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  1. This page lists accessory items and spare parts for the new Minelab GPX 6000 metal detector. Photos, descriptions, and part numbers are updated as new information becomes available. Minelab GPX 6000 Data & Reviews Minelab GPX 6000 with 11" round mono search coil 4.6 lbs part# 3300-0500 Length Extended - 57 inches Length Collapsed - 30 inches Minelab GPX 11 11" round mono coil, 680 grams, waterproof to one meter, not compatible with other Minelab detector models. Skid plate / scuff cover included. Stock coil on GPX 6000. part# 3011-0425 Spare skid plate / scuff cover for GPX 11 search coil. part# Minelab GPX 14 14" round DD search coil, 1015 grams, waterproof to one meter, not compatible with other Minelab detector models. Skid plate / scuff cover included. Ships with U.S. version of GPX 6000. part# 3011-0426 Spare skid plate / scuff cover for GPX 14 search coil. part# Minelab GPX 17 17" elliptical mono search coil, waterproof to one meter, not compatible with other Minelab detector models. Skid plate / scuff cover included. Ships with African version of GPX 6000. part# 3011-0427 Spare skid plate / scuff cover for GPX 17 search coil. part# Quick release Li-Ion rechargeable battery for GPX 6000, 7.2V, 5833 mAh, 42 Wh (input 12V 1.0A), approximately 8 hour running time per charge. part# 3011-0432 Mains AC charger for Li-Ion battery, with various country adapters. This is probably the same Universal AC Charger as used on the Gold Monster and SDC 2300, part# 3011-0339 Field charger cable, 12V DC with alligator clips. This is probably the same cable as used on Gold Monster, CTX 3030, and GPX 7000, part# 67-90204 Minelab ML100 Bluetooth rechargeable wireless headphones, with micro-USB charging cable. part# 3011-0435 Hard wired adapter cable for ML100 headphones, with Equinox style 1/8" waterproof adapter. part# ??? GPX 6000 adjustable armrest, with strap. This may be the same armrest as used on the CTX 3030 and GPZ 7000, part# 8013-0028 and strap part# 8005-0040 Lower rod GPX 6000. part# ??? Middle rod GPX 6000. part# ??? GPX 6000 headphone outlet rubber door/cover. part# ??? GPX 6000 speaker cover/grill. part# ??? GPX 6000 rubber washers for rod to coil connection. part# ??? (see below for coil bolt) Minelab GPX 6000 17" elliptical mono and 11" round mono coils compared The following items do not come with the GPX 6000, but are likely to work with it based on what is known so far. This is preliminary guesswork, and it is not advised a purchase be made based solely on the information presented here. 12V Vehicle "Cigarette Adapter" charging cable. part# 0302-0082 Equinox 1/8" male waterproof audio to generic female 1/4" headphone jack. part# 3011-0369 Vanquish style coil bolt. part# 4001-0025
    16 points
  2. This is my latest "Nugget Detector Guide", now published for over fifteen years, updated August 2021 with some of the latest model information. Each model has a short description, followed by a very PERSONAL OPINION. Copyright 2002-2021 Herschbach Enterprises - Please do not reuse or repost without my express permission. This is offered as a simple guide for those wanting a comparison of the various nugget detectors available new with warranty, along with some kind of real opinion about them. That's all it is, folks, so take it or leave it for what it is worth. It's just that listing specs is of little help to people, and so I take my best stab at providing some guidance for those newer to detecting. These are only my opinions based on my experience with various detectors over the years. While I do have a lot of experience, I must throw in the caveat that I have not used all detectors under all conditions. What may be considered a good detector at one location may not be so good at another location due to differences in ground mineralization and the gold itself. Detector performance is site specific and so your mileage may vary. Never forget that when reading comparisons on the internet. Although many detectors sold today can potentially find gold nuggets, I've chosen to only list current models from major manufacturers that are sold and marketed primarily as prospecting detectors or that at least have a specific prospecting mode. I no longer list general purpose VLF detectors running under 18 kHz because they are too common and that being the case they offer nothing special to the potential gold prospector. If you are interested in other general purpose detectors that might make good prospecting machine but are not listed here, look at my more comprehensive reviews list. Many discontinued prospecting detectors are also listed there. Various popular VLF gold nugget prospecting metal detectors Please, if you own one of these detectors, and I call it like I see it, don't take offense. Any nugget detector made will find gold in capable hands, and the owner is far more important than the detector model. I'll put a good operator with almost any detector on this list up against a novice with whatever is deemed "best" and bet on the experienced operator every time. The person using the detector finds the gold. The detector is actually one of the less important factors in nugget detecting success or failure. A quick note to those who know nothing about these machines. These are metal detectors. There is no such thing as a "gold only" detector. These detectors will also find lead, copper, aluminum, and other metals. These units are best used to look for relatively larger pieces of gold at relatively shallow depths. Concentrations of gold dust are not detectable. Some of these units can hit gold that weighs as little as a grain (480 grains per ounce) or less but only at an inch or two. Only the larger nuggets can be found at depths exceeding a foot. Only world class nuggets weighing many ounces can be detected at over two feet. The vast majority of nuggets found are found at inches, not feet. About Long Range Locators (LRLs) WARNING ON COUNTERFEIT DETECTORS - The market for nugget detectors far outsells coin and relic detectors worldwide, with huge sales in third world countries. This has made many of the models below very popular with counterfeiters. Here are some Fisher and Minelab examples. If you shop these models there are two simple rules. First, you are safe if you stick with approved dealers. Second, if the price seems too good to be true, beware! All legitimate dealers have a limit on how low they can advertise, the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). Review prices at the approved dealer list, and if you find the detector advertised as new at a significantly lower price by somebody not on the list, the odds are very high you are looking at a counterfeit detector. Legitimate dealers are prohibited from advertising at those kind of prices, and a price too good to be true is your number one warning you are about to be ripped off. The detectors are listed in order based on the lowest price normally advertised on the internet as of the date below. Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors - Updated August 2021 Before I start, a quick note about recent events in the metal detector industry. A few years ago we lost a major manufacturer in the form of Tesoro. That lead to the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ being dropped from this list. 2020 saw one of the true industry stalwarts fall by the wayside. White's Electronics was acquired by Garrett in October. It is unknown at this time what the end result of that will be, but for now I am dropping the White's nugget detectors from this list as no longer available new with warranty. For now, see my detailed reviews for information on White's models. Fisher F19 ($449, 19 kHz) - This detector is a later, more advanced version of the Fisher Gold Bug Pro (see below), with added features. There is an excellent threshold based all metal mode plus a dual tone discrimination mode. The F19 has both ground grab and manual ground balance, plus adjustable tone break, just like the Gold Bug Pro. Extra features are added to enhance the coin, relic, and jewelry capability, such as notch discrimination with adjustable notch width, volume control, separate ferrous tone volume, and a LCD meter backlight. These extra features may even find use while gold prospecting. The Fisher F19 can use any Gold Bug compatible coils plus those made for the Teknetics G2 series, providing for a huge number of possible accessory coils. This detector can be had with several stock coil options, including a 7" x 11" DD coil, or 5" x 10" DD coil. Weight including a single 9V battery is 2.6 lbs. Steve's Opinion - First Texas, the manufacturer of Bounty Hunter, Fisher, and Teknetics metal detectors, sells quite a few identical or near identical metal detectors under different brand names and model names. Due to oddities in their marketing scheme, some more powerful models are often available at lower prices than other less capable models. Currently the 19 kHz Gold Bug name carries a premium price, while other identical or more capable models sold under other names can often be had for less money. That is currently the case with the 19 kHz Fisher F19 models and the identical Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro model. The bottom line is this. If you can find a Fisher F19 with 5" x 10" elliptical coil for under $500 at a legitimate dealer (see counterfeit note above) it is easily my current recommendation for an extremely capable entry level VLF nugget detector with general purpose capabilities. I recommend this detector over the Fisher Gold Bug and Gold Bug Pro models below, not only because of the extra capability, but because it can be had stock with the 5" x 10" DD coil, the best general nugget hunting coil for the FT 19 kHz series. It can only be had as an accessory coil on the Gold Bug models, driving their out of pocket cost even higher. If you want a real deluxe set of extra coin and jewelry detecting features, see the equally capable Minelab X-Terra 705 below for only $50 more. Fisher Gold Bug ($449, 19 kHz) - Not to be confused with the Gold Bug from the 1980's, this new model runs hotter than that old model, and offers full LCD target identification. The target ID makes the Gold Bug good for more than just nugget hunting, and it finds favor also with jewelry and relic hunters. This model normally comes with a 5" round DD coil to enhance the sensitivity to small gold but other stock coil options are available. The Gold Bug features an easy to use ground balance "Grab" function. Do not confuse this detector with the Gold Bug Pro (see below), a nearly identical detector that adds a manual ground balance control. Weight including a single 9V battery is 2.5 lbs. Many accessory coils are available for the Gold Bug. Steve's Opinion - It used to be that this basic 19 kHz model was desirable for it's low price. Now, you can get the Fisher F19 above with a better coil and far more capability for the same price. Pass. Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold ($499, 3, 7.5, 18.75 kHz) – This detector has a unique design feature. The standard unit comes with a 5" x 10" DD 18.75 kHz coil. Accessory coils are available not only at 18.75 kHz, but also at 3 kHz and 7.55 kHz. You can literally change the frequency of the detector by changing the coil! The X-Terra 705 has a large number of features and operating modes making it suitable for almost any type of metal detecting, be it for coins, jewelry, relics, or gold nuggets. Weight including four AA batteries 2.9 lbs. Over ten accessory coils are available for the X-Terra 705 (Minelab, Coiltek). Steve's Opinion - I like the X-Terra 705. It has a very powerful all-metal Prospecting Mode. The X-Terra 705 offers both ground tracking and manual ground balance; I like having both options. I particularly like its very compact and lightweight design. What really sets the X-Terra 705 apart however is all its other features. The X-Terra 705 is a good choice for somebody who wants all the coin and jewelry detecting options important to urban detectorists. It has discrimination and tone options equaling far more expensive detectors. This is the machine for somebody who really wants all the features a top end detector offers and still have a good prospecting detector. 2021 Note - a new lower internet price of $499 (down from $699) makes this detector an alternative to the Fisher F19 above. For $50 more the X-Terra adds quite a few extra bells and whistles for the coin, jewelry, and relic hunter, especially in the realm of target tone id options. Nokta/Makro Gold Racer ($509, 56 kHz) - The Gold Racer is based on the original Racer model released in February 2015. The Gold Racer at 56 kHz was unique when released in having all the features normally associated with coin and relic detectors yet it's running at a very high nugget detecting frequency. This makes it more of a general purpose detector than a dedicated nugget detector. The Gold Racer comes with a 10" x 5" DD coil and has three accessory coil options. The weight including four AA batteries is 3.0 lbs. Steve's Opinion - I like the Nokta/Makro Gold Racer as it really is something new instead of just another mid-frequency do-it-all detector. The compact lightweight design appeals to me as does the high frequency sensitivity to small gold nuggets. It is the only machine in it's class that can run a large (15" x 13.5" DD) high frequency coil and as well as having a concentric coil option. Best of all it offers a full range of discrimination features not seen in other high frequency nugget detectors, all at a very aggressive price. Worth a very close look, especially if a large coil option is important. Fisher Gold Bug Pro ($549, 19 kHz) - Essentially the same as the Gold Bug above with the addition of manual ground balance. The target ID makes the Gold Bug Pro good for more than just nugget hunting, and it will find favor with jewelry and relic hunters. The manual ground balance gives expert operators the control they desire to get the best depth possible. This unit normally comes with a 5" round DD coil to enhance the sensitivity to small gold but other standard coil packages are available. Weight including a single 9V battery is 2.5 lbs. Many accessory coils are available for the Gold Bug Pro. Steve's Opinion - The Pro is the final version in this series which saw several early variations including the Gold Bug above. It is a excellent choice for prospecting, relic, or jewelry detecting and does fine as a coin detector also. However, you are now paying a premium for the Gold Bug name, and the more capable Fisher F19 at the top of this list can be had in a better configuration at a lower price. Unless you just want the name, pass. Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer ($636, 61 kHz) - Nokta/Makro started shipping the new Gold Kruzer model in June 2018. The Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer is a variant of the Nokta/Makro Gold Racer above that has been boosted to 61 kHz from 56 kHz and put in a waterproof housing good to 5 meters (16.4 ft). The Gold Kruzer comes with a 10" x 5" concentric coil and a 4" x 7.5" DD coil. The weight including LiPo batteries is 3.0 lbs. There are four coils available for the Gold Kruzer. Steve's Opinion - The Nokta/Makro Gold Racer has been one of my favorite detectors because until recently there was nothing running in this frequency class that had full target id and other options normally seen only in coin detectors. The Gold Kruzer takes it all to the next step by being waterproof in excess of ten feet. There are no other detectors running at a frequency this high that are fully submersible with built in wireless capability and therefore this detector may find favor with freshwater jewelry hunters as well as prospectors. The Gold Kruzer is worth keeping an eye on and is a better value than it appears at first glance due to the dual coil packaging. Note 2021: the Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer package has been reduced from $749 to $636, dropping it just under the AT Gold in price. This aggressive price drop in a waterproof 61 kHz dual coil package makes this model very hard to resist. I would not even consider a Garrett AT Gold personally compared to the Gold Kruzer at this price. Garrett AT Gold ($638, 18 kHz) - A totally new concept in metal detecting from Garrett Electronics. This full featured detector has everything you would expect from a dry land detector - LCD display, full control set and functions, speaker, interchangeable coils, and light weight. But it is submersible to 10 feet! Even the speaker is waterproof. Note that the unit itself may be submerged but if you want to put your head underwater you will need optional submersible headphones. Weight including a four AA batteries is 3 lbs. The stock coil is a 5" x 8" DD elliptical. Many accessory coils are available for the AT Gold. Steve's Opinion - The Garrett AT Gold was an innovative concept when it was introduced, and was the only waterproof nugget detector option at the time. The industry has caught up and even surpassed Garrett now and unless the AT Gold comes down in price it's hard to recommend for somebody interested primarily in a nugget detecting VLF. Only for Garrett fans really, otherwise newer models like the Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer above are better deals. See also the soon to be re-released Garrett Goldmaster 24K below. ads by Amazon... Minelab SDC 2300 ($3299, Pulse) - This model is unique as Minelabs first waterproof pulse induction metal detector. A key feature is that the detector is physically packaged in the proven F3 Compact military housing that is waterproof to ten feet and folds down into an incredibly compact package only 15.7" long and weighing 5.7 pounds including four C cell batteries. Steve's Opinion - I have used the Minelab SDC 2300 I must say I am impressed. The waterproof compact design is perfect for hardcore backpack style prospecting. The main thing however is that the SDC 2300 comes as close to VLF type performance on small gold as you can get while being almost impervious to the ground mineralization and hot rock issues that plague said VLF detectors. In fact, the SDC 2300 will find gold nuggets smaller than most good VLF detectors can detect even under favorable conditions. The SDC 2300 is also one of the simplest detectors to use and master on the market. The main caveat is that the detector is optimized for small gold with the hardwired coil and so other ground balancing PI detectors are a better option for large nuggets at depth. It is also nearly twice the price of the Garrett ATX above and so you are paying quite a premium for a little better performance on small gold. Still, for novices in hot ground that can afford the price, the SDC 2300 is almost impossible to beat for the price, if the goal is just to go find some gold, any gold at all. If the budget allows, however, I would pass and go to the new GPX 6000 below, which offers even better performance, while retaining the SDC ease of operation. Minelab GPX 5000 ($3999, Pulse) - This Pulse Induction (PI) unit essentially ignores ground mineralization and most hot rocks. The GPX 5000 is designed specifically for nugget detecting and so it has many adjustments for mineralized ground not available on other PI detectors. The GPX 5000 is the culmination of over 10 years of innovation in pulse induction technology. The GPX weighs 5.3 lbs. not including the harness mounted battery, which weighs another 1.7 lbs. The detector comes with both an 11" round mono coil and 11" round DD coil. Over 100 accessory coils are available for the GPX 5000 (Minelab, Coiltek, Nugget Finder)! And more coils are being released every year. Steve's Opinion - It is simple. The Minelab GPX 5000 is the safe choice for best all around pulse induction gold prospecting performance. It has been out for many years, is well proven and reliable, and has a vast selection of coils and accessories to cover almost any situation. Minelab GPX 6000 ($5999, Pulse) - The Minelab GPX 6000 is a new pulse induction model that is just now getting into end user hands. The GPX 6000 is exceptionally light and well balanced compared to previous Minelab models, and promises to set new standards for ease of operation. The GPX 6000 weighs 4.6 lbs. and has three coils available at launch, an 11" round mono, 14" round DD, and 17" elliptical mono. The detector has built in Bluetooth wireless headphone capability and quick release Li-Ion batteries. Steve's Opinion - This is the high powered Minelab gold detector I have wanted for many years, and I was on the development team. The SD 2300 is great, but I want something in a standard housing with multiple coil options. The GPX 5000 is great, but I want a built in speaker and battery system - no harnesses and bungees. The GPZ 7000, I want something lighter and less expensive. The new GPX 6000 satisfies my wish list and then some. I will not speak for users in other countries, but I highly recommend that new PI shoppers in the United States pass on other options, and get a GPX 6000 as their first high power PI. The GPX 6000 easily outperforms the stock GPZ 7000 on the vast majority of the gold that is left to be found in the U.S. The GPX 6000 also handles salt ground conditions and even salt water beach conditions, that will shut down a GPZ 7000. There is just too much going for this detector to consider anything else at this point, except for lower price options due to budget constaints. Minelab GPZ 7000 ($7999, ZVT) - The new Zero Voltage Transmission technology from Minelab takes gold prospecting to the next level. The new platform represents a break from the past SD/GP/GPX series in more ways than one, with a new weatherproof housing design based on the Minelab CTX 3030. The GPZ 7000 weighs 7.32 lbs. and comes with a waterproof 14" x 13" coil. There is one official accessory coil available at this time, plus one officially sanctioned aftermarket coil. Brave souls can check out numerous hacked Russian coil options. Steve's Opinion - The GPZ 7000 is an amazing detector, and still vies with the GPX 5000 large coil combos for depth on the largest nuggets, while easily eclipsing the GPX 5000 on small nuggets and specimen gold. However, the weight, price, and limited standard coil options now make it impossible for me to recommend the machine to all but the rarest new purchasers in the U.S. If you have a GPZ 7000, great, no reason to panic. But if you are in the market for a new high power gold prospecting PI, and are going to be hunting in the U.S., I highly recommend you get a GPX 6000 instead of the GPZ 7000. Or wait a year or two or ??? for the replacement for the GPZ 7000. If I can offer one final word of advice, it would be to pay particular attention to what experienced nugget hunters are using in any particular region. Do not assume you are going to outsmart them and find some model they have not already tried and set aside as less than optimum. Serious prospectors in any particular location will end up focusing on certain units that do the job. In areas of extreme mineralization this is usually a PI detector. In areas with less mineralization and lots of ferrous trash VLF units often are preferred. If you can discover what models the locals prefer it will give you a head start in knowing what to use yourself. Above all, whatever detector you finally choose, dedicate yourself to mastering it. It takes at least 100 hours of detecting to become proficient with a detector model. Any less, and you are still practicing. Knowing your detector well is more important than what particular model of nugget detector you own. So there you are. Hopefully this helps some people out. I can be found daily on the Detector Prospector Forums and would be pleased to answer any questions you have on metal detecting and prospecting. Also check out Steve's Guide to Metal Detecting for Gold Nuggets. Sincerely, ~ Steve Herschbach Steve's Mining Journal Copyright © 2002 - 2021 Herschbach Enterprises - Please do not reuse or repost without my express permission.
    8 points
  3. Many people have seen the ad copy in the Minelab GPZ 7000 brochure where I am quoted about how amazing the new GPZ 7000 is. Now you get to hear the rest of the story. This is a more detailed version of an email I sent to Minelab last fall regarding the new GPZ 7000. The background is I had been using the GPZ prototype for some time, but was underwhelmed. I was initially put off by the weight, and frankly it was just not my trusty old GPX 5000, and I was slow to shift gears. Yes, the machine performed, but I had not seen anything that particularly knocked my socks off, and had not been shy in saying so to Minelab. I had an opportunity to return to a location in northern Nevada I had hunted gold previously in 2013. On that visit a portion of hillside was pointed out as the location of several nice nugget finds, including some delicate specimen gold. I did what any prospector would do and concentrated on hunting this area hard with my GPX 5000. I knew I was dealing with an area hunted hard with previous Minelab PI detectors and hot VLF detectors like the Fisher Gold Bug 2. I was the first there with a GPX 5000 however so figured I was going to find something others had missed. I was running a 14” x 9” Nugget Finder mono and set it up in Sharp at Gain of 16 which is a reasonably hot setting. I was disappointed to find nothing but bullets, and so I switched to a used White’s GMT I had just acquired. This high frequency VLF detector was able to find two small and very porous gold specimens. Having found these, I again scoured the area but there appeared to be nothing else to find. I was not the only person to detect this location of course and so I just figured it was pretty well detected out. Delicate Nevada gold specimen found by Steve with White's GMT The Minelab SDC 2300 came out in 2014, and Chris Ralph and I both had units which we were using with great success on gold the GPX was weak on. Small, porous, prickly gold. An invite came to visit the property again in the fall of 2014, and Chris and I figured the SDC would be just the thing to succeed where the GPX 5000 had failed. We were field testing the GPZ 7000 prototype also by this time. Chris was tied up but I had a chance to leave earlier, and camped out a couple days in Humboldt County hunting with the GPZ. I was really pleased finding just shy of a half ounce (15.5 grams) of nice gold, including a solid 6 pennyweight (9.4 gram) nugget which was my largest with the GPZ to date. I was now starting to warm to the machine which seemed particularly well suited to the wide open spaces of northern Nevada. 15.5 grams of Nevada gold found by Steve with GPZ 7000 prototype - largest 9 grams The GPZ was of course a super secret project at that point, and so when I met Chris at the miner’s claims I had it carefully stowed away, and pretty much forgot about it. The plan was to hunt with the SDC detectors. I pointed out the location where I had hunted with the GPX and GMT to Chris Ralph so he could give it a go with the SDC. Frankly, I did not think he would find a lot at this point, but the new SDC 2300 certainly had a chance of making some finds there. I hunted another hot spot nearby, and my own SDC 2300 found four or five nice little specimen pieces. I was really pleased when Chris showed up and showed me two fat specimen pieces, weighing about one quarter ounce in total. Everyone was very impressed with the SDC 2300, and the gold it was finding in areas hunted over and over with PI detectors, and hot VLF detectors like the Fisher Gold Bug 2. The Minelab GPZ 7000 brochure quote by Steve We stayed the night but Chris had to leave the next day and it was good he went home with gold in his pocket. One of the claim owners also left, and it was down to just me and one claim partner. I stayed and hunted, finding another small specimen with the SDC 2300. I went a couple hours with no finds, and decided to wander over to the area where Chris had scored to see if I could do anything there. The claim owner and I puttered around awhile there then he decided it was time to go back to camp and grab some lunch. I was about to get going again with the SDC 2300 when I realized I had the new GPZ prototype still in my truck. The claim owner was over the hill out of sight, and since he had just left me I figured it was pretty safe to get GPZ out and give it a quick go. So I went back to my truck, switched out detectors, and headed to where Chris had marked his gold finds. Chris had hunted right where I had found the two specimens the year before with the GMT. I was a bit surprised I had missed two nearly 1/8th oz pieces, but they were deeper than the GMT was going. His two specimens were found only ten feet apart, and I could tell he had hammered the location. Every square inch of the dusty ground was covered with footprints. I fired up the GPZ and gave it a few swings, and was surprised to almost immediately get a nice signal exactly between the two little rock piles marking his find locations. I gave a few digs and revealed a nice specimen weighing about 3 grams! I know I had been over this location with a GPX 5000 and a GMT. Chris is very methodical when on a patch, and I know the SDC 2300 is more capable than the GPX 5000 when it comes to small specimen gold. How could this be? I suddenly realized I had something very special indeed in my hands. I wandered down slope, and right at the bottom of the hill where it started to flatten out I got another signal, and another couple gram specimen. Then only about 20 feet away I got another one. Now I was really getting excited. Less than ten feet away I got a real boomer signal, but it proved to be a bullet. Then a few feet, and another large signal. I dug deep into the hardpan, and knew at that point it has to be gold. I dug carefully so as not to damage it, and finally recovered a solid lump quite a few inches down. It was an 11.2 gram or just over one third ounce gold specimen! Gold specimens fresh out of the ground perched on GPZ 7000 The property owners were very gracious, and had told Chris and I we could keep all the gold we found. I appreciated that, but I also know that is easy to say when you do not think people will find very much, and the owners thought the ground pretty well detected. I was thinking at that point I needed to give them a share of the gold, but truthfully I did not want to part with this big lump, so I told myself I needed to find more gold. The problem was time was running out and I was worried the claim owner might come looking for me soon, and see me with the GPZ. So I started scanning with 7000 as fast as if I was in a VLF competition hunt. My goal now was to just cover as much of this area as I could in a short amount of time. Apparently speed does not hurt the GPZ all that much, because in short order I found another couple gram specimen. More frantic scanning, and another nice piece popped out of the ground. This was crazy – I know I had hunted this area! I expanded the area of the hunt, but the gold seemed to be on a very tight line heading down the slope. Some time passed, and another two or three gram specimen saw the light of day. Now I was getting really worried the claim owner would show up and see me with the GPZ. I had a pouch full of gold specimens, and was really amped up at that point. I had not found that many large chunks of gold that fast in very many years. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I had to quit though, and so I hunted up the slope so I could go back and show the claim owner my finds, and bring him back to hunt some more. I just figured I would put the GPZ away, and go back to using the SDC 2300. I made a bee line up the hill to where my truck was parked, swinging all the way, when I got another good signal. I dug and it got louder. And louder. I was into the hard material now and knew it had to be gold, so I slowed up and worked the edges of the hole carefully. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin a nice specimen. Finally, about a foot down I grabbed a handful of loosened soil that screamed when I waved it over the coil, and I felt a lump drop into my other hand when I went to separate it. This one was at least twice as large as the big one I found earlier!! 0.79 ounce gold specimen just rinsed, found by Steve with Minelab GPZ 7000 I was having a Eureka Moment. This whole experience was mind blowing. I was finding gold right and left as if this location had never seen a detector before. The GPZ 7000 was working some serious electronic magic, and it seemed it was particularly effective on porous specimen gold at depth that other detectors have a hard time seeing. The GPZ 7000 was hitting this stuff not with weak, but with strong signals, like the SDC but with a coil size much larger than that on the SDC 2300. It was able to not only detect the kind of gold once only found with hot VLF detectors, but hit it at depths far exceeding what one of the best hot VLF detectors, the White’s GMT, could attain in this soil. I was literally shaking I was so excited. The large specimen looked to be all gold, with no rock showing, but was very porous in appearance. Not like steel wool but more like a lot of tiny pieces of gold all lightly stuck together. I could tell it was going to be spectacular when cleaned up, and it later weighed in at just over 24 grams or nearly eight tenths of an ounce. I decided then and there I had found the chunk I would give to the property owners. They certainly deserved it and I still had about an ounce of specimen gold I could take home with me. Steve's share of GPZ gold after initial cleaning - 0.85 ounce Photo emailed to Steve of 0.79 ounce specimen after cleaning People may wonder at this a bit that I would volunteer this piece up when I did not have to, but I believe in taking care of people that take care of me. The day I was having was as good as it gets for metal detecting. I just found 1.6 ounces of gold in less than three hours, was on cloud nine, and wanted everyone to share as much as possible in that experience. To say the property owners were surprised and appreciative would be the understatement of the century. It really just does not get better than that. All this happiness and great times were facilitated through the magic of metal detecting and the extreme capability of one detector in particular. Not to be overlooked however is the SDC 2300, which also shined very much along with the GPZ. My only regret is that I could not tell the claim owners the complete story at that time. Sorry friends, I hope you understand, but now you know the rest of the story! This article started as a thread on the DetectorProspector Forum. Extra information and details may be found there. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2015 Herschbach Enterprises Steve's Mining Journal Index
    3 points
  4. This is not intended to get into every nitty-gritty little detail, but instead is a brief overview for those unfamiliar with the Minelab Pulse Induction (PI) detectors. The units released so far are the SD2000, SD2100 (and V2 variant), SD2200D (and V2 variant), GP Extreme, GP 3000, GP 3500, GPX 4000, GPX 4500, GPX 4800, and GPX 5000. The Minelab SD2000 was the first of the series, a genuine breakthrough in metal detector technology. It is the basis on which all the other models were developed. It was the first true prospecting pulse induction metal detector and it had a major impact in the Australian goldfields for which it was designed. The main drawback was a definite lack of sensitivity to nuggets weighing under a gram or two. The SD2100 and SD2100v2 are fairly simple manual ground balance units that refined the SD2000. The frequency could be manually adjusted to avoid interference from outside sources, such as a nearby detector. The SD2200d and SD2200v2 offer automatic ground balancing or a fixed/locked ground balance. They also introduced an iron disc feature of dubious reliability, audio boost, and automatic frequency offset. The GP Extreme offered enhanced sensitivity to small gold that was lacking in the earlier units. Much of this came about from Minelabs patented dual voltage technology (DVT) which was introduced with the GP Extreme and is featured on all subsequent models. There were quality control issues with the unit however and so performance varied on GP Extreme detectors. The GP 3000 is essentially just a refined GP Extreme and the GP 3000 performance is more consistent between units than was seen in the GP Extreme. Threshold smoothness was improved to be less erratic. The GP 3500 offered manual frequency tuning to help eliminate electrical interference and three tracking speeds for the automatic ground balance system. A button was added to the handle to allow for easy switching between the manual and automatic ground balance modes. The GP 3500 was the last of the analog models in the series. Where it all started - the Minelab SD2000 "Super Detector" The GPX-4000 was a break from the past, going to a digital control system. This allows for more adjustments but also more complexity. The GPX models can attain smooth thresholds on par with the best VLF units. A major advance is in the form of various optional "timings" that allow the detector to be customized for various types of ground mineralization and hot rocks that might be encountered. The earlier SD and GP models used a sealed lead acid battery with a 4 pin battery cable. GPX models feature a Li-Ion battery with 5 pin cable that is not compatible with the earlier models. The GPX-4500 is a basically a refined 4000. A pattern develops by now in that Minelab tends to make a major model revision, then follow up with another model that is just a refinement of the earlier unit. Model releases come about every two years with major changes about every four years. The Minelab GPX 4500 was extremely popular and the next model release was delayed to the point that two models came out. The Minelab 4800 was intended as the next release, but before it hit the market developer Bruce Candy came up with a couple new refinements different enough to warrant yet another model, the GPX 5000. The 4800 therefore became a sort of "non-model" as most dealers and users focused on the GPX 5000 as the new top-of-the line detector. The main change is a wealth of new timings allowing the GPX 5000 to get optimum performance in many varied ground conditions. The new Fine Gold timing in particular offers the ability to pull gold out of ironstone hot rocks that previous models missed. Minelab SD2200v2 pulse induction (PI) metal detector I disagree with those that say you can get more depth on large gold from earlier SD units than from the latest models. Having used all the models the largest improvement I've seen over time is vast improvements in threshold stability and the ability to adjust for more varied circumstances. It may be that in a particular location an SD will do just as well as a GPX. But not where I hunt. My SD units all had the famous Minelab "warble" whereby the threshold constantly wavered. This meant that small nuggets or very deep larger nuggets had to give enough of a signal to break through the waver. A far cry from listening to a rock solid threshold for the faintest whisper or "break" in the threshold. You can get just such a rock solid threshold with the GPX units. It is not that the GPX goes deeper, it is that you can hear nuggets you would miss with an SD as they could not be discerned as clear signals. More important on my ground was that my SD units simply could not tune out the intense magnetic basalt cobbles we have to contend with. The cobbles give a faint gold hit. So you either dug them all (impossible) or simply ignored the faint signals. But some of them were small nuggets or very deep larger nuggets. When the GPX arrived at my property I saw so many more small nuggets and deeper large nuggets come out of areas well hunted to the point of being "hunted out" that it was obvious the GPX had a significant edge. I'm not talking a nugget or two - I'm talking pounds of gold. The new GPX timings can allow for a clean solid threshold in areas where that was impossible with earlier units. Those that do not hunt such locations do not see the value in a GPX. Those that do know what I'm talking about. There is no way I'd go back to using an earlier model than the GPX-5000 by choice. Minelab GPX 5000 - pulse induction metal detector technology refined It should be noted is there are quite a few people modifying older SD units to get better performance on par with later units, and I'll admit these modified units are a wild card. Some swear by them and I'm not going to doubt them. But modifying older detectors is beyond where most people want to go so I think there is little doubt these units will only see use by a certain hardcore group of knowledgeable detectorists. The GPX 5000 has refined the platform to the point where realistically it is hard to think of ways the unit can be improved from a detecting standpoint. The only obvious deficiency is the ferrous discrimination system. While it does have its uses the ferrous discrimination on the Minelab PI detectors is notoriously unreliable and only to be used when absolutely necessary. Its use will inevitably cause gold nuggets to be left in the ground, misidentified as iron or steel. This area has been so resistant to improvement, however, that I look more for advances in the physical package as my most desired area for improvement. The general control box and rod design with backpack mounted battery has not changed since the original SD2000. Development of a GPX type detector housed in a package more reminiscent of the new Minelab CTX 3030 would be a major advance in the usefulness of the lineup with no actual change in performance aspects of the electronics. It has been well over two years since the GPX 5000 was released, and so I do not think it will be too long before we see what Minelab has in store next for nugget hunters. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2013 Herschbach Enterprises P.S. When I wrote this article in 2013 I had no idea that two more years would pass before we saw what Minelab had up next - the Minelab GPZ 7000. It turned out that Minelab also thought the GPX 5000 had taken the pulse induction as far as it could go, so the GPZ 7000 features new ZVT technology. The biggest surprise for me however was that Minelab may have paid attention to my "GPX in CTX housing" comment above. That may or may not make some people happy! And the GPX 5000? Still in production as the top-of-the-line PI from Minelab!
