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Check out my latest Treasure Talk blog entry at http://www.minelab.com/usa/treasure-talk/the-minelab-sdc-2300-alaskan

I have been prospecting in Alaska for nearly 40 years and it is dramatically different than the prospecting I read about on the internet. Everyone else seems to be out detecting in desert locations, and I am always detecting in pouring down rain! Others are out detecting in wide open country, and I am detecting in brush so thick I can barely squeeze through it.


Needless to say Alaska is tough on metal detectors. This is compounded by the remote situations a prospector faces and the near impossible task of getting replacement parts should something fail. If you do not have a backup with you, getting communications to a dealer and then figuring out how to get the item shipped to you can be difficult at best. I have resorted to carrying not only spare parts but at least one complete backup detector on case of a failure.

The new Minelab SDC 2300 fits the bill for Alaska in many ways, and I am certain also for many other locations around the globe. Jungle locations come to mind or anywhere poor conditions and difficult access are issues. Downtime can be very expensive indeed in the prospecting world, especially for artisanal miners putting food on the table with their metal detector.

I rely on my Minelab GPX 5000 as my main prospecting tool. Yet there are times I would prefer to leave it in camp. The last three weeks my brother and I have been prospecting in a remote Alaska location. Unfortunately, instead of the sunny Interior Alaska summer days we were expecting we have been subjected to many days of rain. In Alaska, weather tends to set in, and it can rain not just for days but for weeks. I have spent stretches of up to two weeks detecting where it rained every day I was out. I did the best I could but the fact is most prospecting detectors are not made to run in pouring rain for days on end. My solution now is to simply grab the SDC 2300 instead, and all worries of getting my GPX 5000 wet go away!

SDC%20Blog%20II.jpg  SDC%20Blog%20III.jpg

The other situation I constantly face is hunting in old mining locations that have grown over. Alder, willow, and birch spring up like fast growing weeds during Alaska's long summer daylight hours. Wading into these with a GPX 5000 with harness, bungee, battery cable, and headphones can be an exercise in frustration. It can also lead to premature equipment failures, especially for stressed power and headphone cords. Yet these brushy areas can be prime hunting locations as old tailing piles are often covered with this kind of thick brush. Again my solution now is to grab the SDC 2300 and dive in. Using the external speaker and built in batteries there is nothing to hang up, and the extremely narrow body, plus small coil on the SDC, is perfect for this type of hunting.

The ultimate tough detecting situation? Hunting in thick brush in pouring down rain! Now you have not only rain but water knocked off little trees showering down on you and your detector while the brush is grabbing at cords. This is what my brother and I have been contending with lately, and we both have decided the SDC 2300 is absolutely perfect for these Alaskan type hunting conditions.

Despite what many people think most gold in Alaska is actually small stuff, with larger nuggets being very rare indeed. The SDC 2300 excels on the type of gold most Alaskans will find with a detector. (Gold below found by Tom Herschbach.)


The compact folding design is made for small backpacks or even day rucksacks and takes up minimal room and weight for the person hiking into remote locations. A full day operating on a battery set means a person can prospect several days with several sets of spare C-Cell batteries, or for longer trips employ a small solar charger system to keep going indefinitely. 


For these reasons and more my brother and I have decided to make this Australian detector an honorary Alaskan and have nicknamed it the SDC 2300 "Alaskan". The Minelab SDC 2300 is one tough little detector and whether it is in Alaska or any other challenging location prospectors will undoubtedly appreciate this newest prospecting tool.

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Hi Steve,


Very nice blog!  Great commentary about this fine new Minelab addition.  I do like your new handle for the SDC 2300, as the "Alaskan".  From your dense growth confines, rainy and muddy photos, it really fills a niche that needed to be filled, AND it can be carried in a backpack, easily! 


Now that you have reminded me of the rainy day use capability, I will now put my rain gear in my pack!



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  • 3 weeks later...

Various gold nuggets found in Alaska with the Minelab SDC 2300. First photo are some nuggets my brother Tom found with my SDC. The other two photos are gold nuggets I found. Chris Ralph used the SDC 2300 exclusively and perhaps Tom and I should have done the same, since the last photo is all gold Chris found with the SDC 2300, including a really nice 3/4 oz slug. All told a couple ounces of gold found with the Minelab SDC 2300 in Alaska.





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I think the SDC gets good depth on all target sizes including large nuggets. The problem is that there is a tendency to compare it to the GPX 5000 and the GPX clearly gets better depth on larger nuggets, even when the GPX is sporting the 8" Commander mono coil. Unfortunately this may be giving people the impression if they use the SDC 2300 they are not going to get the big stuff and that just does not follow. Anyone with a VLF detector looking to upgrade to a PI detector can rest assured the SDC is going to punch deeper in mineralized ground on large gold than whatever VLF they are currently using.

The real question is not whether GPX owners need the SDC 2300. The main issue is what detector should a person with a VLF purchase if they are looking at getting their first prospecting PI detector? If price is no object I have a knee jerk tendency to recommend the GPX 5000. But the fact is the SDC 2300 may well suit many people better as a first PI not only because it costs less than a GPX 5000 but because it is so ridiculously easy to operate.

I can say this for sure. The SDC 2300 is now my main reconnaissance detector. If I am prospecting new locations that I know little or nothing about and can only take one detector it is going to be the SDC 2300. I find the compact grab and go nature of the machine to be very compelling. I think Chris proved very well that you can take the SDC into a new area as a primary detector and do very well on a mix of both small and large nuggets. The SDC 2300 in my rucksack along with a small pick, water, and some energy bars is going to see me prospecting far and wide in the very near future.

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