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!
By Steve Herschbach
The Minelab GPZ 7000 audio Smoothing function was directly derived from the Stabilizer control used on the GPX series. From JP at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/715-gold-i-found-in-victoria-with-the-gpz/?p=6424
"On the subject of Audio Smoothing: Off on the GPZ = 20 on the GPX 5000, Low equals 15 and High equals 10."
JP at the link referenced obviously prefers Smoothing to be left off. Some people are experimenting with higher audio smoothing settings combined with either hotter Gold Mode settings or higher Sensitivity settings or both. I think this is a good thing so do not go thinking it is "wrong". There is no right or wrong per se, it is all about what works for each prospector and their personal tolerance for noise or the lack thereof. Experimentation is good.
I thought it would be informative to copy what the GPZ manual (page 66) has to say about the Stabilizer control. Warning: the GPX Stabilizer control is backwards. The highest setting if 20 is the off position. Lower numbers increase smoothing. So the GPZ at off is same as GPX at 20 (off). Note that the GPZ High setting is the same as the GPX default setting of 10. The default for the GPZ 7000 is Low Smoothing which is the equivalent of a setting of 15 on the GPX.
One final note. RX Gain as referred to on the GPX is the same as the Sensitivity control on the GPX.
From the GPX manual:
I guess I should say that my preferences tend to follow JPs - I run with audio Smoothing off under nearly all circumstances. But I wanted to make this post to create a thread on the subject as it is very clear people are having success with other ways of thinking and again, I like out of box thinking. Lunks settings at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/830-lunks-zed-settings/ are at the other end of the spectrum. I also liked Jason's observation on the subject at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/827-minelab-video-gpz-7000-ground-type/?p=8276
I hate being the guy asking for help on the forum. But, I'm really struggling and hope some of you with more experience on the GPZ might be able to share some insight.
So, here's the scenario. I have what I think is an old equipment pad I've been working. I've nicknamed it my "trash patch" since it is just hammered with trash, probably why it doesn't appear to have be detected much even though close by areas have been beat to death. I found my first nugget in there with my GPZ at about 8", The problem, so much trash I couldn't even keep a single target under the 14" coil. I went back this week and spent 2 1/2 days (sun up to sun down) with my GB2 cleaning about a 2500sf area of trash. I can't begin to know how many targets were removed, but I can tell you my legs are so sore from that many squats I can barely walk today. Once I got the area clean, I was super excited to get back over it with the GPZ and see what I could find.
And, here's where we get to the help part. This entire pad has basically been built with about 3" of crushed hotrock. I thought getting the trash out was the biggest issue, but it wasn't. I can't figure out setting on the GPZ to get through the top layer. Either it just wobbles and whines all over the place, or you choke the settings down so hard it won't pick up anything. I can't find a working medium. Short of racking and shoveling 3" of rock off this area, which moves way outside the bounderies of enjoyable hobbie for me, I'm not sure what to do.
Anyone have some detector settings I might try, or other ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Attached are 8 little micro nuggets I pulled off the surface cleaning trash with the GB2. Everything I have got more than 2"s below the rock layer has been larger.