    3 points
  5. These are "how to" or explanatory guides on metal detecting and gold prospecting themes written by Steve Herschbach. Many were written in response to questions asked on this websites forum. Each article focuses on a single subject and they are meant to be relatively short but cover the topic well. There is information both for beginners plus advanced topics for the pros. Metal Detecting Steve's Guide to Headphones for Metal Detecting Steve's Guide to Metal Detectors with Reliable Target ID Numbers Steve’s Guide to How Deep Metal Detectors Can Go Steve’s Guide to VLF Metal Detectors and “More Depth” Steve's Guide to Metal Detector Search Coil Compatibility Steve's Guide to VLF Concentric vs DD Search Coils Steve's Guide to "Search Coils Are Not Antenna" Steve's Guide to Variations in Coil Performance Steve’s Guide to Metal Detector Sensitivity Steve's Guide to Threshold Autotune, SAT & V/SAT Steve's Guide to Metal Detector Mixed Modes Steve's Guide to Detecting Gold Jewelry Versus Aluminum Steve’s Guide to Why Detecting Thin Gold Chains Is Difficult Steve's Guide to Detecting Tiny Gold Jewelry In Saltwater Steve's Guide to Selectable Frequency & Multifrequency Metal Detectors Steve's Guide to Why Frequency is About Size, Not Type of Metal Steve’s Guide to Metal Detector Discrimination Basics Steve’s Guide to Target ID Normalization Steve's Guide to Target Masking Differences Euro vs U.S. Steve’s Guide to Why Weak Non-Ferrous Targets Read As Ferrous Steve's Guide to Why Some Ferrous Reads Non-Ferrous Steve's Guide to Waterproof VLF Metal Detectors Steve's Guide to Beach Detecting For Gold Prospectors Steve’s Guide To Why Detecting Tiny Gold In A Bottle Is Difficult Steve's Guide to VLF vs PI Depth Difference Steve's Guide to Pulse Induction Ground Balance Steve's Guide to Pulse Induction Discrimination Steve's Guide to Ground Balancing PI and "The Hole" Steve's Guide to Long Range Locators (LRLs) Steve's Guide to Beach Detecting For Gold Prospectors Steve's Guide to the Fisher CZ Steve's Guide to Fisher Gold Bug Models Steve's Guide to Minelab BBS, FBS, FBS2, and Multi-IQ Steve's Guide to Differences Between Minelab SD, GP, & GPX Steve's Guide to Minelab GPX Timings Steve's Guide to Tuning the Minelab GPX 5000 Steve's Guide to Ground Tracking As A Filter Steve's Guide to White's Goldmaster Models Steve's Guide to White's Electronics GMT versus MXT Steve's Guide to White's TDI Coin Settings Steve's Guide to Rebuilding The White's GMT Metal Detector Database with User Reviews Prospecting Steve's Guide to How to Pan for Gold Steve's Guide to Suction Gold Dredges Steve's Guide to Where To Prospect For Gold Steve’s Guide to Getting A Mining Job In Alaska Gold Prospecting Research Material For Alaska Steve’s Guide to Metal Detecting for Gold Nuggets Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors Steve's Guide to a Brief History of Gold Nugget Detectors Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Target ID Numbers Steve’s Guide to Glaciers & Gold Steve’s Guide To Detecting Gold In Quartz Rock & Mine Dumps Steve's Guide to Finding Gold Veins With A Metal Detector Steve’s Guide to Nugget Detecting Kits General Other Metal Detecting & Prospecting Websites Steve's Guide to Successful Rock Tumbling Metal Detecting & Prospecting Library Catalogs, Brochures, User Guides, & Owner's Manuals
    2 points
  6. Well, here I am, another year older, and 48 years of metal detecting and gold prospecting under my belt! 2020 has been an odd year for many reasons, the main being the pandemic that has wrecked havoc on life around the planet. The resulting shutdowns and social distancing requirements made this a challenging year for everyone, whether they caught the virus or not. Once I saw where things were headed, I decided to gracefully accept that 2020 would be a good year to just kick back and relax. I did get in some metal detecting during the year, but it has been more about trying out some new detectors than making actual finds. I had a good time and learned a few things, but this was the first year in a long time that I had no specific "adventure" planned for the year. If you look back over my journal, you will see I have done well over the years at making some sort of special prospecting or metal detecting trip each year. This year however it was short day trips, or at most a few overnight outings. Travel did not seem like a good idea this year, especially anything involving airplanes. Some gold found by Steve while metal detecting in 2020 I made finds for the year; gold nuggets, coins, and jewelry. There was no one find however that stands out at all in my mind, more a reflection of how spoiled I am than anything else. In some ways it was a very nice year for me, just taking it easy and having fun. However, I would like to ramp it up for 2021, and I will make the effort in the coming year to try new places and locations more than I did in 2020, which was mostly revisiting old haunts. Happy New Year! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2020 Herschbach Enterprises Go To Prior Story Journal Index Page
    2 points
  7. What is metal detector “autotune” or automatic tuning? Not automatic ground balancing or automatic ground tracking. Autotune is something so common now it is taken for granted, but it is a key feature when considering how detectors work, especially those designed to work with a faint threshold sound, like most nugget detectors. Prior to the 1980's most detectors had to be ''tuned''. You held them at a fixed height over the ground and manipulated a ''tuner'' until you got a bare threshold sound. A very faint sound you could barely hear. An increase in this sound meant you had a target. You could hold the detector over the target when you found it, and the increase in sound held steady. When the detector was moved off the target, the sound went away. No motion was required to get a signal, and so this mode of detecting is referred to as the ''non-motion mode''. There were two problems. First, the detectors of that day ''drifted''. The faint sound you set would either get louder or fainter. As the machines adjusted to temperature differences, or as the batteries ran down, the threshold changed. It did so rather rapidly, and so you constantly had to adjust the faint threshold setting manually to keep it on that vital edge. Also, the machines of the day could not ground balance. So if you raised the coil you got a false signal. If you lowered it the detector ''detuned'' and the threshold went away. Faint targets were lost. This was mostly an issue with small depressions in the ground. If you had the detector tuned to a fine edge, going over even the slightest depression gave a false positive signal. What I did myself was hold the detector an inch over the ground, tune it, and then lower it to the ground. This slightly detuned the detector and gave up the fine edge, but eliminated false signals from small depressions in the ground. Early 1970s "Mineral - Metal" ttuner control The first solution to this issue was push-button retune. If the faint threshold you had set got too loud or went away for any reason you just pushed a button, and you went right back to the original threshold setting. It was a great advance in its day, as pushing a button was much easier than turning a knob to get back the correct threshold. The detector “remembered” where you set the threshold, and a push of the button instantly returned it to where you had previously set it. This also made for better pinpointing of targets, as you could get close to the target, hit the button to detune the detector, and then zero in on the sharpest signal. Some detectors today still feature this form of ''non-motion pinpointing''. The next advance was electronic. The detector took note of the threshold you set, and circuits attempted to maintain the same threshold level. Since the original idea was to ''tune'' your detector, autotune was born. The detector automatically tuned the threshold. But a side effect was that if you held the detector steady over a target it was ''tuned out'', as the machine sought to return to the ideal threshold level. You had to keep the coil moving over the target to hear it, and so the “motion mode” was born. The original Gold Bug is the best example of all this. It is a pure all metal circuit with absolutely no discrimination. If set in the ''No Motion'' mode you can hold the detector over a target and get a louder sound that does not fade away. The closer you are to the target, the louder the sound. Great for pinpointing. But if you set the Gold Bug in this mode, it drifts. The threshold sound tends to get louder and louder. A Retune button is provided to reset the Gold Bug to the original threshold sound as adjusted by the threshold control. You must hit it about once a minute. The Gold Bug also has an ''Auto Tune'' mode. This is the mode you would normally use. The detector now reads the threshold setting in a feedback loop and keeps it steady. The side effect is that if a target is held steady under the coil, it is ''tuned out'' rapidly. The coil must be kept in motion over the target to get a signal, otherwise the autotune circuitry adjusts it out. It does not matter what causes the threshold to vary. The circuitry just attempts to keep it steady. Nothing is being tuned other than the threshold sound. Finally, there is a "Motion" mode, that is the same as the Auto Tune mode but with no threshold sound (silent search). Fisher Gold Bug controls, with Auto Tune in lower left The Gold Bug is an instructive model because discrimination is not part of the equation and you can see versions of all three basic detector modes at work. Threshold based non-motion mode, threshold based motion (autotune) mode, and silent search (no threshold) motion mode. Here is an excerpt from the Gold Bug manual that describes the three modes in more detail: NO-MOTION MODE: This is the most difficult mode to use. It is more prone to false signals, requires more retuning and must be re-ground adjusted more often than the other modes. However, the search coil does not have to be in motion for target response so it's the preferred mode in tight spots or situations where you just can't keep the coil moving back and forth. Furthermore, the problems of tuning, ground adjust and false signals lessen considerably at lower sensitivity levels or in non-mineralized ground. The No-Motion mode is most often used however for precise pinpointing once a target has been located in one of the other modes. MOTION MODE: In this mode the search coil must be moving, at least slightly, to detect a target. This is the easiest mode to use under moderate soil conditions. There is no threshold tone to worry about so you don't have to use the THRESHOLD control or listen to a constant hum. It's more sensitive than the Auto-Tune and doesn't require retuning like the No-Motion mode. On the other hand, the Motion mode is more sensitive to electrical interference and it's harder to identify false signals and bad targets (hot rocks, ground minerals, trash). AUTO-TUNE MODE: Also a motion mode requiring at least slight coil movement. Target response is smoother than in the Motion mode and, with practice, it's easier to tell the difference between nuggets and hot rocks and there are fewer false ground signals. Since most nuggets are found among hot rocks in extremely mineralized soil this will be the mode of choice for many nugget hunters. Various detectors were introduced with these features. What varied was the rate at which they autotuned. A slow autotune meant that the detector would not adjust as rapidly to variations in the threshold sound. The slow autotune had less of a tendency to ''tune out'' small targets or very deep targets. A fast autotune was more forgiving of variations in the way the detector was operated, in particular as regarding the distance of the coil over the ground and false signals, but is more prone to tuning out very small or very deep targets. Whatever autotune rate is chosen, it is a compromise. And what works well in one location does not work so well in another. When nugget detecting became popular a new variable was introduced. Ground mineralization, and more importantly, variations in ground mineralization, was something coin hunters rarely had to deal with. It was something a nugget hunter commonly encountered. Detectors at this time developed the ability to ground balance, or adjust out the ground effect that caused early detectors to give a false signal if the distance over the ground varied. Depth of detection dramatically increased. The ground balance control initially was a manual control, and so could be set for a certain ground condition. Any change in the ground mineralization tended to produce false signals. Autotune once again came to the rescue, as evidenced by its use in the original Gold Bug model. Units with a slow autotune had fewer tendencies to tune out small gold nuggets, or very deep gold nuggets. The downside is they had to be operated very slowly to allow the autotune to keep up with ground variations. Units with a fast autotune could handle variations in the ground conditions better, but had more of a tendency to tune out small or deep targets. Overall depth was usually decreased with faster autotuning but ease of operation increased. Another split in the technology came along. Many detectors, especially coin detectors, opted for a “silent search” mode. This mode eliminates the threshold sound entirely, very much like taking a detector with a threshold control and turning the threshold down until it cannot be heard. This makes for a quiet machine and became the preferred mode for many coin detectors. But it gives up a fine edge and so top performing units continued to offer a threshold control. Detectors that are silent search units do not need an autotune circuit. You can test a detectors autotune rate on detectors that have a threshold setting by holding a coin under the coil, and noting how fast the threshold adjusts back to its original level. This can vary from a couple seconds to almost an almost instant adjustment. An interesting side effect of autotune is ''overshoot''. If the detector is swept to one side and encounters a target, it attempts to ''tune into'' the target. If the target is a ''positive'' target, in other words the threshold increases, then the autotune circuitry immediately reads the increase and attempts to adjust lower. As the coil passes the target, there is a brief moment of silence as the autotune now has to turn around and increase the threshold back to its original level. In practice, you normally do not hear this. You hear the increase in tone, but not the decrease that follows. The target goes ''beep-beep'' as you swing back and forth over it. The ''beep'' is centered over the target. Move the coin back and forth under the coil and you will hear the sound. Now hold the coin under the coil until the threshold steadies, then remove the coin. The machine will go silent for a short period, again depending on how fast the autotune circuit is. However, if the target is an iron mineralized rock, most commonly a rock with a high magnetite content, then the threshold ''detunes''. The threshold is reduced and goes silent. So as you pass over the hot rock the threshold sound goes silent. The autotune circuit attempts to adjust by raising the threshold sound. But at this point you have passed over the ''negative'' target. A distinctive ''boing'' sound results since the threshold sound is now too high, and the autotune immediately attempts to adjust back down. The ''boing'' sounds occur to each side of the target as you sweep back and forth over it. The quiet spot, or ''null'' at the point between the opposing boings indicates the actual location of the target. To reiterate, autotune creates two types of signals. A beep-beep signal with the beep centered as the coil sweeps over it in both directions. Or a boing-boing signal, with the apparent target dancing back and forth as the coil sweeps over it. The null between the two boings is the actual location of the target, usually a hot rock. When White's introduced the Goldmaster V/SAT it featured "Variable Self Adjusting Threshold" or V/SAT. Self Adjusting Threshold is White's term for autotune. It is a more appropriate term as it explains what is really happening. People tend to confuse autotune with automatic ground balance. Unfortunately, White's fondness for acronyms is such that most people do not know what SAT or V/SAT stands for. The latest acronym is iSAT by Nokta/Makro for "Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold". White's GMT Variable SAT Control The Goldmasters for many years were the only nugget detectors that allowed you to vary the rate at which the threshold readjusts itself via a knob - anything from very fast to very slow. Only recently has this control become available from other manufacturers. It allows for more control in varying situations. In general, use the lowest SAT setting that allows for smooth operation. As ground variations increase, setting a higher self adjusting threshold can be beneficial. At low settings, the coil can be swept slower. High settings demand a faster sweep rate or the circuit will tune out signals as fast as they are created. The Gold Bug 2 has a “High”, “Normal”, and “Low” mineral modes. These are actually three preset autotune adjustments, with Low being the slow autotune and High being the fastest. Normal of course is in the middle. With the vast majority of the nugget detectors you have no ability to vary the autotune rate. A few programmable coin detectors offer the adjustment but usually relate it more to sweep speed so the detectors can be set for a slow sweep speed or a fast sweep speed. To sum up, it is very important to know how fast your detector is autotuning. If it has a fast autotune and you move the coil too slowly, you will lose very small and very deep targets as the machine tunes out the faint signal before you hear it. Conversely, if your detector has a very slow autotune rate (rare these days, but common on old detectors like the Compass Gold Scanners) then moving the coil too quickly will also cause very small or very deep targets to be lost. The best way to observe this is to bury a target, and sweep the coil over it. Go real slow, go real fast, and try something in between. You will find a certain speed will produce the loudest and sharpest signal. Going much faster or much slower will muffle the target. Detector engineers try to shoot for a normal sweep speed, and newer detectors are much more forgiving than older units. But sweep speed does impact the performance on many detectors. One thing that sets the pro apart from the novice is that the pro keeps the coil moving at the optimum rate that produces the best signal. When autotune is combined with auto ground tracking, this awareness of optimum sweep speed is even more critical. As a rule single frequency machine can handle faster sweep speeds. Multi-frequency and pulse induction (PI) detectors benefit from slower sweep speeds. People used to one type of detector often have a hard time adjusting. It is very common for operators of single frequency fast sweep detectors to swing PI detectors far faster than they should, resulting in significant lost performance. Do not be one of those people. Experiment with your detector to find the optimum sweep speed, and in the case of the few machines that allow for adjustments, experiment to see how slower and faster settings affect the performance. It can make all the difference between finding that gold nugget and missing it. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2010 Herschbach Enterprises
    2 points
  8. Well, here is a report on my last visit to Ganes Creek, Alaska for the year. I set myself up for this visit this spring by saying I would go to the mine after everyone had been there this year and find gold, just to prove there was still some left to detect. To show that it just can't all be found... no matter how thorough the hunters. I also wanted an opportunity to work with some new machines, and so in addition to my White's GMT I brought along a new White's MXT and Garrett Infinium LS. Brian, Jeff, and I left Thursday morning for a five day visit. We got to Ganes and settled in, then decided what to do. Brian was set on doing some prospecting with the 5" dredge Doug had purchased for visitors to use, so he was off in search of places to use it. I grabbed my new Garrett Infinium LS detector to try out, and Jeff used my White's GMT. Jeff and I headed upstream to where most of the large nuggets have been found this summer, on the theory that more were waiting to be found in the area. We scanned an area that has been heavily hunted. Three nuggets over 5 ounces were detected in the area this year, and I found out it is the same area where the 122 ounce nugget and a 62 ounce nugget were found. Definitely the center of big gold on the creek. The Infinium ran smooth and clear, so much so that I found myself waving my ring over the coil to make sure it was really working. Absolutely no signals from rocks in the tailing piles. Very odd when you are used to constant background sounds back from a VLF detector. The Infinium is a ground balancing pulse induction (PI) detector and as such it excels at canceling out ground mineralization. I got a signal now and then, and dug either a shell casing, or an iron trash target. The discrimination on PI detectors is crude at best, and so iron targets that might be rejected with a VLF (Very Low Frequency) will often be signaled as "good" on a PI detector like the Infinium LS. The basic idea with PI detectors is to go ahead and dig everything, although this can be problematic at a place with so much junk as Ganes Creek. I found the shell casings encouraging however, as that meant that not everything had been detected. I figure if non-ferrous items like bullets and shell casings are being missed, then some gold has also been left behind. Still, the area had been well searched, and the finds were few. I finally located a 13.8 dwt (dwt = pennyweight) nugget, and then a 3.8 dwt nugget (20 pennyweight per ounce). Two very nice, relatively solid gold nuggets. The Infinium had done its job. Jeff, although he tried his darndest, came up with no nuggets. The area has been hammered pretty good. We also tried some old tailings upstream farther, but found no more gold that day. Gold nuggets found with Garrett Infinium at Ganes Creek Day Two dawned under rainy skies. We decided to stay near camp, and see if there were more nuggets waiting to found around the cabins. I grabbed the new White's MXT, while Jeff stuck with the GMT. The rain got going pretty good, but we stuck with it. Lots of bullets and shell casings were dug, again, a good sign. But by the end of the day we had no nuggets. We headed up to the bench deposits above camp and found some small nuggets, just so we could say we did not get skunked. Jeff found a nice little nugget over a pennyweight with the GMT, and I got a few tiny bits. The MXT is a brand new detector from White's Electronics. Steve Houston from White's had a prototype MXT along on his visit to Ganes Creek in the spring and I had a chance to use it then. We both agreed then it had all the right stuff for finding gold at Ganes Creek. We did not use it much, however, as time was limited and we stuck with more familiar detectors. I have to note that I was very impressed with the MXT around camp. I used the 6" elliptical coil, and ran the unit in the relic mode. This mode, when set up a certain way, gives a high tone on non-ferrous targets, and low tone on iron targets. A setting right at "2" seemed to be the point where ferrous and non-ferrous sorted out with low and high tones. It was easy and efficient around camp, and all I dug were non-ferrous items. It has very good trash separation with the small coil, and easy id with the dual tone system. Great for places where trash is literally inches apart. Brian had set up in the ditch near the big nugget area, but was plagued with start-up problems with the gear, especially a leaky pump intake hose. He spent most of his day just getting set up and getting the dredge operating. Brian running suction dredge at Ganes Creek The weather cleared up the third day. Jeff again ran the White's GMT, and I the MXT with small coil as I had been impressed with it the day before. We started in camp, and I found a small nugget just behind the cabins. Then we tried some of the dragline piles above camp near where I found my 4.95 ounce nugget last year. I switched the MXT to the 950 9.5" coil. Both Jeff and I came up with nuggets weighing several pennyweights each. So far we were not exactly knocking down the nuggets. Frankly, we were both both a bit puzzled, as our constant digging of bullets indicated nuggets were still to be found. You simply can't dig all the gold while leaving the bullets in the ground. But results were lean, and our enthusiasm was flagging. I'm a big fan of aerial photos, and had some new ones showing an area downstream opposite the old bucket line dredge machine shop. Long rows of old bucketline tailings ran far back away from the road, and so I suggested we go down and check them for a change of pace. Jeff was running the White's GMT with the Sierra Max 14" coil, and I ran the MXT with stock 950 coil. The more I used the MXT the more I liked it. On the cobble piles I ran in prospect mode, with full gain, minimum V/SAT setting, and in automatic ground balance. The 14 kHz frequency ran smoother on the mixed rocks of the the cobble piles than a higher frequency detector like the White's GMT or Fisher Gold Bug 2. They tend to get weak signals of rocks because of their higher operating frequencies. The MXT was definitely smoother in the cobble piles than the GMT. We followed an old trail we had followed last year. I concentrated on the edges, off the main trail in the edges of the cobble piles near and in the brush. I got a good, clean signal, and gave a couple digs with my pick. The moss and rocks flipped back, and there lay a large gold nugget! I did not get as excited over this one as my 4.95 ounce nugget last year, as I was not sure exactly how large it was. Jeff, however, knew immediately it was something to jump up and down over. And he was right, as upon weighing it came in at 6.85 ounces. My largest nugget ever, and the largest found at Ganes Creek by visitors with metal detectors this summer. Sorry guys, but you left a big one for me to find! 6.85 ounce "Ugly Nugget" gold specimen from Ganes Creek - found by Steve H with White's MXT The nugget is strange, with very dark, lustrous quartz encasing a solid gold core. The quartz is almost like agate. Fingers of dendritic (leaf) gold reach up from the gold core into the quartz shell. It's a very unique nugget, but I'm hard-pressed to say if I like the looks of it. It has more quartz showing than gold. Some people say it really looks good, others say it's ugly. Oh well, all I know is it weighs more than any other found this summer. And that's remarkable considering the number of people over the ground, proving you just can't get them all. Side view of "Ugly Nugget" showing wispy dendritic gold Brian's initial dredge hole in the ditch near the big nugget area did not get him excited. A bit of small gold, but no bedrock, and no large nuggets. So he decided to move to a point of bedrock sticking out into the current location of Ganes Creek. The creek has been moved to the north side of the valley, which is reputed to have poor gold, but Brian wanted to check it out. At least there was bedrock showing he could get at. The next day (Day Four) Jeff took the MXT, and I went back to the Garrett Infinium LS. I wanted to put its ground canceling capabilities to use on the cobble piles, and Jeff wanted to see why I had grown so infatuated with the MXT. What's not to like about a machine that had found me my largest nugget ever? We searched far into the edges of the cobble piles along the creek. Our search led us way out on the dredge cobbles as far from the road as we could get, opposite the old dredge machine shop. There were no signals for some time, as many of these old cobble piles are relatively trash free. I was ahead of Jeff a bit, and so sat down to wait while he scanned up to me. Then he gets a signal in the middle of the cobble piles. The MXT said only 10% chance it was iron. VDI number of 55, exactly what it called my large nugget. No signal for some time, in big cobble pile... man, this looked good. He dug and dug. Got to over a foot. All indications were still good. I was getting excited, and came up to take pictures of the big find. And literally cheer him on, as he was getting a bit grumpy about the depth of the hole. The cobbles kept caving in, which can be very frustrating. And I'd exclaim "But Jeff, this is just how digging the two-pounder will be"! Jeff excavating large "gold nugget" that turned out to be a rusty can So at two feet, there is the quart paint can. Oh well, such is nugget detecting. Those large steel targets at depth really baffle discrimination systems. What is interesting, however, is I tried the Infinium out on the can, and it did call it an iron target! It seems the PI discrimination system does work well on some items that have problems on the VLF systems. The thing about VLF discrimination is it will sometimes call ferrous items non-ferrous so you dig some junk. With PI discrimination the problem is more serious - a gold nugget can easily be identified as iron, especially the large nuggets, so it is dangerous to use PI discrimination where large nuggets lurk. In any case, I sure like to see other people find gold. I always get excited when anyone finds gold, because it tells me there is more for me to find also. It's when nobody is finding gold that I get worried, and today was turning into one of those days. One the other hand, if I go out with Jeff one more time and find a big nugget, I'd best not turn my back on him. I'm likely to get hit over the head with a detector! Since we were having no luck for the day so far we decided to switch gears. Back to the old reliable airstrip to find nuggets. I've found if I'm just patient, dig lots of bullets, I can always find gold on the airstrip or around camp. But since the Infinium has minimal discrimination, and digging the compacted airstrip material is a lot of work, I switched to the GMT. Jeff stuck with the MXT. Before an hour was up Jeff found a 12.2 dwt nugget. Shortly after I found a 2.7 dwt nugget with the GMT. We both had nuggets for the day. Jeff's was a very nice, nearly solid gold piece. Mine was a broken, very quartzy nugget. Still, that seemed to be it, although we dug a small pile of bullets and shell casings. We headed up to the bench deposits above camp once again to look for smaller gold. The MXT is a great detector, but the difference in operating frequencies was obvious. We scraped areas free of overburden over the bedrock, and checked them with the detectors. The White's GMT with it's 48 kHz operating frequency had an obvious edge over the 14 kHz White's MXT, even considering the fact that the MXT was using the more sensitive 6" elliptical coil versus the 10" elliptical coil on the GMT. We dug a couple pennyweight of small nuggets, but the GMT clearly got better signals on the small gold. Small gold nuggets found with White's GMT Brian again found little gold with the dredge, and decided to wrap it up for this trip. He had his work cut out for him pulling the dredge out of the creek and getting all the gear put away. Day Five dawned a bit cloudy and cool. The only real good thing about this time of then year is the lack of mosquitoes. The cool nights have driven them off, and so our days were relatively mosquito free. A few biting flies replaced them, but not so many that I ever had to use a head net this trip. Cold weather has it's advantages. Since we were leaving that afternoon, we made a short day of it. I had pulled my left arm out of joint, and so was down to digging only targets that gave perfect id. We did a little detecting in the pile of material near the ditch in front of camp. This pile has produced several nice nuggets, and been heavily detected. But Brian is short order found a nice weighing several pennyweight with the White's GMT. It ended up weighing more than all the gold he got dredging on the trip. The weather cleared as the day went on, and I decided to spend my last few hours up in the big nugget area near the ditch. I ran the GMT again while Jeff used the MXT. I hit the road itself real hard, as I saw no signs that it had been detected much. But Ganes had given us all the gold it was going to this trip, and we went in early to pack and clean up our cabins. It may be I missed out this last day simply because I passed up lots of targets I normally would have dug. Well, it was a fun trip, with over 9 ounces of gold found. Even discounting the big nugget I found over an ounce of nuggets, with the largest being 13.8 dwt. Jeff found about an ounce with his largest at 12.2 dwt. Good-sized nuggets remain to be found, and even a few clunkers. Still, the easy pickings are gone, and it will take patient detecting to get results at Ganes Creek now. There are actually many miles of undetected tailings running upstream above the more recent workings. The areas are generally lightly brushed over, with some large open areas. A few brief exploratory runs into these upper areas have produced no real finds, but the area is vast in extent, and worth attention in the future. A talk with Doug revealed that next season there will be a lot more work done with bulldozers to make areas "fresh" again. The good news is many worked areas will be rejuvenated in this way. The bad news is you guys that did not dispose of your trash properly... well, it's just going to be there to dig up again. The future at Ganes creek is more likely to be a mixture of working material freshly turned over, and then wandering off searching for those missed areas. Finally, the detectors themselves. I like the Garrett Infinium LS. It has great bang-for-the-buck in the PI department. Its current lack of accessory coils is the only thing really holding it back at the moment. I see the Infinium as being the machine I will turn to when my normal VLF detectors won't do the trick. Ganes Creek is really not the best area for PI detectors, as the low mineralization and lack of hot rocks means the PI units have no real edge over VLF detectors. The White's GMT is slowly becoming my primary nugget detector. I've favored the Fisher Gold Bug 2 the last few years, but the extra versatility of the GMT is causing me to use it more and more. The extra depth on large gold versus the Gold Bug 2 is the big plus at Ganes Creek. The machine that really wowed both Jeff and I was the White's MXT. It's the first detector I've ever used that I really think "does it all". Now, while it bench tests well on small gold, frankly it does not hold a candle to the GMT when it comes to very small gold under actual field conditions. If small gold is your bread and butter, the GMT or Gold Bug 2 are still the way to go. Not only do the higher frequency detectors have an innate edge, but the manual ground balance offers better control for small gold. The MXT must be auto ground balanced, then "locked". The GB point is then fixed, but it cannot be manually adjusted. The GMT has automatic and manual ground balance, while the Gold Bug 2 is manual only. Steve's Gold - 8.15 Ounces Total But the MXT does do very well on nuggets weighing a few grains or more, and the bigger the gold gets, the less difference there is between the MXT and GMT. Frankly, for nuggets weighing in pennyweights or more, I actually prefer the MXT. It operates smoother than the GMT in mineralized ground, and has depth as good as, and maybe under some circumstances better than, the GMT. It's a great machine for large nugget hunting. Combine that with the fact that it has a vastly superior id system, with both iron readout and conductivity measurement, and you can actually do things like tell most gold nuggets from a .22 shell casing. I actually used the relic mode with the small coil on the MXT to work extreme trash areas to good effect. This machine has lots of potential to explore, and yet is very easy to use. Add in the the fact that it has a 6.5" x 4" elliptical DD, 5.3" round concentric, and 10" x 5.5" elliptical DD coils available as options, and I think the MXT is now the machine to beat for all-around use. And despite it's wealth of features, it's list price is only $799.95. I think we will be hearing a lot more about the MXT in coming years. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright 2002 Herschbach Enterprises
    2 points
  9. There are a few key things to know about headphones for use with metal detectors. The most important thing is to know that some detectors operate in mono, and some in stereo. If you mismatch headphones you can end up with audio in one ear only, or none at all. In fact, this has happened to me. I took my White's DFX out to do a little detecting, and grabbed an old pair of Fisher Phones I had around, and when I got out I found the phones would not work on the DFX. So most detector phones have a stereo/mono switch, or are specially wired to work either way. Make sure your headphones match your detector for stereo or mono operation. But best case is to only use headphones that can do both so you can use them with any detector. You never know when they might get put to use on a different machine. In a situation where you are determined to use a mono headset on a stereo detector or vice-versa plug in adapters can be purchased at most electronics supply houses. 99% of the detectors out there have a 1/4" headphone plug, but many generic headphones have a 1/8" plug. Sure, you can use an adapter, but it just adds a weak spot in the system. So get a 1/4" plug unless your detector is one of the rare 1/8" models. Again, pay attention to the mono versus stereo issue. The good news is that if you make a mistake there is almost always an adapter that will fix the problem but it is best to try and get the correct match. Does your detector have a volume control? Many do not. It is best to buy headphones that have their own volume controls, so you can use them with detectors that do not have a volume control. Again, you never know when you might switch detectors. Ohm matching can be important, and generally higher ohms is better. This is not always true however and some detectors do work better with lower ohm rated models. It is usually easy to determine what the headphone ohm is but almost impossible to know what the detector rating is. I therefore recommend that you should have your detector in hand and be trying the headphones before you buy them instead of going by specs on this point. Things to look for: 1. How do they sound? Are targets sharp and clear to your ear? If not, you can now pass on this set and try another. Different headphones match up with different machine and different ears in such a way that nothing short of trying them can sort this point out. They either sound good to you personally, or they do not. It does not matter what your friend likes. Some detectors allow you to change the pitch from high to low. Try different pitches with your detector to see what sounds best. How do faint targets sound to your ear? People have different frequency responses, some like low tones and some high, and the type of speaker wired into the headphone can make this sound vary a lot. Get a set of headphones that make faint signals as clear as possible to your particular ear. 2. Assuming they sound good, how adjustable is the volume? A good match will give you the ability to fine tune the sound with the volume control on the headphone. In other words, the volume control will have some range. If you have very high ohm headphones and use them on a high volume machine that has no volume control, the headphones may be so loud you have to set the volume on the headphone nearly off. And then tweak it within a fraction of a turn. Some headphones are too powerful for some detectors! The volume control should run from off at one end and too loud at the other, with lots of adjustment in between. 3. How many volume controls are there? Some people like two, one for each ear. This can be great if you have poor hearing in one ear and need to compensate. I personally prefer a single control that works both ears at the same time, so I do not need to fiddle two controls. So this is a personal preference thing, but your headphones should have one or two headphone volume controls. A note on setting your headphones. Turn the detector volume all the way up, if it has a volume control. Turn your headphones all the way down, then turn on your machine and wave it over a large metal item. Turn the headphones up until the loudest sound you will get over a large item is not so loud as to damage your hearing. Now, set the threshold sound on your detector for a faint buzz. You should now be able to hear faint variations in the threshold, but going over a 55 gallon drum will not damage your hearing. Metal detector headphones showing 1/4" 90 degree jack, coiled cord, padded muffs, and dual volume controls 4. How well do the phones exclude outside noises? Normally, get a set of headphones that will exclude outside noises like running water, wind in the trees, or anything else that might distract you from the detector sounds. Sometimes it may be advantageous to use phones that let you hear outside noises, like in bear or snake country. Or maybe in real hot climates bulky units get too warm. But from a pure detecting standpoint sound excluding headphones are best. Earbuds are perfectly acceptable however for quieter locations. 5. How well do the headphones fit and feel? Imagine they are going to be on your head for 12 hours. Something that feels good initially can feel pretty bad in a few hours. Beware of headphones that are too tight or that have too little padding. I prefer phones that completely cover my ear and seal to the side of my head. I do not like the kind that squash my ear but people's preferences vary. Make sure your headphones are comfortable for long hours of use. 6. How tough do the headphones appear to be? This can be hard to gauge sometimes, but in general avoid anything that looks to have cheap construction. The number one failure point is the cord, so make sure it is strong and well anchored so it cannot pull out. Headphones that feature a 90 degree plug are often desired to reduce strain and prevent the plug from pulling out due to a simple tug on the cord.Some top end models feature replaceable cords so you can carry a spare. I prefer to simply carry a complete spare set of headphones. 7. Finally, be aware that the newest metal detectors are coming equipped with built in wireless headphone capability. Early versions have either been standard Bluetooth, which is too slow, or some faster proprietary method. Standard Bluetooth has a significant lag between detecting a target and the actual audio response heard in the headphone which is bothersome to most people. The problem with proprietary is that you are stuck with very limited options as to headphones. The best option currently for most people is aptX Low Latency (aptX LL) Bluetooth, which is fast enough that most people are satisfied with the speed, and options abound in the choice and style of headphones. To sum up, if buying headphones at Big Box Inc. at the least you'd probably want a set with a stereo/mono switch, 1/4" jack, and volume control/controls just to make sure it will work on most any detector. But remember that headphones are like tires for an expensive sports car. They are one of the only important items on a detector you can customize for optimum performance, the other being search coils. Finding the set of headphones that is just right for you can make a real difference in detecting success, so it deserves some effort in getting the right set. This is where a local dealer with a good selection who is willing to let you try them all out on your detector can really help you out. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2009 Herschbach Enterprises
    2 points
  10. The Minelab GPX 5000 detector was released in the fall of 2010 and is still in production. I got one the same year - see First Alaska Gold with the Minelab GPX 5000 at Steve's Mining Journal. The Minelab series of pulse induction (PI) metal detectors starting with the SD 2000 are widely acknowledged as being some of the most powerful gold nugget prospecting detectors currently available. The GPX 5000 is the latest and most refined in the series. I can say that having used all the models the changes from model to model were gradual, but the difference between a Minelab SD 2000 and a Minelab GPX 5000 is nothing short of astounding. Minelab has dramatically refined this technology over the years. See Steve's Guide to Differences of Minelab SD, GP, & GPX for details. I believe that Minelab has really squeezed about all the performance I think I can expect out of a pulse induction (PI) with the GPX 5000. The stability, depth, and sensitivity are superb, as is the ability to adjust the machine to handle almost any ground mineralization or hot rocks that may be encountered. There are only two things that I can see that realistically can be improved on at this point. First, the the iron discrimination system, which is unreliable in general and of no use at all on deep targets. Second, the overall physical package, which has changed little since the SD 2000 first came out. The harness and bungee system is actually quite effective and comfortable for long hours of detecting but the separate battery and lack of speaker are an issue. However, it is possible with modern high capacity batteries to eliminate the separate battery/cable system and add an external speaker. Minelab would then be doing for people what many are now doing with aftermarket add on equipment. Still, there is no doubt at this point that for the serious, dedicated prospector, the Minelab GPX 5000 represents the current state of the art in pulse induction detectors. It is the detector of choice for many prospectors around the world. Minelab GPX 5000 - state of the art in pulse induction metal detecting My own GPX 5000 was exceptionally good to me, helping me locate the best gold nugget find I have ever made. I spent a month metal detecting in Alaska in 2013 in the Fortymile area. The month was about up and from July 22 to July 28 six days of metal detecting had netted me only three gold nuggets. That is a lot of detecting and digging for just three happy moments! I was getting burned out plus missing my wife and new home. My wife had also let me know one of my dogs was not doing well. It all just added up to time to go home. Besides, I had about 5.5 ounces of gold, not bad at all and better than I had hoped for. Good weather, good gold, good times with friends, it really had been a near perfect trip. Therefore on the morning of the 29th of July I wandered up to Chris and Bernie's camp and told them I was done. I was paid up at Chicken Gold Camp through the 31st so my plan was to be packed up and hit the road for Nevada early on August 1st. I had just a few days left so had to decide what to do. There is an area on upper Jack Wade known to have produced big gold in the past. Like nuggets weighing pounds, and a 10 ounce nugget had been found there by a dredger the previous season. It was on the ground owned by a miner I had a deal with. I had of course hunted it previously but only found a few small nuggets and lots of little ferrous trash. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the area was relatively open and level so easy hunting. I fired up the Minelab GPX 5000 with Nugget Finder 14" x 9" mono and crossed over the creek to give it a go. I was really relaxed because mentally I was done working and just happy to be out beeping a couple more days. It was really a nice feeling knowing I would soon be heading home. I barely had got started when I crested the top of a small ridge of tailings and got a massive boomer signal. Just a huge descending low tone, the type you might get if you buried a huge bolt or some other large ferrous target not too far down. There was a recent dig hole on the target, and I thought "well, let's see what he left in the hole" and gave just a couple big scoops. It was sandy easy digging stuff, and as it slid down the hill I glimpsed gold. I thought "no way!" and as I grabbed it could feel the weight. I stood there looking at 6.5 ounces of solid gold in my hand! The Selfie We All Want To Take - Steve With 6.5 Ounce Gold Nugget There is no doubt in my mind about the addictive nature of nugget detecting. It is not easy to do and the gold is not easy to find. There can be lots of false starts and disappointments along the way. It is all that however that makes it so sweet when gold is finally found, when all the hard work and effort is rewarded. I get a thrill out of every nugget I find, no matter how small, because I work hard for every one of them. The really big finds are much rarer yet, so much so that few people ever get to say they found a nugget weighing one ounce or more. The feeling of accomplishment is indescribable because it verges on feeling like a miracle has occurred. Once you get a taste of that feeling you want to feel it again, and it is that quest that powers me and others through days, months, and years of effort. The thrill of finding gold! Just Out Of the Ground, Unwashed, And On The Scale After an hour of photos and just plain soaking up the moment I proceeded to hunt that area extra well, because as you can imagine after a find like that visions of piles of nuggets enters your mind. If one got lost, might there not be others? Unfortunately it does not seem to work like that, and continued careful hunting of the location only produced one more nugget, a clean little 1 gram piece. No surprise there. How even one nugget like this gets lost is something we all wonder about. How does a half pound of solid gold end up in a tailing pile? Who knows, I am just happy it did. For a combination of size and the solid gold content it is the best nugget I have ever found. Minelab GPX 5000 With 6.5 Ounce Nugget At Dig Location The biggest question of course is who started to dig that nugget and then quit? The material was easy digging, about as easy as you could ask for. I surmise it had to be a Minelab operator. If you run a Minelab long enough you get huge boomer signals very often, and they are almost always a can or bolt or some other shallow, large junk target. They can also be very large gold nugget but if you get that signal enough times and dig it up, only to find junk, your brain gets trained to think that is all it could be. "Too big to be gold" - have you ever thought that? I wonder how many people have done like this unknown person, got a target, and then decided nope, it has to be junk, and walked away? I know I have done it and I am pretty certain it has cost me. It may be that a small percentage of the very biggest nugget signals are still out there, having been detected and left for junk. In fact, I am willing to bet that is the case, though there are a couple less now. View Of Both Sides, Just Rinsed In Creek I first went and showed the nugget to the claim owner and then Bernie and Chris. However, I asked them to keep quiet about it. The trip had been so enjoyable, and finding something like that right at the end, well, it was obvious I was going to be back in 2014. There was a lot of public area left to hunt on the creek still, and I saw no reason to possibly start a little gold rush to the area before I got the chance to come back and give it another go. That trip has now come and gone at Steve's 2014 Alaska Gold Adventure and so now finally you get to hear the rest of the story. Speaking of the public area, Bernie and I went and hit it the very next day. We had mostly taken advantage of our access to areas not available to the general public while we could and had been leaving the public area for later. There is information about it at the 2104 tale. We both started out with our GPX units but I could tell Bernie was less thrilled than I to be digging junk, so I suggested we go back to the truck and grab our VLF detectors. We did just that, and I no more than got my Gold Bug Pro swinging when it made a loud beep, and up pops a 5.9 dwt nugget practically off the surface! It was just another over the top easy nugget after all the days of digging nothing but junk. Even wilder is that fact that in 2014 several days detecting by several people including myself in this same location produced no gold at all. It is liked I walked up and banged the only nugget there. The next day and a half produced no other nuggets but I am certainly not complaining about that. My trip had gone from great to off the charts fantastic with just over a Troy pound (12 Troy ounces) of gold found. 12.3 ounces actually found in exactly 30 days of time spent actually nugget detecting. Not a get rich quick scenario by any means but not bad at all either. All the gold except a few smaller nuggets were found with the Minelab GPX 5000. Overall the time spent in the Chicken area during the summer of 2013 will go down in my memory as one of my best times ever. There are many more photos from this trip in the Photo Gallery. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2014 Herschbach Enterprises Troy Pound Of Gold Nuggets From Jack Wade Creek, Alaska 2013 Official Minelab GPX 5000 Page Minelab GPX 5000 Instruction Manual Beginner's Guide to Tuning the Minelab GPX 5000 Minelab GPX 4000-5000 Timings Charts Difference Between Minelab SD, GP, and GPX Models Forum Threads Tagged "minelab gpx" Minelab Metal Detectors Forum Minelab GPX 5000 Technical Specifications* Internet Price $3999.00 Technology Ground Balancing Pulse Induction (GBPI) Frequency 1100-4500 PPS? Autotune (Motion) Mode(s) Very Slow, Slow, Medium and Fast Ground Rejection Slow, Medium, Fast Tracking, Fixed, and Off Soil Adjust Eight settings (timings) - see chart below Discrimination Variable 1-10 and Off in Menu Volume Control Variable 1-20 in Menu Threshold Control One turn control Tone Adjust Variable 1-100 in Menu Audio Boost Quiet, Normal, Deep, Boost in Menu Frequency Offset Automatic Tune plus Manual 0-255 in Menu Pinpoint Mode No Audio Output 1/4" headphone socket (No speaker) Headphones supplied Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 11" round DD and 11" round Mono Optional Search Coils Over 100 accessory coils available Battery Rechargeable 7.4VDC 9.2A/hr Lithium Ion Operating Time 14 - 15 hours Weight 5.3 lbs (w/11" coil, excluding battery (1.7 lbs) Additional Technology Multi Period Sensing (MPS) Dual Voltage Technology (DVT) Smart Electronic Timing Alignment (SETA) Numerous Audio Adjustments via menu Coil (Double D/Mono/Cancel) - 3 pos. switch Notes The GPX 5000 employs an external battery carried on a backpack harness and connected to the control box via a power cord. The detector is normally suspended from the harness with a bungee cord, allowing for nearly weightless operation in level ground. *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
    2 points
