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Steve H has talked about the value of VLF machines many times, but here's my own new experience.
 
I was bored during the holidays with time on my hands for detecting, alas my GPX is still at the Minelab detector Doctor. I decided to take Steve's sage wisdom to heart and give the Gold Bug 2 and 6.5" coil a proper go. I bought the GB2 from Steve at AMDS last year and had it out a couple times, a few crumbs here and there.  I just never took the time to really get to know the detector. I know a weathered little valley down Yuma way, where the oldtimers drywashed the hell out of every wash and gulley.  A couple years ago I pulled a sub-gram nugget off the slope with no more than 6 inches of dirt and gravel to host rock. I figured that would be prime ground for the GB.

 

I planned an overnighter so that I could get the most out of detecting time, only to discover I had forgotten my headphones. Oh well, the GB has an external speaker, not ideal situation but tolerable. I rigged a neck strap for the control box to that the speaker was closer to my ears. That setup was fantastic, I would highly recommend it even with headphones. You can wave that wand with the little coil all day without any arm fatigue.

 

I found my old dig hole and started beeping. Within minutes found gold and some decent pieces. Over the next 2 days I found 38 pieces in a band about 20 ft wide and maybe 100 ft long. I stood on the hill and looked at my gravel scrapes and the band was plain as day. There were a few oldtimer exploration holes nearby, all into a seam of red looking ore. I checked their tailings, lousy with iron trash from blasting caps and such.

 

The photo shows the gold divided into categories. The biggest are in the .5 to .7 grams. The next size is 2 to 4 grains. The next size are sub-grain, 12 of them weighed 4 grains. The last ones with a ballpoint pen for scale are so tiny the whole lot won't register on my scale. 

 

What I learned. The GB2 is a fantastic machine in the right circumstances. In moderate ground it really has to move way way slow. The threshold autotune really needs time to catch up going over mineralized ground or you're going to hear far too many beeps, geeps and groans. Slow that bad boy down. The Maxed Out settings are the ticket to hear those little bitty ones. Iron discriminate will probably lose you gold. It would be a difficult machine to actually search for new spots. The coil coverage is so small and you have to move way too slow. It's suited for ground where you already know there is gold and can concentrate on low and slow.

 

Like most of you, I enjoy the hunt. Sure, I wish all those nuggets were all in plus gram size, but I had a great time chasing those crumbs. Bravo Zulu to Steve H. for sharing his wisdom and knowledge for all things prospecting.

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Your nuggets remind of my first oz of detected gold...there were over 500 bits and one of them was about 1/2 oz...many of those 500 would only weigh on my balance beam powder scale that will weigh to a 1/10 grain.

That GB and mostly the GB2 were hot machines...fond memories-I may have to get another gb2 for kicks and giggles...

fred

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Ha, that makes me sound like Yoda with a metal detector!

I do like the Gold Bug 2 a lot, so much I have two of them. One to use and one "just in case". It is my go to metal detector if I am desperate to find gold, any gold at all. If everything else fails, break out the Gold Bug 2 with 6" coil.

Excellent finds there Condor! Thanks for sharing.

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Nice job Condor!  I just bought a new GB2 with a 6" coil.  Now I have to wait till the snow melts ... :mellow:

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I've been swinging the Minelab GPX's since they arrived on the scene and found a lot of gold at  Moore Creek.  Steve H. will remember me as Steve F.  Conversion to VLF took propably 6 to 8  hrs of consistent detecting time.  Too many bad habits of trying to cover a lot of ground to find those big targets.  The VLF machine is fairly simple, but it's a matter of coordinating your sweep speed, your hearing and your brain to process what you are hearing.  There's a lot of noise to separate  and process with the variety of  chatter beeps and geeps you're going to hear.  I think the biggest mistake beginners make is thinking you just sweep that coil till it beeps over a target.  You're going to hear a lot of beeps that aren't targets and if you swing too fast, a lot of stuff is going to start sounding like a target.  I dug a bunch of holes in what turns out to be mineralized patches of desert soil before I figured out I was still  swinging too fast.  I was amazed at how many of those sounds disappeared when I just crawled that coil up to the alleged target zone.  I found that with the external speaker I could set the threshold to just below steady audible, a very slight fluttering in the background.  A true target with extremely slow sweep would bring the threshold to steady audible often without ever beeping, expecially tiny specs of gold.   If I could repeat that threshold rise in 2 different directions, then it was generally a good target.  You aren't going to miss a good target by going too slow.  You may limit your opportunities, it's a question of priorities.   It's initially frustrating for a PI guy to move that slow, but sometimes it's the only game in town.

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Hi Steve,

Good to hear from you again. Be nice to catch up, been awhile. Now that I am wandering the western US maybe I can catch up with you.

That is a superb description of all metal detecting with the Bug is hot ground. In low mineral ground it can actually be dry quiet, but get in the hot rocks and it gets to be a very noisy exercise, with lots of mental work going on. It can be tiring so needs to be taken in small steps. I like getting down and dirty with a small location at times, very focused, but most often like wandering far and wide. It all jest depends on my mood.

The Bug can also be use in disc mode which although it loses depth and sensitivity is a good way to cover lots of ground without getting distracted by ground noise. It knocks out most hot rocks. Pure silent search and more effective than people believe. I found almost all the gold I found with the Gold Bug 2 at Moore Creek running in disc mode. A Gold Bug 2 in disc mode is still hotter on small gold than most detectors.

I have more Gold Bug 2 tips to relate but am on the road today, be home tonight, so more tomorrow. Thanks for joining the forum Steve!

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Steve H,

I know you're on the move, but if you see or hear from Reno Chris, I have a couple very heavy hot rocks I like him to take a look at.  Not typical iron stones, perhaps something like lead, but without the galena type structure.  I don't know of any lead mining in this area, but I once worked on a core drilling rig testing silver veins within a couple miles of this spot.  Not meteorites, they're shot through with quartz.  Soaking in mild acid to clean them up for a closer look.

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Belay my last.  The acid cleaned up the hotrocks pretty good, interesting ironstone, rusty quartz pockets and calcium carbonate coating, but not anything rare.  A good indicator of potential gold, but not worth much otherwise. 

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Chris;       Are you planning to be In Quartzsite for the Gold Show in Feb this ?                                            Hobo

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