For those of you that carry a PLB or EPIRB, I’m not sure which Minelab or PLB and EPIRB models are affected, but there’s an interesting discussion and a Minlelab advisory about accidental activations due to a PLB’s sitting too close or touching an active coil. Just something to look out for if you carry one when you’re out and about. They recommend keeping it further away than 10 cm from a active coil.
By Steve Herschbach
This is for novices and the things covered are basic, but very important. I even need to remind myself of this stuff now and then. We all take it so much for granted, that things like loose cable near coil rarely are mentioned on the forum. And coil control? Probably one of the most important factors in success for successful detectorists. People obsess over a detector getting another inch, when so many people could get that just with better coil control.
I live in Northern Idaho (Moscow) and bought a gold monster 1000. I can't really complain that it is hard to find gold, as I was warned by the Chris Ralph Fists Full of Gold book to not invest in a metal detector right away without prospecting experience. Frankly it was a bit of an impulse buy as the activity just looked like so much fun, and I read books you can detect outside of the desert I really want to make it work. I haven't had any luck so far despite being out roughly ten times. Went out for the first time this season to a placer mine dump.
This time of year there is still snow in the mountains and the rivers and creeks are overflowing with snowmelt. So I think it is better to wait for awhile before hitting creeks and streams and just target old gold mines which have mine dumps. To research I use the site https://www.idahogeology.org/webmap to give me specific gps coordinates. I also use sites like thediggings.com to see if there is any mining activity in the area to make sure I don't go on someone's claim, but also that the area is known to have some gold.
I haven't been able to find too many guys doing detecting in a heavily wooded area with a VLF. Which makes sense because VLF's can't get through the mulch and heavy vegetation layer. Today I went to a lode mine dump and although there were huge piles of dirt I wondered if I would be able to detect any missed nuggets in there unless I was to get the bottom of that huge pile as the heaviness of gold would sink to the bottom. My question is about the application of VLF's in heavily wooded areas. Is it limited to Creeks and Streams? How can the limited depth of VLF's deal with this heavy mulch layer in these placer/load mine dumps in the forest? I'm also curious if my approach is really bad in general. Thanks.
I have an easy and maybe stupid question to present now...
Observing my TDI Bh, with both of the coils I own (the original 12" and the aftermarket Detech 8"), I can clearly see way too long wire around the shaft and I'm forced to make several loops up to the control box near the handle.
Supposing to measure the right lenght for the maximum extended shaft, and to cut away the hipmount mile long cable.....Am I doing a disaster or not?
I actually can't remember the technical cable's specs in the amazing pdf Steve posted time ago, but if I'm correct it talked about to reduce some current resistance with a slight performance improvement too...Have I seen a mirage or what?...
I'm not kidding 😜...
It's just me, looking for something to play with, suffering for a missed AQ.
My wife's health is going to require me to take a break from treasure hunting for a few years so I'm packing everything up for storage. What's the best way to prep my headphone muff's for long term storage?
For that matter, Do I need to do anything special to my detectors other than removing the batteries and a good cleaning?
There are many misconceptions and uncertainties when it comes to gold hunting. Gold expert and Executive Director of Development for GPAA, Kevin Hoagland, sat down with us briefly to give us a deep dive into the world of gold prospecting. The following tips are based on his knowledge and experience, and of course his success with finding gold.
VLF Metal Detector vs. PI Metal Detector
VLF (Very Low Frequency) Metal Detector
A VLF metal detector is a single or multi-frequency machine that consists of a continuous sine wave. The sine wave(s) goes down and into the ground to find a metallic target, and once it does, the machine charges the target releases an eddy current, and sends a signal back.
A common misconception for these machines is that you cannot get depth out of a VLF metal detector. That is not true, as long as a VLF machine is properly set up and you are using the right detector in the right conditions with the right coil, you can absolutely get depth with this machine. Yes, a VLF detector can have an advantage on shallow very very small targets, on and off of bedrock. As long as you can keep it stabilized, ground balanced, and the sensitivity is set properly, this can help you find some of the smallest gold pieces, many in the grain over gram range.