  11. The Garrett AT Gold was released in 2011 and is still in production. It is a variation of the excellent Garrett AT Pro metal detector, but modified slightly to make it a better detector for prospecting. Garrett really raised the bar in the detecting world with the AT models. These detectors are waterproof to ten feet yet give up none of the features one would normally expect in an above water detector. They even have an external speaker for use above water which can be submerged without harm. Best of all you pay no penalty in either weight or price. The Garrett AT models provide exceptional value in metal detecting. The AT Pro is a 15 kHz detector that features full notch discrimination. The lower frequency means that it can be used in salt water. It also allows for custom discrimination, such as tuning out coins to concentrate on likely jewelry targets. The AT Pro lacks a true threshold based all metal mode and so is less suitable for nugget detecting, although it can and will find gold nuggets. The AT Gold runs at a slightly hotter 18 kHz and has a true threshold based all metal mode. This makes it a better nugget detector than the AT Pro. However, it is too hot to run on wet salt sand or in salt water. It also has only a couple preset discrimination patterns and so lacks the custom discrimination ability the the AT Pro has. The AT Pro and AT Gold both have three search modes. The first is a discrimination mode preset to accept all items with an audio beep in different tones and a visual target id. Pretty much everything goes beep, but you can adjust the level at which iron/steel is rejected completely, and this is saved when the detector shuts off. The mode is preset and only the iron rejection level may be modified. Garrett AT Gold metal detector for gold prospecting and more The second mode is a preset discrimination mode with light foil and pull tabs set to audibly ignored. A so-called coin pattern that eliminates common trash but beep on common coins. Again, only the iron rejection level may be set and saved. The rest of the pattern is preset and cannot be adjusted. The AT Pro has a third discrimination mode, a fully adjustable notch mode. Notch refers to the ability to set certain non-ferrous items to be accepted or rejected in ranges or "bins". The non-ferrous discrimination range is split up into sections or "notches". For example, all foil items may fall into a range of 0-20 on a scale of 0-99 and so would be said to fall in the 0-20 section/range/notch/bin. That 0-99 range can be split up into several notches and this varies by model. On the AT units you get 12 non-ferrous notches. Garrett AT Gold with 5" "sniper coil" An independent adjustable notch system lets you decide what sections get accepted and what get rejected. For instance, you could decide you are looking for something that reads like a nickel and set only the nickel range to beep, all other ranges get ignored. All nickels and items that read like nickels would go beep, and that is it. Or, you can set all non-ferrous items EXCEPT the nickel range to go beep, and ignore the nickel range. The AT Pro in the third search mode allows you to create a custom notch program and save it. Again, both units treat ferrous items the same. You can adjust how the ferrous targets respond and save the setting. It is only in how non-ferrous targets are treated that the units differ. The third search mode on the AT Gold is a pure unfiltered all metal mode. All items are detected, with significantly more depth. The all metal mode has an adjustable "iron audio" feature that will identify strong ferrous targets with a low or broken tone. The all metal mode also features a unique ground balance "window" that can expand beyond the normal area spanned by a ground balance control in order to eliminate some types of hot rocks. Gold nuggets found with Garrett AT Gold So on the AT Pro the third mode is an adjustable notch discrimination mode, on the AT Gold it is an unfiltered all metal mode. Finally, the AT Pro comes with an 8.5" x 11" DD coil whereas the AT Gold comes with a smaller 5" x 8" DD coil. I think the Garrett AT Gold is an exceptional detector and for anyone wanting to use a VLF detector in and around water it is an obvious choice. Do note that while the detector itself is submersible the headphones that come with it are not. To actually use the unit face in water with mask and snorkel requires optional fully submersible headphones. The depth of detection, sensitivity, and ground handling are on par with other 18 kHz nugget detectors. However, if the waterproof feature is never going to be needed (desert detecting?) then the special lubricated O-ring connectors for the headphones and coils add service issues that can be avoided with a normal dry land model. Therefore I think the decision to get a Garrett AT Gold depends in large part on whether the waterproof design is actually needed or not. Official Garrett AT Gold Page Garrett AT Gold Instruction Manual Forum Threads Tagged "garrett at" Garrett Metal Detectors Forum Garrett AT Gold Technical Specifications* Internet Price $637.45 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Transmit Frequency 18 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Pre-Set Slow Motion Ground Rejection Ground Grab, Manual Soil Adjust No Discrimination Adjustable Plus Presets, Visual ID, Tone ID Volume Control Yes Threshold Control Yes Tone Adjust No Audio Boost No Frequency Offset Yes Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output Speaker & Supplied Headphones* Hip Mount No Standard Coil(s) 5" x 8" DD Optional Search Coils Four accessory coils available Battery Four AA Operating Time 20 - 40 hours Weight 3.03 pounds Additional Technology Ground Balance Window Notes *Uses special waterproof connection for headphones, adapter needed to use other brand headphones *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  12. Links to other websites related to metal detecting for coins, jewelry, relics, and more. Also prospecting for gold and other valuable minerals. See the link trade list at bottom of the page. If you notice a broken link, want to add a site, or think one should be removed, send an email. Forums, Blogs, etc. Alaska Gold Forum - Alaska oriented general prospecting and mining forum. Arizona Outback Forums - Prospecting for gold with metal detectors. Find's Treasure Forums - Diverse metal detecting forums with many sub-forums. Friendly Forums - All types of metal detecting subjects. Gold Detecting & Prospecting - Australian prospecting forums. Nuggethunting.com Forums - Prospecting for gold with metal detectors. Nuggetshooter Forums - Prospecting, metal detecting, meteorite hunting. Prospecting Australia - Metal detecting "down under"! Stout's Standards - Blog for long time detectorist and author Dick Stout. TreasureNet Forums - Huge list of sub-forums - metal detecting, prospecting, and more. Tom Dankowski Forum - Lots of posts on technical aspects of metal detecting. Informational Sites Dictionary of Mining, Mineral and Related Terms - Reading an old geologic report and don't know what that word means? Geotech - Technology for metal detecting. Land Matters - Fantastic land mapping website for anyone with an interest in property access issues. Free interactive maps, books, tutorials, and more. Metal Detecting World - In depth articles and tutorials on metal detecting. MDHTALK - Metal Detecting Hobby Talk - metal detecting resources. mindat.org - THE mineral and locality database. Manufacturers DetectorPro - Metal detectors and high quality headphones. Fisher Research Labs - The F75+, F19, Gold Bug Pro and other metal detectors. Garrett Metal Detectors - The ATX, AT Pro, AT Max and other metal detectors. Keene Engineering - Suction dredges, power sluices, sluice boxes, and more. Minelab - The X-Terra 705, Equinox, and GPX and GPZ series of prospecting detectors. Nokta/Makro Detectors - Featuring the Nokta Simplex+ Proline Mining Equipment - Suction dredges, power sluices, sluice boxes, and more. Teknetics - The Teknetics T2+ and G2+ metal detectors. White's Electronics - Redirects to garrett.com since White's was sold to Garrett XP Metal Detectors - U.S. home of the XP DEUS. Magazines Gold Prospectors Magazine - Official magazine of the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA). ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal - Formerly known as the California Mining Journal. Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine - Features an annual Gold & Silver issue. Clubs & Organizations Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) - The Gold Prospectors Association (GPAA) was founded in 1968 to preserve and promote the great heritage of the North American Prospector. The GPAA was also dedicated to providing a platform for the exchange of information, presenting an organized voice for recreational and professional prospectors and helping it's members find more gold. GPAA of Northern Nevada - Prospecting club based in Reno, NV. Metal Detecting Club List - Over 100 metal detecting clubs listed by state. The New 49'ers - The purpose of The New 49'ers is to assist our members to find increased enjoyment and more profitable yields while helping to create more and more successful gold prospectors in our field. Each year we are proving that a large number of successful gold prospectors, associated together in a responsible way, have a chance to provide greater gold prospecting opportunities for all of us to enjoy. N.W. Montana Gold Prospectors - We are a non-profit organization for the person interested in the minerals of the earth - be it gold or garnets. Join us and learn to pan or run a dredge. Reno Prospecting & Detecting Club - Metal detecting and prospecting club based in Reno, NV. RoadRunner Prospectors' Club - RRPC was founded in 1982 as a non-profit, volunteer-staffed, family orientated club dedicated to gold mining in the state of Arizona. Members enjoy access to hundreds of acres of gold producing claims located throughout the state and are free to keep all the gold they find. Prospector's Club of Southern California - The Prospector's Club of Southern Calif. holds title to several gold claims in California. The Club has also made agreements with other organizations to to allow their members and ours, to make mutual use of each other's gold claims. With these arrangements, our members have access to quite a large number of sites where they can get their share of the gold in our state. Sacramento Valley Detecting Buffs - metal detecting club based in the Central Valley of California. United Prospectors - A family-oriented small miner's corporation dedicated to the enjoyable, relaxing, and potentially profitable activities of rock hounding, metal detecting, gold prospecting and mineral hunting. Link Trades If you have a related site and would like a link here all you have to do is the same in return and link to this website. Send your link along with the location on your website where you have linked to us via email. Visitors please note - a listing below does not constitute an endorsement of a website or business. Please let me know if any link listed below should not be included here. We will not trade links with totally unrelated websites. Alaska Mining & Diving Supply - Prospecting, metal detecting, ATVs, boats, snowmobiles, and more. Arizona Outback - Multi-brand detector dealer specializing in Minelab related products. Detectors Direct - Multi-brand metal detector dealer Down Under! Gerry's Detectors - Multi-line detector dealer specializing in customer care and training. GoldRushNuggets.com - Beautiful gold nuggets for sale from Alaska, California, Australia, Arizona and more. Gold Nugget Sales - Natural Gold Nuggets for sale. We specialize in rare gold nuggets and specimens. Kellyco - One of the world's largest metal detector dealers since 1955. Natural Gold Trader - Beautiful website with gorgeous gold for sale. Nevada Outback Gems - Gemstones for sale and lots of prospecting information. Nugget Shooter - Minelab metal detector and accessories dealer. Rob's Detector Sales - Minelab detectors and related product, based in Arizona. SmarterHobby.com - New hobby blog with a section devoted to metal detecting. Top10MetalDetectors.com - Vote for your favorite detector! Undercoil.com - Articles and reviews of all brands of metal detectors
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  13. This page is a free service to help people find mining claims for sale or lease in Alaska. Listings here may be deleted after 6 months but in general the ads are left up until you notify me that you want them removed. To have your ad listed here, email your ad with details. I no longer list ads that do not include an email address in addition to phone numbers as calling people for updates is too much hassle for me. Use the existing ads as your template. Note that since I am a prospector it can take a week or more for listings to be posted. Be patient - the service is free. VERY IMPORTANT! DetectorProspector.com and Herschbach Enterprises take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information presented here. A listing on this page is in no way an endorsement or recommendation of the property listed. Contact the person listing the claim if you want more information. Research all claims thoroughly before purchase. Read Investigate That Claim Before You Buy. Also see Gold From Water and other mining scams (look for Free Downloads pdf link). If you have any doubt about what you are doing, consider hiring a Qualified Person or company to validate a potential claim purchase. If you know of a listing here that you believe to be fraudulent in any way, please alert us immediately with the issue, and your concerns.. Petersville Area #1 - Updated 05/28/2021. Four forty acre claims located near Poorman and Cottonwood creeks. Road access. Two creeks drain into Cottonwood. Have info of area and geologist report. Asking 100K motivated to sell, serious inquires only. Contact Michele Stevens 907-345-9655 or email: goldengirl@petersvillemining.com website: http://www.petersvillemining.com Thank you for looking. Petersville Area #2 - Updated 05/28/21. Six State of Alaska mining leases totaling 2,690 acres. State of Alaska Mining Leases are a 20-year lease with the State of Alaska which I own the lease and the lease has 14 years remaining and are renewable. Also available are 25 forty-acre claims with 6 buildings and 3 airstrips. Located in historic and present Petersville/Yentna Mining District area, that has seasonal road access to all claims and leases. Located in Talkeetna C-2 Quadrangle north of the Peters Hills and all above tree line on Cottonwood, Poorman, Pass, Willow, Little Writer, and Peters Creeks where very limited mining of present alluvium has occurred. Drill logs, sampling, and certified geophysical information are available. Owner would like to see the property brought to commercial production. Prices have been dropped and owner is motivated to sell. Leases can be subdivided and sold as smaller leases if need be. Serious inquiries only. For more information contact Michele Stevens @ 907-345-9655, website: http://www.petersvillemining.com or email: goldengirl@petersvillemining.com Thank you for looking. WANTED in Fairbanks Area - added 5/28/21. Senior looking to rent or lease a gold claim in the Fairbanks area for small dredge operation that has easy road access and a place to camp. I’m 70 with my two labs, and anxious to hear from anyone that has a claim for rent or lease, for a month or so. Please contact JRYALE at sagebar@icloud.com or 907 841 3286 thanks. Birch Creek - Updated fall 2020. My siblings and I have nine (9) State of Alaska mining claims (720 acres) for lease with the possibility of sale in the Circle Mining District on Birch Creek. The physical location is Fairbanks meridian, T007N, R010E, Sections 26-28. ADL numbers 623131-623137 and 624102-624103. The claims are mostly unworked with a few exceptions. A small cut in the early 1980's, approximately 5,000 cubic yards, at the mouth of Willow Creek and a couple of small cuts mined in 2011 and 2012. The upper end of the claims had 2 holes drilled in the 1940’s along with a full line of drill holes between the upstream claim and Bear Creek. Other lines of holes were drilled further upstream. I have a copy of the drilling report. The claims are very easily accessible via the Steese Highway between MP 95 and MP 97. Bedrock is typically 7 – 9 feet deep in the floodplain, somewhat deeper on the benches. Gold averages 87%. Terms of the lease would be 15% (negotiable). If interested or have any questions please email Ray Lester Jr at rplester63@gmail.com Prospect Creek, Just South of Coldfoot - Updated fall 2020. 320 Acres Federal Placer Claims for Sale. Located 6 hours north of Fairbanks AK and 30 miles south of Coldfoot, and about 4 miles east of the Dalton Highway. Milclay Creek runs through the SE corner of the claims with three tributary creeks. This is all new ground ready for mining. There is a reliable Drill Report from a mining operation just south of these claims. This report indicates a Paleo Channel between elevation of 1150 ft. and 1250 ft. There is also a “Remote Sensing Mineral Survey” available for these claims illustrating areas of gold deposit, geological formation and more. This is a great tool to use to assist in narrowing in on areas for exploration. We submitted a Plan of Operation (POO) for Exploration of the 320 acres. We will also help with developing the Plan of Operation (Mining) for the buyer. A buyer can conduct exploration with a deposit. Claim numbers AKFF097686, AKFF097684, AKFF097679, AKFF097680, AKFF097685, AKFF097683, AKFF097681, AKFF097682. Selling for $500,000 Terms available. Email goldfever01@hotmail.com Miclay Creek Site Map Manley Hot Springs - Updated 7/24/20. Alaska placer mine for sale 50 state claims located on Little Boulder Creek, Salt Creek, Trail Creek and West Fork 30 miles from Manley Hot Springs, AK on Tofty Road. Can access claims by road some older equipment and camp. 83 yrs young time to sell . email miningwild@gmail.com Valdez Mining District - Updated 7/24/20. Gold and Platinum Claims. 2000 acres in the upper Valdez Creek Mining District. Claims currently being worked. Yield has been 1 to 7 grams of gold per yard of material, and 10 grams per yard of platinum sitting on bedrock. Claims have been tested to bedrock. Underlying layers reveal bedrock is 10 feet from surface. Gray clay, red clay and on bedrock, blue clay. Easy access to claims. Virgin ground, except the test hole we are working. Owner will be on claims until freeze up. Price for the 2000 acres is $950,000.00, OBO. Will include and LS2800 Link Belt excavator, 6" suction dredge, and gold wheel. Contact Claude at 907-394-2552 or email at akclaude2009@yahoo.com Windy Creek Canyon - Updated 7/24/20. 1000 acres on the Windy Creek Canyon in the Valdez Creek Mining area. Access is good. Testing has yielded .5 to .7 grams per yard. Silver bedrock source has been located, but not completely explored as of yet. Price for the 1000 acres is $200,000, OBO. Contact Claude at 907-394-2552 or email at akclaude2009@yahoo.com Cherry Creek - Added 6/7/20. I have 7 claims on Cherry Creek South of Boundary, Alaska. There is road access to both ends of the claims they are still mining above these claims there are 6 virgin claims and one that has been mined but needs to be mined again . It produced over 200 oz when it was mined in 1990. I am asking $20,000 per claim, they are very good ground and they are all state claims if interested contact me at websterscrap@yahoo.com 882 Acres on McWilliams - Gold Trail w/Patented Placer Claims (Estate Sale) Click on Lot Links for Approximate Mid-Locations of Listed Lots. Lots start from Headwaters of Claim and continues 7 miles downstream. (HINT: Lot J-22 is farthest, upstream lot and list continues downstream to end lot.) Lot J-22, Lot J-21, Lot J-20, Lot J-17, Lot J-31, Lot J-18, Lot J-16, Lot J-15, Lot J-1, Lot J-30, Lot J-2, Lot J-3, Lot J-4, Lot J-5, Lot J-6, Lot J-7, Lot J-8, Lot J-9, Lot J-10, Lot J-11, Lot J-12, Lot J-13, Lot J-14, USS 6070, Lot J-25, Lot J-27, Lot J-28, Lot J-26, Lot J-24, Lot J-23, Lot J-32, Lot J-33, Lot J-34, Lot J-35, Lot J-36, Lot J-37, Lot J-38, Lot J-39, Lot J-40, Lot J-41, Lot J-42, Lot J-43 Includes any and all abandoned buildings and equipment, without warranty of any kind, 41 Contiguous Claims and USS 6070, encompassing 881.96 acres of Private, U .S. Patent Land running mostly on both sides of John's Creek and Chunilna Creek. Ground Access: 36 mile trail from the loading docks of the Alaska Railroad to the J-2 Claim. Air Access: 2,800' airfield off J-14 and area of USS 6070. (RUNWAY CURRENT CONDITION UNKNOWN) Past Placer Mining Activity Over 6,749.84 Au recovered troy oz. from 361,413 cu. yd. with 5,093 hr. worked. Virgin ground believed to still exist. Value of minerals not given a value in sales price. Title Insured in the amount of the Sales Price. Future Land Individual Sales Forty-one (41) Individual lots approx. 19-20 acre lots already subdivided into 2 Mining Claims; MS224, or 282.84 acres, and MS2252, or 519.14 acres; plus one 79.98 acre lot, USS 6070, all which can be divided into 42 individuals lots, allowing for easier divesting of this investment, in the future. List Price: $1,400,000 Contact Greg Erkins (907) 562-3382 gregerkins@hotmail.com or gerkins@gci.net ads by Google... Porcupine Creek - Updated 2/26/20. PARTNER FOR JV IN 2,700 ACRE gold mining claims in South Central Alaska located N. of Glennallen in a Porphyry Belt and Critical Minerals Belt. Airborne Surveys are done. Documents on request. Partner may do due diligence and after drilling can earn up to 80% interest in the claims. Email turmacmact@msn.com or call Cell: (520)709-0601 Porcupine Creek Information - click or double-click for larger view Kenai Gold Claims - Updated 8/1/20. Fifteen 40-acre state claims in two groups of placer ground with great access and off the road parking. All the claims would be great for suction dredging and high banking. Some of the claims have enough low bench ground for heavy equipment operations. They have not ever been mined to any significant degree. They have been held for decades in speculation, but they have a mining history. Hope-Sunrise Mining District. Good gold on every claim. No equipment and no permafrost. Thirteen thousand dollars per claim or a better rate on groups of claims. Sold in two or more claim groups only. About 70 highway miles from Anchorage. Contact: augeojim@yahoo.com for more information.
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  14. The secret to the Minelab GPX series is thoroughly understanding the timings and when to use each one. Timings are variations of the basic pulse induction technology at work in the GPX series that gives you far more flexibility than exists in other pulse induction detectors. Unfortunately this extra flexibility also adds complexity, and so it is not unusual that some people may not be using the optimum settings in many cases. It is very important when investing in a Minelab GPX detector to take the time to read the manuals and study until you fully understand what the settings do and how to adjust the detector for the best performance. Otherwise you will not be getting all the potential out of your investment. The chart below shows the timings and what GPX models they are available on along with a general description. The descriptions are from the owners manuals that are available by download at the bottom of the page. In general you should always use timings as near the top of the chart as possible, with the exception of the Salt settings. Those are for alkali flat and salt water beach areas only. Using timings designed for more mineralization than is actually required may result in less depth on desired targets. Imagine the timings as another sort of ground balance setting. Low mineral settings are more powerful than high mineral settings and should be used whenever possible. Some confusion is the result of the timing names. Some people assume the Fine Gold timing is best for fine gold. This does make a sort of sense, but the fact is Fine Gold is just better than other high mineralization timings on smaller gold. In milder ground Sensitive Extra will obtain better results on small shallow gold. It is also very important to know that some timings work better with one coil type or the other. Minelab GPX Timings Chart Little or No Mineralization Coin/Relic (GPX 4800, 5000 ONLY) Coin/Relic is for use in lightly mineralized soils including many beaches and loamy soils. It offers maximum detection depth on a range of target sizes, significantly greater than any other timings. However, if the ground is any more than lightly mineralized, the detector may not ground balance properly. On ocean beaches containing significant quantities of black sand, better results may be had by using Normal or Salt settings. Mild Mineralization Sharp (GPX 4500, 4800, 5000) Sharp is similar to Normal but creates a more powerful detection field. It is capable of an improvement in depth, but is more susceptible to interference and will increase the severity of false signals in difficult grounds. This timing is best used in quiet conditions and can work well in combination with Deep Search Mode with a reduced Rx Gain setting. Sharp is an excellent tool for pinpointing faint signals due to the very "sharp" signal response. Sharp will work best with DD coils in most gold field locations. Medium Low Mineralization Sensitive Extra (GPX 4000, 4500, 4800, 5000) This timing may increase the signal from certain hot rocks near the surface, but can actually help smooth out the Threshold in certain ground types, particularly with Double-D coils. In mild ground conditions Sensitive Extra will provide the best signal response on a small, deep target. Medium Mineralization Normal (GPX 4000, 4500, 4800, 5000) Normal gives you the best performance on a wide range of soil conditions, and it will provide the best depth on a wide variety of target sizes. It works particularly well with the supplied 11" DD search coil for general detecting. You should always use Normal in new areas where you are unsure of the soil mineralization and the depth of targets. Medium High Mineralization Salt Coarse (GPX 4000, 4500, 4800) The effect of alkaline salt mineralization is vastly different to the effect of ironstone and mineralized clays. Normal should be tried first in these areas, but if the Threshold is too unstable then better performance will be obtained in Salt-Coarse. Using the Salt-Coarse timing may result in a loss in signal response to smaller targets. However, the response on larger items remains relatively unaffected and ground noise is usually minimized. Medium High Mineralization Salt/Gold (GPX 5000 ONLY) Provides the best signal response on small to large gold in salt saturated and mineralized ground conditions. It should work well on dry inland salt lakes, high salt concentrated goldfields, and mineralized saltwater beaches. Extremely salt saturated soils may still need to be searched with the coil switch in Cancel (using a Double D coil). High Mineralization Fine Gold (GPX 5000 ONLY) Fine Gold is sensitive to smaller targets in highly mineralized ground. It provides a sharper signal on small gold compared to Enhance, and improves the detectability of rough/flaky gold and specimens, while ignoring most hot rock signals and false ground noises. Shallow, highly mineralized ground where gold has been found previously should be re-examined with Fine Gold, and best results will be had by using the optional 8” and 11” Commander Monoloop coils. Note: Sensitive Extra will provide superior results on small gold in milder ground. Very High Mineralization Enhance (GPX 4500, 4800, Improved in GPX 5000) Runs quietly in most heavily mineralized, variable and "hot rock" infested grounds using a monoloop coil. It is more sensitive and detects deeper than Sensitive Smooth but can be slightly more affected by severe ground mineralization. Severe Mineralization Sensitive Smooth (GPX 4000, 4500, 5000) Sensitive Smooth is optimized for an improved response on smaller, shallow nuggets in severe soils. There is a loss of depth on bigger targets; so you should not use this setting when seeking out large, deep nuggets. Sensitive Smooth is best suited for use with monoloop coils in difficult soils. It eliminates most false signals from hot rocks, and ground mineralization, whilst retaining excellent sensitivity to small targets. The example below shows three common timings and where they should be used. It also highlights why using the wrong timing for the conditions can result in missed targets. Minelab Mineralization and Timing Example The following chart illustrates the procedure for finding the correct timing for each situation. In general, always start with the Normal timing. If the detector is stable and quiet, try timings on the left - Sensitive Extra, Sharp, or in rare cases, Coin/Relic. If ground noise or hot rocks present problems in Normal, then try timings on the right - Fine Gold, Enhance, or Sensitive Smooth. Salt settings should generally only be used on alkali ground (salt flats) or salt water beaches, but may have applications in other ground. The goal is always to find the most powerful setting that allows for stable operation. Each timing can be adjusted within certain parameters, primarily through the use of the Gain and Stabilizer settings. Adjusting for a lower Gain, for example, may be preferable to going to a less powerful timing. Minelab GPX Timing Selection Chart - Click on image for larger version Finally, each timing may work best with a certain type of coil (DD or Mono) and the timings have varying level of resistance to Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI). The matrix below attempts to show which timings offers which benefits and strengths/weaknesses. Minelab Timing Coil EMI Matrix - Click on image for larger version The simple chart below can be printed out and taped or glued on your detector shaft as a reminder in the field as to which timing may be best. Click on the image to download a large version. Minelab Timing Decal - Click on image for larger version Minelab GPX 4800/5000 Instruction Manual Download Here Minelab GPX Series Quick Start Guide Download Here Beginner's Guide to Tuning the Minelab GPX 5000 Minelab GPX 4800/5000 Product Brochure Download Here Minelab Commander Coil Brochure Download Here Minelab GPX 4500 Instruction Manual Download Here Minelab GPX 4000 Instruction Manual Download Here ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2011 Herschbach Enterprises
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  15. I became involved in metal detecting and gold prospecting at an early age and have been at it now for over 45 years. My quest has taken me all over the world and this journal documents many of those adventures. I hope to offer an idea of what can be done by one person with relatively inexpensive equipment. Keep in mind I have been doing this most of my life, and that I am familiar with the areas I am working. I don't want to imply you can just jump right in and have the same results I have. On the other hand, if one works at it, the rewards can be immense. I'm not talking about just the gold and other finds, but the sheer fun and adventure of the search! So here we go, with the successes, and occasional failures, of a prospector and detectorist from Alaska. Steve with 14.1 Dwt Nugget found at Ganes Creek, Alaska The reuse of these stories and images is strictly protected under the copyright laws. You may not do so without my express permission. Image reuse on other websites will normally only require a credit and a link back to this page... but only if I am notified in advance for permission. This Journal is dedicated to my wife for encouraging and supporting my adventures, and to my father for getting me started on the search for gold. ~ Steve Herschbach 2020 - Year of the Pandemic Hunting Ancient Gold in England October 2018 Minelab Equinox Finds Silver Fall 2017 Minelab GPZ 19 Gets First Gold June 8, 2017 Gold Specimen With GPZ 7000 November 1, 2016 Garrett ATX Return To Hawaii April 10, 2015 Nevada Gold With The Garrett ATX September 9, 2014 California With Nokta FORS Gold October 11, 2014 Minelab SDC 2300 Finds Tiny Gold August 24, 2014 Detecting Hawaii With Garrett ATX February 4, 2014 Gold Detecting with Garrett ATX November 20, 2013 Fisher F75 Strikes Gold in Alaska! June 2013 Alaska Gold Dredging 2013 January 2013 2011 Australia Gold Adventure Ganes Creek with F75 and GPX 5000 June 2011 Alaska Gold with Minelab GPX 5000 September 2010 Detecting Micro Gold at Crow Creek September 13, 2009 Minelab X-Terra 50 at Cabo Spring 2006 Beach Detecting with GP 3500 Fall 2005 White's Surf PI & Platinum in Hawaii December 18, 2004 Coin Detecting with Garrett Infinium 2004 MORE STORIES BELOW THE AD Steve’s 2019 UK Adventure September 2019 The Chisana Story 1973 - 2018 XP Deus 74 Khz Elliptical Coil July 22, 2017 Gold With Minelab Gold Monster May 7, 2017 Nevada Gold With GPZ 7000 June 29, 2015 Minelab GPZ 7000 Eureka Moment March 11, 2015 Nokta Scores Gold Specimen Fall 2014 Sore Feet And Gold September 3, 2014 Steve's 2014 Alaska Gold Adventure Steve's 2013 Alaska Gold Adventure Gold and Silver with the Garrett ATX November 2013 Making Lemonade Out of Lemons May 2013 Last Visit to Ganes Creek June 2012 Fisher F75 & Gold Nuggets June 2011 Ancient Coins at Colchester, UK October 1, 2010 Moore Creek Gold Treated with Acid May 2010 White's TDI at Moore Creek, Alaska Summer 2008 White's M6 & Surf PI Pro in Hawaii December 20, 2005 Bulldozer Adventure (Moore Creek) Fall 2004 & Spring 2005 George's Moore Creek Nugget July 2004 Moore Creek Permits & Gold June 2004 MORE STORIES BELOW THE AD ads by Google... Garrett Infinium at Moore Creek Fall 2003 Moore Creek, Alaska June 28, 2003 GP Extreme in the Fortymile May 23, 2003 Shadow X5 at Crow Creek September 18, 2002 Detector Reps at Ganes Creek June 17, 2002 First Gold with White's GMT May 11, 2002 Minelab SD2200D at Fortymile August 18, 2001 Exploring Petersville, Alaska August 5, 2001 Gold Layers at Crow Creek June 15, 2001 Fall Mining at Mills Creek September 16, 2000 Where Gold Comes From August 13, 2000 GPAA Claims at Mills Creek June 24, 2000 Spring Gold Dredging at Crow Creek May 2000 Sniping for Gold at Mills Creek October 24, 1999 4" Subsurface Dredge at Crow Creek October 9, 1999 Gold Dredging at Mills Creek October 2, 1999 5" Subsurface Dredge at Mills Creek August 21, 1999 Mills Creek Cooperative July 17, 1999 About Subsurface Gold Dredges June 24, 1999 Tesoro Lobo at Crow Creek May 23, 1999 Origin of Gold at Crow Creek May 8, 1999 Canyon Dredging at Crow Creek April 24, 1999 Winter Dredging at Crow Creek Fall 1996 Minelab GP 3000 at Moore Creek August 7, 2003 GP 3000 & MXT Get Fortymile Gold June 6, 2003 Garrett Infinium in Hawaii February 18, 2003 Infinium & MXT at Ganes Creek August 29, 2002 Memorial Day at Ganes Creek May 25, 2002 30 Years with White's Detectors 1972-2002 Lode Gold at Hatcher Pass August 12, 2001 Detecting Gold at Ganes Creek June 22, 2001 Crow Creek Nugget Rescue November 4, 2000 Detecting Gold in the Fortymile September 1, 2000 Detecting Gold at Chisana July 21, 2000 Minelab SD2200D at Crow Creek June 10, 2000 Gold in Hawaii Winter 1999 Sluicing Gold at Crow Creek October 17, 1999 Metal Detecting at Mills Creek October 5, 1999 Gold Mining at Mills Creek September 5, 1999 4" Subsurface Dredge at Mills Creek August 15, 1999 Old Stream Layers at Crow Creek July 10, 1999 Detecting Small Gold at Crow Creek May 30, 1999 Flooded Out! of Crow Creek Goldmaster & SD2200D Detectors May 15, 1999 What's Placer Gold Worth? May 1, 1999 First Nugget with a Metal Detector 1973 - 1989
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  16. Our first trip of 2004 to Moore Creek got a lot accomplished, but the big jobs remained ahead. I was contacted by my friend George, better known on the internet forums as seeker. He has a background with heavy equipment and offered to help out with the generator and bulldozer. George is a very accomplished and well traveled detectorist and this trip would give him a chance to try out his brand new Minelab GP 3000. And so we scheduled a another trip up to the mine. Our first attempt was aborted at Rainy Pass due to bad weather. It was some of the poorest flying conditions I have experienced in some time. We sat and drank coffee in Skwentna hoping for the weather to lift, but it never did. This is one of the frustrations of flying in Alaska that one faces from time to time. There is nothing much to be done about it but try again in the future. But the false starts are disappointing and you never get back the lost time. Yet another trip was scheduled for a couple weeks later, and this time we made it. My brother Tom was able to break away from work for this short weekend trip, and so it was my father, George, Tom, and I. This time the weather was better and so we made it into the mine with no problem. Then came the usual task of hauling our gear to camp and opening the place up. Every time we leave we have to try and “bear-proof” the place by covering all the doors and windows with steel. Every time we return we have to open everything back up. I want to make some heavy-duty hinged steel doors for covers to speed this process up. For now it is lots of work with hammer and nails. George took a look at the generator and after a bit of work with the fuel system got it going. The previous owners had rigged it to auto feed with a fuel pump out of a barrel. George hooked the original fuel tank back up and bled the fuel system and it finally fired up. We now had electricity to add to our propane stove and propane refrigerator/freezer amenities. Suddenly Moore Creek was starting to feel civilized; the microwave even worked! Aerial view of Alaska Range on way from Anchorage to Moore Creek Arrival days are always short days. We decided to look for a little gold. I gave Tom my Minelab GP 3000 and I tried the White’s MXT I had brought along just to see how it worked in the hot rocks. George had his new GP 3000 and my father his Tesoro Lobo. It was a bit of fun at the end of the day, but only Tom came up with gold, a nice 0.55 oz specimen. Tom has always had a knack for detecting although he has done relatively little detecting over the years. It must run in the family. The next day we got more serious. George wanted to try and start the old D9-18A bulldozer that we have sitting in camp. This unit had been sitting next to the trail going from the airstrip to the cabins during all those early years when we had made visits to Moore Creek. It apparently was abandoned as dead but in the last couple years the previous owner had finally got it running. A piston was replaced and they got a little trail work done before the unit started shaking badly again. They thought it might have a bent crankshaft, which would be bad news. Still, it was running when it was parked, so we figured we might as well try and get it started to see how bad it was. The fact that it is parked in camp makes it easier to work on than the one located over four miles by trail out of camp. These old bulldozers have a small gasoline engine referred to as a “pony motor” that acts as a starter for the main diesel engine. The first thing to be done is to get the pony motor running. They use a six volt battery instead of a twelve volt to run their own little electric starter motor. We hooked up a battery with a charge and determined the starter worked. We then checked for fuel… and there was none to the carburetor. It turned out the fuel line from the little gas tank to the pony motor was plugged up with rust particles. The line was so well plugged it was hard to believe they had used the pony motor to start the dozer. Nothing all that hard to fix but time consuming taking all the lines apart, cleaning them out, and reassembling everything, especially since many of the fittings were stripped or otherwise in poor condition. D9-18A bulldozer in camp The throttle controls were disconnected from the pony motor, so George sat up top and ran the starter while I worked the choke and throttle manually. The pony motor started and I immediately wished I had hearing protection on. That little motor was loud. It also became immediately apparent we had a coolant leak in the head. But it did not look too bad for a short try, and so George kicked in the clutch and turned over the big diesel. It cranked and my brother shot some starter fluid in the air intakes while I kept working the pony motor throttle. The big motor turned and we got some smoke puffing. It looked ready to start. So we backed off. We wanted to let the pony motor cool down as the short effort had it pretty hot. We also looked the big motor over and checked for coolant and found none. Off to the creek with buckets we went. We dumped the water into the system, and it promptly ran right back out of the bottom of the radiator. Well, we looked but the radiator is fairly well enclosed. We think there is a drain open or hose pulled. We sure hope so, and that the radiator is not cracked. I have to believe they drained it before walking away. We were tired of fighting with the unit, and decided a set of manuals would be very helpful at this point. The dozer seemed like we could start it, but I had no desire to hurt things more by running the unit without better information about the recommended oils, coolants, etc. We decided to round up manuals before making another try at starting the dozer so we could run the unit through a full pre-start checklist. And find out where that drain is. My father and I figured to start trail work up to the other bulldozer outside of camp and it was decided that George and Tom should go hunt for gold. It was hard to say when Tom would get a chance to visit again, and George had already done well in getting the generator going and a start on the dozer in camp. Dad and I figured we would go off and do some work and let them have a little fun. Prospecting can actually be pretty tough work, but looking for gold always beats working on equipment or clearing trails since you just might find gold. There is an old bulldozer trail up to the unit that the operators were following when they got the dozer stuck about three miles from camp. It is about 4.25 miles by trail to the dozer along the trail itself. It starts out in the woodlands at camp, rises above tree line into that nasty alder and willow zone one runs into in Alaska, and then up onto the clear areas above. The small mountains around Moore Creek rise a couple thousand feet above camp, to total elevations of around 3000 feet for the tallest. Once you get above the alders it is very open terrain and very easy travel whether by foot or ATV. Old dozer trail in wooded area above Moore Creek camp The old dozer trail was in pretty good shape but alders had grown into some lower stretches and willows choked off some upper stretches. These two plants are like giant weeds in Alaska, and the alders in particular grow at amazing rates in the long daylight hours. They are the bane of the Alaska hiker due to their propensity to grow outward horizontally from a slope before curving upward. Along trails they curve in from both sides and crisscross in the middle. You don’t hike through alders; you climb over and under them, and so they really slow travel. It is impossible to drive an ATV through them, and they rapidly grow into and shut trails off to ATV access unless a trail is constantly maintained. One secret of locating old trails in Alaska is to look where the alders are thickest. They love disturbed ground, and old trails and ditches are easily spotted by looking for lines of alders and willows on hillsides. My father and I headed up the trail with chainsaws. He walked on up ahead and I followed with the Honda 200 three-wheeler. He was pretty much just scouting ahead, while I followed up at a slower rate, making sure the trail was clear enough to easily get through on the three-wheeler. With the dozer over four miles away by trail and over a couple 2000 foot hills, we wanted to be able to drive there with fresh batteries, tools, oil, etc. We could have just bushwhacked on up and got to work, but it would be a case where something would be needed, and then you would be looking at a long hike to camp and back. The trail needed to be cleared for ATV access to the dozer. This proved to be a very wise decision. My father disappeared up the trail while I worked along. I would park the ATV, then clear on up ahead with the chainsaw. Then set the saw down, walk back tossing brush aside, and get the ATV to drive it up to the chainsaw. There was lots of back and forth but I was making pretty good time. There were long stretches that needed no clearing, and so after slowly getting though a thicket a sudden advance would be made for some distance. I was bringing the three-wheeler forward at one point, when the unit made a loud squeak and stopped like the brakes were on. A long period of rolling back and forth and cutting logs to get the rear off the ground and I determined a rear axle bearing was seizing up. I decided to hike down and get George to seek advice as I had no tools on me anyway sufficient to tackle an axle. I was about a mile out of camp but it was all downhill and therefore a short hike. I found George by the ponds above the cabins with his new Minelab GP 3000 metal detector. I told him what had happened. Then I finally asked him if he was having any luck. He said he thought so and dropped a heavy rock in my hand. I could tell by the heft this was more than one of our regular gold/quartz specimens. Amazingly, George has not washed it off yet. Gold was glinting thought the yellow mud caked on the nugget. I headed over to the pond and washed it off. I think I was almost more excited than George. It was a fantastic gold nugget about the size of a golf ball! Not just any nugget, but one with small fingers of gold creating a delicate pattern over the entire surface of the nugget. George's amazing museum quality gold nugget from Moore Creek Moore Creek has lots of smaller nuggets that are predominately just gold, but the gold here is very close to the original source. Even the smallest gold is not worn or rounded, but just as it appeared as the rock that enclosed it rotted away. This also means that much of the gold has quartz attached, and the larger multi-ounce pieces have generally been about half gold and half quartz. I had come to expect this, and was surprised and very happy to see such a large relatively solid chunk of gold come from Moore Creek. The fact that George found one means that more are out there to be found in the future, and that made me very excited indeed. We went back to the cabin, and the nugget weighed in at 3.74 ounces. This surprised George somewhat as it was heavier than he thought and so he was thrilled. Not a bad find for his very first nugget with his new Minelab GP 3000 and his first at Moore Creek! Bottom view of George's Nugget Another very good sign for the mine is that the nugget was found in virgin soil on the edge of what we suspect is a large chunk of virgin ground. The fact is that I and others had missed the nugget by the smallest of margins. We had all hunted the area getting just smaller gold. I’m sure I’d been within a couple feet of the nugget, and it was only a few inches down. Anyone could have found it, but George was the first to get right over it. In any case, that virgin area is looking pretty good right now. I figured George would be hot to go look for more gold after a find like that. But on hearing the problem with the three-wheeler he put his detector aside and we hiked up to the Honda. After a brief consultation we decided I should just get on it and ride it back to camp. It needed more work then we wanted to tackle there in the woods. So I got on and went. It squeaked, and would seize up but I would roll it backward to free it up and go on again. Then it seemed like it decided to work again and I cruised into camp without pause. We drained the oil out of the motor and got the Honda turned upside down. We got it apart enough to determine there was really not much we could do without a new rear axle assembly. One wheel had actually been welded onto the axle and the rest was in poor shape. We drilled a hole in the bearing carrier and pumped it full of grease. Then got it back together and I drove it around camp a bit. It seemed better, but it was obvious we had not repaired it. The bearing could totally give out at any time. Honda 200 ATV with trailer at old cabin in Moore camp Tom finally showed up and he had quite a pile of gold to show. He actually had not been doing very well, but got into a hot spot and found several specimens in a fairly small area. He had 0.19, 0.43, 0.53, 1.06, and 1.78 ounce pieces and so was feeling pretty good about it, but his eyes about popped when he saw George’s nugget. George was playing it all kinds of humble and stuff but we assured him we’d trade twice the normal type of gold finds at Moore for a fantastic museum quality piece like he had found. It is truly a find to be proud of. It was late and we all were tired so we cooked up some food and waited. It was starting to get darker, which tells you how late it was, and still no sign of dear old Dad. I learned a long time ago not to worry about Bud Herschbach in the wilds of Alaska, but still as it got even darker I started to wonder at what point we should go out looking. But then he finally showed up, and just as well as it was getting dark enough to be hard walking. My father can out-hike most people half his age, and had decided to go all the way up to the stuck bulldozer to check it out. He reported that a half mile up the trail from where I had stopped there was a very thick patch of willows where he lost the trail. He calmly described literally crawling through these willows and having “something very large” jump up a few feet in front of him and make a huge amount of noise moving off in the brush, but he never did figure out if it was a bear or a moose the brush was so thick. It was probably a moose. He is telling this and I’m thinking I would have had a heart attack right about that time but he refused to make much of it. He has run into a lot of animals in the woods in his years as one of Alaska’s pioneer surveyors. He finally made it up to the bulldozer and reported it looked in a lot better shape then he had expected and certainly better than the one in camp. It was buried to the top of the track on one side and to about half a track on the other side. On his return trip he found looking downhill that he had gone through far more willows then need be, and had picked out what he thought was the shortest route possible through the thicket and marked it with flagging on both ends. There was one day left to go on our three day weekend trip. After a good night of sleep Dad and I hiked up to do more trail work. We decided to save the Honda for now for the critical task of hauling heavy loads to and from the airport, like the big empty bottles of propane we planned on backhauling out this trip. I had decided to go on a hunt for more three-wheelers to fly into the mine. Honda three-wheelers are still pretty common in Alaska and can be had for very little money. Most importantly, we can fly them in easily in the Cessna 206. Being dependent on a single three-wheeler that could break down any moment did not seem like a good idea. I wanted some redundancy and more spare parts. We could also use more ATVs for the upcoming bulldozer project to make it easier to get multiple people with loads up to the site. This trip wound down with little excitement to report. We got the trail cleared all the way up to where the willow thicket started, and once through that it would be clear sailing. My father and I had had enough clearing for the day and so we figured we’d leave that last small but tough stretch for later. Tom and George had prospected most of the day, but the luck had run thin and only Tom had found a 0.35 ounce piece. Funny how quick you get spoiled finding gold that I now say things like that. Not long ago a third ounce nugget would have really seemed like a big nugget. Just over 8 ounces gold nuggets and gold specimens found at Moore Creek, Alaska Overall the nugget detecting was quite productive. Tom and George did most of the detecting and found over 8 ounces of specimens between them. George's 3.74 ounce nugget is his largest ever, and Tom's 1.78 ounce piece surpassed his previous largest of 1.64 ounce, found at Moore Creek on his last visit. While this nugget detecting is fun it serves a very serious purpose at Moore Creek. First, 50% of detected nuggets go to the LLC to help fund operations. Or, as in George's case, the finder has the option of purchasing back the LLC percentage which achieves the same goal. More importantly, every nugget find is plotted on maps. As of this trip almost 70 specimens and nuggets have been located totaling over 50 ounces of finds. The map is revealing certain "hot" areas on the creek. Certain zones are producing more nuggets than others. Some tailing piles have produced multiple finds, some none at all, and some just a single piece. Any finds at all increase the probability of a particular pile containing more gold from mere speculation to almost total certainty. Some areas that look very good have turned out to be not so good and vice versa. At Moore Creek it can truly be said that metal detectors are a vital part of our initial exploration program. Our short but really productive trip wrapped up and we flew back to town. Our generator is running, old dozer puffing, trail nearly cleared to the stuck dozer, and more. But this particular trip will always be remembered as the one when George found that beautiful 3.74 ounce gold nugget. It truly is a find of a lifetime and the nicest at Moore Creek so far. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2004 Herschbach Enterprises Steve's Mining Journal Index
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  17. This page has links to a collection of online "books" about prospecting and metal detecting subjects of interest. Most of these were actual printed books or brochures that are now available as html or pdf documents. In the case of pdf documents especially you can download and save these creating your own library of essential information. Many of these are out of print and hard to find so we are very lucky they are being scanned and made available on the internet. Metal Detecting How Metal Detectors Work by Mark Rowan & William Lahr - Originally published by White's Electronics as a booklet P/N 621-0395. Basic but rather technical information on how induction balance and pulse induction metal detectors work. Metal Detector Basics and Theory by Bruce Candy - Bruce is a co-founder of Minelab and the man behind their most advanced designs. This information delves into much greater detail than the above link and has many more illustrations and diagrams. Metal Detecting Terminology - Metal detecting terminology and definitions, with an emphasis on Minelab technology wording and descriptions. The Sport of Coin Hunting by Charles Garrett. The basics of finding coins with metal detectors. The author designed and built his own metal detectors, and Garrett Electronics was established in 1964 to manufacture and market his inventions. How To Search Sand & Surf by Charles Garrett. Treasure recovery at the beach including coins and jewelry. Introduction to European Metal Detecting by Charles Garrett. Metal detecting for coins and relics in Europe. The author designed and built his own metal detectors, and Garrett Electronics was established in 1964 to manufacture and market his inventions. Gold Prospecting with a VLF Metal Detector by Dave Johnson. Dave is the Chief Designer for First Texas Products and has been involved in designing most of the VLF gold prospecting detectors sold over the last 30 years. This is an excellent primer on using VLF detectors to prospect for gold. The History of Metal Detectors, with Emphasis on Gold Prospecting from First Texas (Bounty Hunter, Fisher, Teknetics) by Dave Johnson. A talk given to the El Paso Chapter of the GPAA February 12, 2008. Metal Detecting Technologies for Gold Prospecting from First Texas (Bounty Hunter, Fisher, Teknetics) by Dave Johnson. A short essay of key technologies for gold nugget detecting. Understanding the PI Metal Detector by Reg Sniff. An excellent, understandable primer on pulse induction metal detectors. Metal Detector Information - Get lots of great answers to basic detecting questions along with info and field reviews of Tesoro detectors. Common Questions About Metal Detecting from White's Electronics. Fisher Intelligence 5th Edition by Thomas Dankowski. Thought provoking articles on aspects of metal detecting not often talked about. Advanced Nugget Hunting with the Fisher Gold Bug Metal Detector by Pieter Heydelaar and David Johnson. This out-of-print book is a good basic text on nugget detecting. Although it uses the original Fisher Gold Bug as an example the information applies to most nugget detectors. Part 2 by David Johnson is an excellent primer on hot rocks. The Painful Truth by Thomas Dankowski - There is more good stuff left to be found but hidden from current technology - read why. A follow up to Dankowskis classic Beneath The Mask article. Head-To-Head Comparison Testing by Thomas Dankowski. It is not as easy as it looks! Why people get different results testing metal detectors, and how to do it properly. Halo Effect & Related Ground Oddities - from Fisher by Dave Johnson. An explanation of factors that can possibly enhance detector depth - myth or reality? White’s MXT Engineering Guide - by Dave Johnson. An inside look at the metal detector design process, with details about the White’s MXT and GMT models. An Engineers Guide to the Spectrum XLT - by Mark Rowan. The details behind the design of the innovative White’s SignaGraph display, first used in the Spectrum XLT detector. Steve's Guides - Articles about basic metal detecting and gold prospecting subjects. Metal Detector User Guides & Catalogs - User guides, catalogs and brochures from various manufacturers. ads by Amazon...
