought I may as well do it.
Again I don't know if I am balanced to it being new to the GPZ but I did the procedure and the noise of the ring all but disappeared after a couple of sweeps over it.
The day was getting pretty exciting, I was hoping for a 3rd but for the next few hours I got nothing but pellets... I had a break and drink and watched JW for a while, I usually learn a few things doing this and I was able to see his coil control is far better than mine, he drives that thing around keeping it so close to the ground hugging the rocks while checking the bedrock cracks.
The cracks in the bedrock like in this photo can contain gold, but you have to check the entire rock as the gold has proven it can be anywhere in the rock in healed over cracks.
As the day was coming to an end I went over to a spot that chased JW away with the abundance of pellets there, they were everywhere!!!!
It paid off though, my final nugget for the day
This is up on a bedrock ledge, the ground is 10 to 15 feet below where this little ledge is
and down deep in the gravels was a bit of gold........ and about 8 pellets 🙂
The gold had a louder and more distinct signal than the pellets. Another ball type bit.
And now the weigh in.....
Not as bad as last time, I'd already done a lot of the cleaning of the area 😉
Not too bad 🙂 I haven't had three in a while. Almost worth celebrating with a beer at the pub
Now that I've got your attention no JW didn't only get one bit of gold 🙂 He got many but that's his story. I managed one bit. I had to borrow his gold bottle as I forgot my own, I also forgot my harness which is not the best thing to do for someone with a sore back!
A week or so ago we went for a detect at a spot on the E-bikes, JW did really well over at a rocky cliff area where gold was getting trapped like a sluice box in the schist. I was detecting some bedrock nearby. My back was terrible at the time due to an injury so I used my Equinox rather than my GPZ. I mostly spent my day digging shot gun pellets but I did manage a bit of gold in a crack in the bedrock, I had only the week before been watching JW smashing gold out of bedrock so when I found this bit I was pretty confident it was gold when the target needed smashed out of bedrock and it was.
You can see the thin layer of soil over the bedrock and minor cracks in the rock where I had to smash it out.
The smashed up crack above in the coil in this photo and the little bit of gold.
I forgot to weigh this one before throwing it in with my gold collection. I wasn't going to bother posting about it as it was just one nugget. That was it for me for the day.
JW and I were discussing the virus pandemic yesterday morning as NZ has now locked down it's borders, anyone at all who wants to enter the country needs to go into quarantine for two weeks and he suggested we go for an afternoon detect. I was keen for this as I felt my back was ready to use my GPZ again with the extra weight it has so I jumped in my car and went up to JW's house. We decided we'd go back to the same spot as JW had unfinished business at his very productive little spot and I figured I'd go over the same area I was doing with the Equinox to see what I could get out of it. I hadn't completely finished the area with the Nox as my back got too sore to continue that day.
I'm still getting the hang of using my GPZ, I haven't had it long and haven't used it as much as I'd like due to my back injury. It's very much a learning curve for me, it's different to using my GPX and QED. For example I only really learnt yesterday the left and right of the coil are the hot spots, not the center like on my GPX with spiral coils as I was confused recovery targets they were never where I expected them to be 🙂
After a bit of practice with it I've settled on my general settings of HY / Normal with gain of 20 and smoothings off, this seems comfortable enough for me to use in the spots I've tried so far. Everything else is on defaults. I did the ground balance over the ferrite at the start of the day seeing some people say it's necessary, I'm not convinced in my soils it will make a difference but it can't hurt so why not do it. I guess this would be considered balanced to the ferrite? I have no idea, remember I am new the the GPZ but seeing it was setting it off loudly before balancing and afterwards it was like this I can only assume It's done. I'm pretty happy with how the GPZ runs as I was very close to JW, about 60 foot I guess away from his GPZ and they don't seem to bother each other much.
I could hear JW chipping away at his cliff edge and I had myself what appeared to be a good target in some bedrock (in the above video you'll also hear JW chipping away at the bedrock), I was confused trying to target where in the rock I needed to smash and couldn't locate where the target was, the rock was solid hard rock and hitting it with my pick wasn't doing much.
I went over to JW and asked if he'd mind helping, he came over and we attempted to get the bit of gold out, I'd been at it for about 20 minutes already and with JW's assistance and another 15 or so minutes we had smashed it out, JW instructed me on following the lines in the schist to try smash it out in the layers, working my way from the edge to where the nugget is. My Davsgold Gold Digger pick was copping a beating taking on this rock but I had no choice.
My hand didn't enjoy it either, hitting the rock with the pick was hard work 🙂
You can see here I'd been smashing out layers of it to try get to the spot with the gold.
I was originally a bit confused with where the gold was, thinking it was in a big crack in the bedrock, but it turned out it wasn't in the crack but in the rock itself.
That's the crack I cleaned out above, and the smashed out rock below trying to get to it. A few more king hits with rock flying everywhere and the target was out, but it disappeared, we could not find it anywhere!!!! All that work and it was gone.
We detected all around the area and the only thing we could find was an odd bit of magnetic metal in the rubble below the rock, at first we thought it was a bit off my pick but it was weird and one side smooth and shiny. When I got home and put it under my phones microscope I found it's slightly magnetic, you can see the black sand and also a little bit of a metal substance stuck to it.