PI (Pulse Induction) Metal Detector
I guess that my best and easiest description of PI metal detectors is a machine that talks and then listens. Unlike the VLF detector, a PI machine is not a continuous sine wave it is a pulse, on-off, on-off. These machines will do better than VLF in most highly mineralized soils because it’s measuring
the speed of the signal decay of the target and the ground around the target. However, there are places like low mineralization deposit areas where your PI machine will simply just not work to its fullest potential and in these places, you are better off with a VLF machine, and vice versa. For example, if you have excessive cold or hot rocks and or weird salts, there have been times when a VLF detector has been outperformed by a PI machine.
How Does Frequency Work in a VLF Metal Detector?
The higher the frequency, the closer to the surface the machine works to find smaller targets. The lower the frequency, the deeper in the ground the machine will go to find larger and more conductive targets. It’s not the case that one machine or frequency works better than another, it depends on the conditions and the ground that you’re detecting, coil size, and your tuning. Frankly, for me when I head out detecting, I have a VLF and PI with me and I do recommend that you carry both types of machines, if you can, to be prepared for all of the varied conditions and the ground to change and to get the best results.
What is a Hot Rock?
One of the most common questions received in the metal detecting industry is, what is a Hot Rock? Hot rocks are magnetic or have metallic properties that are higher than the surrounding ground. No matter what, it is seen as a target to your machine which can be disrupting if you don’t know how to properly mitigate them. Keep in mind, hot rocks will never be 100% avoided, but there are ways to reduce the number of hot rocks you come in contact with.
Different Types of Mineralization
There are two types of mineralization considered the most associated with nugget hunting. First, there is high mineralization within the ground, where the ground itself is hot and can contain hot rocks or cold stones. The second type of mineralization is moderate or benign, where there is less mineralization in the ground. Many people confuse hot mineralization for hot rocks, but these are two different things. Moderate or benign mineralization can also contain hot rocks, and it’s actually this combination that can cause the mitigation of this to be very challenging.
Another misconception is assuming orange soil is always hot. It’s very possible that if you see orange soil, it’s most likely hot. However, it could just be a red iron pigment. It’s important not to immediately jump to that conclusion.
What are the Different Types of Coils?
Three Different Types of Coils
Mono Coils: A mono coil is designed for a PI machine and is a single winding which puts a concentric pattern into the ground. You will always be able to get more depth with a mono coil, but it is also more susceptible to ground mineralization noise and it will be affected by the ground mineralization itself. Using a mono coil, you have to be very aware of what your overlap is. The second part of the Mono coil question is when to take the Mono off and go to a Double D coil. That answer is simple, when you can no longer detect with a Mono is when you go to a Double D. Double D Coils: Double D coils work for both PI and VLF machines. Double D coils have two back to back D-shaped windings inside the coil. At all times the coils are transmitting, and another receiving across the plane of the coil. The Double D coil design is like a knife blade that goes into the ground down the center of the coil. These coils are great at handling mineralization where it essentially takes the ground mineralization and distributes it all the way across the blade lessening its effects. Concentric Coils: The third type of coil is the concentric coil. Many people think concentric coils are the same as mono coils however, that is not the case. Mono coils are built for a pulse induction machine using one winding whereas concentric coils work with VLF machines by using two separate windings one sends one to receive. Although they are similar in design, they work in two completely different ways for two completely different detectors. Round vs. Elliptical Coils
Metal detector coils are measured off of a round coil configuration. That being said, there is really no difference in size, only in shape. For example, a 14×10 coil will have the same attributes as a 12-inch coil. Why are there two different kinds then? The key difference here is that elliptical coils work extremely well in difficult areas such as in between scrub bushes and rocks. If you are still trying to wrap your head around that, here is a simple way to make sure you choose a coil size that is different from what you already have:
Length + width = X ÷ by 2 = the size of the coil. Take a 14×10 coil for example, 14+10=24 ÷ 2 = 12. You have a 12-inch coil.