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  18. These are reviews on metal detecting and prospecting equipment I have personally used over the years. In the last 45 years I have used a lot of metal detectors and prospecting gear! A lot of items are not made any longer but may be found used. In each instance my goal is to provide details and commentary not found anywhere else. If you see information here that is in error or wish to add something email me here with details. For more user reviews of metal detectors visit the new Metal Detector Database. Do not miss Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors for honest opinions on gold nugget detectors updated on a regular basis. Visit the Detector Prospector Forums for expert advice. User Guides & Catalogs here. Fists Full of Gold - Perhaps the best prospecting book available! Fisher CZ Models - Some old favorites. Fisher CZX - Speculative new detector model.... Fisher F19 - General purpose VLF detector with prospecting mode. Fisher F75 - Flagship VLF model with prospecting mode. Fisher Gold Bug 2 - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, extremely hot on small gold. Fisher Gold Bug Pro - Excellent value general purpose VLF prospecting detector. Fisher Manta - New pulse induction beach detector in the works at First Texas. Garrett AT Gold - Excellent value waterproof VLF prospecting detector. Garrett ATX - High performance pulse induction beach and prospecting detector. Garrett Infinium LS - Pulse induction beach and prospecting detector. Minelab Equinox 800 - General purpose detector with prospecting mode. Minelab Eureka Gold - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, three selectable frequencies. Minelab Gold Monster 1000 - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, extremely hot on small gold. Minelab GP 3000 - High performance pulse induction prospecting detector. Minelab GPX 4500 - High performance pulse induction prospecting detector. Minelab GPX 5000 - High performance pulse induction prospecting detector. Minelab GPZ 7000 - New high performance professional prospecting detector. Minelab SDC 2300 - Pulse induction prospecting detector, extremely hot on small gold. Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold - General purpose detector with prospecting mode. Nokta/Makro AU Gold Finder - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, extremely hot on small gold. Nokta/Makro FORS Gold - General purpose VLF detector with prospecting mode. Nokta/Makro FORS Gold Plus - Excellent value VLF prospecting detector. Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer - General purpose waterproof gold prospecting detector. Nokta/Makro Gold Racer - General purpose gold prospecting detector. Nokta/Makro Impact - Flagship VLF detector with prospecting mode. Nokta/Makro Racer - General purpose detector with prospecting mode. Teknetics T2 - Flagship VLF detector with prospecting mode. Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ - General purpose VLF prospecting detector. White's GMT - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, very hot on small gold. White's GMZ - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, hot on small gold. White's Goldmaster 24K - Dedicated VLF prospecting detector, extremely hot on small gold. White's MXT - General purpose VLF detector with prospecting mode. White's MX Sport - General purpose waterproof VLF detector with prospecting mode. White's TDI - Pulse induction beach and prospecting detector. White's V3i - Flagship VLF model with prospecting mode. XP DEUS V5 - Flagship VLF model with prospecting mode. XP ORX - New model from XP with an emphasis on gold prospecting. Comparison Reviews Garrett ATX vs Minelab GPX 5000 Waterproof Pulse Induction Detectors Compared For more user reviews of metal detectors visit the new Metal Detector Database.
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  19. When Minelab started developing our EQUINOX detector, we looked very closely at all of the current market offerings (including our own) to reassess what detectorists were really after in a new coin & treasure detector. A clear short list of desirable features quickly emerged – and no real surprises here – waterproof, lightweight, low-cost, wireless audio, and of course, improved performance from new technology. This came from not only our own observations, but also customers, field testers, dealers and the metal detecting forums that many detectorists contribute to. While we could have taken the approach of putting the X-TERRA (VFLEX technology) in a waterproof housing and adding a selectable frequency range, this would have been following the path of many of our competitors in just rehashing an older single frequency technology that had already reached its performance limits. Another option would have been to create a lower cost waterproof FBS detector, but that also had its challenges with FBS being ‘power hungry’, needing heavier batteries, heavier coils, etc., and relatively high cost compared to the more recent advances that our R&D team have been making with the latest electronics hardware and signal processing techniques. When Minelab develop a new detecting technology we aim to create a paradigm shift from existing products and provide a clear performance advantage for our customers. Our Technology History The multi-frequency broad band spectrum (BBS) technology that first appeared in Sovereign detectors in the early 1990’s provided an advantage over single frequency coin & treasure detectors. This evolved into FBS with Explorer, all the way through to the current CTX 3030 (FBS 2). The multi-period sensing (MPS) PI technology that first appeared in the SD 2000 detector in the mid 1990’s gave a significant advantage over single frequency gold detectors. This key technology exists in the current GPX Series detectors today. Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) is our latest gold detection technology implemented in the GPZ 7000 and is a recent example of Minelab’s continued innovation beyond ‘tried and true’ technologies to achieve improved performance. Further to our own consumer products, our R&D team also has significant experience working with the US and Australian military on multi-frequency technologies for metal detection. Introducing Multi-IQ Multi-IQ is Minelab’s next major innovation and can be considered as combining the performance advantages of both FBS and VFLEX in a new fusion of technologies. It isn’t just a rework of single frequency VLF, nor is it merely another name for an iteration of BBS/FBS. By developing a new technology, as well as a new detector ‘from scratch’, we will be providing both multi-frequency and selectable single frequencies in a lightweight platform, at a low cost, with a significantly faster recovery speed that is comparable to or better than competing products. We have come out with a very bold statement that has captured a lot of market attention: “EQUINOX obsoletes all single frequency VLF detectors” Multi-IQ achieves a high level of target ID accuracy at depth much better than any single frequency detector can achieve, including switchable single frequency detectors that claim to be multi-frequency. When Minelab use the term “multi-frequency” we mean “simultaneous” – i.e. more than one frequency is transmitted, received AND processed concurrently. This enables maximum target sensitivity across all target types and sizes, while minimizing ground noise (especially in saltwater). There are presently only a handful of detectors from Minelab and other manufacturers that can be classed as true multi-frequency, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. How does Multi-IQ compare to BBS/FBS? Multi-IQ uses a different group of fundamental frequencies than BBS/FBS to generate a wide-band multi-frequency transmission signal that is more sensitive to high frequency targets and slightly less sensitive to low frequency targets. Multi-IQ uses the latest high-speed processors and advanced digital filtering techniques for a much faster recovery speed than BBS/FBS technologies. Multi-IQ copes with saltwater and beach conditions almost as well as BBS/FBS, however BBS/FBS still have an advantage for finding high conductive silver coins in all conditions. “* 20 kHz and 40 kHz are not available as single operating frequencies in EQUINOX 600. The Multi-IQ frequency range shown applies to both EQUINOX 600 and 800. This diagram is representative only. Actual sensitivity levels will depend upon target types and sizes, ground conditions and detector settings.“ Questions & Answers What actually is Multi-IQ technology? What does the name stand for? What frequencies does it use? Is “Multi” the same or different for the various Detecting Modes? Is Multi-IQ the same or different for EQUINOX 600 and EQUINOX 800? Why use a single frequency? How does EQUINOX perform in certain environments? How does EQUINOX perform compared to other Minelab detectors? How does EQUINOX perform against other brand detectors? These are some of the myriad of questions we have seen since we published our EQUINOX Product Notice in mid-September. Some of the answers will have to wait until Minelab publishes reports from our field testers and/or you get your own hands on a detector to try yourself. In the meantime, let’s look further into the aspects of Multi-IQ technology. Multi-IQ is derived from: Simultaneous Multi-Frequency In-phase and Quadrature Synchronous Demodulation. We can go to a statement from Dr Philip Wahrlich, our principal technology physicist, about a key difference of Multi-IQ compared to the demodulation taking place in conventional single frequency VLF detectors: “Within the Multi-IQ engine, the receiver is both phase-locked and amplitude-normalized to the transmitted magnetic field – rather than the electrical voltage driving the transmitted field. This field can be altered by the mineralization in the soil (in both phase and amplitude), so if the receiver was only phased-locked to the driving voltage, this would result in inaccurate target IDs and a higher audible noise level. Locking the receiver to the actual transmitted field, across all frequencies simultaneously (by measuring the current through the coil) solves these issues, creating a very sensitive AND stable detector” Precisely measuring these extremely small current variations is quite remarkable if you consider the levels involved. It’s actually parts per billion, or nanoamp signals, we are talking about here! With Multi-IQ, we can derive much greater target ID accuracy and increased detecting performance, especially in ‘difficult’ ground. In ‘mild’ ground, single frequency may perform adequately, BUT depth and stable ID’s will be limited by ground noise; whereas the Multi-IQ simultaneous multi-frequency will achieve maximum depth with a very stable target signal. In ‘strong’ ground, single frequency will not be able to effectively separate the target signal, giving decreased results; whereas Multi-IQ will still detect at depth, losing a minimal amount of target accuracy. This is how we would generally represent the multi-frequency advantage, based on our engineering test data. Let’s hear more from Philip Wahrlich about the technical details: “For each frequency the detector transmits and receives there are two signals which can be extracted which we refer to as I and Q. The Q signal is most sensitive to targets, while the I signal is most sensitive to iron content. Traditional single-frequency metal detectors use the Q signal to detect targets, and then use the ratio of the I and Q signals to assess the characteristics of the target and assign a target ID. The problem with this approach is that the I signal is sensitive to the iron content of the soil. The target ID is always perturbed by the response from the soil, and as the signal from the target gets weaker, this perturbation becomes substantial. With some simplification here for brevity, if a detector transmits and receives on more than one frequency, it can ignore the soil sensitive I signals, and instead look at the multiple Q signals it receives in order to determine a target ID. That way, even for weak targets or highly mineralized soils, the target ID is far less perturbed by the response from the soil. This leads to very precise target IDs, both in mineralized soils and for targets at depth.” “How many simultaneous frequencies?” you may ask, wondering if this is a critical parameter. Minelab has been carrying out detailed investigations into this in recent years. Just as you can color in a map with many colors, the minimum number to differentiate between adjacent countries is only 4 – a tough problem for mathematicians to prove, over many years. Similar to the map problem, it’s perhaps not the maximum number of frequencies needed to achieve an optimum result, but the minimum number that is more interesting. When it comes to frequencies in a detector, to cover all target types, how the frequencies are combined AND processed is now more important, with the latest detectors, than how many frequencies, for achieving even better results. Efficient new technology = lower power = lighter weight = higher performance. The above diagram is intended to be a simplified representation of how different frequencies of operation are better suited to different target types; i.e. low frequencies (e.g. 5kHz) are more responsive to high conductors (e.g. large silver targets) and high frequencies (e.g. 40kHz) are more responsive to low conductors (e.g. small gold nuggets). The EQUINOX 600 offers a choice of 3 single frequencies and the EQUINOX 800 offers the choice of 5 single frequencies. Both models also have simultaneous multi-frequency options that cover a much broader range of targets than any one single frequency can – and they’re different across the Detecting Modes! Our goal was to develop a true multi-purpose detector that could not only physically be used in all-terrain conditions, but also be suitable for all types of detecting for all detectorists, and particularly those not requiring a specialist premium flagship detector optimised for only one aspect of detecting – e.g. coins, beach, gold, jewelry, water, discrimination, artefacts, etc. This multi-purpose requirement is something that could only be achieved by going beyond single frequency and creating the next generation of multi-frequency technology. Equally adaptable to all target types and ground conditions – just select your detecting location and go! An important update on the Detect Modes… Previously we have stated that Park, Field and Beach would run in multi-frequency and that Gold would only use the single frequencies of 20kHz and 40kHz, giving better results for gold nugget hunting. Our ongoing collaborative field testing feedback from around the world has resulted in further improvements to Multi-IQ to the point where multi-frequency is now the best option for Gold Mode as well, and will be the default setting. Please refer to the revised Getting Started Guide for updated product functions. Now, back to the technology: looking into our Multi-IQ diagram further… a single frequency is most sensitive to a narrow range of targets and multiple frequency is equally sensitive to a wider range of targets (e.g. the orange curve versus the white curve below). According to Philip Wahrlich, “From our testing, the Multi-IQ deployed in EQUINOX detectors has shown no significant trade-offs relative to the best single-frequency detectors and exceeded performance benchmarks in many important attributes, especially discrimination. And, for good measure, EQUINOX can also be operated as a single-frequency detector” While we could delve into this aspect further, many of our readers are likely more interested in what happens within the white Multi-IQ band itself, rather than single versus multi. What has Minelab developed new, and uniquely, with frequencies to give better performance across the whole range of targets for different conditions? The Multi-IQ transmit signal used in EQUINOX is a complex waveform where multiple frequencies are combined in a very dissimilar way than our proven BBS/FBS technology in Excalibur II / Safari / E-TRAC / CTX 3030 detectors. If you view the BBS signal amplitude on an oscilloscope, it looks something like this: In comparison, Multi-IQ looks something like this: Hence – Multi-IQ is not a derivative or evolution of BBS/FBS. Multi-IQ is a DIFFERENT method of simultaneous multi-frequency metal detection. We could also debate “simultaneous” versus “sequential” semantics; however the real detection ‘magic’ doesn’t happen with what is transmitted to and received from the coil alone. Remember, in Part 2, we discussed how frequencies are “combined AND processed” as being important for achieving better results? Let’s assess Multi-IQ for the different Detect Mode search profiles: Park 1 and Field 1 process a lower weighted frequency combination, as well as using algorithms that maximise ground balancing for soil, to achieve the best signal to noise ratio. Hence being most suited for general detecting, coin hunting, etc. Park 2 and Field 2 process a higher weighted combination of the Multi-IQ band while still ground balancing for soil. Therefore they will be more sensitive to higher frequency (low conductive) targets, but potentially more susceptible to ground noise. Beach 1 also processes a lower weighted combination, BUT uses different algorithms to maximise ground balancing for salt. Hence being most suited for both dry and wet sand conditions. Beach 2 processes a very low weighted frequency combination, using the same algorithms as Beach 1 to maximise ground balancing for salt. This search profile is designed for use in the surf and underwater. Gold 1 and Gold 2 process the higher weighted combination of the Multi-IQ band while still ground balancing for soil. However, they use different setting parameters better suited for gold nugget hunting. Earlier we discussed the different Multi-IQ “frequency weightings” for the different search profiles. Now let's explain further why it is not a simple matter of just referring to specific individual frequencies for learning more about Multi-IQ technology. Let’s now consider one of the key practical detecting outcomes and then discuss how this was achieved… “A lot of people are going to be surprised at how well the machine works in saltwater. At the outset we weren’t sure whether reliably detecting micro-jewelry in a conductive medium was even possible, but – with the help of our field testers and the subsequent fine-tuning of the Multi-IQ algorithms – we’ve found the EQUINOX to be more than capable.” Dr Philip Wahrlich Background and considerations While Multi-IQ may appear as ‘magic’ to some, to our team of signal processing experts, it’s the result of a significant number of man-years of development. So where did they start? By assessing the metal detectors and technologies available in the market at that time, along with typical customer perceptions about their practical applications; and actual detecting results achieved: So, an important goal with developing Multi-IQ technology was to retain the above simultaneous multi-frequency advantages AND greatly improve performance in the two key areas where many single-frequency detectors typically excel – fast recovery in iron trash and finding low conductors in all conditions. Speeding up the process Most comparable low-power Continuous Wave transmit-receive detectors (for the same coil size) will have a similar raw detection depth at which the transmit signal penetrates the ground and has the potential to energize a target. To increase detection depth significantly typically requires higher power and Pulse Induction technology. This has advantages for gold prospecting, but discrimination is poor for identifying non-ferrous targets. While we continue to push for depth improvements, Multi-IQ also aims to provide substantial speed improvements, resulting in being able to better find ALL non-ferrous targets among trash in ALL locations. You could therefore say “fast is the new deep, when it comes to EQUINOX!” Let’s start with considering signal processing not as a ‘black box’ where ‘magic’ happens, but more as a complex chain of applied algorithms, where the goal is to more accurately distinguish very small good target signals from ground noise, EMI and iron trash. Now, ‘fast’ by itself is not enough – you can have fast with poor noise rejection and poor target identification, giving no great advantage. Fast is also not just a result of microprocessor speed. Processors operate at much higher speed than is needed to ‘do the signal processing math’. You can think of the signal processing chain broadly as a set of filters and other processes which are applied to the metal detector signals to convert these signals into useable, informative indicators, such as an audio alert or a target ID. For Multi-IQ, keeping the ‘good’ properties of these filters, while keeping them lean and removing unnecessary processing, was an important step towards achieving ‘fast’ for EQUINOX. It’s also important to recognize that these filters are not the coarse filters of the analogue electronics hardware of last century – it all happens in software these days. Perhaps think of the older analogue TV standards versus current digital TV. (Standard digital HDTV has approx.10 times the resolution of analogue NTSC.) With metal detectors, a fast higher resolution filter set will result in improved target recognition. Factoring in the ground conditions However, speed without accuracy is not enough to produce a “game changer” detector – and improved accuracy cannot be achieved with a single frequency alone. Why? – “multi-frequency has more data-points” Philip Beck, Engineering Manager. This is worth explaining in more detail… All transmit-receive detectors produce in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) signals that can be processed in various ways depending upon the response received from targets, ground and salt. This processing happens through ‘channels’ that have different sensitivities to the different signals received. It is important to recognize that channels are not exactly frequencies. This is why it is more complex to explain than just correlating optimum frequencies to specific target types. With a single frequency detector there are two basic channels for information (i.e. I and Q) that respond differently to good and bad signals, depending upon the frequency of operation and whether you are looking the the I or Q signal. It is also possible to scale and subtract these signals, while taking ground balance into account, to best maximize good signals and minimize bad signals. You could thus think of single-frequency being Single-IQ, with a limited set of data (e.g. I, Q, I-Q, Q-I) that works well for a particular set of conditions. To further enhance performance for a different set of conditions, you need to change frequency and detect over the same ground again. Therefore a selectable single frequency detector has an advantage with more data available, but not all at once (e.g. I1, Q1, I1-Q1, Q1-I1 OR I2, Q2, I2-Q2, Q2-I2 for as many frequencies that you can select from). Now, getting back to Philip Beck’s “more data-points”, and just looking at two frequencies, a simultaneous multi-frequency detector would be able to process (for example) I1, Q1, I1-Q1, Q1-I1 AND I2, Q2, I2-Q2, Q2-I2 AND I1-Q2, Q2-I1, I2-Q1, Q1-I2 to give better detection results. Increase the number of frequencies further and the number of extra data-points also increases accordingly. What Multi-IQ does is process different optimized channels of information (not just individual frequencies) for the different modes. We have previously explained this as “frequency weighting” (in Part 3), where the various EQUINOX Search Profiles are matched to the respective ground conditions and target types. Here is a very simplified example where you can see the result of processing more than a single channel of information (remember, a channel is not a frequency): Channel 1 has a strong target signal, but the salt signal is stronger still. Channel 2 has weaker signals for soil, salt and the target. If the detector just responded to either Channel 1 or Channel 2, the target would not be heard through the ground noise. If the detector processes a subtraction of the channels (e.g. ch.1-ch.2), then it is possible to ignore the ground noise and extract a strong target signal. Now, think back to the high number of possible combinations of I and Q for simultaneous multi-frequency compared to single-frequency and the frequency weightings for the modes. All of the EQUINOX Park, Field, Beach and Gold Search Profiles have dedicated signal processing to best suit the conditions and types of targets being searched for. Conclusion Multi-IQ = more data-points = sophisticated processing = better ground noise rejection = more finds Just as targets are more sensitive to certain frequencies, so is the ground – an important reason why air testing has inherent limitations when comparing detector performance. As soon as you have ground to consider in the signal processing equation, it can greatly impact on the ability of a single-frequency detector to accurately identify a target. Also, the deeper a target is buried, the weaker the target signal is, relative to the ground signal. The most difficult ground response to eliminate is the salt response, which varies greatly between soil, dry sand, wet sand and seawater. It is not possible to eliminate the salt response and the soil mineralization response (e.g. black sand) with just one frequency. However, within the carefully calibrated Multi-IQ channels, EQUINOX is able to identify both signals and therefore mostly ‘reject’ them (just as you would notch discriminate an unwanted target) BUT still detect gold micro-jewelry. The above article is a compilation of a series of blog entries taken from Minelab's Treasure Talk. More will be added here as available.