Very weird, this likely came out of the rock as it wasn't there prior to breaking up the schist. We assumed that was the target in the rock and JW went back to his spot to resume his gold recoveries 🙂
I wasn't ready to give up and kept detecting around the area thinking maybe there was still a bit of gold that flung out of it and about 5 minutes later I had it! A little nugget was sitting on the surface.
This sun baker had to be my nugget from the rock, it's VERY unlikely there would be a sun baker here.
I continued detecting the area for the rest of the afternoon, I was digging a lot of junk, mostly shotgun pellets and little shards of metal and all the ferrous targets I'd left behind using the Nox with it's discrimination 🙂
I had another target I was so sure was going to be gold, I was clearing away the surface soils and the target was down in the bedrock again.... I was so sure it was going to be gold seeing it was in the bedrock I took a video of the target.
But no, after smashing out the bedrock the only thing I could find was a damn shot gun pellet that had made itself down into the crack in the bedrock!
That damn little pellet was down in that crack! I think it's a steel one too.
I called it quits after that one and decided I'd go have a drink and snack and watch JW for a while and see what I could learn, at this point he'd come over to my spot as he was sick of chipping away at the rock in his area and the lucky bugger found two bits of gold in an area I'd been over with my Equinox the week before, I wasn't sure if I went over it with my GPZ but I am pretty sure I had not. The target signals on his GPZ with 10" X-coil were very good, stood out like dogs nuts so there is no way I'd miss them.
So my total for the afternoon
A bucket load of junk, mostly pellets and little bits of metal
And one nugget for 0.086 of a gram. I'll take it, I'm still continuing my pattern of not getting a skunk since getting the GPZ... Before getting the GPZ I regularly found no gold, since getting it I always find at least 1 piece every time I go out.
I was in Quartzsite looking for flea markets for 2 days with my girlfriend (she is not a fan of prospecting). I snuck off for 2 hours to do some detecting with the 17x12 X Coil which Al had given to me for free to make up for the problems I had with the early X cords. I've not had any issue with cords since then, they stretched again but not enough to bind up in the shaft and inserting/removing coils has been easy now. Since time was slim I decided to hit a wash fairly close to town which had produced a little over 1 ounce for me with the 4500 and GMT, but which I had not visited with the GPZ at all yet. I figured it was the best chance for me to find a nugget in a short amount of time. Most of the gold found previously was 1/2 gram to 2 grams here. Not much smaller, and not much bigger. The wash has bedrock from surface to about 3 feet deep, a nice quiet gneiss and schist assemblage, pretty standard in Q. Part of the reason for the mild soils. I also thought odds were good that I'd missed all the deep, small stuff back in 2012 and that it'd be perfect to clean up with the GPZ/X combo.
I'll try something different this time and I'm going to show the horizons and surrounding land. Anyone who really wants to track it down and find it, go for it. As I detect less and less, someone new or just starting can figure out where they are at. This is looking down towards some mountains that can be ID'ed. The part of the wash that produces gold is about 1/2 mile hike uphill from here, and is currently unclaimed.
The 17x12 ran even quieter here than in Gold Basin, no problem running at 20 gain, HY, Normal. Though I run in low smoothing because I like a stabler threshold than most so I can move faster and concentrate. Within 5 minutes of hiking to my spot, I got a decent signal, a bit quiet but repeatable. Mostly only sounded off in a circular area under the coil, as if the coil were an 8" round, and I couldn't hear it towards the ends of the coil. I scraped 2 inches of gravel away with my boot, and the signal was now pretty stout. After breaking out the pick, I got down about 15" and started exposing jagged bedrock. I put the coil on edge and pinpointed the signal to a small area between bedrock juts and then began chiseling and brushing away gravel until I found the nugget with my pinpointer, so I could get a picture in situ. It's at the point of my finger inside a crack that required screwdriver excavation.
I pried the nugget out of the crack after fidgeting with the bedrock a bit, and was a bit surprised to see it was larger than expected, in fact this is largest nugget I've found in this wash.
I figured it was 3.5 grams by feel. It ended up running around 4.5 grams and paid for all our gas and food for the 2 day trip down. So I was happy, for what was at the time about 15 minutes total into the short time I had to detect on this trip.
The hole is at the bottom of my coil. The nugget was wedged down in that bedrock which is unfortunately covered in shadows in this photo, and the total depth was just shy of the length of the coil, so around 16-17". There is a new ATV trail almost to the point where I started detecting so I can't help but feel at least 1 person has had a Z14 over this wash, but I'm not certain. This nugget was sitting almost vertical, and I suspect that is why it was missed previously and not a screaming signal on the 17x12, though the signal was definitely sharp and unmistakable.
Another 30 minutes of poking and prodding into the rocks and bedrock, and I pulled up a deep drywasher nail and a the head of another nail. Both sharp and loud signals right in the gut of the wash that my 4500/GMT combo had missed 7 or 8 years ago. I was near the start of the wash, thus the end of my journey and thinking it was about time to turn around and hike back down. And then I hit my final target on the short hike, a ~1 grammer which was also a sharp and pronounced signal, and also right beneath a stretch of exposed bedrock. It's at the tip of my finger, didn't have to dig around with the screwdriver for this one.