Discrimination in Gold Detectors
There is no truly accurate nonferrous discrimination on gold detectors and discrimination for gold is dangerous. Iron discrimination is really the only type of discrimination on a gold machine and at best, this discrimination works “kinda.” Trusting these signals is dangerous and can lead to missed gold, so do your best to operate your machine to the best of its ability without assuming anything. Even with the best iron discrimination, you should dig these targets until you know for sure they are ferrous junk, understanding that if there is any wavering in the signal of another target that sounds “almost the same,” it has to be dug.
East vs. West – General Prospecting
Many people assume that the West is a better place to go gold prospecting, but this isn’t completely true.
The key differences between the two locations are the gold mineralization area, with the West containing a lot more open ground and hotter ground. That being said, there is a gold belt that runs from the northeastern United States and through Alabama. Not to mention there is a lot more glacial gold in the eastern US. Although geography is going to be different, gold is gold, and the best place to look for gold is where it has been found before.
The biggest issue with both the West and East is going to be finding accessibility and being able to find that line and stay on that line. However, western states were developed to be able to go prospecting, mining, and staking claims which is why these states are known to have easier access.
What To Bring on Your Gold Prospecting Hunt
The Best Gold Metal Detectors
There really is no “best” metal detector and there’s not a detector that fits all. Each metal detector has different pros and cons and it’s all about using your machine to the best of its ability. As mentioned previously, it helps to have a VLF machine and a PI machine because you just don’t know what the conditions or ground will be like. It also helps to have a variety of machines, if possible.
Beginner’s List of Prospecting Tools
The very best headphones you can afford. And wear them all the time. Many of the gold nuggets you will find are only slight whispers in the detector’s threshold. Many nice nuggets have been left in the ground because the Detectorist was not wearing metal detector headphones. Two plastic scoops at all times. The more technologically advanced the detectors are becoming, the more sensitive they are becoming. Gold machines tend to pick up mineralization on your hands and to avoid this you can use two plastic scoops to go back and forth between the dirt and your targets. Also, always use a plastic scoop and not your hands especially when detecting in a desert to avoid being bitten by scorpions or other living things. A digging tool. Do not show up with a geologist pick. You need a digging tool and you need something that has a wide blade. For example, Apex Picks are a great option. When you start digging targets, you have to be able to get your coil out of the hole, so having a sharp pointed tool to dig and a wide blade to clear is the best tool to get this job done. Non-magnetic boots. Also known as Anti-Terrorism Military boots. As mentioned above, the more advanced these machines are becoming, the more they will pick up. Make things easier on yourself and get a pair of boots with no metal to avoid your machine picking up any false signals. A non-magnetic belt. Like the boots, if you need to wear a belt, choose one without any metal. Overall, limit the amount of metal on your body. Put your car keys in your back pocket. Keep your cell phone off and in your back pocket. A good hat. A water bottle or hydration pack is a must. What Should You Look For When Gold Prospecting With and Without a Metal Detector?
With gold panning, 99.9% of the time, wherever there is gold there is black sand. However, this cannot be reversed, if you find black sand that doesn’t mean there is definitely gold in the same area (although it is possible). The most important thing you can do before gold prospecting is to understand your surroundings and the area you will be hunting.
Think like gold! “If I were 19 times heavier than the same volume of water, where would I go?” Understand the streams and the water dynamics or the deserts around you. Take a look at the overall geology. Look closely at what is easy to see and deeper, to see what others miss. Take notice of any big trees or massive boulders that will change water flow. Don’t forget about the inside bend, but also keep in mind there are so many things that can change the way gold drops out of the flow. Do your research beforehand. Final Word
Words from Kevin Hoagland, the expert himself, “be willing to do your research.” The best place to look for gold is where gold has already been found.
Gold is one of the most elusive metals out there and is not simple to find. If it were, it wouldn’t be so valuable. The best thing you can do if you’re interested in gold prospecting is to make a commitment to yourself that you are going to go prospect and that you will do your research on where you are going. Put a plan together and execute the plan.
Finally, you are going to need to learn how to slow down more than you ever have before. Your gold prospecting success depends on your commitment and patience to the process.
The Complete Guide to Gold Prospecting originally appeared on kellycodetectors.com