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  20. The two best-selling professional metal detectors in Alaska over the last twenty years are probably the White’s Electronics GMT and White’s Electronics MXT. This is because a set of local circumstances favored these two detectors. These two machines are based on the same circuitry, but have very different design goals and therefore features which determine which might be the best choice. Since the sole purpose of the GMT is prospecting, it operates at a high 48 kHz for extreme sensitivity to small metal items... hopefully gold nuggets. It is not a "gold-only" machine in that it picks up all metals. The "gold-only" detector has yet to be invented. It does however have a very efficient system for separating ferrous (iron or steel) items from non-ferrous items (gold, copper, silver, lead, aluminum, etc.) In theory the GMT could be used for other types of detecting, but it has a couple serious problems. First is the fact that it is so sensitive to small metal! Any attempt to use it for typical coin detecting would leave a detectorist quickly frustrated. Imagine a foil gum wrapper sucked into a lawn mower, shredded, and spread about. Parks and other areas popular with coin hunters are full of tiny aluminum trash. Every one of these items will sing out loudly on the GMT. Coin detectors are purposely designed not to pick up these tiny non-ferrous items as 99% of the time they are trash. The GMT also is very sensitive to wet salt sand, and so is useless for most beach detecting. It would not be impossible to use the GMT for other detecting tasks, but in general it really should not be considered for anything other than nugget detecting. The MXT was built using the GMT circuitry. An advanced LCD readout discrimination system similar to that on top-of-the-line coin detectors was added. The frequency was lowered to 14.7 kHz to increase the sensitivity to coin type targets and to moderate the problem of being too sensitive to tiny trash. But the frequency is still well above that of standard coin detectors which work around 6 kHz so the MXT retains much of the GMT ability to hit gold targets. The MXT has three distinct modes: Coin & Jewelry, Relic, and Prospecting. Each mode dramatically changes both the sounds and the LCD readouts generated by different targets. The Coin & Jewelry mode is very much like any standard coin detector, but with a better than normal sensitivity to gold coins and gold jewelry. The Relic mode is a rather unique dual tone mode that operates in both all-metal and discriminate modes at the same time. That alone is subject for another article! The Prospecting mode in effect turns the detector into a GMT, but one that runs at a lower frequency and that lacks a manual ground balance. And the MXT has a special Salt setting to allow it to work on those beaches. White's GMT versus White's MXT The GMT is admittedly superior when it comes to picking up small gold. It can hit specks weighing less than 1/10th of a grain (480 grains per Troy ounce) while the MXT will need nuggets weighing 2-3 grains to get a decent signal. But on the flip side, the MXT may very well be the superior unit for large nugget detecting. The lower frequency actually is smoother in mineralized ground, and in particular does not produce as many weak variations in the threshold in mixed cobbles as the GMT. The drawback of higher frequencies is that while small gold produces a sharper response, so do hot rocks. The manual ground balance on the GMT is very helpful for hitting those tiniest specks, but less useful for larger gold. If larger gold nuggets are the goal, then the MXT is every bit equal, if not better than the GMT in overall performance due to the smoother ground handling capability. It’s not that the MXT goes deeper, it just has less issues with hot rocks while still being able to hit those larger nuggets. In milder ground the GMT reigns supreme. For Alaska those wanting to go places like Crow Creek or Mills Creek and have a chance of getting gold, any gold at all, will be best served by the GMT, especially if paired with the little 4” x 6” Shooter coil. It will get the gold in these heavily hunted areas, and will hit gold the MXT will miss. But if versatility is important, or chasing large gold nuggets in tailing piles at Ganes Creek is the goal, the MXT is the way to go in my opinion. It is simply one of the best all-around detectors I have ever used. The White’s MXT Engineering Guide is full of interesting information on the development of the GMT and MXT and provides a rare look at what goes on behind the scenes at a metal detector company. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2010 Herschbach Enterprises
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  21. People talk about how long it took to find their first nugget with a metal detector. Usually the discussion revolves around how much trash they had to dig before they found their first nugget. Well, I probably come close to setting some kind of record for the number of years involved. My problem was not finding lots of trash, it was not finding gold! My first nugget hunt in 1973 taught me one thing about detectors at the time... they were nearly worthless for finding gold. I had my first metal detector, a White's Coinmaster 4. These old units could not ground balance, and had very poor sensitivity to small gold, even with the so-called Gold Probe accessory coil. I was panning 1/2 pennyweight nuggets from the little gully pictured at Moore Creek, and found I could not get a reading from those nuggets when they were placed directly under the coil. My next detector was one of the early White's Goldmasters. I figured I needed a nugget detector instead of a coin detector. Imagine my surprise when I discovered all the Goldmaster was in those days was the Coinmaster circuit board in a larger box! If you are shopping for a used Goldmaster do not buy one of these old ones by mistake. They were blue and about the size of a mailbox. And about as useful for finding gold. I was getting into dredging at the time, and decided detectors were a waste of time for gold. I got into business in 1976 selling mining gear and as a White's dealer. But my stock answer for people coming in looking for a gold detector was "Don't waste your money, you'll find more gold with a $5 gold pan". That was good advice at the time. We concentrated on selling metal detectors for finding coins and relics. My bias caused me not to keep up with changes in the technology, however. Reports of a large nugget finds would appear every once in awhile. I chalked them up to "Yeah, sure you can find gold with a detector, if it's big enough"! And the nuggets found were usually pretty big, not something likely to be found in my immediate area. Steve's First Nugget Hunt 1973 White's Coinmaster 4 with 4" Gold Probe Moore Creek, Alaska The first commercially available detector with ground balancing capability was the White's Coinmaster 5 Supreme. I was seriously into coin hunting, and purchased one of these new units. It was a very low frequency detector, and I found to my dismay that it really liked nails. One nice thing about the very old detectors was that they pretty much ignored nails, They Coinmaster 5 loved them and I was finding so many nails I took a dislike to the detector. But the depth of detection was amazing for the detectors of that time. I sold it to a friend who was a heavy equipment type miner. He found a gold nugget weighing several ounces with it at his mine. This should have clued me in, but once again I chalked it up to being a lucky find of a very large nugget. I went on about my dredging, sluicing, and panning. Finally in the 1980's I was also selling Compass detectors, and I hauled a Compass X-80 up to my claims and gave it a try. It had the capability, as my tests on smaller gold nuggets revealed it was pretty good. We were selling them now as nugget detectors, and some finds were being made with them. Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to find any gold with the unit the one time I gave it a try. And it just reinforced my feeling about detectors as being a waste of time. It was not until June 18, 1989 that I decided to give metal detecting for gold another try. Compass had repackaged the X-80 as a nugget detector called the Gold Scanner Pro. Here is my log entry for that day: "Went to Crow Creek and used Compass Gold Scanner Pro. Found my first gold nuggets ever with a metal detector! Two nuggets within 10 feet of each other between Area #1 and Area #2 below old tailing pile at lower end. One nugget at 9 grains and the other at 4 grains, total of 13 grains. Also found two bullets." I was hooked! I COULD find gold with a metal detector. It only took me 16 years to find my first nugget with one!! I planned my first real nugget hunt. The destination was high in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska on some bench deposits above a creek named Bonanza Creek. I had been visiting this area for years and had found lots of nice gold sniping the bedrock in the area. It seemed like a perfect spot to try my new detector skills. I used the Compass Gold Scanner Pro and I set my father up with a Fisher Gold Bug. I used the stock 8" round coil on the Compass, and outfitted my father with a 3-3/4" round coil that used to be available for the Gold Bug. We had a weekend to see what we could do, and so off we went on our first real nugget hunt. Bedrock Exposed by Oldtimers Bonanza Creek has several bench deposits high above the current creek level. These are remnants of stream deposits left high and dry as the stream eroded deeper into the valley bottom. They can often be spotted as flat areas on the valley sides above gold-bearing creeks. In some areas there is more gold in the bench deposits than in the creek itself. The problem for the oldtimers was in getting water up to these locations to work the gold deposits. Ditches many miles long were often dug to bring water along the valley walls from places father upstream to the deposits. They usually used "giants", a term for very large water nozzles fed by pipes with water from the ditch systems to wash the gold free of the hillside gravels. Large areas could be worked in this fashion, with the material being funneled into sluice boxes running down the hill. Much gold was lost in these sluicing systems due to the large volumes of material being washed through the boxes. However the best target for the metal detector operator is not the tailing piles, but the large areas of bedrock exposed by these operations. Nuggets lodged in cracks and crevices as the material was being washed down the hill, and original concentrations of gold in the bedrock were often missed. The only way for the old miners to get this gold would be to tear up all the bedrock and process it. The amount of gold to be had for this extreme extra effort was not much compared to what they would get just going on with their large scale washing operations. And so that gold is left to this day, waiting for someone to find it. Trying to scrape and pan crevices can produce some of this gold, but it is a needle in the haystack kind of search. Metal detectors are the perfect way to locate deposits of gold left in these old workings. The picture above shows a dark area of exposed bedrock we searched with our detectors. Bud Herschbach with Fisher Gold Bug & Steve with Compass Gold Scanner Pro We actually wasted quite a bit of time on bedrock along the creek before heading up to try the bench areas. We only found a few nuggets, and I now attribute this to the fact that most mining activity goes on near the water. People pan and sluice the material along the edge of the water, and dredgers work in the water. The area nearest the creek is the area receiving the most attention. One of the first things an experienced miner must do when getting into metal detecting is to lose this natural desire to stay near the water. What really makes detectors great is you need no water to find the gold, and so working away from the water actually will increase your odds of making finds overlooked by others. You have no choice in desert areas, but in stream valleys do not let the water distract you. Any exposed bedrock or material from the highest ridge on down has potential. We started finding gold, but it was one particular hump of a dark slate bedrock that really started producing gold. My years of coin hunting paid off as I have much better detecting habits that my father. I always keep my coil as close as possible to the ground, and do not raise it on the end of my swings. I am methodical and carefully overlap my sweeps if I feel I am in the gold. My father tends to have his coil off the ground a lot, and wander around with no set pattern. The number one thing he could do to improve his finds would be to slow down and develop better coil control. But as he has often noted, he does not have the patience I do with a metal detector. And he makes good finds nonetheless. Still, technique is important. My father was scanning along up a steep rise in the bedrock. He stepped up the rise with just a couple sweeps over the bedrock. I followed behind, carefully scanning every inch. The bedrock was nearly vertical at one point, and as I scanned the face I got a nice signal. My father was about 20 feet ahead of me when I yelled at him to look at the flat 4 pennyweight nugget I popped out of a crevice in the rock! It turned out to the largest nugget of the weekend, and in fact the largest nugget I had ever found up to that point prospecting for gold. Gold Found by Bud & Steve - from my notes: Large Flat Nugget - 4 dwt 2 grain Fat Pendant Nugget - 2 dwt 8 grain Dad's Big Nugget - 1 dwt 5 grain Sitting Bird Nugget - 16 grain Chunky Nugget - 16 grain Long Flat Nugget - 14 grain plus others total of 11 dwt 6 grain Grand Total 1 oz 4 dwt 12 grain "Great weather, great gold, GREAT TRIP!" Gold nuggets Steve found with Compass Gold Scanner Pro I had a fantastic time. Probably the most fun I'd ever had looking for gold. Metal detecting really appeals to my desire to just get out and walk around the hills. I went nugget hunting regularly after this trip. I tried new machines as they came out, and kept getting better results as the technology improved, allowing me to go back and rehunt old areas many times. My finds close to home really took off when the White's Goldmaster II was introduced, as the local creeks had lots of smaller gold on which the Goldmasters excelled. Still, gold dredging produced the bulk of my gold yearly. I dredged locally, and large nuggets suitable for detecting were rare, although I did finally dredge a 1 ounce nugget at Crow Creek in 1998. Then in 2000 a few things happened to make me really get serious about nugget hunting. First, I finally started getting bored with dredging. I had been doing it so many years it was becoming mechanical. It was mostly an equation. Run the 6" dredge for X hours at X location and get X gold. Dredging was also causing me to stay at the same locations for years at a stretch. I wanted to start moving around more and doing more pure prospecting. I was also finding my body was beginning to suffer from the years of cold water dredging. But the most important thing was those big nuggets. I decided that if I really wanted to see lots more really good-sized nuggets I'd better change my tactics. One 1 ounce nugget in 25 years of dredging meant I was going to die before I found a couple more! So I consciously set dredging aside and concentrated on metal detecting. I sold my 6" dredge and used the funds to buy a Minelab SD2200D. Paired with a White's Goldmaster I figured I could handle most anything. The Goldmasters are very hot on smaller gold, but suffer in highly mineralized ground. The SD2200D is not very good on small gold, but excels on larger gold in the worst of mineralized ground conditions. So the two make an excellent combination for varying gold and ground conditions. Finally, and most importantly, I started contacting miners I've met over the years looking for access to big gold creeks. The payoff was immediate. I found more pennyweight range nuggets in 2000 than I ever had in one year and found my largest ever with a detector at just over 8 dwt. Then in the summer of 2001 at Ganes Creek, Alaska I found a slug of 1/4 to 3/4 ounce nuggets and my largest nugget ever, a 4.95 ounce gold and quartz nugget. I was one of the happiest guys on the entire planet when that nugget came out of the ground! In 2002 I bettered it with a 6.85 ounce nugget and over 2 pounds of detected gold. So there you go. It took me the longest time to warm up to these 21st century prospecting methods. But I am ready now to let the past go and put my pan, sluice box, and gold dredge aside to concentrate on this exciting field of electronic prospecting. I'm more excited now about prospecting than I have ever been, and cannot wait for my next opportunity to test my skills in the field. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2002 Herschbach Enterprises Steve's Mining Journal Index
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  22. The XP Metal Detectors company of France has been making waves with its new metal detector, the XP DEUS. So much has already been written about the XP DEUS that this page is going to focus on the Version 4 (or later) software releases starting in 2017. This new versions of the software combined with new hardware has made the DEUS into a totally different detector. For that reason this website will be referring to XP DEUS V4 or V5 specifically as opposed to earlier versions of the detector. July 2018 - Deus Version 5 Software announced and new X35 search coils announced. September 2018 - New XP ORX announced. January 2019 - 2019 Deus Model Comparison I purchased a new XP DEUS in 2014 to evaluate it as a gold prospecting detector. The DEUS was originally designed for coin and relic hunting in Europe but quickly found a following in the United States also. As a prospector I was not much interested in the detector, until the version 3.0 software update added a program specifically for prospecting, the Goldfield program. According to Andy Sabisch at Findmall the program was originally developed as a dedicated prospecting detector for the African market. It worked and was subsequently added to the 3.0 software update for the DEUS. According to XP "The GOLD FIELD program uses a different detection strategy designed to handle highly mineralized ground containing targets such as gold nuggets. In these ground conditions, small, low-conductive targets are often seen as ground noise or iron, especially when they are deeply buried. To go deeper in these difficult conditions, the GOLD FIELD program uses a true All Metal mode allowing you to accept a whole zone of ground that is usually rejected (Full Range). Rather than rejecting all the ground values below the setting (as on conventional detectors), this new program rejects only the current value of the ground which you have to adjust exactly." The short story is I found the XP DEUS and its new Goldfield program to be perfectly adequate for gold prospecting, but that was about it. The innovative wireless design notwithstanding, there just seemed to me to be nothing particularly compelling about the DEUS for gold prospecting. It is the kind of machine that if a person owned it anyway, then they would have a capable gold prospecting detector in addition to all its other uses. Given the price however to buy it specifically for gold prospecting just did not make much sense to me when detectors costing half as much did every bit as well or better. Further, a well respected person on my forum reported that he also ran into issues with the DEUS in its current form when it comes to gold prospecting. You can find my detailed review and his report both at Using The XP DEUS For Gold Prospecting at the DetectorProspector Forum. I went ahead and sold my new DEUS at that time. Fast forward to the fall of 2015. Early information about the upcoming version 4.0 software release immediately caught my interest. New coils were announced that has serious implications for gold prospectors. The new elliptical coils are 12cm x 24cm or approximately 4.7" x 9.5" which is very close to the standard established for VLF gold prospecting detectors. There is also be a new round 9" coil. More importantly, the new coils via the V4 software will enable operation much higher operating frequencies. The 9" round coil will operate at 14 kHz, 30 kHz, or 59 kHz and the elliptical coil at 14 kHz, 30 kHz, and an amazing 81 kHz!. This would put the XP DEUS V4 squarely in the realm of high frequency gold prospecting detectors. Currently the Fisher Gold Bug 2 at 71 kHz has the highest operating frequency of the popular prospecting detectors. XP DEUS V4 with new 4.7" x 9.5" DD Coil These extremely sensitive coils operate on a wide range of 21 frequencies, ranging from 13 to 81 kHz depending on coil choice. The search coils three base frequencies are 14 kHz - 30 kHz and 59 kHz for the 22.5cm (9”) Round DD coil. The elliptical DD coil has a slightly different base frequency set of 14 kHz - 30 kHz and 81 kHz. Each coil has a further 7 higher or lower sub frequencies to choose from, allowing a much wider adjustment range (Previous Deus has 3 sub frequencies). The lower frequencies are intended for general use, they provide good sensitivity to a wide range of targets, the higher frequencies will take the Deus to another level. You will instantly notice the enhanced sensitivity and the ability to find small targets that have previously been difficult or impossible to locate when searching mineralized ground with competing devices. Apart from the ability to detect through mineralized soil, the HF coils will enhance the signature from weak - low conductive targets or even highly conductive targets, that due to their shape or construction (thin or wired) are beyond the reach of conventional detectors, for example: open rings such as earrings or fine bracelets, wire framed artifacts, gold nuggets, intricate fibula’s, small coins, thin coins, etc. The new HF coils only weigh 350g and are equipped with the latest higher capacity lithium battery (850mA). The new battery is situated in the lower stem; this is a bonus especially if you are working in a remote area far from a power source as optional replacement batteries will be available. Battery life: 20 hours at 15 kHz, 27 hours at 30 khz and 28 hours at 59 & 81 kHz. New for 2018 - Deus X35 coils running at 3.7 kHz to 27.7 kHz In my opinion the version 4.0 software upgrade combined with this new coil meant the DEUS was worth another look as a gold prospecting detector. The smaller footprint of the elliptical coil will "see" less ground and better separate small gold nuggets from difficult ground conditions. The boost in frequency will also make the detector hotter on small nuggets. I therefore obtained another new XP DEUS and waited - over a year - for the new V4 update and new coils to appear. I finally went out and found my first gold nuggets with the new DEUS elliptical high frequency coil in 2017. I want to emphasize that I am a newbie on the XP Deus. Although I purchased an 11" Deus V3.2 model almost two years ago, it was with the express purpose of being able to test the V4 update with the new high frequency coil options for gold prospecting. I decided I was better off just starting fresh with version 4.0 before really digging in and learning the detector. I do get the hang of detectors quickly but this does show what can be done by somebody who went out barely knowing the machine. The other catch is that I picked a location that favors the Deus with relatively mild soil for a gold location, so mild I could run the machine full out to get the maximum possible sensitivity with the machine. These results are not going to be as easy to obtain in extreme mineral ground. You have to start someplace however and being new to the machine I wanted to give myself someplace easy to start. Finally, the goal here was to find the smallest gold I could so for the purposes of this report - smaller is better. These nuggets were recovered over the course of a day. Ten nuggets, 4.7 grains total weight. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce and with an average weight of less than half a grain I think you can agree this is some pretty small stuff. The smallest bits are probably near 1/10th grain or 1/4800th of a Troy ounce. Click picture for larger version. Gold nuggets found by Steve Herschbach with new XP DEUS HF elliptical coil The new HF elliptical coil running at 74 kHz is clearly in the same league as the 71 kHz Fisher Gold Bug 2, 45 kHz Minelab Gold Monster, 56 kHz Makro Gold Racer, and 48 kHz White's GMT. However, the devil is in the details and it will be some time before I sort out how the machines compare under more difficult and varied conditions. Again, I am not an expert with the Deus and so the settings I mention are not to be taken as "the best" or anything like that. I was actually gold prospecting so the primary focus was to find gold, not to test every possible combination of settings on the Deus. With 10 program options and numerous settings that will be a longer term project. I obviously wanted to try the Gold Field program 10. After a little experimenting I settled on the GM Power program 2 as an alternate disc mode to try. Getting from program 10 to program 2 is only a couple button pushes, so I bounced back and forth between the two programs and tweaked settings higher as I found targets and could compare readings. Gold Field is a threshold based all metal mode with what I find to be a rather pleasant digitized buzz. That's me of course, others may differ on that point. I was able to run sensitivity full out at 99. All my work was done at 74 khz, the default highest frequency setting without trying to push it higher via the offset. I figure the coil is tuned at 74 khz and so stuck with that for now. Manual ground balance about 84. GM Power I got sensitivity to 94 with only minor falsing. I reduced reactivity (similar to SAT for you nugget hunters) to 0 from the default of 2 and ran the audio response (audio boost) up to 7 (max). Both modes exhibit just a little touch sensitivity at these high gain levels. This might be tamed with the ground notch but I have not fooled with that yet and it did not bother me at all anyway. ads by Amazon... What I found was Gold Field has a softer response in general but that my boosted version of GM Power banged hard on the little bits. Not unlike going from all metal mode on the Gold Bug 2 to the Iron Disc mode. Instead of faint threshold variations you get a strong "beep". The difference is that the Gold Bug 2 Iron Disc mode has an obvious loss in sensitivity. The Deus by comparison in this particular situation actually seemed to work better in GM Power mode, but that is mainly the boosted audio at work. I left the disc settings at the defaults for GM Power which worked well - low tone iron, higher tones non-ferrous. I ran the IAR (iron reject) in Gold Field at 2. This was just enough to cause ferrous to break up. Higher settings would blank most ferrous completely but getting to aggressive can also eliminate weak gold signals. The ferrous discrimination worked very well in both programs. GM Power in particular was pretty awesome in the nail pits with iron tones firing off like a machine gun. I bumped reactivity back to 2 in the dense trash. Anyway, this is a very preliminary report and so no point getting too deep into it as I will probably modify my opinions and settings as I get more time on the machine. Right now this is a high price option if all you need is a prospecting unit, but for a person wanting one machine to do everything XP just kicked it up a notch. If they introduce a dedicated gold unit at a lower price similar to the Depar DPR 600 it would be very competitive. For now this is an option for somebody that wants a detector for more than just gold prospecting since the Deus is a superb coin, relic, and jewelry detector. XP DEUS as ultimate "stuff it in a rucksack" metal detector The elliptical coil and rod assembly is just 1 lb 13 oz (1.8 lbs) and so a true featherweight. At 5' 11" I have to run it fully extended and at that it does flex a bit, but I did not find that bothersome at all. A solid coil cover will be good as there are too many coil edges that want to hang up on rubble and sticks. A minor quibble however as the machine is a joy to handle, especially when reaching uphill waist high and higher. A great unit for poking in and around bushes and other obstructions. The coil is hotter at the tips which also helps in poking into tight locations. Early days but the final word is that I am happy with how this coil performs on small gold nuggets after all the wait. Time will tell how it handles the really bad ground and how it fares directly against some of the competition as other people report in. As always giving it time and waiting for a consensus opinion from many users to develop is a wise policy with any new detector. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2017 Herschbach Enterprises July 2018 - Deus Version 5 Software announced and new X35 search coils announced. September 2018 - New XP ORX announced. Official XP Deus Page (U.S.) XP DEUS 2019 Versions Guide XP DEUS V5 Instruction Manual XP DEUS Versions/Update History Forum Discussion of V4 Update & Coils Forum Threads Tagged "xp deus" XP Metal Detectors Forum XP DEUS V5 Technical Specifications* Internet Price $875 - $1565, 9" Coil w/WS4 Phones, Remote $1520 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 4, 8, 12, 18 kHz or 14, 30, 55, 80 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Multiple "Reactivity" Settings Ground Rejection Grab, Manual, Tracking Soil Adjust Beach Mode Discrimination Variable, Visual ID, Tone ID, Notch Volume Control Yes Threshold Control Yes Tone Adjust Yes Audio Boost Yes Frequency Offset Yes Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output 1/8" headphone socket & speaker, wireless headphones Hip Mount Yes Standard Coil(s) 9" round DD or 11" round DD Optional Search Coils 13" x 11" DD, 9.5" x 4.7" HF DD, 9" Round HF DD Battery Built In Rechargeable Operating Time 20 hours Weight 2.0 lbs Additional Technology Wireless coils, control box, headphones; firmware updates via internet Notes Perhaps the most popular detector sold in Europe *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  23. Introducing the Makro Gold Kruzer metal detector, new for 2018. The Makro Gold Kruzer is available now from select dealers. The 61 kHz Gold Kruzer breaks new ground by being the lightest weight highest frequency waterproof detector on the market. Be sure and read the detailed review by Steve Herschbach at the bottom of this page below the specifications list. The Makro Gold Kruzer comes standard with a 10" x 5.5" concentric coil plus a 4" x 7.5" DD coil and has one optional coil available at launch. The Gold Kruzer has proprietary 2.4 Ghz wireless headphones included. The big announcement of note however is the very high 61 kHz operating frequency, making this one of the hottest machines available on tiny non-ferrous targets, and the only one waterproof to over 5 meters (16.4 feet). There are already a number of detectors on the market operating in the over 40 kHz region and the basics of this high frequency detection have been covered well for at least twenty years. In other words, if all a person wants is a detector running in a high frequency threshold based all metal mode, there are quite a few options to choose from. What makes the Gold Kruzer interesting is that as far as I can recall, nobody has made a detector before where the primary design intent is jewelry detecting. More to the point with the Gold Kruzer - detecting for micro jewelry. Micro jewelry has no exact definition but basically just means very small, hard to detect jewelry. Things like thin gold chains, or single post earrings. Most standard coin type detectors are weak on these sorts of small targets, if they can even detect them at all. Up until now people had to choose between coin detectors that have the features but are weak on micro jewelry targets, or use dedicated gold prospecting detectors hot on small targets, but very limited in features. What that usually means is little or no discrimination features. Makro Gold Kruzer for detecting jewelry, gold nuggets, and more Makro has gained attention as a company that listens to its customers. The new Gold Kruzer model is the perfect example of that, creating a unique machine based almost solely on feedback provided by customers in the last couple years. The Micro Mode on the new Gold Kruzer is a direct nod to those who want a detector for hunting micro jewelry and possibly even for gold prospecting, but who do not wish to give up the features available on most detectors today. In fact, Makro goes a step beyond, with the Gold Kruzer sporting features not included on many detectors today. These would include being waterproof to ten feet of more (16.4 feet with the Gold Kruzer), built in wireless headphone capability, and the ability to receive firmware updates via the internet. The result is a new detector with a unique feature set. There is literally no other detector made right now operating over 40 kHz that is fully submersible. Built in wireless and internet updates are frosting on the cake. Official Makro Gold Kruzer Page Makro Gold Kruzer Full Color Brochure Makro Gold Kruzer Instruction Manual Forum Threads Tagged "makro kruzer" Makro Metal Detectors Forum Makro Gold Kruzer Technical Specifications* Internet Price $636 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 61 kHz Autotune Mode(s) iSAT Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold Ground Rejection Grab, Manual, & Tracking Soil Adjust Yes Discrimination Visual ID & Tone ID, Tone Break Adjustment Volume Control Yes Threshold Control Yes Tone Adjust Yes Audio Boost Yes Frequency Offset Yes Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output Speaker & Waterproof Headphone Socket Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 10" x 5.5" Concentric & 4" x 7.5" DD Optional Search Coils Yes Battery LiPo Rechargeable (optional external AA pack available) Operating Time Up to 19 hours Weight 3.0 pounds Additional Technology iMask noise suppression technology, backlit screen, save settings Notes Includes 2.4 Ghz wireless headphones, waterproof to 5 meters (16.4 feet) *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart. Detailed Review Of Makro Gold Kruzer by Steve Herschbach I was asked to review a new gold detector in the fall of 2014 from a company I had never heard of before then – the FORS Gold by the Nokta company based in Istanbul, Turkey. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Nokta FORS Gold to be a very capable 15 kHz VLF detector that could serve well not just for nugget detecting, but almost any detecting tasks. The FORS Gold did have some odd design quirks, like the use of mechanical rocker switches instead of touch pads. I listed a few of these things, expecting that would just be the way it is. I was almost shocked when within a short period of time Nokta fixed or changed every item I had mentioned in my review as possibly needing improvement. This was unusual as normally once a machine has gone into production manufacturers are extremely resistant to design changes, especially changes in the physical design. It was a sign of what people have now found to be fact – that this company is serious about listening to their customers as a prime driver for product improvement. New Makro Gold Kruzer It was revealed that Nokta had a sister company called Makro, and the two officially combined forces shortly after I made my review. In other words, both Nokta and Makro now share the same ownership and management, but continue to be marketed separately under the two brand names. The detector models that each sell are unique, but there is an obvious sharing of the underlying technology between some models that the two brands sell. I had commented at the time that I would prefer a more standard configuration for a LCD based detector rather than the non-standard configuration as presented by the FORS Gold. By the fall of 2015 I was using the new Makro Gold Racer, which incorporated many ideas I had lobbied for over the years with detector manufacturers. I had been trying for some time to get somebody to create a metal detector that ran at nugget detecting type frequencies over 30 kHz but with a full target id system. It seems strange now but at that time nobody made such a detector. The Makro Gold Racer was quite unique in 2015 by offering a detector running at 56 kHz that also offered a full range LCD based target id system and dual tone based audio discrimination modes. This made it a detector useful not just for nugget detecting, but low conductor hunting in general for relics and jewelry. It is even a halfway decent coin detector for regular park type scenarios. The versatility and well thought out control scheme scored points with me, and I still have the Makro Gold Racer even after selling most of my other detectors. It seems that the moment the Makro Gold Racer hit the streets, that everyone else was working on similar ideas, as other detectors running over 30 kHz but with a full feature set started to appear on the market. High frequency detecting is suddenly in vogue for more than just gold nugget detecting. The one thing obvious now about the Makro / Nokta partnership is that they never sit still, but continue to work on and release new models at a pace that puts all the other manufacturers to shame. The companies are also big believers in seeking public feedback and then implementing the suggestions to create better products for their customers. This is readily apparent in the progression I have personally witnessed in going from that original Nokta FORS Gold to the new 61 kHz Makro Gold Kruzer just now hitting the market. In less than four years the company has gone from “catching up” to meeting or surpassing detectors made by other companies. ads by Amazon... It should be obvious that the Makro Gold Kruzer is all about gold. This explains the shift from dual tone to monotone audio in the Fast and Boost. Dual tones as employed in the Makro Gold Kruzer can be problematic when hunting the smallest gold targets, especially in highly mineralized ground. It is hard for a detector to get a clean separation of ferrous and non-ferrous targets when the targets are very small. This is because the actual dividing line between ferrous and non-ferrous is not a line at all, but a zone. The Makro Gold Kruzer uses a fairly standard discrimination scale that ranges from 0 – 99. The range from 0 – 40 is considered to be the ferrous range, and 41 and above non-ferrous. Yet the discrimination default for both the Fast and Boost modes is 25. This is because if you bury small gold in highly mineralized ground or large gold extra deep in mineralized ground, the ferrous ground signal can overwhelm the very weak non-ferrous signal. It really is not about the object size. A deep large nugget is a very weak signal just the same as a shallower small nugget, and either can end up reading as a ferrous target. The solution is to lower the discrimination setting into the ferrous range and accept that you have to dig some ferrous items to get all the gold items. This actually applies to any metal detecting. If you dig absolutely no ferrous trash, you are almost 100% guaranteed to be passing up some non-ferrous items reading incorrectly as ferrous. This can be acceptable of course depending on what you are doing, but passing on a deep six ounce gold nugget because it reads ferrous can be an expensive mistake. The Gold Kruzer default discrimination setting for Fast and Boost is 25 instead of 40 for this very reason. Dual tones have issues for this same reason, with decisive results on the weakest targets difficult if not impossible to obtain. The difference is quite small, but monotone is slightly more stable and proficient at working with the tiniest and faintest of signals right at the dividing line between ferrous and non-ferrous, wherever you have set the control to tell the Gold Kruzer where that line is for your particular situation. There is no pat answer as the where to set the discrimination control. It is a judgment call based on experience, but when in doubt, use less discrimination and dig more trash. Welcome to gold detecting! Makro chart showing gold occurring in 0 – 40 ferrous range The Makro Gold Kruzer has a new control that relates to this overlap between ferrous and non-ferrous readings. The Extra Underground Depth (E.U.D.) control acts to directly impact the tipping point between ferrous and non-ferrous readings. The E.U.D. control only works in one of the three discrimination modes and when used on a suspect target that is reading ferrous may reveal by a different tone that it is actually non-ferrous. It is noted in the manual that it can reveal some targets misidentified as ferrous, but it will also give more false positives on ferrous targets. I was unable in the time allowed to figure out just how efficient this control is. In theory you can just set the discrimination lower, digging more ferrous but getting those missed non-ferrous items. Or set the discrimination a little higher, and now examine suspect targets individually by engaging the E.U.D. control momentarily. Finally, you can run E.U.D. on at all times. Is higher disc with E.U.D. on at all times going to get better results than just using a lower discrimination setting? Sadly, I just do not know at this time. I do know it is no magic bullet so the efficiency of employing the E.U.D. control will have to be determined over time by users around the world What? You say you wanted tones? Well, the Makro Gold Kruzer has you covered. The new Micro mode is a three tone mode similar to that on other company models, but running at that hot 61 khz. The 0 – 40 target id range produces a low tone. The 41 – 66 range produces a medium tone, and 67 – 99 range a high tone. Micro mode allows the “ferrous break point” to be adjusted. This is that magic point where you decide what is going to read as ferrous and what reads as non-ferrous. Note that unlike the Fast and Boost modes, the default ferrous breakpoint is set at 40 instead of 25. This is good for coin type detecting but again may be too high for other types of detecting. While in Micro mode you may use the Tone Break control to vary this all important setting. You could mimic the other two modes by setting the Tone Break at 25. Now 0 – 25 will be a low tone, 26 – 66 a medium tone, and 67 – 99 a high tone. Tone Break can only be used to set the ferrous breakpoint. The upper high tone region of 67 – 99 is preset and fixed by the factory with no adjustment possible. You may use the Ferrous Volume setting to control how loud the low tone response is. The medium and high tone responses are set with the main volume control. The discrimination control still functions in Micro mode, with a default setting of ten. Hot rocks and ground responses occur this low on the scale, and so having at least some of the low end blocked or rejected with reduce the number of low tone responses generated by the ground itself. The control can be set as high as you want and will override the other settings, blocking all targets below the desired target id setting. The Makro Gold Kruzer does have a tone control, but it does not allow the tones to be changed in Micro mode. Those are factory preset, with the Tone Break between ferrous and non-ferrous plus Ferrous Volume as the two adjustments you can make. The Tone setting allows the tone of the audio response and threshold to be changed in Gen, Fast, and Boost modes only. Micro was designed first for hunting micro jewelry. Micro jewelry is a loose term that applies to all very small jewelry items, like very thin chains, single post earrings, tie tacks, etc. Micro is perfect for hunting tot lots and beaches and focusing on the “gold range” targets represented by the mid tone reading in Micro mode. Many jewelry hunters consider digging coins a waste of time, and so ignoring high tones can save digging pocket change when the real goal is a woman’s diamond and platinum ring. The Makro Gold Kruzer has a nominal non-ferrous range of 41 – 99 which is a 59 point spread. Normal U.S. coin responses are 63 for a nickel, 83 for a zinc penny, 84 for a copper penny, 86 for a clad dime, and 91 for a clad quarter. The high 61 kHz operating frequency acts to push target id numbers higher and most coins will respond at 83 and higher. I was surprised a zinc penny and copper penny for all intents read the same. The good news is the low conductor range is expanded, which offers the ability to help discern different pull tabs and other trash items over a wider range. This in turn may help eliminate at least a few pesky trash items while hunting gold, although ignoring gold range items of any sort can be risky. Still, with a U.S. nickel reading at 63 and most women’s rings reading under the nickel, you get the 40 – 63 zone as a 23 point range where much of the most valuable jewelry will turn up. The default high tone breakpoint of 66 – 67 is clearly focusing the Gold Kruzer mid-tone on this very important gold range. Do note that large men’s rings and nearly all larger silver jewelry will read above 66 and therefore give a high tone reading. The Gold Kruzer has some obvious applications but there are a couple catches. First, it is running at 61 kHz, which means it is very hot on low conductors, but that it will have just adequate performance on high conductors like silver coins. Second, its extreme sensitivity to low conductors means it will not work well if at all in saltwater or on wet salt sand. Saltwater is a low conductor and will respond quite strongly on the Gold Kruzer, and getting it to not respond to saltwater gives up all the sensitivity to small gold. The Gold Kruzer will work very well around freshwater or on dry sand, it is not intended as a detector for use in or near saltwater. I would suggest the new Makro Multi Kruzer as an alternative to those who want to hunt in and around saltwater on a regular basis. Makro Gold Kruzer with optional 5” x 9.5” DD coil There are many features I could delve into but at over six pages this report is getting long, so I will again refer people to the User Manual for the details. Suffice it to say that the Makro Gold Kruzer has a full set of features like frequency shift for reducing interference, temporary audio boost for the Gen all metal mode, adjustable backlight, and the ability to save settings when the detector is powered down, and more. I got the Gold Kruzer prototype during a period when I was quite busy and the weather was not helping. I did have time to do a few tot lot hunts plus make a trip to the goldfields to evaluate the machine. The Gold Kruzer is well behaved in urban locations, with only a little static from electrical interference sources. I found the new Micro mode to be just the ticket for quickly blasting through a tot lot recovering prime gold range targets. I dug everything as is my practice when learning a detector, and ended up with the usual pile of aluminum foil, junk jewelry, and coins. Nothing special found but no doubt in my mind that the Gold Kruzer acts as intended in this type of setting. There were no surprises in the goldfields. At 61 kHz and in Gen mode the Gold Kruzer is a real pleasure to run, with all the response and nuance one expects from a great threshold based all metal circuit. Boost Mode also works very well as an alternative for small nugget detecting. I had no problem at all finding a couple little bits of gold weighing under a grain (480 grains per Troy ounce) on my first and only nugget hunt so far with the Gold Kruzer. Two tiny gold nuggets found with Makro Gold Kruzer To sum up, the new Makro Gold Kruzer once again ups the ante at Makro. It comes standard with two coils and is fully waterproof for about the same price as the Makro Gold Racer so I would have to assume the Gold Racers days are numbered. The one thing I am not sure about at this time is that the Gold Racer has a 15” x 13” DD coil option. The Makro Multi Kruzer has the 15” coil option, but no such accessory has yet been announced for the Gold Kruzer. This is probably not a concern for very many people, but it bears mentioning. May 2019 Note: The Makro Gold Racer is still in production but the price was lowered to $509. Nokta/Makro have also produced a 15.5" x 13" coil option for the Gold Kruzer. I have no problem at all recommending that anyone interested in a detector with a focus on gold take a very serious look at the new Makro Gold Kruzer. It’s performance on low conductors of any type means that the Gold Kruzer is not just for prospectors and jewelry hunters but may also see favor with some relic hunters who focus of low conductor targets like buttons and bullets. This is a solid detector with 21st century features at a very attractive price. Makro Kruzer Color Brochure ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2018 Herschbach Enterprises
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  24. Every once in awhile our company is awarded a trip by one vendor or another for setting a sales record or some other goal. So it was that Honda Power Equipment sent my partner Dudley and I on a short trip to Cabo San Lucas for a dealer meeting. Yeah, I know... rough duty! And yes, we did not work as much as enjoy ourselves while there. But I was plenty busy and so did not spend as much time detecting as I would on a vacation trip. Still, the trip offered me a chance to give the new Minelab X-Terra 50 a spin. Since part of my job is selling detectors I actually have to bear the heavy responsibility of using new detectors when they come out so I can speak knowledgeably about them. The X-Terra 50 really is perfect for this kind of trip. One where detecting is mostly a "maybe" thing and so I just want a machine I can bring along that will not take much room. Not to pick on other brands, and in fact I am a White's fan if anything, but my MXT and DFX seem designed to not fit nicely in a suitcase. They stick out every which way and take up a lot of space. So part of the reason I liked the X-Terra the instant I got my hands on one was it looked like the perfect travel unit. It easily packs in a normal size carry-on bag. I do not like to check baggage when on trips like this and so space is at a premium for me. The X-Terra 50 made it easy for me to get everything I needed for this trip into two carry-on bags. Nice! We stayed at the Sheraton in Cabo. Normally I would hit the water with my Surf PI Pro on a trip like this, but this location has a huge surf and undertow such that people do not swim in the water, at least none but a few very brave souls. If I got in the water I'd be more concerned with not drowning than detecting and so that normally lucrative type of detecting was not to be had here. I do 100 times better in the water than on the dry beach, but that is what I had here and so you go ahead and make do with what you have. Since dry beach was the deal the X-Terra replaced my Surf PI for this trip. Minelab X-Terra 50 packs easily into a standard airline carry on bag The beach is made up of decomposed granite and has a few layers of black sand in it. It balanced out at "3" pretty well. In all-metal and at full sensitivity the machine constantly puttered out low tone sounds and readings of -9 on the readout. Being a single frequency unit with no salt setting this constant low background readings of -9 are attributable to a combination of the mineralized ground and the salt. Lowering sensitivity to eliminate the signals had too much effect for me. The sounds did not go away until the max setting of 20 was reduced to about 10. Running at full 20 and then setting -9 to reject made the machine totally silent with no loss of sensitivity and so setting -9 to reject looks to be in effect the "salt setting" on the X-Terra 50 for this location. The X-Terra 50 like many detectors aimed at the general market is locked into discrimination modes. This means that even if you set the detector to pick up everything, the signal is still being filtered. The process is "detect, identify, report". If you set it to report all items, the identify process is still going on. Top notch detectors used mainly for gold nugget detecting always offer an unfiltered "All Metal" mode that is distinctly different then the so-called all metal mode on units like the X-Terra 50. In a true all metal mode the process is "detect, report". The filtering is completely removed and this results in more sensitivity to small items and better depth of detection. The penalty is you truly dig it all but for high value targets it is often worth it. It is important to note that the X-Terra 50 has three levels of ferrous rejection, -3, -6, and -9. The X-Terra 30 has only one, -4. This means I can set the X-Terra 50 to reject salt readings at this particular beach and still get small non-ferrous targets that tend to read as -3 or -6. The X-Terra 30 lumps them all together into -4 and so on this basis alone I think the X-Terra 50 handles salt beaches better when looking for tiny items. More on this later. Being able to ground balance was also critical to being able to run at high sensitivity. Going just up or down one notch on the ground balance generated far more noise, as I found when I tried to run either slightly negative or slightly positive on the ground balance. The beach at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico One thing you must keep in mind here... I run my machines on the ragged edge of sensitivity and so they run noisy and erratic. I am ok with this and it is not a reflection on the detector. In fact I do not like machines that do not allow for what would be termed "too much" sensitivity or gain. Sometimes the manufacturers are looking out for us and so do not allow a machine to be cranked up too high, as it often is not a good idea. Works for me though, and the X-Terra was able to run at full-out setting of 20 here and run quite well. The machine was actually very quiet, almost weirdly so if I set -9 to reject. But the high sensitivity level was reflected in erratic target id with lots of "bounce". I ran most of the time either wide open with even -9 set to accept and so listening to a constant low level puttering that at low volume levels was not all that unpleasant, or with -9 set to reject. I pretty much just wanted to dig everything to see what readings I got and how small the targets might be that I could hit. I know from experience that almost any detector will call tiny non-ferrous items ferrous... one of the lies discriminating systems foist on us and that cost us lots of little gold targets when we set for ferrous rejection. About the only machine I halfway trust on this issue is my Gold Bug 2, and I even managed to find a small gold nugget once that the Gold Bug 2 insisted was iron, so even it can be fooled. The more iron mineralization in the ground, the more likely machines are to lie about small non-ferrous items, and unfortunately the X-Terra 50 is no different. Maybe the 18.75 kHz coil will help but tiny non-ferrous items commonly read -3 or -6, although they will usually "bounce" to a higher reading and tone also. They also will bounce to -9. So when I ran the X-Terra 50 with -6 and -3 rejected, small non-ferrous items (usually foil) might be detected or might not on a single sweep. If you are lucky, you get a low mid tone, but if you are unlucky the item may go negative and so get missed. But accepting non-ferrous all items beep, and then a few sweeps over the items will either reveal it to remain consistently negative and low tone and so is iron, or it will bounce and chirp higher tone and number now and then. Those that do tend to be tiny non-ferrous items. This beach was not a big treasure chest. The people were pretty low key, just sitting in the sun, so not lots of activity to generate jewelry losses. And on top of that I'm certain I'm not the first guy to detect this beach. Finds were pretty sparse, but find stuff I did. And digging it all, it was naturally mostly junk. Bottle caps all read ferrous but often spiked to a high 45 beep. I do not think I'd dig many bottle caps with the X-Terra if I did not want to. They all were very distinctive readings. Other than the bottle caps, most items read where I would expect, but all my readings were very bouncy. Solid locks were very rare. So coins would bounce around at higher numbers, tabs would bounce around in the middle tones, and foils would bounce around in mid and lo tones and plus and negative numbers. In other words, do not look for solid id locks on a mineralized beach soaked in salt water with the sensitivity cranked up. Surprised? I was not. Junk items recovered while detecting The bottom line here is simple. The X-Terra 50 actually worked very well for me on this beach. No, I did not bury targets and measure depths. I was just detecting. But I did not feel I was using a machine giving me shallow performance. I dug coins at easy 6-8 inch depths, and pop can halves at over a foot. Performance for a single frequency machine seemed just fine to me. What seemed exceptional, truly, was the small item sensitivity. I hit lots of tiny foil strips and a few small pieces of broken silver jewelry that really impressed me. One target, a thin jump ring with a gap in it should not have been detectable with a 7.5 kHz machine with a 9" coil. I'm still surprised I hit that thing! The depths on these tiny targets were around an inch or less, and up to a couple inches for slightly larger but still very small pieces of foil, but the sensitivity of the X-Terra 50 to small items is impressive. If I could have one wish, it would be that the all-metal mode on the X-Terra 50 was a threshold based single tone. You can take any of the two disc modes and by setting all segments to accept get exactly the same thing as the all-metal mode. Beeps on everything, in four tones. I feel the all-metal mode should have been a threshold based single tone setting to make for a better small item mode. I tried running in pinpoint, but it detunes too rapidly to be used as a search mode. Having an all-metal mode that offers some kind of functionality beyond a disc mode with all segments set to accept would have helped for this type of detecting. The machine obviously does work, and does hit the tiny targets anyway, but they are bouncy between lo and mid-lo tone and so a single tone at least would work a bit better for me. In practice it was fine, however. Just get a tiny bloopy-beep, and make sure you have a plastic nugget scoop to isolate and recover it! I quit using my sifter and switched to the scoop right away as these tiny targets just fell though the holes in my sifter. It was more like nugget detecting than coin detecting. I can only speculate what smaller coils might do, and what higher frequency coils might do. Put a small 18.75 kHz coil on this unit and it may rival some of the best gold nugget detectors on the market for small gold sensitivity. I have no doubt from what I saw under these adverse conditions that I can go find gold nuggets with an X-Terra 50, as is out of the box with 7.5 kHz 9" coil. This detector is hot on small items. In summary, I found the X-Terra 50 to be a fine beach unit. It sure will not outperform my White's Surf PI Pro for depth so do not bother telling me how your multi frequency machine will probably get better performance on a salt beach than the X-Terra. Because my PI unit will probably beat your dual or multi frequency unit also when it comes to depth. I'm not telling everyone to go and run out and get an X-Terra for beach detecting. What I am saying here is that if you own one you sure will not be disappointed in it if you get it on a saltwater beach now and then. As single frequency machines go I thought it did great. And at a better location with more activity I have no doubt I can hit smaller gold targets with the X-Terra 50 than people are going to get with most beach units, or at least up in the drier sand. It has been said before and some have tried to take it as a negative but it is not - the X-Terra is a fun metal detector to use. But I'm the kind of guy that thinks digging small foil is fun so one must question my opinions on what is fun! Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I have seen some posts about the X-Terra lower rod being too long. It never seemed that way to me, but this time I paid particular attention. I am 5'11" and I stand up fairly straight. I ran the X-Terra the third notch up this whole trip, which leaves two longer settings and three shorter settings. If anything the length is perfect for me with adjustment either way. So while I can understand how the more vertically challenged may feel, it looks like Minelab had me in mind when they designed the lower rod. One of those areas where you cannot please everyone, apparently. Coins and jewelry bits found with Minelab X-Terra 50 on beach at Cabo I've been running lots of trash, common coins, and rings under my XT50. Here is a general chart. Important - these are air tests. In the ground readings will often shift lower. Tone - VDI - Items Very Hi 45 Steel Halves, Dollars Very Hi 42 Quarters, Large Silver Rings High .... 39 Silver Rings High .... 36 Penny/Dime, Small Silver Rings High .... 33 Indian Head Penny High .... 30 Zinc Penny, Indian Head Penny High .... 27 Screw Cap, Indian Head Penny, Large Aluminum Medium 24 Heavy Square Tabs, $5 Gold, Very Large Men's Rings Medium 21 Large Pull Tabs, Large Men's Rings Medium 18 Pull Tabs Men's Rings Medium 15 Small Pull Tabs, Erasers, Small Men's Rings Medium 12 Light Square Tabs, Nickels, Erasers, Beavertails, Large Women's Rings Medium 09 Beavertails, Heavy Foil, Erasers, Medium Women's Rings Medium 06 Medium Foil, Small Women's Rings Medium 03 Light Foil, Small Jewelry Low ..... -3 Wire, Pins, Very Small Jewelry (Post Earrings, Thin Chains) Low ..... -6 Nails Low ..... -9 Hot Rock, Large Iron Notes - 45 is more often a junk indication than the very rare dollar or half. Men's rings fall mostly into 21 followed by 24. Women's rings are heavy in 6 and 9 followed by 12. 18 is the heavy pull tab range and sparse on rings (too high for most women's rings, too low for most men's). 15 also has fewer rings but also less junk. All these observations are only true for my area and mix of targets and so must be taken with a large grain of salt, are are only intended as an aid to those just starting out. You can get junk in any segment, and good finds in any segment! Here is a simplified version, a combination of most likely targets and "wishful thinking". 21 is more likely to be a large pull tab, but it is the hottest number for men's rings, at least out of my collection. 18 might be a ring, but fewer fall there than in lower or higher numbers, and it is very heavy in common pull tabs. 45 Steel 42 Quarter 39 Silver 36 Penny/Dime 33 IH Penny 30 Zinc Penny 27 Screw Cap 24 Large Men's Ring 21 Men's Ring 18 Large Tab 15 Small Tab 12 Nickel 09 Women's Ring 06 Small Women's Ring 03 Foil -3 Wire -6 Nails -9 Hot Rock Update 2011: Not very long after the X-Terra 50 came out with the X-Terra 70. This irritated a lot of people who thought the X-Terra 50 was going to be the top-end unit. The X-Terra 70 offered the true all metal mode that the X-Terra 50 lacked, making it a superior detector for gold nugget detecting in particular. The X-Terra 70 was later replaced by the Minelab X-Terra 705, a detector I currently own. It is a very good light weight detector for all around use. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2006 Herschbach Enterprises