Here is the sum total of what I found with about 1 hour of detecting and 1 hour of hiking there and back. This is a wash I detected back in 2012'ish with a range of 4500 coils and my GMT (before I had a GB2), probably 8 or 9 times total. I covered most of the upper portion of the wash that had produced nuggets for me in the past, though I suspect I could pull another 1 or 2 out of there if I tried with the 10". I'm also pretty certain the 10" would have missed the larger, deep nugget, but I can't be absolutely certain.
Total weight, not bad for an ~hour of work.
And one final horizon shot right where the nugget zone starts, up towards the base of the mountain. For all the internet sleuths and greenhorns who can't find anyone to share locations with them to get them started. Good luck. Enough clues here to find the area for a dedicated individual.
Overall I was happy with the 17x12 in the rocky wash/bedrock areas. It ran smoother here than Gold Basin, both dealing with ground mineralization and EMI. GB gives me these zips and zaps that are absent here, and struggles with the BIF and basalt, and it's real hard to run this 17x12 full bore in washes there with high black sand concentrations. The magnetite chunks in Q gave me problems but they do with the Z14 and 4500 too, so nothing new there. The main issue I have is the edges seem to not be sensitive enough on this coil compared to the rounds. So while the geometry allows you to push into tight cracks, you aren't always getting full sensitivity in the depths of the cracks as you would with the 10" round. The shape of the area of maximum sensitivity within the coil is odd. A simple sweep often misses subtle targets unless you are over one of the sweet spots, and the sweet spot doesn't appear to just be a smaller ellipse within the elliptical coil, it's some odd shape with hotspots within itself. That sounds confusing, but I have a hard time explaining it better. I think Condor mentioned it already, but pushing/pumping the coil into tight spots over the center of the coil (if possible) often works better to hear the coupling between very tiny or very weak targets to determine if it's good repeatable or ground mineralization. I've been doing this out in the open in the flats in GB too, especially in areas of high mineralization, to determine what is a good target.
One thing is certain, in the US it's mostly about knowing where to go, or knowing someone who knows where to go. Or having exclusive access to land. This shows why. This was found in 2 hours, but only because I was lucky enough to start detecting at a time when a lot of people ran their detectors subpar by copying settings off internet forums, allowing me to find a lot of stuff the others missed. Those days are largely gone since the GPZ levels the playing field today. I couldn't walk into a goldfield I've never been to an expect the same results, it was only my knowledge of what and where I found gold in the past that let me do this. So, don't get discouraged if your results are not the same. A new guy would simply just have to hope to stumble on this place by dumb luck since all the leads are gone now, while I can just hike right to it. So maybe this will help someone new find an "old" place.
I don't detect as much as I used to these days as I have other projects going, but Al (X manufacturer) sent me this coil for free to try last year, and I figured it'd be nice to do a write up since I wasn't able to run my GPZ on the commercial project I have going due to EMI interference from the CAT 336. The coil performed great here though, and it was nice to just get out and finally do some detecting for fun.
I've been getting out for a few hrs 3 or 4 days a week down here in Sunny Yuma, plus a weekend trip to Quartzsite. My thanks to forum member Will for showing me a new area in the Q where I found the 2 biggest nuggets. The 17" round X Coil on the GPZ has been my go to set up. I really like the ergonomics of the 17x12 coil, but the 17" round has really been finding some tiny gold at depth. I lost a few weeks of detecting after my GPZ started losing audio after a few hrs of detecting. I sent it in to the Detector Doctor and they couldn't duplicate my issue, since then its running fine.
I've been detecting the same areas here in Yuma for the past 10 years with the old GPX 4000, the SDC and now the GPZ. Nuggets are getting pretty hard to find in these hammered areas so I really look for the new edge in detecting. I'm fond of the Sp01 booster connected directly to the Z then connected to quality earbuds at the booster. I took some of JP's advice on lowering the volume of the Z, then using the booster to raise it at the earbuds. What I understood to be JP saying was a high volume on the Z is also amplifying surface mineralization, creating clutter noise and concealing deep targets. I'm no expert, but it sounds reasonable so I'm going with it. I'm thinking the X-Coil and Sp01 are giving me a new edge on missed gold, maybe. The concept, nevertheless, keeps me out there plugging away and trying to put that coil over some yellow stuff.
I took a separate picture of the tiny gold. None of them will register individually on my cheapo scale, so I had to group them to get a weight. Some of these tiny nuggets have come at incredible depths, at least considering their overall weight and audible response with such a large coil. Probably 3 to 4 inches for most of them. The 17" round seems to be hottest right between the center windings at about 2 inches off the edge. Sometimes a side to side sweep on tiny gold loses the signal. Pushing the coil and center windings at the signal brings them up smartly.
Mitchel just seems to be having a run of bad luck on gold with his X Coil, mine has exceeded my expectations especially on really small gold.