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  25. In 2007 I was sent a prototype of the White's PulseScan TDI to test, and I was so impressed that I decided to put the new model into service at my "pay-to-mine" operation at Moore Creek, Alaska as soon as it was available. Moore Creek has mixed hot rocks that severely impede the performance of regular metal detectors. I lobbied for and got four of the very first units off the production line in the spring of 2008 and those detectors were provided to visitors at Moore Creek that had no detector of their own or who needed a backup. These people by nature often have little or no detecting experience. I was happy to find some stock settings for the TDI that worked well at Moore Creek. I could basically set the detector for somebody and as long as they did not touch the controls it worked well. Just turn the detector on and go. Still, experience counts for much and novices have a tough time finding gold nuggets, just due to lack of basic detecting skills. We had found in the past that regardless of the detector used we were happy if novices could just find any gold at all metal detecting during their visit. So I was very pleased that many new detectorists at Moore Creek found their very first nuggets metal detecting with the White's TDI. The unit is not only very capable but also quite easy to operate and so really the only task left to the novices was to get over a nugget. Mike and Karl were pretty typical of many of our visitors. Never really done any metal detecting for gold and no detectors of their own. I sent them out with the TDI and they each found by far the largest gold they had ever found in their lives. The small stuff at Moore Creek is larger than many people will ever find and so I had the opportunity to create some real life experiences for a lot of people. It really is a good feeling seeing people make their first finds and knowing you made it happen. Mike's gold specimen weighed in at 0.28 ounce and Karl got two, 0.12 and 0.25 ounce respectively. Mike B. & Karl E. of Anchorage, Alaska with Moore Creek TDI finds Close up of Mike and Karl's gold specimens I was doing some bulldozing at the mine to stir up some nuggets for our visitors. I got to one little knob of gravel and after I flattened it out I thought "that looks like a good spot". I had not done any detecting in a couple weeks and figured it was about time. So when I got the dozer back to camp I got a TDI out and headed to the location. A guy had just come into camp as I was leaving and so I told him to head up the same way. I got to the spot and started detecting. First down one row and up the other. After about ten minutes I got a nice signal, and dug up a great 0.31 ounce specimen. It is a little section of a quartz vein with a nearly solid gold core of gold running through the middle. 0.31 ounce Gold Specimen found with White's TDI I turned off the detector and headed back to camp. The other guy was now just arriving and asked me what was wrong. I told him nothing was wrong, but that I'd got my nugget and so was done. You should have seen the look on his face! Poor guy had been looking for gold for days and I walk right out and find a nugget in ten minutes. We had an 82 year old gentleman in camp that week who was not having much luck detecting so I gave the specimen to him to take home to Florida. So what were the settings, etc. we used with the White's TDI at Moore Creek? The Pulse Delay was always at 10, the most sensitive setting for gold, and we were always able to run the maximum Gain of 12. The Ground Balance was tight as we have both a positive and negative hot rock at Moore Creek. A bit one way and the positive rocks signaled and a bit the other way and the negative rocks signaled. Negative hot rocks are by far the more prevalent. In general a setting of about 9 eliminated nearly all the hot rocks. But no matter how much I tweaked there were faint hits on some hot rocks. This is not surprising as the Minelab PI detectors also hit the hot rocks at Moore Creek. The ground is a weird mix of fairly neutral soil made up of the underlying decomposed shale bedrock with basalt and monzonite hot rocks eroded from the nearby hills. However, I determined a couple things with the TDI that really helped with the new people. First, virtually all gold at Moore Creek gives a high tone, even multi-ounce pieces. I believe this is because of the generally high silver content combined with the specimen nature of the gold. Surprisingly, when silver is added to gold it lowers the conductivity instead of increasing it, and so low purity gold is more likely to give low conductor high tone responses on the TDI. You can figure with 99% certainty that a low tone is an iron target or hot rock at Moore Creek. I ended up with the novices ground balancing to kill the high tone hot rock responses and did not worry about low tone hot rocks. Then I set the very unique to the TDI Target Conductivity switch to eliminate low tones and only sound off on low conductivity high tone targets. This made the TDI a real no-brainer to run. Dead quiet, no false signals at all. Then get any high tone at all, and it was always a bullet or shell casing (rare at Moore Creek), some small ferrous trash that reads low conductive, or gold. The ferrous trash that reads low conductive tends to be shallow easy to dig stuff. Being set up this way almost totally eliminates the PI tendency to have a person digging deep, tiring pits only to find a big piece of steel junk. The only problem I had was people fiddling with or accidently knocking a control out of adjustment. The setting was so perfect I actually considered just gluing the controls in place to prevent people from messing with them! Another problem happens when you loan people stuff to use - it not only gets used it gets abused. Luckily the TDI is able to take a licking and keep on ticking, just like the old ads. This TDI got strapped on the back of an ATV and then the driver forgot about it as he roared through the mud holes and brush. Having too much fun I guess! Not only did the unit get covered in mud he managed to bend the middle rod section. A little careful work with a water hose and a little bending and the detector worked just fine. I eventually ordered a new rod section to replace the bent one. White's TDI Covered with mud! I ran the 7.5" coil a bit and found a 1 pennyweight nugget with it. I was surprised at how stable the smaller coil was, as I expected it would be more prone to hitting hot rocks, but instead it seemed to be more immune to the hot rocks than the larger coil. At Moore Creek though the stock 12" coil is the better way to go not so much for extra depth but for ground coverage, which really is the name of the game at the mine. The person that covers the most ground digging the most targets has the best shot at finding the gold at Moore Creek. But for many nugget hunting tasks I think I would very much like using the smaller coil. Here is Moore Creek visitor Pete W from Paducah, Kentucky. Pete hunted hard with the TDI but was having little luck. I was out with him at one point and was sitting nearby when he got a signal. He started to dig with his scoop but the target was deep, and so I came over with my pick to help. I scooped a pretty deep hole, but when he checked the target was still in the ground. The TDI got this one at respectable depth. So I dug some more and out popped a really good looking nugget! A very nice piece weighing 0.27 ounce that put a huge smile on Pete's face. Pete W. and TDI gold Close up of Pete's nugget found with TDI And here is a great photo of Moore Creek visitor Jens S from Hupstedt, Germany with nuggets he found with the TDI. The larger nugget is 0.62 ounce and the smaller 0.37 ounce. Jens found the smaller nugget first within ten minutes of turning the TDI on for the first time. Jens really liked dredging and highbanking more than metal detecting and so spent most of his time at Moore Creek doing just that. From what I saw though he was a natural with a metal detector and so who knows how he would have done if he had concentrated on that more. He went home with a lot of gold anyway and a very happy visitor to our country, with an experience most will never have. Jens with 0.37 oz and 0.62 oz gold specimens found with White's TDI You would be surprised how little detecting I did while at Moore Creek. Running a pay-to-mine operation is a full time job and then some. Still, I did have my chances to get out now and then and having the new TDI around certainly gave me reason. A couple of our visitors, Keith M and Bob D and I decided to hit some tailing piles downstream and across Moore Creek, making them hard to get to and so less hunted by others. We loaded our detectors and waders up on ATVs and headed down to the general location. After crossing the stream we hiked down to the lowest tailing pile which I've been eying from afar the last couple years. It has a lot of brush on it, and I figured a nugget might be lurking unfound in that brush. The tailing piles are very steep, and so I hip mounted the White's TDI to keep the weight off my arm while side-hilling. The only issue I found in the brush was a tendency for controls to get knocked off their settings and so I was alert for changes in the detector's response. I found a good ground balance setting that minimized the response from both the positive and negative hot rocks. This ended up being about 8 on this tailing pile. I ran at the gold sensitive 10uS setting and was able to run the gain up to max. I set for a quiet, faint threshold. I do run the Target Conductivity switch on All myself as I prefer to hear the hot rocks and sort them out myself. I do not mind digging a few rocks if need be but usually they have a consistent sound I can learn. In this instance though the TDI was running real nice. There seemed to be less of the bad hot rocks on this side of the valley. Bob, Keith, and I spaced ourselves around the tailing pile and proceeded to hunt. I started low on one end, hunted around that end, and then worked up the hill into the brush. They were both running Minelabs. Minelabs can be set to run pretty close to each other, but we discovered that the TDI does not play well with Minelab detectors. The TDI does not pick up the Minelabs at all, but the Minelabs go nuts with a TDI anywhere near, and they cannot tune the TDI out at all. So I took pains to stay as far away from both Keith and Bob as possible. I ended up in a little spruce tree thicket on one end of the pile. Soon I got a nice, clear, high tone signal. A bit of digging revealed a nice 1.93 ounce gold quartz specimen down in the roots! It was a typical Moore Creek "oreo cookie" nugget with a solid gold core sandwiched between two thin layers of quartz. But very solid in the middle - this chunk had a very nice heft. Not only did it make my day (week? month?) but actually paid for that TDI in a single find. It certainly gave me a real warm fuzzy about the TDI being able to make a find like that with it. We hunted most of the rest of the day and although we found many targets my nugget proved to be the only find of the day. That happens so often it does make me wonder at times. I have seen myself and others bang into a great find like that early on, and then find nothing the rest of the day so often that when it happens now I joke about it. The feeling is if you get a great one like that right off the bat you may as well quit for the day. But of course nobody ever does. 1.93 oz gold nugget found by Steve Herschbach with White's TDI Here is the rest of the story on the nugget. I have a rule at Moore Creek that any gold our crew finds while we have paying customers in camp goes to the customers. So at the end of the week we had a drawing. Everyone got 5 tickets, and for every ounce of gold a person had found we took away one of their tickets. We wanted to handicap the hot detectorists. Although we had 15 visitors in camp, it was Bob who was with Keith and I when the nugget that got found that won it. Which was nice as he is one of our regular visitors and had not had much luck detecting. There was some pretty serious karma at work that week! Just a reminder, gold was running around $700 per ounce in 2008, so I gave away a $1400 nugget. I did this a lot at Moore Creek and in fact no visitor ever went home without gold. I always found enough hunting on the side to be able and make sure people who got skunked got a going away present. I think I found and gave away about a pound of gold, which must set some kind of record. I was figuring there is no way anyone is going to beat my 1.93 ounce nugget for awhile. After all, not many nuggets get found over an ounce, and this one is almost two ounces. Well, I figured wrong. After all our clients left for the summer I invited a couple friends up to the mine to hang out while we shut the mine down for the winter. Husband and wife detecting team Bernie and Chris came to Moore Creek for the first time. Both are expert with VLF detectors having found pounds of gold between them with the White's MXT. Pulse induction detecting was new to them however and at Moore Creek I convinced them to set the trusty MXT aside in favor of PI detectors. Well, no worries about these two running new detectors. Bernie and Chris scored some real nice gold. In fact, Chis got the best find of the week with the TDI, and really gorgeous 2.07 ounce gold in quartz specimen. It is actually one of the more attractive pieces I saw found at Moore Creek. Instead of the usual solid layer of gold wafered between quartz this specimens has gold laced evenly and very attractively throughout the quartz. Chris not only beat me for overall weight by a bit but for sure in the specimen good looks department. 2.07 ounce gold specimen found by Chris P with White's TDI at Moore Creek, Alaska This story is a compilation of various posts made on the internet at the time and finally added to my journal. I wanted to add a lot of missing detail, and in the process it sure brought back a lot of great memories. The Moore Creek gig will go down as the best time of my life. Not only was a lot of gold found, but many great new friends and fabulous adventures were made there. The mine now belongs to other people and the pay-to-mine operation has long since ended, but the memories will be cherished as long as I live. The White's PulseScan TDI is a detector I still own. It has some interesting features no other detector has and in some ways is an underappreciated machine. I like the easy hip mount capability and the unique Target Conductivity switch in particular. The main problem I see is people using it in locations where a VLF is a better choice, and then complaining the TDI is no better than a VLF. Stuff like that makes me shake my head. If a location is suitable for a VLF by all means use a VLF. Pulse induction detectors like the White's TDI are for locations where the ground or the hot rocks are such that a VLF operator wants to quit in frustration. Ground Balancing PI (GBPI) detectors are meant solely to handle extreme ground or hot rock conditions, and it those conditions do not exist, then the entire reason for using the PI detector also does not exist. In low mineral ground the only real advantage GBPI detectors have is in their ability to run very large coils, and that can aid in finding deep large targets. But if no deep large targets exist to be found a VLF is often the better choice in low mineral ground, especially given the superior ability of a VLF to sort out trash targets. As always it is about using the proper tool for the job, and a location like Moore Creek is a perfect spot for a detector like the White's TDI. You can find more details on the TDI on this website at the White's PulseScan TDI page. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2008 Herschbach Enterprises
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  26. Metal detecting for gold nuggets is perhaps the most difficult type of metal detecting. That is partly because simply having an excellent gold nugget detector does little to insure success. The operator not only needs to be extremely proficient with a capable metal detector, but also needs to have general knowledge about gold prospecting and where gold is likely to be found. This short guide is intended to focus on some of the most important aspects a person should consider when starting out new in the nugget detecting game. Metal detecting for gold nuggets is the gold mining equivalent of big game hunting. Many areas produce fine gold and small flakes, but these areas will not usually prove productive with a metal detector. Only areas with larger gold nuggets will be of interest, and so many locations that are fine for panning and other types of mining will not be worth your time if you plan on going for the big nugget. Researching the area to confirm that large nuggets have been found there in the past will help make your hunt successful. While detecting may limit you to fewer sites and more time between each nugget you find, the fact is that successful detector operators tend to find gold nuggets far larger than the finds of the average recreational miner. Detecting is not nearly as physically demanding as most types of mining, and lends itself well if you enjoy roaming freely rather than working hard at a single site. Steve metal detecting for gold with White's MXT metal detector Here are a few facts and tips to get you started: Today's machines can detect gold weighing under a grain with ease. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce with nuggets under a grain quite literally being pinhead size objects. The depth of detection grows with the size of the target. A one grain nugget may be found at two inches, a match head size nugget at four inches, and a quarter ounce nugget at ten inches. Only the largest nuggets will be found at depths over a foot. Metal detectors will not normally find buried accumulations of fine gold directly. The higher the operating frequency of the detector, the more sensitive it will be to small gold, but with the penalty of also being more sensitive to iron minerals. This can result in more false signaling and difficulty of operation in highly iron mineralized areas. Lower frequency detectors are generally less sensitive to small nuggets, but handle iron ground better. Frequencies on today's nugget detectors range from a low of 3 kHz to a high of 71 kHz. Pulse induction (PI) detectors are a special type of unit that act like they are extremely low frequency detectors. PI detectors main strength is in ignoring the worst ground mineral conditions and finding large gold nuggets at maximum depths though a few models also do well on the smaller gold. Most models feature manual ground balance controls, which allow the machine to be adjusted for the general iron content of the ground. When the ground being searched is relatively homogenous, these controls require minimal adjustments and work well. When the ground being searched has wildly varying iron content or many out of place mineralized stones (referred to as "hot rocks") then these manual controls will have to constantly be adjusted to maintain proper performance. Detectors that feature automatic ground balance will require less adjustment and will have less false ground noise. The best option is to have both manual and automatic ground tuning options in one detector. Nugget detectors find all conductive metals. Most units have the ability to tune out many common iron and steel trash items. Pulse induction detectors are not so good at discriminating out trash items and should generally be considered as "dig-it-all" type detectors.. Any gold located should be treated as an indicator, since rarely will a nugget occur by itself. It is much more likely that more nuggets are nearby, and gold smaller than the detector can locate or beyond its immediate depth of detection is present. Such leads should be followed up with further excavation and sampling with gold pans or other mechanical methods, A metal detectors greatest advantage is that it needs no water, a near-universal requirement for most methods of placer sampling. Use this to your advantage to easily check material that is far from water, such as arid locations or deposits located well uphill from the stream. Large nuggets sing out with a loud signal, but since most targets will be small, train yourself using the smallest detectable nuggets your machine can find. Learn the faint but very distinct sound that small or deeply buried nuggets make. Small aluminum or lead targets can be used as an acceptable substitute for gold. Always use headphones to enhance your ability to hear these faint targets. Coil control is one of the most important aspects of proper metal detector technique. Small items may only be detected at a few inches or fractions of inches. Hovering the coil any appreciable distance over the ground is one of the most common reasons for gold nuggets being missed. The detection field projected underground resembles an inverted cone, with the deepest depth of detection in the center of the coil. At maximum depths only a tiny area is seen by the detector, and so overlapping the sweeps is important when detecting a productive area or "patch". To find gold go where gold is found! Metal detectors can be used to prospect new areas but do not expect to find much gold in areas where gold has never been found. Instead, research and frequent areas with past known production of the kind of gold you want to find. Research is a real key to success. Remember to always obtain permission to detect on mining claims or private property and be aware of any possible restrictions on public lands. Commit yourself to learning your detector. Do not make the investment if you do not plan on spending some time to properly give the method a chance. It will be time profitably spent. The one thing that sets successful detector operators apart from the crowd is their patience and persistence. They enjoy the hunt itself, and consider the day well spent even if no gold is found. Consistent success will only come with practice. I strongly believe there is no one best detector for all conditions. The best detector for each area will depend on how much ground iron is present, how large the gold is, and how much trash is in the area. Operator expertise has by far the greatest effect on success. If you purchase a second detector, having a low frequency model and a high frequency detector will give you more versatility. Identical detectors will also interfere with each other electronically and must be kept far apart, whereas differing models can work side by side. The most important accessory item you can own is a quality set of headphones. A good set will muffle outside noise, enhance the faint sounds most nuggets make, and be comfortable for hours on end. Audio quality is of extreme importance. Insist on trying several headphones with your detector before you buy. The differences can be amazing. Make sure that the headphone has its own volume controls and matches your detector for mono or stereo operation. Several ounces of gold detected at Ganes Creek, Alaska in 2010 by Steve Herschbach Other important accessories include a stout digging tool, such as a stainless steel trowel or a short handle pick. A magnet can easily pick up small steel trash items that may be found and are hard to locate exactly. A plastic scoop or cup is indispensable in helping to separate a small nugget from the soil by scooping and waving the soil over the detector search coil. Snap plastic search coil protectors over the bottom of your search coil to protect it from wear. Carry spare batteries and a plastic bottle for your finds. Check into the possibility of using a belt or chest harness with the detector control box to protect it and remove the extra weight from your arm. Do not overlook accessory search coils. Smaller search coils will be more sensitive to smaller targets while giving up some overall depth. Larger coils will produce more depth of detection on larger targets, but will lose the ability to find some smaller nuggets. Small coils are more popular and will pay off in bedrock areas in particular. They can make a detector of moderate sensitivity perform like a higher frequency detector. Large coils work well for finding oversize nuggets discarded in tailing piles. Coils are not interchangeable between models; only coils made for your machine will work with it. The chart below shows the advantages of using both smaller and larger accessory coils. Coil Size vs Depth Fisher Gold Bug 2 Source - Field Testing the Gold Bug 2 by Gordon Zahara The most important goal is to put yourself on nugget bearing ground. These areas are well documented and can be researched. Check the land ownership and contact claim owners if need be for permission to nugget hunt. If you frequent areas that have not produced coarse gold, do not be surprised at a lack of success. For information and reviews of specific metal detectors see Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors. A huge resource for questions asked past and present is this website's Metal Detecting & Gold Prospecting Forums. Be responsible! Fill your holes behind you, and remove any small trash you excavate. Proper and responsible practices will keep more areas open to us all. Do not remove gold from mining claims without permission. It is theft and may result in that claim being made off-limits to other nugget hunters. Protect our hobby so we can all continue to enjoy it in the future. Good Luck & Good Hunting! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2009 Herschbach Enterprises
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  27. Here is a question I received via email, with personal references removed. I prefer to answer these on the forum so everyone gets the benefit of the answer plus others can offer their opinions also. "I am new to metal detecting and, your site here has really helped me out. I have a couple questions that maybe you can help me out with. What are some of the geologic indicators that you look for to determining where to prospect for nuggets? I try to study some of the geology maps but I could use some further pinpointing. I have also been looking at the National map of Surficial Mineralogy. Using the aster and minsat7 maps what are some of the indicators that may point you to higher gold bearing ground? Any help would be deeply appreciated. Could you point me to some old places where you have found gold? I'm not asking to be shown active patches. Just areas that you feel are worked out. I just want to see what gold bearing ground looks like. This would help me to start to learn the commonalities and characteristics of gold bearing grounds. Still looking for that first nugget! Thanks again for any info you can provide." My method is much simpler than that. I basically look for gold where gold has been found before. Think of it like fishing. If you want to go catch salmon you have two options. You can go to where people have caught salmon before - pretty good odds here. Or you can go where nobody has ever caught a salmon before. Very poor odds! So call it prospecting using history to determine where gold has been found before, and then getting as close as I can to those places. History and proximity. Finally, I may then employ geology to narrow that search in a given area if it turns out the gold is confined to certain rock types. The first place I normally turn as a rough guide to any new location in the U.S. is: Principal Gold Producing Districts Of The United States USGS Professional Paper 610 by A. H. Koschmann and M. H. Bergendahl - A description of the geology, mining history, and production of the major gold-mining districts in 21 states. This 1968 publication obviously lacks the latest production figures but it still is a great overview to where an individual prospector can look for gold in the United States. It is a 283 page pdf download so be patient. Pay particular attention to the listed references in the extensive bibliography for doing further research. You can download this here and find many more useful free books on this website at the Metal Detecting & Prospecting Library Principal Gold Producing Districts of the United States So just for fun let's say I want to go look for gold in New Mexico. The section on New Mexico starts on page 200 and here is a quick summary of the opening paragraphs: "The gold-producing districts of New Mexico are distributed in a northeastward-trending mineral belt of variable width that extends diagonally across the State, from Hidalgo County in the southwest corner to Colfax County along the north-central border. From 1848 through 1965 New Mexico is credited with a gold production of about 2,267,000 ounces; however, several million dollars worth of placer gold was mined prior to 1848. Mining in New Mexico began long before discoveries were made in any of the other Western States (Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 17-19; Jones, 1904, p. 8-20). The copper deposits at Santa Rita were known and mined late in the 18th century, and placer gold mining began as early as 1828 in the Ortiz Mountains south of Santa Fe. In 1839 placer deposits were discovered farther south along the foot of the San Pedro Mountains. The earliest lode mining, except the work at Santa Rita, dates back to 1833 when a gold-quartz vein was worked in the Ortiz Mountains. In 1865 placers and, soon afterward, quartz lodes were found in the White Mountains in Lincoln County; in 1866 placer deposits were discovered at Elizabethtown in Colfax County, and silver-lead deposits were discovered in the Magdalena Range in Socorro County. In 1877 placers and gold-quartz veins were found at Hillsboro, and in 1878 phenomenally rich silver ore was found at Lake Valley in Sierra County. The mineral belt of New Mexico is in mountainous terrain that lies between the Colorado Plateau on the northwest and the Great Plains on the east. It is a zone of crustal disturbance in which the rocks were folded and faulted and intruded by stocks, dikes, and laccoliths of monzonitic rocks. Deposits of copper, lead, zinc, gold, and silver occur locally throughout this belt. Some deposits of copper and gold are Precambrian in age, but most of the ore deposits are associated with Upper Cretaceous or Tertiary intrusive rocks. The gold placers were probably derived from the weathering of these deposits. In later Tertiary time lavas spread out over wide areas of the State, and fissures within these rocks were later mineralized. These fissure veins are rich in gold and silver, but in most places they are relatively poor in base metals. In New Mexico, 17 districts in 13 counties yielded more than 10,000 ounces of gold each through 1957 (fig.19). Figure 19 is a handy map showing us where you want to look in New Mexico and also where looking is probably a waste of time. Click for larger version. Gold mining districts of New Mexico The map shows what the text said "The mineral belt of New Mexico is in mountainous terrain that lies between the Colorado Plateau on the northwest and the Great Plains on the east." Sticking to this area is going to be your best bet. Based just on this map I see two areas of general interest - the central northern area, and the southwestern corner of the state. The text mentions that placer deposits were discovered at Elizabethtown in Colfax County, and the map shows that as the Elizabethtown-Baldy mining district. Following along in the text we find this: "The placer deposits along Grouse and Humbug Gulches, tributaries of Moreno Creek, each yielded more than $1 million in placer gold and silver. Another $2 million worth of placer gold and silver was recovered from the valleys of Moreno and Willow Creeks (Anderson, 1957, p. 38-39), and some gold also came from the gravels along Ute Creek. Graton (in Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 93) estimated the placer production of the Elizabethtown-Baldy district prior to 1904 at $2.5 million, and C. W. Henderson (in U. S. Bureau of Mines, 1929, pt. 1, p. 7 40) estimated the production through 1929 at about $3 million (145,138 ounces). The total placer production through 1959 was about 146,980 ounces." The reference material from the passage above is in the back of the book and is where we can get real details. Google is our friend. This stuff used to take me lots of visits to libraries! Anderson, E. C., 1957, The metal resources of New Mexico and their economic features through 1954: New Mexico Bur. Mines and Mineral Resources Bull. 39, 183 p. Lindgren, Waldemar, Graton, L. C., and Gordon, C. H., 1910, The ore deposits of New Mexico: U.S. Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 68, 361 p. Henderson, C. W., 1932, Gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in New Mexico: U.S. Bur. Mines, Mineral Resources U.S., 1929, pt. 1, p. 729-759. That is more than enough, but let's also Google placer gold new mexico Lots of great links there, but two jump out: Placer Gold Deposits of New Mexico 1972 USGS Bulletin 1348 by Maureen G. Johnson Placer Gold Deposits in New Mexico by Virginia T. McLemore, New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources May 1994 Notice the source of the last one. Most states with much mining have a state agency involved that can be a good source of information and in this case it is the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. That last one is a real gem and contains this passage: "All known placer deposits in New Mexico occur in late Tertiary to Recent rocks and occur as alluvial-fan deposits, bench or terrace gravel deposits, river bars, stream deposits (alluvial deposits), or as residual placers formed directly on top of lode deposits typically derived from Proterozoic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary source rocks (eluvial deposits). During fluvial events, large volumes of sediment containing free gold and other particles are transported and deposited in relatively poorly sorted alluvial and stream deposits. The gold is concentrated by gravity in incised stream valleys and alluvial fans in deeply weathered highlands. Most placer gold deposits in New Mexico are found in streams or arroyos that drain gold-bearing lode deposits, typically as quartz veins. The lode deposits range in age from Proterozoic to Laramide to mid-Tertiary (Oligocene-Miocene) (Table 2). There are some alluvial deposits distal from any obvious source terrains (Table 2). Eluvial deposits are common in many districts; some of the larger deposits are in the Jicarilla district." So now we have a lifetime of ideas on where to go and a basic idea of the geology. And an even better map! Click for larger version. Placer gold deposits of New Mexico Let's look for specific site information. 1. Go to http://westernmininghistory.com/mines 2. Click on New Mexico Mines 3. Click on Colfax County Mines 4. Click on Elizabethtown - Baldy District Here you will find basic site information, references, and a zoomable map with alternate satellite view. An alternate site... 1. Go to https://thediggings.com/usa 2. Click on Browse All States 3. Click on New Mexico 4. Click on Browse All Counties 5. Click on Colfax At this point note you can browse mining claim information or deposit information. Researching mining claims, land ownership, etc. is another topic but here is one source of mining claim location information. For now.... 6. Click on Browse All Deposits or Use The Interactive Map 7. Click on Elizabeth - Baldy A little more detail than the previous site, including this note "SOME FAIRLY COARSE NUGGETS IN WILLOW, UTE, SOUTH PONIL CREEKS, GROUSE AND HAMBURG GULCHES, MORENO RIVER" One more... 1. Go to https://www.mindat.org/loc-3366.html 2. Way down at bottom click on New Mexico 3. Way down at bottom click on Colfax County From here you can dig into all kinds of specific site information but the navigation is a real mess. Have fun! Historic claim staking activity can be a clue. You can get the Big Picture by looking at Mine Claim Activity on Federal Lands for the period 1976 through 2010 OK, that really should have answered your question. As far as places I have been, they are nearly all in Alaska and can be found here Now, I did all the above from scratch with no real prior information on New Mexico in about 2 hours. You can do the same for any state. However, finding where the gold is really is the easy part. The hardest part by far is finding out who controls the land and getting proper permission for access. In Alaska everything is covered by thick ground cover, so opportunities for metal detecting are strictly at creek level, and nearly always claimed. The process there is simple - find out who owns the claims and get permission for access. In most of the western U.S. there is far less or no ground cover, and so getting in the vicinity of and searching around or near mining claims without being on them is a far more viable option than in Alaska. Or you can try and get permission to access the properties. You still need to be able to track down property locations and owners however. For private property I subscribe to and use OnXMaps for my PC, Google Earth, iPad, and iPhone. It quickly maps private property and gives you access to tax roll information about the owners. Tracking down mining claims is easy in the big picture and harder in the details. The Diggings referenced before has interactive claims maps. I subscribe to Minecache for their Google Earth overlay. However, the most comprehensive source with the deepest repository of Land Ownership information is Land Matters. They have online claim mapping with direct links to claims owner information. Note that all online sources have a lag time between the actual staking of a claim on the ground and when it reaches the online systems, if ever. I say if ever because some claims exist solely at the county or state levels and there is no good way to find them short of visiting local recorder's offices or eyeballs on the ground. Prior thread on finding claims information. Finally, I am not the last word on this subject by any means. This is just how I go about it - I hope it helps somebody else. This article was promoted from a thread on the forums. Additional details may be found there via follow up questions and posts. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2017 Herschbach Enterprises
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  28. White's MXT Engineering Guide David E. Johnson, engineering consultant This Engineering Guide is written to provide dealers and customers greater insight into what kind of product the MXT is, from an engineering perspective. It does not attempt to provide complete information on the features and use of the MXT: for that, please consult the MXT user's manual. A BIT OF HISTORY In January 1998, White's decided to develop a true multipurpose metal detector, with the kind of sensitivity it takes to be a real gold prospecting machine, and with computerized ground tracking for ease of use. White's in-house engineering staff was tied up on the project which eventually became the DFX. Therefore, in February White's asked me if I might be interested in taking on a new protect. I had a good track record on gold machines so it seemed like a good fit. I agreed. A month later at a dealer seminar in Sacramento, California, Jimmy Sierra announced the project, and said if the engineer didn't deliver, the engineer would have to go into hiding in Mexico. I was sitting in the back. We ran into one problem after another along the way. Jimmy, good chap that he is, didn't sic the thugs on me, though there were periods he was frustrated enough that the thought must have run through his mind. Although the project took longer than we expected we got two products out of it - the GMT and the MXT. The first major hurdle was to get the basic circuit and software system running, with a first class ground tracking system. The system architecture was totally new, not a revision of the existing Goldmasters. In early spring of 1999 an ugly prototype was up and swinging, and Larry Sallee became involved in field-testing. By April the ground tracking system was working so well that since that time very few changes have been needed. At that point we knew we had a solid foundation, so work began on the display, discrimination and target ID features. During the fall of 1999, we decided to tackle the problem of desert heat head-on. A lot of gold prospecting is done in desert heat in full sun. I set up a crude but effective, thermal engineering laboratory, measuring the temperatures reached inside housings of various configurations and colors in full sun. Then began the task of finding an LCD, which would handle the heat. Because the LCD display is an important feature of the MXT, we revisited the whole issue of display. The manufacturers of LCD display had expanded their product offerings. We found a larger one, and changed the mechanical design of the MXT to accommodate it. A FSTN 0160 F was selected, (there are more to choose from nowadays, so we used a bigger one than the GMT in the MXT.) In early 2000, White's decided to bring out a new Goldmaster based on the work that had already been done, while development of the multipurpose unit continued. So we modified a prototype to work with the Goldmaster search coil at about 50 kHz, and you know the rest of that story - the GMT "tracking Goldmaster" was introduced in early spring of 2001. As work continued on what eventually came to be called the "MXT", we spent a lot of time on the discrimination and target ID system. There are many different ways to do discrimination and ID, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, which aren't always known until you've had the thing in the field being tested for a while. A lot of work got thrown out as we found deficiencies in what had already been done, and discovered ways to improve things. As the project got closer to production, more people became involved with it, and offered their own ideas to improve it. The reason the MXT is as good as it is, is because of that long process of field-testing and revisions. While the MXT was still under development, the DFX was introduced. The MXT design was then revised to run at about 14 kHz in order to take advantage of the DFX loops. When it was finally time to call it "good" in June 2002, the MXT went into production quickly and smoothly. CIRCUIT DESIGN The circuitry of the MXT is almost identical to the GMT, which has already been on the market for a year and a half and has proven to be rock-solid. The GMT's circuitry broke a lot of new ground. It uses a reactive impedance transformation network to boost transmitter voltage for higher sensitivity. It uses an active transmitter regulator to keep transmitter voltage constant even when the search coil is moved over black sand that would blow an unregulated machine off the air. The differentiator-filter circuits usually found in metal detectors are eliminated. Those functions are now done in software, which is made possible by the use of a high-precision 16-bit A/D converter used in a way that makes it equivalent to 17 1/2 bits. All the controls are digitized, their function actually performed via software rather than in circuitry. The audio system is temperature compensated in software to eliminate threshold drift. For the MXT, we chose an operating frequency of 13.889 kHz. This is high enough to give good sensitivity to gold, low enough to give good target ID on typical coin, trash, and relic targets, electrically compatible with search coils derived from the DFX and halfway in between power line harmonics to minimize electrical interference. SOFTWARE The MXT uses a Microchip PIC 16C76 micro controller, chosen for its low power consumption and its set of features, which was a good match for this application. The software that runs in this chip is based on that in the GMT, but almost all of it is new or has major revisions, except the device drivers and the ground tracking system. Much of the new software is for target ID and discrimination, features that were not present in the GMT. Even the iron probability and VSAT systems in the MXT are new, despite their apparent similarity to the GMT. The MXT/GMT does as much of the signal processing as possible in software rather than in circuitry, using what we call "low-speed DSP architecture". The demodulated signals are digitized, and processed and analyzed in software. Control positions are also digitized and made part of the data in software. The desired audio signal is computed, and then converted back to voltage using a 12-bit D/A converter. The circuit board communicates with the LCD and trigger switch in the "pod" via a custom-designed serial link. In the MXT the filters, differentiators, and sample-and-hold functions are performed in software, not in circuitry. This eliminates the problems of channel mismatch and drift, which are often encountered in such circuits. The discrimination system is a second derivative ("two-filter'') design for quick response over a broad range of sweep speeds. The analysis system for determining what kind of target is present has special features which reduce interference from ground minerals, and which automatically scale target ID confidence according to the mineralization level. GROUND TRACKING SYSTEM The ground tracking system comprises two subsystems: a ground analysis engine, and a ground balancing system. The ground analysis engine continuously monitors incoming signals to determine whether the signals probably represent ground, or may be something else such as metal targets or electrical interference. Signals, which seem to be ground only, are put into a data analysis subsystem, which analyzes the data for a number of variables. Then it can be determined what the balance point of the ground matrix is and how fast that balance point is changing. It'd be nice to describe all this in detail but we'd rather not teach our competitors how to do it. The ground balance system does the actual balancing of the signals, doing in software somewhat the same job as a ground balance knob does on a manually balanced machine. When the TRAC toggle is in the "ground" or "salt" positions, the ground balancing system follows the output of the ground analysis engine. When the toggle is in the center "lock" position, the ground balance subsystem stops following the output of the ground analysis engine, which is still chugging away in the background continuing to gather ground data. The ground analysis engine can do a good job of telling the difference between ground matrix and anomalies such as hot rocks and metal targets. In order to tell the difference, it has to see matrix by itself during at least part of the sweep. When you're not in "lock", keep your sweeps broad, and don't loiter over the top of a target when checking it out. Otherwise the analysis engine may lose the ground matrix and start tracking into the target. However, if the target is strong enough to register on the VDI readout, the target ID system will tell the analysis engine to halt, allowing you to check the target without tracking into it. In all three programs, pulling the trigger to pinpoint a target also tells the ground analysis engine to halt. Some users will hunt with the tracking toggle in "lock", occasionally updating the ground balance by flipping into "ground" or "salt" momentarily when they start hearing too much ground noise. The resolution of the ground balancing system is 1 part in 4,000, and most of that resolution is concentrated in the range where high mineralization occurs. Therefore, the individual resolution steps are below audibility under all conditions. THE VSAT SYSTEM The VSAT system on the MXT is similar in a general way to the one on the GMT. The VSAT function is done entirely in software. Up to about 2/3 rotation, the SAT is of the conventional (first derivative or auto tune) kind, giving a "zip" sound on a nugget and a "boing" sound on a negative hot rock (cold rock). As you approach maximum rotation, the MXT goes into "HyperSAT". HyperSAT is a completely different type of SAT system with different sounds and target responses. The background threshold sound is a little rattier, but nuggets are crisper, the ground is quieter, and negative hot rocks vanish when you slow down your sweep. For all but the most experienced users whose ears are calibrated to hear every little nuance of a regular SAT signal, HyperSAT gives more effective depth in bad ground than normal SAT. THE DISCRIMINATION CONTROL The discrimination control does pretty much what you'd expect. Unlike some discriminators, when the control is at zero, there is no discrimination at all - i.e., "true zero discrimination" - and all targets will be detected. Below about 2, the discrimination is based on a combination of both signal phase, and signal strength relative to the strength of ground mineralization. This feature allows the user to get good rejection of shallow iron with minimal loss of deeper targets. THE GAIN CONTROL The gain control knob controls two things at once: the preamp circuit gain, and the software gain. The following is a simplified explanation which is not technically correct in all its details, but will serve to give a general picture how the gain control works. As you advance the gain control from 1 to 10, the preamp circuit gain steps through five levels of gain: xl, x2, x4, x8, and x16. On most machines (depending on minor variations in search coil alignment) you can hear a momentary blip as the machine switches from one gain level to the next. The recommended preset (marked by the triangle) corresponds to a preamp gain of x8. In mild ground conditions where there is no electrical interference, you may want to advance the gain control into the crosshatched region. In this region, the signal data in software is multiplied by successively larger numbers, increasing the loudness of the signals. It is somewhat similar to the "audio boost" function found on some other models of metal detectors. It's particularly useful if you're using the speaker rather than headphones and there's a lot of noise from traffic or wind, or if you're demoing the machine to someone else. BASIC SENSITIVITY PERFORMANCE Since this is a multiple-purpose machine, a U.S. Nickel coin is the most appropriate standard test target. With the gain cranked up, and in the absence of electrical interference, a nickel will typically "air test" beyond a foot using the standard 95O search coil. Your actual "air test" distance will depend on your hearing, the sweep speed, what search coil is used, how much electrical interference is present, and how you have the controls set. In comparison to other machines in this price range, the MXT is extremely hot on low-conductivity items. On gold, it's right in there with the more popular gold machines, being especially hot on the larger, deeper nuggets. It will compete with all comers on low-conductivity , relics and on nickels. On high conductivity coins such as quarters and silver dollars, it is still an excellent performing machine, but there are several other products in the same league for sensitivity. GROUND TRACKING PERFORMANCE The ground tracking system is nearly identical to that in the GMT, which is widely regarded as one of the best tracking systems on the market. Compared to most other trackers, the MXT has superior resolution, tracks faster, "jumps" into new ground more quickly, has greater resistance to tracking into targets, and tracks over a wider range of soil conditions. The MXT allows tracking to be inhibited if desired. DISCRIMINATION PERFORMANCE All discriminator designs are compromises. Here's how the discriminator in the MXT stacks up against other machines. AIR TEST "DEPTH": generally well beyond 10 inches, because of high sensitivity, with effective discrimination to within 0-3 inches of the basic air sensitivity of the target. Most discriminators will discriminate in air to within 0-3 inches of the target air depth on most targets, but most don't have the sensitivity of the MXT. QUICKNESS & TARGET SEPARATION: among the best, because of medium-speed second derivative ("two-filters") design. Initial field reports indicate that the MXT's mixed-mode tone system gives indication of adjacent ferrous/nonferrous targets, superior to that obtainable through discrimination. IRON REJECTION: Because of its high sensitivity and a slight preference in the software for not losing questionable targets, it'll be a little chattier than some less sensitive machines. Reducing sensitivity by cutting back on gain, or by reducing the threshold control setting to minimum, will help quiet it down when necessary. DEPTH IN MINERALIZED GROUND: Although the MXT is a two-filter system, it incorporates special techniques which reduce ground interference and which reduce the "chopping & popping" which plague most other two-filter machines. This, together with its high basic sensitivity, makes it an excellent machine from the standpoint of discrimination depth. FAST SWEEPING: Many discriminators tend to lose good target signals, even shallow ones, when quickly sweeping the search coil. The MXT is tolerant of moderate search coil sweeps, that is to say good at both faster and slower search coil paces. SUMMARIZING: The MXT has the responsiveness and sensitivity of a first-rate 2 filter machine, combined with the discrimination accuracy of a first-rate 4-filter machine. TARGET I.D., ETC. With its small medium and large blocks on the target ID screen, the ID system in the MXT bears a superficial resemblance to the "Signagraph" of the Spectrum XLT. It should be realized that the traditional White's Signagraph system is typically (optionally) set to accumulate data over multiple passes over a target, and displays the accumulated average. The MXT displays fresh data on each pass and scales the size of the block according to how strong the signal was relative to the ground conditions on that specific pass over the target. The visual ID system on the MXT is fast, easy to read, generally more accurate than the discriminator, and gives a visual indication (via block size) of how reliable the identification is. It is going to change the minds of many beeper enthusiasts who previously thought visual ID to be of little practical use outside typical coin shooting. CASCADE THE CASCADE OF EFFECTS OF GROUND BALANCE SETTING: In order to know what the ground balance setting is; flip momentarily to the gold program if you were in another mode. Electronic ferrite material and most "negative hot rocks" (cold rocks) will usually read in the 75-88 range. Most soils will read somewhat lower. Readings will almost never go below 25 except in salt or moist alkali soils. When readings indicate smaller numbers than 50 you may notice some reduction in sensitivity. Below 35, some rusty iron may give unpredictable responses. Below 25, iron objects may give unpredictable responses and/or may disappear entirely and the sound on nonferrous objects may become slightly more abrupt. MANY THANKS To Kenneth White and Alan Holcombe for having sufficient confidence in me to put food on my table through the good times and the rough times on this project. To Jimmy Sierra for having the patience to argue with me about all the stuff that needed arguing about, for being so passionate about the need for this product, and for being willing to compromise when that's what it took to keep the project moving. To Larry and Sue Sallee, for their personal hospitality and for field testing prototypes. To Keith Zorger, Randy Smith, Mike Brighty who field-tested and helped develop the MXT. To Bob Canaday, for being such a competent technical/engineering liaison, doing a lot of not glorious but necessary work well and managing the project during its sometimes difficult phases. To Rick Maulding, for overseeing the project, for technical contributions to the discriminator and to the salt system, and for committing White's engineering department's finest minds to engineering review during the "slow SAT isn't hot enough" crisis, which led to a major system revision that made the whole machine better. To John Earle and Dan Geyer, for diligently hacking away at problems until they became non-problems. To Steve Howard and Pam Godell of White's. There were other people involved in this project whose contact was primarily or exclusively with White's and not with me. The risk of printing credits is that one may inadvertently omit a name that belongs there; so, if I missed someone whose name belongs on this list, I'm sorry, it was an unintentional oversight. - D.E.J. P/N 621-0468 published 8/2002 by White's Electronics
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  29. I recently treated myself to a metal detecting holiday to the area around Colchester, England. This was a reprise to a trip I made to the UK in 2010 in search of Celtic gold. Gold was not in the equation for that trip, but I did find the oldest coins and artifacts I have ever found.... as in 2000 years older than anything I have found before! Colchester has history reaching back into prehistoric times, and is generally acknowledged as the location of Britain's first city. Celtic tribes were active in the area, leaving behind many Celtic gold coins to be found by modern day detectorists. The Romans were also very active in the area, as were other invaders, leading to finds from many cultures across the centuries. I made a return visit to Colchester in 2018, this time relying heavily on the new Minelab Equinox metal detector as my detector of choice. I also had the opportunity to use the new Minelab Equinox 15" x 12" DD coil while on this trip. Not only did I have a very successful trip, but I got to observe other great finds made by the other detectorists in the group. All in all this was a very exciting metal detecting experience that I enjoyed thoroughly. The links below outline both my own experiences and the same trip told from the perspective of another person on the same adventure. Steve's 2018 UK Adventure by Steve Herschbach My UK Trip .... Double Ancient Gold! by Ill Digger Steve Herschbach finds ancient UK gold!
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  30. The Nokta Impact was introduced in 2017 and is still in production. It features the ability to switch from 5 kHz to 14 kHz or 20 kHz by merely changing a control setting. The coils work with all three frequencies equally well. The Nokta Impact has a full array of search modes designed to cover almost any metal detecting situation. In general the 5 kHz modes will be most efficient for searching for high conductive targets like coins and large items at depth. The 20 kHz frequency excels on small and low conductive targets like gold jewelry or gold nuggets. The 14 kHz setting is a good compromise setting for all around detecting. The Nokta Impact features built in wireless headphone capability (headphones optional). The Impact can download the latest firmware updates over the internet to be installed from a PC, keeping the detector up-to-date. The coil cables are enclosed inside the rod assembly for a clean, snag-free appearance. One thing we need to settle however. Nokta went against industry convention and advertise the Impact as being a multifrequency detector. Historically that has meant detectors that receive and compare two of more frequency results simultaneously. The Nokta Impact can run one of three frequencies, but only one of them at a time. This would be better described as switchable or selectable frequency. Read my article on Selectable Frequency And Multiple Frequency I am however extremely impressed by what Nokta has accomplished. In 2014 I posted a review of a detector by a company almost nobody here had ever heard of - the Nokta FORS Gold. If you look at that review of the Nokta FORS Gold you will see I had made several comments about things I think needed improving on the machine. What amazed me is Nokta fixed every one of them, and in record time - I made a special note in the review about it later. It made a serious impression on me. What then followed was a quick succession of machines by Nokta and Makro, the sister company. Nothing earth shattering per se but top flight performance at aggressive prices and a willingness to try new ideas and listen to feedback. Frankly, it came on so quickly it actually turned some people off, and I saw complaints about too many machines too fast! Nokta Impact selectable frequency metal detector The entire time that we are seeing this rapid succession of machines most of us are waiting on this or that manufacturer to deliver just one new machine. October 2014 to now, and I am looking at a machine in the Nokta Impact that frankly has no exact equivalent from many of the old school top tier manufacturers. Maybe you guys see no merit in being able to select frequencies but I am highly focused on replacing all my various VLF machines with just one detector, and it is most likely going to be a selectable frequency model that wins that competition. If Nok/Mak can get from FORS CoRe to Impact in three years the "Big 5" manufacturers had better get serious and quick about picking up the pace. The listen and bend over backwards to please attitude alone is getting a lot of fans willing to forgive in other areas. Next up we will no doubt be seeing PI models and multi frequency.... and who knows what else. People can and will argue the relative merits of the Impact versus the other top-of-the-line models, but just the fact the Impact is getting compared to the very best anyone else can make says something about how far this company has come. The Nokta Impact has some very interesting all metal modes, the Gen(D) and Sta(D) modes that appear to be running both all metal and disc modes in parallel. The speculation about these modes garnered attention and we have now been provided this explanation directly from Nokta Software Team Leader Alper Tozan regarding these 2 modes: ''I read a lot of comments about Gen (D) and STA (D) modes in some forums and firstly, I want to thank you about all your positive thoughts. On the other hand, I want to clarify one thing. In some forum discussions, these modes are defined as ‘’mix modes’’. These modes are not mix modes as mix modes typically result from at least two different software algorithms or hardware circuits working at the same time for decision making to discriminate and detect metals. These mix modes also show characteristics of two or more different modes at the same time including handicaps of each signal processing. Gen (D) mode, on the other hand, is a true threshold based all metal mode with motion that can discriminate metal without needing any other hardware or higher order software process level. So it always behaves like a classical true threshold based all metal mode but with iron tone and tone break.'' These all metal modes seemed to me to be the perfect fit for a large search coil and extra deep VLF detecting. The Nokta Impact favors this with its exceptional balance and multiple operating frequencies. In general I think I can speak for most people when I say we all like lighter weight detectors. However, one area where lighter is not better is when you use large coils. Balance is every bit as important as weight as it determines the amount of torque applied to your wrist as you swing the detector. A large coil on a very light detector creates a very nose heavy detector, one that will put more strain on you when you detect than a heavier but better balanced detector. It just so happens that the Impact with the rear mounted battery power/speaker module is a good design for a large coil from an ergonomics standpoint. This is especially true when in my experience Nokta has designed large coils that are quite light for their size. I was probably one of the first people that really zeroed in on the new IM40 15" x 14" DD coil when it was proposed for the Impact by Nokta. I got on an early wait list for the coil, and just received mine. Nokta Impact IM40 15.5" x 13.75" coil with scuff cover The IM40 DD coil measures 15.5" x 13.75" and comes with a fitted skid plate/scuff cover. The coil weighs 1 lb 13.0 oz or 822 grams as pictured with skid plate and cable and weighed on my postal scales. Yes, I had to say that as some people exclude cable weights from coils! For comparison the stock 11" x 7" IMP29 coil weighs 15.7 oz or 446 grams. I like the flat blunted ends on the IM40, which does help the Impact stay upright as the trailing edge of the coil acts as a flat bearing surface when the detector is at rest on the ground. I am not usually a fan of larger coils and in fact tend to lean to smaller coils for a lot of my urban metal detecting. Large coils "see" more area which can work against them in highly mineralized ground or in areas with lots of closely spaced trash. However, large coils even if they do not get more depth in highly mineralized ground can cover more area faster, and often ground coverage is every bit as important if not more so than depth. In medium to lower mineral ground a large coil can also offer that magic thing all detectorists crave - more depth! The Nokta Impact has another trick up its sleeve that favors large coils; the ability to change operating frequency on the fly. High frequencies offer more sensitivity to small items and quicker separation in dense trash as well as extended battery operating time. The main issue with higher frequencies is they also "light up" highly mineralized ground and hot rocks more so than lower frequencies. This can work against machines that are locked into higher frequencies when attempting to employ large coils in highly mineralized ground. Lower frequencies give up some of the high frequency "hots" on small targets but also are less sensitive to ground issues, including salt mineralization. The ability of the Nokta Impact to run at 20 kHz, 14 kHz, or even 5 kHz makes it very well suited for running very large coils. This is accentuated by the plethora of all metal modes available on the Nokta Impact which can deliver extreme performance when coupled with a large coil. The bottom line is I think the Nokta Impact and IM40 coil may be one of the very best options available for a person wanting to run a large coil on a VLF detector, with depths in all metal modes and milder ground that will challenge many PI detectors. ads by Amazon... For a lot of what I personally do, like gold prospecting or beach detecting, I will first attempt high frequency, high gain operation and then back off as ground or EMI conditions require. One thing it is important to know when running the Impact with large coils is how the Gain control works. If the Impact is running at Gain levels that are too high, the OVERLOAD message will appear on the screen. Note: You can increase or decrease the overload volume with the on/off button. When the volume of the device is at maximum, the overload volume will be low. As the volume of the device is lowered, the overload volume will increase. The electronic Gain has at least three distinct levels. There are distinct boosts between settings of 39 and 40 plus again between 69 and 70. Setting over 90 are a sort of hyper-Gain region only obtainable in low mineral/low EMI environments. Therefore I may attempt to start out in 20 kHz and a very high Gain. If overloading occurs I will lower the Gain for smooth operation, paying particular attention when I get down to 69. From there on down I need more field time, but at some point it will be better to drop to a lower frequency than to continue to lower the Gain setting. So in theory if at a setting of Gain 39 I still have issues at 20 kHz, it is time to go to 14 khz and run the Gain back up high. If conditions are still not amenable to running at 14 kHz and high Gain settings, I would then drop to 5 kHz and again attempt to run higher Gain levels. Note: people hunting larger, higher conductive items like silver coins and brass relics may very well just start out at 5 kHz. My focus is usually on lower conductive, smaller items i.e. gold. I so far have only done a small amount of detecting in a local park. I first tried Di3 and while it was working well enough the trash density was high and interpreting signals with a large DD coil can be challenging, especially when the coil generates multiple signals on very shallow items. I finally went to the unique GEN(D) mode and it was night and day. The GEN(D) all metal mode combined with the VCO effect makes sizing targets and identifying shallow targets a breeze, even in a trashy park situation. Shallow ferrous is easily identified also using GEN(D). There are several all metal modes a person can employ on the Impact as well as the extended range ground balance available in the COG (COnductive Ground). While the Impact performs ground balance in the range of 20-90 automatically in the other discrimination modes, it ground balances in the range of 0-90 in the COG mode. This enables easier ground balancing on conductive grounds where normally ground balance cannot be performed at all or performed with difficulty, such as salt water beaches. Remember that ground balancing to salt conditions always comes at the cost of reduced sensitivity to small gold items. Large coil VLF hunting is not for everyone and is not a magic bullet in any case, but it does offer possibilities for the more adventurous detectorist. Here is a picture of my Nokta Impact with new IM40 coil. The detector with this coil is only slightly nose heavy (keep the rod as short as possible) and weighs with batteries 5 lbs 2.0 oz (5.13 lbs) or 2322 grams. Nokta Impact with IM40 15.5" x 13.75" coil mounted The Nokta Impact is quite unique in that not only does it operate at different frequencies, but it has two different target id scales in use depending on the mode employed. Here are Nokta Impact Gold Coin Target ID Responses* in GEN, GEN (D), STA, STA (D), DEEP, VLX1 and VLX2 modes (0-40 ferrous, 41-99 non-ferrous) Seen notes below on alternate target ID scales. .................. NORMALIZED....... 5-Khz.....14-Khz...20-Khz $1.00 Gold Coin....... 51............ 47...........52..........54 $2.50 Gold Coin....... 62............ 51...........62..........70 $5.00 Gold Coin....... 72............ 55...........72..........80 $10.00 Gold Coin...... 82............ 65...........82..........83 $20.00 Gold Coin...... 84............ 75...........84..........85 The normalized setting equalizes responses in all frequencies to be the same as the 14 kHz response. At start up, the Nokta Impact will utilize the ''Normalized'' ID scale and not the Standard ID scale. In other words, the IDs will not change upon frequency change and the device will generate the 14kHz IDs in each frequency. However, based on ground conditions IDs may vary for certain metals. If you prefer to see the different IDs produced by each frequency, you need use the ''Standard'' ID scale. To switch to the standard IDs, pull the trigger and push the (+) button at the same time. Letters ''Sd'' will appear on the screen. If you wish to revert back to the normalized IDs, repeat the same process and letters ''no'' will appear on the screen. In General, low frequencies spread out coin responses but compress low conductive responses. High frequencies spread out low conductive responses but move coin responses closer together. See the target table below for reference. Therefore, running in in the 5 kHz "Standard" or un-normalized mode will provide better target ID separation while coin detecting. Running in 20 kHz Standard mode will provide more definition between U.S. nickels, gold jewelry, and various aluminum items. However, target ID number changes between modes may be confusing for some people and make the Impact harder to learn. In need this case using the Normalized setting is recommended. The Nokta Impact is somewhat unique in that depending on the mode there are two possible target ID scales in use. In DI2, DI3, DI4, DI99 and COG "coin and jewelry" modes, the ferrous range is 00-15 at factory defaults. This provides the most target definition in the non-ferrous range for people only interested in non-ferrous targets. In GEN, GEN (D), STA, STA (D), DEEP, VLX1 and VLX2 "gold and relic" modes, the ferrous range is 00-40. This provides the most target definition in the ferrous to non-ferrous range for people who hunt for items where these ranges overlap. It may then be seen that by picking a combination of both the mode used and a Standard operating frequency the Nokta Impact can customize target ID responses to a degree quite rare in metal detectors offered today. For instance, most coin hunters may want to use the DI2, DI3, DI4, DI99 modes in Standard 5 kHz frequency mode for the best target definition on silver coin range targets. *The gold coin responses are from the Tom Dankowski post at this location. Nokta Impact target id responses in different modes My focus being gold prospecting I can say that while the Nokta Impact is a very capable machine for gold prospecting it will not match the Makro Gold Racer for sensitivity to smaller gold. It is closer to the Nokta Fors Gold+ in that regard. Performance on gram plus gold is on par with other machines in the 13 - 20 kHz class, though the ability to drop to 5 kHz may provide some benefits in the worst ground on large nuggets, much like is seen with the 6.4 kHz mode on the Minelab Eureka Gold. Nokta Impact (with optional 7" x 4" DD coil) next to Makro Gold Racer The Nokta Impact is a very intriguing metal detector, much like owning several different machines in one. The 99 tone mode has a VCO response more like one might expect of the DEUS than other full tone models, like my DFX. The Gen mode is quite unique being a threshold based all metal mode with a dual tone disc mode layered over it, what is referred to as a mixed mode. Wireless headphone capability (2.4 Ghz lag free) is built-in but headphones will be optional. Physically the unit is a well balanced 4.26 pounds with a straight shaft, molded post style grip. The cable is enclosed in the rod assembly for snag free operation and a clean look. The 7" x 4" DD coil is a real sweet option for trashy locations. To sum up I have only scratched the surface of the capability contained in this incredible detector. It has been getting rave reviews from users working the small elliptical coil in extremely trashy locations. With so many frequencies, modes, and a great coil selection the Nokta Impact can serve well for almost any metal detecting task. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2017 Herschbach Enterprises Official Nokta Impact Page Nokta Impact Instruction Manual Nokta Impact Introduction Thread (many closeup photos) Forum Threads Tagged "nokta impact" Nokta Metal Detector Forum Nokta Impact Technical Specifications* Internet Price $509 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 5, 14 or 20 kHz Autotune Mode(s) iSAT Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold Ground Rejection Ground Grab, Manual, Tracking Soil Adjust Normal and Salt (Beach) Modes Discrimination Variable with Visual ID, Tone ID (2, 3, 4, 99), Notch ID, Variable Tone Breaks, Iron Volume Volume Control Yes Threshold Control Yes Tone Adjust Yes Audio Boost Yes Frequency Offset Yes Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output 1/4" headphone socket & speaker Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 11" x 7" DD Optional Search Coils 7.5" x 4" DD, 9.5" x 5" DD, 15.5" x 13.5" DD, 7" Round Concentric Battery Four AA Operating Time 8 - 15 hours Weight 4.26 pounds Additional Technology Wireless headphone capability built in (headphones optional) Notes Cable enclosed inside rod assembly *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  31. The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 was introduced in 2017 and is still in production. The GM1000 was created as a relatively inexpensive, easy to operate, high performance metal detector. The Gold Monster 1000 is designed specifically for gold prospecting but may have applications such as micro jewelry detecting. At 45 kHz with both automatic ground tracking and automatic sensitivity settings, the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is not only very sensitive to small gold but it is relatively easy for beginning detectorists to use. I am fortunate to have been involved in the testing of the new Minelab Gold Monster 1000 prior to its release. One benefit is that I have seen the questions that others have posed about the detector, and now I can answer a few of them. When I use new detectors I always have a goal in mind. I am not trying to pick the detector apart for what it cannot do. Instead, I believe most well designed detectors have something they excel at. My goal is to determine how to use a new detector for maximum benefit. The best way to make that happen is to use the detector in the way it was intended to be used, instead of trying to force it to be something it is not. The key is to be realistic. The Gold Monster 1000 is sold as an entry level single frequency metal detector. Expecting it to outperform detectors costing many times its price is unrealistic. Engineers face a very important choice when designing a single frequency metal detector, especially as regards gold prospecting. What frequency should the detector run at? That choice determines nearly everything else about the detector. In general, low frequencies below 20 kHz handle mineralized ground better, and offer good performance on larger gold nuggets. Higher frequencies over 20 kHz enhance the sensitivity to small gold nuggets, but unfortunately ground handling suffers. The number one question I see asked on the internet is how the Gold Monster stacks up as compared to this detector or that detector. Minelab has actually tried to answer that question directly via the following illustration: Minelab Gold Monster Frequency Range Compared The majority of the single frequency nugget detectors on the market today operate at or near 18 kHz. These detectors handle ground relatively well for non-PI detectors, and have good sensitivity on gram size and larger gold nuggets. They can detector smaller gold, but the smallest gold is not where they excel and the chart attempts to illustrate that. Other single frequency detectors running as high as 71 kHz have superb sensitivity to the smallest gold nuggets, but tend to suffer when it comes to depth on larger gold in highly mineralized ground. Again, the chart attempts to illustrate this fact. The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 engineers decided to concentrate on a frequency that offered the best attributes of the lower and higher frequency extremes. The goal was to design a machine that would attempt to acquire in a single pass the bulk of the gold that machines operating at either extreme could recover if operated together – and yet do it with just one detector operating as efficiently as possible. The catch is that the Gold Monster is still a single frequency detector and it cannot possibly capture 100% of the gold that two detectors operating separately at two vastly different frequencies can capture. If you study the illustration carefully, you will see there is still some gold the 18 kHz detector will do better on, and some gold the 71 kHz detector will do better on. Minelab is not claiming to be able to outperform every other detector under all other circumstances. The goal here is to capture as much of the obtainable gold as is possible with a single detector operating in the most efficient manner possible. Minelab Gold Monster 1000 nugget prospecting detector I have mentioned efficiency because there is more that goes into designing a gold prospecting detector than just the operating frequency. This is where Minelab is attempting to not only make a wise choice in the operating frequency, but to extend the efficiency of that frequency by optimizing the other parameters. First, electrical interference is detected and automatically rejected as much as possible when the detector is first turned on. This helps alleviate interference that could result in less than optimum performance. A great deal of effort has been made into designing a sensitivity control that offers the ability not only to manually tune the detector but to deliver excellent results automatically. The automatic operation is important in ground that varies dramatically from place to place in such a fashion that it becomes difficult – inefficient – to constantly be readjusting the machine manually to retain the best overall performance level. Novices in particular tend to set and forget the sensitivity, leading to a situation where the detector could be running better if the control were optimized more often. The crowning glory of the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 however is the automatic ground tracking system. The 45 kHz frequency is considered to be a high operating frequency, and as such it is subject to possible issues from highly mineralized ground and hot rocks. Manual tuning detectors can have great difficulty dealing with these problems… here is that word again… efficiently. The operator must be on top of and constantly adjusting the machine manually. It is very easy for the operator to be out of sync with the ground conditions and operating at less than optimum performance. At high frequencies having the proper ground balance is extremely critical. Manual ground balance versus automatic ground tracking I will admit I have always tended to distrust automatic ground tracking systems. The theory is they can track out good signals resulting in missed targets. The reality however is the risks entailed by not being properly ground balanced are even greater, especially for novices. The illustration below attempts to show what happens when the operator of a manually tuned detector falls out of sync with changing ground conditions, and then “catches up’ by retuning the machine. The automatic tracking or continuous ground balancing detector however maintains optimum conditions at all times. Even given this evidence in the past however I was a skeptic, and always preferred to manually adjust my detector ground balance controls. That is until I obtained first a Minelab SDC 2300 and then a GPZ 7000 detector. The SDC forced me to use automatic ground balance by offering no other option. A surprising thing happened – I liked it! It worked and it worked extremely well, so much so that when I got my GPZ 7000 it also remains in automatic ground balance mode. The fact is that Minelab has always been a leading developer of automatic ground balancing systems, and I do not think it is being unreasonable to state that they may have the very best ground tracking systems available. The company really has had no choice being based in Australia and developing machines for ground conditions considered to be among the worst in the world. Can the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 go up against the hottest high frequency detectors made and hold its own? Yes. I have personally used the Gold Monster with its 5” coil to easily find nuggets (flakes?) weighing under a grain. Not grams, grains - there are 480 grains per Troy ounce. Remember however that even Minelab in that first chart is telling you that a machine tuned specifically at a much higher frequency will have an edge on at least some tiny gold nuggets. Eleven small nuggets 14.9 grains total, largest 4.4 grains - Smallest at bottom 0.6 grain and 0.3 grain The difference and the serious advantage I believe with the Gold Monster 1000 is in the combination of the superior Minelab ground tracking system and the automatic sensitivity system, designed specifically for the GM1000. In all but the mildest ground operators will find that the Gold Monster is a much more efficient detector that allows more ground to be covered while keeping the machine tuned for the best performance possible. My advice to the old pros that get their hands on the GM1000 is that rather than try and force the machine into operating like your favorite manually tuned machine, seek out instead conditions where that machine struggles. Then trust in the Minelab automatic ground balancing system to compensate for and deliver superior performance under those conditions. Use manual more for targeting specific small areas. Case in point, I took the Gold Monster to a location where hot rocks had given my GPZ 7000 some difficulty. Much to my surprise the Monster was able to automatically compensate for and allow me to operate in those hot rocks and find a couple tiny nuggets too small for the GPZ 7000 to find. The machine was far smoother and I was able to cover ground far more efficiently with automatic ground balance. I followed this up with a visit to a location with wet alkali ground where a high frequency machine would normally fail. I struggled with manual sensitivity for a bit, then threw in the towel and went to the highest Auto+ sensitivity setting. The machine quieted right down and I found a nice little nugget shortly thereafter. Nugget embedded in lump of dirt If the ground allows you can certainly use manual ground balancing to get that hot edge on tiny gold nuggets. The Gold Monster 1000 lacks a standard threshold, but it is easy to set up a pseudo threshold by advancing the sensitivity to where the machine produces some light feedback from the ground. Those who like a threshold can run it this way – others may wish to back down just one notch for silent operation. Old timers like me rebel at the thought of running without a threshold but with the GM1000 it works. The normal reason for running a threshold is to be sure the detector does not fall out of proper ground balance. Here however you can put a superb automatic ground balance to work for you, eliminating that concern. For the very worst conditions, the automatic sensitivity system can augment the automatic ground tracking to allow for efficient ground coverage under conditions that will bring other detectors in this class to a crawl, if not a complete stop. Frankly, if you can’t get the Gold Monster to handle the ground, it is time for a Minelab PI detector or a GPZ 7000. To sum up, I do not want to leave you with the impression that the Gold Monster is the be all and end all of single frequency nugget detectors, and that it will under all circumstances get better performance on every single gold nugget than other single frequency detectors. That is not possible given the limitations imposed by having to choose a single operating frequency. I do believe however that the engineers at Minelab have come as close to this as is possible. The real secret to getting good results with the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 versus the competition will be in leveraging its superb ground handling capability to get the best overall gold nugget performance possible from a single frequency detector. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2017 Herschbach Enterprises Official Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Page Minelab GM1000 Color Product Brochure Gold Monster 1000 Getting Started Guide Forum Threads Tagged "minelab gold monster" Minelab Metal Detectors Forum Jonathan Porter On Mastering The Minelab Gold Monster Understanding The Sensitivity Control On The Gold Monster 1000 Reports Of GM1000 5" Coil Touch Sensitivity My GM1000 Methodology - Manual Versus Auto Sensitivity Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Technical Specifications* Internet Price $849.00 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Transmit Frequency 45 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Pre-Set Slow Motion Ground Rejection Automatic Ground Tracking Soil Adjust No Discrimination Iron Reject Mode plus Visual Indicator Volume Control Yes 1 - 6 Threshold Control No Tone Adjust No Audio Boost Yes (Always On) Frequency Offset Yes - Automatic On Power Up Pinpoint Mode No Audio Output Speaker & 1/8" Headphone Socket - Headphones Included Hip Mount No Standard Coil(s) 10" x 6" elliptical DD & 5" round DD Optional Search Coils N/A Battery Li-Ion Rechargeable Included, 8 AA Optional Operating Time 20 Hours Weight 3.2 lbs. (with rechargeable battery and 10" coil) Additional Technology The GM1000 automatic sensitivity setting is a feature not seen before in prospecting detectors. Notes Unique rod mounting system allows use of broomstick or other items as a rod. *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  32. The Minelab Equinox 800 was announced in 2017 and has really made an impression in the detecting world. Never before have so many features been packed into a lightweight metal detector at such a low cost. Key items include waterproof to 3 meters (about ten feet), genuine multifrequency operation, extremely fast recovery speed, built in wireless headphone capability, and the ability to run one of several different frequencies separately from the multifrequency mode. All this and more at the stunningly low announced price of $899.00. Visit the new Minelab Equinox Forum! 9/5/18 - New Equinox Software Version Download Announcement This website tends to focus on metal detectors that have some sort of included gold prospecting capability. The Equinox 800 is of interest due to a dedicated prospecting (Gold) mode and it's ability to run at either 20 kHz or 40 kHz. The 40 kHz frequency in particular is clearly in the realm normally only available in detectors made specifically for gold prospecting. Minelab has actually released two Equinox models, the Equinox 800 (US$899) and the lower price (US$649) Equinox 600. Both have identical performance in the modes they share, but the Equinox 800 offers one extra mode (the Gold Mode) plus other advanced audio tuning features. Minelab Equinox Series Metal Detectors Minelab Equinox 600 basic features: 3 Detect Modes (Park, Field, Beach) 4 Frequency Options (5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, Multi) Wired Headphones Supplied Minelab Equinox 800 basic features: 4 Detect Modes (Park, Field, Beach, Gold) 6 Frequency Options (5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz, 40kHz, Multi) Bluetooth Headphones and WM 08 Wireless Module Supplied As can be seen the main difference is the Equinox 800 adds the ability to employ the 20 kHz and 40 kHz frequency settings separately that could enhance the ability of the detector to find very small items. These could be small jewelry items or small/thin silver hammered, cut coins, gold nuggets, or micro jewelry. ads by Amazon... Introducing Minelab Multi-IQ Multi-IQ is Minelab’s next major innovation and can be considered as combining the performance advantages of both FBS and VFLEX in a new fusion of technologies. It isn’t just a rework of single frequency VLF, nor is it merely another name for an iteration of BBS/FBS. By developing a new technology, as well as a new detector ‘from scratch’, we will be providing both multi-frequency and selectable single frequencies in a lightweight platform, at a low cost, with a significantly faster recovery speed that is comparable to or better than competing products. Minelab Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency Range Multi-IQ achieves a high level of target ID accuracy at depth much better than any single frequency detector can achieve, including switchable single frequency detectors that claim to be multi-frequency. When Minelab use the term “multi-frequency” we mean “simultaneous” – i.e. more than one frequency is transmitted, received AND processed concurrently. This enables maximum target sensitivity across all target types and sizes, while minimizing ground noise (especially in saltwater). There are presently only a handful of detectors from Minelab and other manufacturers that can be classed as true multi-frequency, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. How does Multi-IQ compare to BBS/FBS? Multi-IQ uses a different group of fundamental frequencies than BBS/FBS to generate a wide-band multi-frequency transmission signal that is more sensitive to high frequency targets and slightly less sensitive to low frequency targets. Multi-IQ uses the latest high-speed processors and advanced digital filtering techniques for a much faster recovery speed than BBS/FBS technologies. Multi-IQ copes with saltwater and beach conditions almost as well as BBS/FBS, however BBS/FBS still have an advantage for finding high conductive silver coins in all conditions. Minelab Equinox 800 Controls Explained Note from Steve Herschbach - I have never seen a detector release that has come so close to matching up with my list of desired features. There are certain things I want in a genuine "do-it-all" metal detector. I like to hunt just about anything that can be found with a metal detector so when I think of multipurpose I really mean it. My desired detector would be waterproof and able to handle saltwater well, and that calls for multifrequency. Yet I want the detector to be hot on small gold, and that calls for a high single frequency mode. So far getting both multifrequency and a hot single frequency in a waterproof detector has not been possible. Now, in theory at least, I can use the same detector to surf detect on saltwater beaches and while looking for gold nuggets on dry land. Multifrequency also means highly accurate target id capability, but this has usually come at the cost of recovery speed. The Equinox promises recovery speeds as fast or faster than the competition. Long story short I have had to have multiple detectors for what I do as even today's so-called multipurpose detectors fall short in one way or another. The Minelab Equinox looks to truly be able to do it all and do it well, and as such represents a definite break with what has been available in the past, especially at the prices quoted. Official Minelab Equinox 800 Page Minelab Equinox Color Brochure Minelab Equinox Getting Started Guide Minelab Equinox Full Instruction Manual Equinox 600 vs Equinox 800 Minelab Equinox Essential Information Gold Nugget Detecting With Equinox 800 Forum Threads Tagged "minelab equinox" Minelab Equinox Forum New Equinox Software Version Download Announcement Minelab Equinox 800 Technical Specifications* Internet Price $899.00 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 5, 10, 15, 20, 40 kHz plus Multifrequency Autotune Mode(s) Adjustable Detect Speed Ground Rejection Manual & Tracking Soil Adjust Four Tuned Modes (Park, Field, Beach, Gold) Discrimination Variable with Visual ID, Tone ID, Notch ID Volume Control Yes Threshold Control Yes Tone Adjust Yes - High Level Of Tone Controls Audio Boost No Frequency Offset Yes (Manual & Automatic) Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output 1/8" Headphone Socket, Speaker, APTX Bluetooth Wireless, Minelab WiStream (aptX LL Headphones Included) Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 11" Round DD Optional Search Coils 6" Round DD and 12" x 15" DD Battery Built In Li-Ion Rechargeable Operating Time Up to 12 hours Weight 2.96 lbs Additional Technology Multi-IQ Technology, Screen Backlight, Minelab WiStream Low Latency Wireless Audio, Waterproof to 10 feet Notes Battery can be charged while in operation. The Equinox 800 comes with both APTX Bluetooth wireless headphones and the new Minelab WM08 WiStream low latency wireless module that may be used with any detector headphones *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  33. The Garrett ATX was introduced by Garrett Electronics in 2013 and is still in production. It is a pulse induction metal detector waterproof to ten feet. It is unique in that it is one of the few metal detectors retailed to the general public in a housing developed for military applications. Garrett makes a military land mine detector called the Recon Pro AML-1000. It was developed and marketed after the Garrett Infinium, the only underwater ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI) metal detector made by a major manufacturer at the time. The Recon is notable for the waterproof telescoping compact design with hidden coil cables. The new ATX is a highly refined detector combining the best of the Garrett Infinium and Garrett Recon AML-1000 into a single package. The actual housing is almost identical to that used by the AML-1000. The electronics has attributes from both detectors. It is a considerable improvement over the much older Infinium electronically and folds into a remarkably small package without disassembly. I was one of the first individuals to obtain a Garrett ATX when they came out as I had been waiting for a new waterproof ground balancing pulse induction metal detector ever since the Infinium came out over ten years ago. I honestly was a bit surprised Garrett came out with a second generation waterproof GBPI before the competition has released any at all. Ground balancing PI detectors have the ability to work in a combination of salt water and black sand/hot rock environments in unique ways. VLF and even standard non-ground balancing PI detectors suffer under these extreme conditions. The Infinium showed me what might be possible in Hawaii but it suffered from issues common in first generation detectors. There was room for improvement, and I am hoping the ATX addresses the electromagnetic interference (EMI) and salt water instability problems that plagued the Infinium. My first impressions were positive, with my first detailed report at Gold and Silver with the New Garrett ATX. I have a separate article on prospecting with the ATX at Gold Nugget Detecting with the Garrett ATX. The ATX is a versatile detector and will see use prospecting, relic hunting, jewelry detecting (above water and under) and even coin detecting. I have two beach detecting articles on the ATX - Beach Detecting in Hawaii With The ATX and Garrett ATX Return To Hawaii. Garrett ATX waterproof pulse induction (PI) metal detector with 10" x 12" coil The Garrett ATX is uniquely versatile in its physical aspects. It can be extended longer than most people need yet can collapse into a very short diver configuration due to the three piece lower rod design. Garrett ATX collapsed for diving use For storage or backpacking the ATX folds even shorter yet to only 20" in length due to the rotating/folding coil design. The ATX coils are rather unique in that they are integrated with the lower rod with the wires running through the rod and a rear mounted hinge on the coil. This allows the coil to fold back completely over the rod and/or detector body. The rod/coil assembly can be rotated 90 degrees for hunting walls and to enable a more compact stowed configuration. Garrett ATX folded for storage or backpacking All the ATX functions are accessed through a top mounted control panel with rubber topped touchpad buttons and LED indicators. A shift button allows each button to have at least two functions allowing for a full feature set in a simplified layout. Garrett ATX Control Panel Quick Guide to Garrett ATX controls from Owner's Guide - Click image for larger version The Garrett ATX comes standard with a 10" x 12" DD search coil. Optional 8" round and 15" x 20" mono coils with integrated lower rods are also available. New for 2017 are 11" x 13" enclosed coil options in both mono and DD designs. The ATX does have a built in waterproof speaker and so does not require headphones. It does come with land headphones that use a waterproof connector, the same connector that Garrett uses on the Infinium and AT Pro/AT Gold models. The same waterproof headphones available for those models work on the ATX and are required if it is desired to put the headphones underwater. The included headphones have a waterproof cable that can be submerged but the headphones themselves must be kept dry. A short adapter dongle is also available to convert the ATX waterproof headphone connector to the standard 1/4" female receptacle so standard metal detector headphones may be used. See the Garrett ATX Accessory Page for details on headphones, search coils, and other accessory items available for the Garrett ATX. There is information there on using Garrett Infinium coils on the ATX, and notes on how to chest mount or even backpack mount the ATX control box. Finally, the ATX runs off eight standard AA batteries, eliminating any shipping or airline issues that can be a problem with some PI detectors. The detector comes complete with both alkaline and NiMH rechargeable batteries plus a 110V and 12V charger system. The detector runs approximately 10-12 hours on a charge when using headphones, less if running off the speaker. The best method is to use the rechargeable batteries and carry the alkaline set as backup. Garrett ATX search coil options I have had the Garrett ATX now since the fall of 2013 and so have had a solid year with the detector. It really does take about a year for me to settle down my thoughts about a detector. I tend to be all giddy with the new toy at first, having fun, and discovering new things. The strong points and weak points are revealed with use over time, and now I think I can offer up a fair summary of the detector. The ATX is a bit difficult in that Garrett started with the premise of using an existing housing designed to military specifications, and then decided to put a detector in it for consumer retail sales. On one hand this is really great as we get this very unique detector design that would never have been developed just for consumer sales. On the other hand it means for some uses the ATX is just not a very good fit. For other uses it works pretty well. It just so happens I am an avid prospector and an avid beach hunter. I do not beach hunt as much as I like but when I do it I really go after it. Because of this the ATX hits a particular sweet spot for me personally. I really do need a good pulse induction metal detector that can be submerged in saltwater. I would keep the ATX for that purpose alone. I am very happy with its performance as a beach detector especially on beaches where there is black sand mineralization or volcanic rock to deal with. The fact it also does very well as a prospecting PI is almost a bonus for me. From a straight up prospecting perspective Garrett also scores though nobody needs a seven pound detector waterproof to 10 feet while desert prospecting. However, if all I had was a couple thousand dollars to invest in a brand new, full warranty PI for gold prospecting it would be a Garrett ATX. I believe the ATX is superior to the White's alternatives in overall performance and it is far less money than a new Minelab PI detector. I will not speak for the Australians but in the U.S. the ATX holds its own for PI performance and I feel quite comfortable using it gold prospecting. I could wish for a lighter package but the fact is it works and a person who puts in the effort should do just fine with the ATX. I know I can. The ATX does well for relic hunting applications and I have even found I can cherry pick coins halfway well with it. I have always been partial to pulse induction detectors and Garrett has won me over with the ATX. I enjoy using the detector and I can make good finds with it, and that is all I can ask of any detector. Some of Steve's finds with the Garrett ATX in the first year of use In retrospect I have actually done remarkably well with the ATX since I got it, considering it is only one of several detectors I have been using and not the one with the most hours on it. I have found about 3 ounces of gold and platinum jewelry with the Garrett ATX plus about two ounces of gold nuggets with it. I have found gold nuggets in Alaska, Arizona, California, and Nevada with the ATX under sunny skies and in pouring rain. My ATX has spent a couple weeks of days underwater in rough surf and is none the worse for wear. Many thanks and a hat's off to Garrett for producing my all time favorite Garrett detector. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2015 Herschbach Enterprises Official Garrett ATX Page Garrett ATX Instruction Manual Garrett ATX Color Brochure How To Disassemble and Clean the ATX Coil Shaft & Camlocks Garrett ATX Accessory Page Report on new 11" x 13" Search Coils Forum Threads Tagged "garrett atx" Garrett Metal Detectors Forum Garrett ATX vs Minelab GPX 5000 Garrett ATX Technical Specifications* Internet Price $2120.00 Technology Ground Balancing Pulse Induction (GBPI) Frequency 730 pps Autotune Mode(s) Slow Motion and Non-Motion Ground Rejection Four Tracking Speeds and Fixed Soil Adjust Can ground balance into salt soils Discrimination Dual Tones, Iron Check & Reverse Disc Volume Control Volume Limiter plus headphone controls Threshold Control 25 level push button setting Tone Adjust No Audio Boost No Frequency Offset Automatic Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output Proprietary headphone socket, Headphones supplied plus Waterproof Speaker Hip Mount No Standard Coil(s) 12" x 10" Open Spoke DD (Or Optional 11" x 13" Coils) Optional Search Coils 8" Round Mono, 20" x 15" Mono, 11" x 13" Enclosed DD, 11" x 13" Enclosed Mono Battery 8 AA rechargeable and disposables supplied Operating Time 10 - 12 hours Weight 6.9 pounds Additional Technology 13 level adjustable gain control Notes Waterproof to 10 feet (requires optional submersible headphones) *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  34. The White's MXT was released in 2002 and is still in production. I helped popularize the use of this detector for searching tailing piles for large gold nuggets. Hundreds of ounces of gold have been found at Ganes Creek, Alaska alone by people using the White's MXT. My own largest gold find, a 6.85 ounce specimen, was with the MXT at Ganes Creek. I have a couple stories on Steve's Mining Journal that highlight the MXT. See Infinium & MXT at Ganes Creek and GP 3000 & MXT Get Fortymile Gold. My most recent find of note with the MXT Pro was a 267 AD Roman coin found while on a trip to the UK in 2010. See Metal Detecting Ancient Coins at Colchester, UK The MXT is extremely popular because it does almost everything very well; coin, relic, jewelry, and nugget detecting. Despite being so versatile the MXT is also a bargain priced detector with performance rivaling much more expensive detectors. It is remarkably easy to operate, with a condensed operating guide actually printed on the bottom of the control box. Three knobs and three switches are all the controls you need. The controls have specially marked settings so that if you do not know what the controls do, just set everything at the little triangle marker and you are off and running. A major feature on the MXT is the LCD screen that gives you visual information about the items detected as well as battery readings. White's employs a numeric target identification system that runs from -95 to +95, with ferrous targets reading as negative numbers and non-ferrous targets reading as positive numbers. White's calls these "Visual Discrimination Indicator" numbers usually referred to as VDI numbers. The MXT also comes with one of the best manuals and DVDs of operating tips that I have ever seen come with any detector. The MXT is almost perfectly balanced due to the control box being slung back under the elbow. One simple thing about the MXT also pleases me - it does not fall over on its side like nearly all the other detectors I use when I set them down! The control box is very water resistant. I have used the MXT in the rain all day long with no adverse effects. White's MXT All Pro metal detector for coins, jewelry, relics, and gold nuggets There have been several MXT models. There is the original MXT which comes with a 9.5" round concentric "950" coil. This version of the MXT was discontinued in 2017 and is essentially the same detector as originally released in 2002. The was also an MXT 300, also no longer in production, which was the same detector with a 300 mm (12") search coil and a matte black paint job for $100.00 more. The MXT 300 was replaced by the MXT Pro for the same $899.95 price. The MXT Pro added multi-tones and a meter backlight plus a redesigned pod with a touch pad. The new features do not really add anything needed from a nugget detecting perspective but are popular with coin and jewelry hunters. There is a "Ground Grab" that is nice for nugget detecting but just for convenience. Instead of switching to ground tracking for a minute and back to fixed it is possible to just remain in fixed and hit the grab button to update the ground balance setting. A very good way to compare the MXT and the MXT Pro is to download and read both operating manuals linked to below. You can also find a quick comparison reference chart at Jeff Foster's website here. The target reference in the MXT display above is replaced by three touch pads on the MXT All Pro. An audio pad controls various audio options, the "Ground Grab" button resets the ground balance, and there is a pad to toggle the display backlight on and off. MXT vs MXT All Pro display pod showing new touch pad buttons The MXT came with the 9.5" round concentric coil and the MXT All Pro is offered with either the 9.5" concentric coil or 10" round DD coil. My personal preference is for the MXT All Pro as I do like tone id for general detecting and the Ground Grab button alone is worth the extra money as far as I am concerned. I prefer to leave automatic ground tracking off most of the time and update via the grab function. The ground grab button alone is enough to make me prefer the MXT All Pro for gold prospecting. It is also a little known fact that the MXT was designed to work best with DD coils. Here is a post by Dave Johnson (one of the engineers of the MXT) on the TreasureNet forums 2/3/2013: "Back in the late 1990's and very early 20th century, the MXT was developed around the 10x6 elliptical DD. When you're used to that searchcoil, stick a 950 on and the 950 feels downright clumsy with its muddy response and bad masking characteristics. Downright insufferable. The 950 searchcoil geometry was designed for completely different platforms. But, if you ask "does the 950 work?", well, yeah, it does. Wrong question. I ain't gonna knock the MXT, it may be an old platform but it still works good. More than 10 years after, if you demand "ground tracking" (not that I say you should demand that), the GMT/MXT have the best in the industry. Not even Minelab (!) denies that! And as far as I know, the MXT/GMT are the only VLF-IB machines on the market with active transmitter regulation that makes it possible to work (with reduced performance) in heavy magnetite black sand, a circumstance otherwise left up to PI's. We're talking very good machines here. They may be a bit old in the tooth, but this is an industry that takes time to weed the turnips out of the beet patch. Ain't like celfonz where in 6 months the whole world has decided what kyckes and what szux. It takes time to deliver good beep verdict. MXT. 10x6DD is the foundation. Everything else is an accessory. I am telling you this because if you are a White's loyalist, I want you to spend that extra buck, the folks in Sweet Home are my friends!" Having noted that commentary, many users prefer the concentric coil options for beach use or low mineral parks where bottle caps are common. Concentric coils generally identify flat ferrous targets more reliably than DD coils. The large 12" concentric coil and even the 9.5" concentric coil do not handle extreme ground mineralization very well, and the 12" is too large for many other tasks, like coin detecting trashy locations. The 6" x 10" Eclipse DD coil is possibly the best all around prospecting coil for the MXT for those that do not already have the 10" round DD coil and want to add a DD to the MXT. The solid construction is less likely to hand up on stubble and the narrow profile is good for getting into tight locations. However, if you have an All Pro and already have the 10" round DD coil it is a less useful upgrade. In that case I would tend to recommend the 4" x 6" Shooter DD coil for trashy locations and small gold nuggets. To sum up, I recommend using either the 10" round or 6" x 10" elliptical DD coils for hunting heavily mineralized ground. To get the best performance on small gold, use the 4" x 6" elliptical DD (Shooter) search coil. The 9.5" concentric 950 coil and 12" concentric are best used for hunting tailing piles, beach detecting, or coin detecting in parks. The little 6" round concentric (Eclipse 5.3) is a good little coil for almost any use, including gold prospecting for small nuggets in low mineral ground. The MXT is blessed with a large number of aftermarket coil options due to its popularity. There are so many in fact it is impossible to keep up with them so I will leave that for the reader to discover via Google. White's MXT DD search coil options White's MXT concentric search coil options The MXT Pro does have an undocumented feature it is worth knowing about. The MXT in Coin & Jewelry Mode has a "Pull Tab Notch" feature when the trigger switch is locked forward. Meter readings of VDI +28 to +49 are silenced, knocking out common pull tab responses while still allowing US nickels to signal. The MXT Pro eliminated this function (trigger switch forward locks the pinpoint mode) and instead added the seven tone audio identification used by the White's M6 detector. The intent was to have the option for different tones for preset VDI ranges while in the Coin & Jewelry Mode. The multi-tone feature was not intended for the Relic or Prospecting Modes. However, through a bug that is not documented in the owner's manual you can activate the multi-tone mode by getting your MXT all set up in Coin & Jewelry Mode and then selecting multi-tone by pressing the "Musical Note" button. Now flip the toggle switch to either Relic Mode or Prospecting Mode and the multi-tone function will remain engaged. However, if you touch any of the control pads at any time now the multi-tone function will shut off. White's decided this "bug" might actually be useful so has left it as is for you to experiment with. There is a book written about the MXT that has no equal - The MXT Edge by Jeff Foster. If you have an MXT do not hesitate to get a copy. An interesting note is that the White's GMT and the MXT share a common heritage - see the MXT Engineering report below. Official White's MXT Page White's MXT 950 Owner's Manual White's MXT 300 Owner's Manual White's MXT Pro Owner's Manual Forum Threads Tagged "whites mxt" White's Metal Detectors Forum Unofficial MXT User Support Page MXT Engineering Guide Steve's Guide to White's Electronics GMT versus MXT White's MXT Technical Specifications* Internet Price MXT All Pro $823.00 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 13.889 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Variable Self Adjusting Threshold (V/SAT) Ground Rejection Tracking and Fixed Soil Adjust (Ground/Lock/Salt) Three position switch Discrimination One turn control, Visual ID, Tone ID Volume Control No Threshold Control One turn control Tone Adjust No Audio Boost No Frequency Offset No Pinpoint Mode Yes Audio Output 1/4" headphone socket & speaker Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 12" round DD Optional Search Coils Over 15 accessory coils available Battery Eight AA Operating Time 30 - 40 hours Weight 4.3 pounds Additional Technology Notes Alaska's most successful gold nugget detector for tailing piles *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart. Here are a few nugget detecting tips for the MXT. I highly recommend that if you are new to detecting you seek out a sandy location like a freshwater beach or volleyball court or the woodchip area around playground equipment to practice and learn your new MXT. The goal is to set up the detector as if you are nugget detecting and to dig everything that signals. It does not matter what it is, the goal is to learn. You should be trying to find the smallest items possible, and attempting to learn how to separate ferrous from non-ferrous signals. It is always best to dig all targets when nugget detecting, but some areas are so full of ferrous trash that it is something that must be tuned out to some degree. Aluminum is a very common find, and that is good. Aluminum and gold respond identically on a metal detector, and the smaller and/or deeper the aluminum is, the better your detecting skills. Concentrate on the faintest signals. Hours spent practicing like this will save many more hours wasted time and frustration in the field. Normally when looking for gold it only makes sense to use the MXT Prospecting Mode. This pretty much turns the MXT into a GMT although a bit less sensitive to very small gold. Start with the Gain at the preset (small triangle) setting. The Threshold should be set as low as it can go while still being audible. You want to be able to hear variations in the threshold sound but you do not want it so loud as to be annoying when listening to it for hours on end. Set the Trac switch to "Ground" and pump the coil over the ground until the sound caused by this pumping action dissipates. the MXT is now ground balanced, so flip the switch to the "Lock" position. This locks in the current ground balance setting. The "Dual Control" while in Prospecting Mode is not acting as a discrimination control. The inner "SAT" section becomes active and a good starting place is the small preset triangle at the "5" setting. SAT stands for self-adjusting threshold. The threshold sound constantly varies and this circuit smooth's the threshold response. The higher the setting, the more aggressive the smoothing effect. Low settings are more sensitive to faint responses but can allow ground variations to also become to evident. Settings that are too high eliminate faint ground responses but can also cause faint signals from gold to become to faint to hear. In general less mineralized ground calls for lowest SAT settings and higher mineralization call for higher SAT settings. ads by Amazon... The Gain when increased does make the detector more sensitive to gold but also more sensitive to ground feedback and so-called hot rocks. The trick is to run the Gain as high as possible while retaining stable operation. Finally, in low mineral ground a locked Trac setting works best, but in ground that varies constantly running the MXT in the Ground tracking mode will result in smoother operation. Novice may want to stay in Ground Trac mode while learning the machine as it is the safe setting that keeps the machine properly ground balanced. In theory the MXT is most sensitive with the SAT set low, the Gain maxed out, and the Trac setting locked. The reality is that increased Gain settings may also call for increased SAT settings. The goal is to seek the most sensitive balance of settings possible while while keeping the MXT stable and smooth. A small test nugget of small piece of lead can be essential for determining what setting most eliminates ground responses while most enhancing nugget responses. In general leave the SAT control at the preset, Trac in locked, and set the Gain as high as you can while still getting stable operation. If need be, switch the Trac setting to ground for smoother operation. In the worst mineralization advancing the SAT control into the Hyper SAT mode will put the MXT into a very smooth mode able to deal with extreme mineralization while still reporting small gold nuggets. Remember, the key is to seek a smooth, stable threshold sound. It is this stable sound, when it varies, that indicates very deep or very small targets. There are a very few detectors that can be run in what is referred to as "mixed mode". These units have the ability to run in all metal and discriminate at the same time. I am not sure who first came up with this feature but Nautilus has for a long time offered units that put the all metal signal in one ear of your headphones and the disc signal in the other ear. The advantage to this is that pure all metal modes detect deeper than discrimination modes. Hunting in regular all metal requires lots of switching back and forth to check targets. Mixed mode gives you both at once. The White's MXT has the Relic Mode, which is a mixed mode. I wonder how many people use relic mode but really do not understand it. Good targets give a high pitched chirp. Junk targets honk. The split between high chirp and low honk is determined by the setting of the discrimination knob. This should be set to just cause iron and steel items , like a small nail, to honk, generally at a setting of 2 or less. Do not set the discrimination too high! Now here is the important part - there is a third, more subtle audio signal that indicates a target is there but the detector cannot identify it because it is too deep. This is the all metal signal. The meter will be blank. When nugget detecting, you want to hear these, and dig down until the target identification kicks in. I think many people focus so much on the other two audio responses that they ignore the fainter deep all metal signal. It is easy to fall into a habit of just digging only those high pitch targets. Not good. The key to mixed mode is simple. Those targets in a good location that are so deep you get no indication on the discrimination channel are the ones you really want to think about. If the area has produced good finds but is now near to being worked out, these deep signals are the ones anyone running in a normal discrimination mode is going to totally miss. Sure, it could be trash. But really deep targets are often the best, and so digging some of these on occasion can produce some really good finds. Steve with MXT and 6.85 ounce gold specimen found with it at Ganes Creek, Alaska in 2002 Unlike most dedicated nugget detectors it has a LCD based visual discrimination indicator (VDI) system. This is for the MXT coin and relic modes in particular. It turns out that for certain nugget detecting tasks the MXT has extra capabilities due to the visual target identification system. Alaska has huge areas of old mining tailings that provide great opportunities for nugget detecting. The nature of the old operations was such that many of the very largest nuggets were lost into the tailing piles. Unfortunately there is a huge catch. Some of these tailing piles contain incredible amounts of iron junk, and at any depth. Some creeks were mined many times, and old campsites and dumps were churned up and mixed in with the tailings. This junk can be anything from rusted flakes and slivers of steel on up to cans, bolts, washers and nuts, and finally even 55 gallon drums, and various large steel plates, pipes, boilers, or even larger items. Ganes Creek, Alaska is possibly the best known of these locations. New visitors from areas in the western US where the Minelab SD/GP/GPX detectors have reigned supreme have a hard time adjusting to the concept that there is such a thing as too much power when coupled to a poor discrimination system. If you run a Minelab at Ganes Creek here is a likely scenario. You are in a field of fist-sized and larger cobbles. You get a nice little signal and no iron blanking. You start to dig, as best you can in a pile of rocks. After a great deal of effort you are at two feet, signal is louder, but no target. You pull out another cobble and half the hole falls in. You pull all those rocks out, and get another six inches down. Forty-five minutes has passed. You pull out another rock and the hole caves in again. Fifteen minutes later you are at 3 feet again and really tired. Over an hour has passed since you started this hole. The signal is very loud now...too loud really. You dig down a bit more, then some more, and the whole thing caves in again. You walk away in disgust. Or you keep digging and finally find an old quart-sized can. How deep can you hit a large can with a Minelab GP 3000? How about a 2'x 2' steel plate? How about a 55 gallon drum? There answer is very deep indeed, and they are all there waiting! Normally you would just figure it is junk past a certain depth, but the big question always must be how deep could you hit the 35 oz or 80 oz pieces found at Ganes Creek with metal detectors, or the 122 oz chunk found by the commercial miners at Ganes? Because of this huge junk problem VLF detectors have generally been the way to go at Ganes. The low mineral conditions mean they keep you from wasting huge amounts of time going after junk targets. Most any good VLF machine works well for this, but the MXT gives you some extra capability once you learn its tricks. There are four things to know. 1. VDI numbers increase as the nugget size increases. So a 1/4 oz nugget may read around 25 whereas a 1 oz nugget may read around 40 and a 2 oz nugget may read around 50 on the meter. 2. The larger a nugget, the deeper you can detect it. 3. Certain steel items can give positive VDI numbers and 4. VDI numbers are pulled down the deeper the nugget is buried. A 1/4 oz nugget near the surface will read 25, but at depth might read 10, and at max depth may finally read at 0 or lower and actually be identified as iron. This last point is very important, for if you run a Fisher Gold Bug 2, or Tesoro Lobo, or Troy X5 in disc mode to tune out iron, as is common for many people at Ganes Creek, deep nuggets may read as iron. If they are, the machines will reject them; you will get no signal, and walk past the nugget. You will never know it is there. Or at best you have to search in all metal mode, then constantly switch to the discriminate mode to check the target. With the MXT, there is no switching and you hunt completely by ear. With the MXT I like to run the detector in relic mode, with the disc set precisely at 2. Non-ferrous items will give a high tone, and ferrous junk a low tone. If you get a faint low tone, the first thing you do is kick and inch or two off the surface until you get a honk or a chirp. Now dig a little deeper. If the VDI number rises, keep digging. Targets that read iron initially and rise will often turn into non-ferrous readings, hopefully gold. If the VDI number stays the same or goes even lower, you have an iron target. Once again, be careful to listen for audio signals that give no reading on the meter - these are items being detected by the all metal channel at depths beyond what will cause the meter to react with a numeric id. Where the MXT really shines are on 1/4 oz to 1/2 oz nuggets. Let’s say you get a reading of 24. OK, that is about a 1/4 oz nugget. Now, we know that you can hit a nugget this size at 10-12 inches. You dig a foot, and no nugget. A large, deep iron item of a certain type can also give a 24 reading, but these large items can be detected much deeper than a 1/4 oz nugget. Dig them up if you wish, but once you go past that depth at which it is reasonable to find a nugget corresponding to a certain VDI number you are wasting your time. This method eliminates digging those false positive signals from deep items like steel plates. With the other VLF units the lack of VDI number means you have no way to judge the potential nugget size and so you end up digging deep for what may be a very large nugget when with a MXT you would know the VDI number corresponds to a smaller nugget. For the many smaller nuggets that are found at Ganes this method is pretty foolproof once you get the hang of it. Finally, certain non-ferrous items can be found in quantity, particularly things like .22 shell casings. If you get into a bunch of these, they are usually very shallow. You can easily determine the VDI number of these multiple identical targets and then simply ignore them. You would miss a nugget with an identical VDI reading, but chances are a nugget will vary enough to make it stand out. There is no way to do this with a non-VDI unit. The MXT is a very versatile detector, but I do not think anyone anticipated just how much gold it would end up finding in Alaska. I know one prospector alone who has found over 100 ounces of gold with the MXT. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2004 Herschbach Enterprises
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  35. My father, two friends, and I flew northwest to the Interior Alaska town of McGrath Friday morning. I have permission to hunt several creeks in the area, but have had a hard time getting there the last couple summers. Bad weather or scheduling has kept me away. Everything finally came together this year, so off we went. My father is a classic Alaska bush pilot with a Cessna 206, so I'm luckier than most when it comes to access. The destination for this trip was Ganes Creek, owned by Doug Clark and Dan Wiltz. Ganes Creek has produced over 250,000 ounces of gold, and some of the largest gold nuggets ever found in Alaska. Some very large nuggets have been found here with metal detectors, and I have wanted to visit the creek for years. After reaching the mine and settling in, Doug pointed us to some old tailing piles. A friend of his, who knew little of detecting, had found a half-ounce nugget in the vicinity, so it seemed a good place to start. I had brought my Minelab SD2200D along, but found the ground to have low mineralization. Bedrock around McGrath is mainly slate/shale. There are lots of igneous cobbles in the overburden, but nothing real hot. Easy detecting ground. The main problem with the tailings was lots of iron trash. I decided to give my Fisher Gold Bug 2 with 14'' coil a try. Since we were hoping for large nuggets, I put it in Iron ID mode, which I normally have not used before. I did find that the machine chattered a lot until I turned the threshold knob down. It appears the threshold control does affect the machine in the iron id mode, although you cannot actually hear the threshold. Tailing Piles Along Ganes Creek Everyone else was using the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ, all outfitted with the 11'' DD coil. Again, due to iron trash, they all ran the discriminate mode instead of all-metal. The Lobo is one of the rare nugget detectors with a full range discriminator. This proved valuable this trip. The control is adjustable, and it is very important that it be set no higher than needed to tune out nails and other small iron items. We ended up finding all the nuggets on this trip while employing iron discrimination. Our theory was simple. There were large nuggets in the area, and we wanted them. Tuning up for the little ones was not the idea. In fact, no one wanted to waste time trying to recover small nuggets and digging lots of worthless iron trash would definitely be a waste of time. I started chasing gold in the early seventies. I've dredged and detected all over Alaska, but spent most of my time in areas where large nuggets are rare. I've always wanted to find a big one, something over an ounce, but it has eluded me. I have made numerous detecting trips to large nugget locales, and detected literally pounds of gold over the years. I have no problem finding 5-7 pennyweight nuggets, but nothing larger has come my way. I finally dredged a .98 ounce nugget in 1998 at Crow Creek Mine, but even then felt like I had not really done it. .98 ounce is close enough to generally say I found a 1 ounce nugget, and I do. But I still did not feel I had hit the big one. So I went ahead and decided to back off on spending so much time dredging, to spend the time chasing hot areas to detect for large gold. A trip to the Wrangell Mountains last year netted me an 8 dwt nugget, my largest with a detector. Then off to the Fortymile last fall. That expedition turned up a 3/4 ounce nugget. Things were looking up. So this adventure was a part of my new game plan. Big nuggets the goal... heck with the little ones! Bud, Steve, Brian, and Jeff My father is always game to go mining, but does not have my passion or patience for it. I bought him a Lobo last year, as the automatic ground balance is right up his alley. The machine is very forgiving. Still, he has sloppy habits, mainly a very poor swing. He is only near the ground directly in front of his feet. I've tried to get him to do better, to no avail. We've searched lots of tailing piles before, with little success. We all start detecting, and in less than 15 minutes Dad gets a beep and kicks the ground. In a very surprised voice, he exclaims, ''I'll be damned... I found a gold nugget!'' There lay a nice 13.1 dwt piece, his largest ever. That got us fired up!. It was the end of the day, but in short order I found a 7.5 dwt nugget, a 1.1 dwt nugget, and .7 dwt nugget. Jeff hit a 2.6 dwt piece. We got some sleep, figuring to strike it rich the second day. But it was not as hot as we had thought. About noon I finally found a quartzy 14 dwt nugget. Since these are nuggets lost by the original operations, many of them have lots of quartz. The nuggets with higher gold content were generally caught. I found a 1.8 dwt, and Jeff hit a 1.3 dwt piece, but nobody else had any luck by 2PM. It was sunny and about 90 degrees. We are not used to such temperatures in Alaska, and everyone of us was suffering. Dad, Brian, and Jeff rolled up and announced it was time to head back to camp for a break. ''Leave me here; I want to keep hunting'' was my reply. Jeff decided to keep hunting. Dad and Brian gave in and decided to stay, but sat down to rest. Jeff and I hit the tailings again, and in maybe 20 minutes Jeff found a nice solid 17 dwt nugget. This rejuvenated the troops and the hunt was back on! Jeff With 17 dwt Nugget Found With Tesoro Lobo We wandered down back trails through the tailing piles, and Jeff finds another 5.6 dwt nugget. Some time later we were detecting some tailings next to the creek, and I hit a nice 15 dwt piece. Jeff and I are pretty happy at this point, but Dad and Brian had no gold for the day. Brian had not found any gold at all yet, and this can be very hard on someone relatively new to nugget detecting. It was nothing but bad luck, as he basically was doing everything right. He simply had not put the coil over a nugget yet. After dinner Brian, Jeff, and I headed for the tailings off the end of the runway. After less than an hour, the mosquitoes were bothering me enough that I headed back out to the runway. Nobody was in sight, so I wandered down the shoulder of the runway swinging my detector. The runway is made out of flattened tailings, so I figured it was worth a shot. Besides, there were fewer mosquitoes in the open! One hundred feet down the runway I get a beep and a 1.7 dwt quartz pebble with a couple chunks of gold in it. I met Brian and Jeff back at camp; they had found no gold. My father returned from exploring up the creek. He also found no gold. Steve With 14 dwt Nugget Found With Gold Bug 2 The third and final full day started with rain. We did some exploring upstream, but with no success. The mosquitoes were out in force, so Jeff and I donned headnets and searched more tailing piles. Dad explored up a side creek, while Brian indicated he wanted to search in the camp vicinity. The rain let up, but not the mosquitoes. They liked the cooler, damper conditions. Jeff and I searched tailings without luck for some time. We finally wandered back to the runway. Jeff finally picked up a couple nuggets on the runway shoulder near where I found the one the day before. I then hit a nice one also. Jeff was hot to get with it, but I convinced him we should go find our partners and tell them about the new finds. I was anxious for Brian to find a nugget. As we got to camp, up wanders Brian with a big grin. He had obviously found gold. A beautiful 7.8 dwt nugget that everyone agreed was the best looking nugget found. Solid gold with just a spot of quartz, and a bit of twisted wire appearance. The find really raised Brian's spirits, and he was raring to go now. Brian's 7.8 dwt Gold Nugget My father was way up a side creek exploring, so we hooked up with the Doug and his crew and did a little instructional detecting. They were getting the idea that maybe these things were good for something after all. My father wandered up as the group headed up the creek. He said he was too tired to go with us, but when I mentioned we had found some nuggets on the end of the runway, he decided to head that way. Jeff could hardly stand it, but we wanted to spend the time with the miners in appreciation of the opportunity they had given us. We finally explained we wanted to go try the end of the runway, and headed that way. We asked Dad how he had done. He says, ''Well, I found one. It's ugly, but kind of heavy. Maybe it weighs an ounce''. He pulls a palm-sized nugget out of his pocket. Our eyes grew wide and we explained to him that the nugget was at least 2-3 ounces. It had a lot of quartz, so it was hard to tell. It turned out to weigh 3.5 ounce. Unfortunately, it appeared to have been run over by a bulldozer. One edge was a clean break with ragged edges of gold hanging out. It is hard to tell, but I'm guessing it is one half of a 7 ounce nugget. Bud excavating a target - is it a bullet or a gold nugget? Gold nuggets Bud found with Tesoro Lobo ST at Ganes Creek We figured the other half was waiting to be found. It was also our last full day, as we were flying back around noon the next day, so we detected late into the evening. All told, we found about 15 nuggets in the runway material, mostly in one area. Brian found a second nugget weighing 2.4 dwt. I ended up with five nice nuggets ranging from 1.3 to 7.5 dwt. Jeff found six from .9 to 4.5 dwt. But we did not find the other half of that big nugget. It was late, so off to bed. Everyone had gold; Brian’s was the biggest he had ever found, Jeff’s was his largest, and my father had hit the jackpot. I was happy, but my largest nugget was a tie for the one I detected in the Fortymile, and still not larger than that .98 ounce nugget I had dredged. Jeff was also been hoping for something over an ounce, but at this point time was running out. I slept poorly that night, waking constantly. I woke a 4AM, and after an hour awake decided to get up. It was light (all night this time of year) and time passes slowly staring at the ceiling. I figured I might as well do a little detecting while I waited for everyone else to get up around 7AM. I wandered off up the creek, mainly wanting to get far enough away so as not to disturb anyone. I went to the first big tailing pile I came to, and covered it pretty well. Nothing at all. So I wandered up the road a bit, and came to a wide set of tailings that appeared to have been pushed up in a pile by a bulldozer. From the looks of it a sluice had been set up, and the bulldozer was pushing tailings to one side. I started scanning along, and near the top of the pile got a strong signal. I dug it up, and peeking out of the soil lay a little gold potato! I gazed at it in disbelief, and picked it up. It was caked in dark soil, but I knew I had finally found the big one I had been looking for all these years! 4.95 ounce nugget found by Steve at Ganes Creek It was still only about 6AM, so I looked an hour longer. I did find another 2.9 dwt nugget a few feet away, but that seemed to be it for this pile of dirt. About 7AM I headed back to camp. Dad and Brian were up, but Jeff was still snoozing away. We got him up, and I did show and tell with the nugget. After washing it up, it came up at 4.95 ounces on the scale. Literally the find of a lifetime, as no other nugget will mean as much to me as this one does. I showed the guys where I had found the nugget, took some photos, and started packing up to leave. I decided I was perfectly content to kick back and relax. The rest of my crew searched my magic tailing pile for a while, but did not find anything. Maybe my find was luckier than I know. In any case, they headed back to the end of the airstrip to search, but only Jeff found a nugget, 1.5 dwt and the last of the trip. Time to go home, so we packed up and flew back to Anchorage. I’m back to work now, and it is hard to believe I found that nugget just yesterday morning. In retrospect, what was so wild about the whole thing was that I had essentially given up on finding the big one this trip as we were basically out of time. Talk about the early bird catching the worm! I found every nugget but one with my Gold Bug 2 set in Iron ID mode. It ignored most trash except for old rusted cans and larger steel items, such as oversized bolts. I dug a pocketful of bullets and shell casings, but they were not so common as to be annoying. I did run my batteries dead at one point, and spares were at camp, so I fired up the SD2200D and found one nugget with it. A nice 1/4 oz nugget at about a foot. But I soon grew frustrated digging trash, sometimes at extreme depth. I have been getting pretty good at reading targets with the SD, but it is nowhere near as good at discrimination as other detectors. I was happy to put new batteries in the Bug and get back to using it. 18.5 Ounces of Nuggets Detected Ganes Creek, Alaska For the low mineral ground we were in, and the desired goal... pennyweight plus nuggets, any good discriminating detector will do the job. My Gold Bug 2 worked well and the Lobo did a great job for the other guys, and is a hard machine to beat for all-around detecting. But all in all, the name of the game on this trip was ''keep your coil low, and keep it moving''! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2001 Herschbach Enterprises
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  36. The White's GMZ was released in 2009 and discontinued in 2016. The GMZ is a simple to operate 50 kHz metal detector with exceptional sensitivity to small gold nuggets. The GMZ shares the coils used by the White's Goldmaster/GMT series of metal detectors. The GMZ might appear to be a stripped down GMT, but it is in fact an entirely different design. Dan Geyer, a White's engineer, started the GMZ as a side project. It really is more of a simple coin detecting type circuit, but stepped up to operate at 50 kHz. Dan's goal was to make a detector as simple as possible yet while still being exceptionally sensitive to small gold. It proved to be a functional design and White's eventually decided to put it into production. The GMZ only has three controls - two knobs and a switch. The switch flips from the normal operating mode to a "salt" mode. This tunes out alkali salt flat mineralization but does reduce sensitivity to small gold. There is an On/Off Sensitivity dual control. And finally, a single turn ground reject control. White's GMZ 50 kHz gold prospecting metal detector From the White's GMZ Owner's Manual: Set the Ground toggle switch to the Normal position. Turn the Ground Reject knob fully counter clockwise to the lowest setting. Turn the Sensitivity/ Power knob on & set it to the factory suggested preset mark. Sweep the search coil across the surface of the ground and listen for any sound level variations produced by changing mineralization levels from spot to spot. This will be evidenced by chatter or a sort of clicking sound. Now adjust the Ground Reject knob clockwise while sweeping or pumping the search coil over the ground until the chatter diminishes or goes away. White's GMZ - two knobs and a switch! That is basically all there is to tuning the GMZ for operation. Unique also to the GMZ for a nugget detector is the fact that it is a silent search detector. Most nugget detectors have a faint threshold sound that the operator listens to for faint variations that indicate very small or very deep nuggets. The GMZ, since it is based on a simple coin detecting circuit, lacks that threshold tone and does operate more like a coin detector - silent until it beeps on a nugget or some other item. This was deemed preferable for beginners. The White's GMZ is a very lightweight, well balanced, and easy to operate detector. At 50 kHz it does have great sensitivity to small gold nuggets. The price when it came out was attractive at only $499.00 As mentioned before a good feature on the GMZ was the ability to use any coil that would work on the Goldmaster/GMT series of detectors. 4" x 6" Shooter DD, stock 6" x 10" DD, and 8" x 14" Sierra Gold Max DD coils. These GMT coils also work on the GMZ. Unfortunately, at about the same time as the GMZ was released the market started seeing other detectors with far more capability for a similar price. The new digital version of the Fisher Gold Bug in particular proved to be strong competition. The Gold Bug offers a digital target id display, both all metal and discrimination modes, and the normal threshold based operation prospectors had come to expect and rely on. All in a lightweight package for the same price as the GMZ. The GMZ just never caught on because of this. More experienced operators were generally put off by the lack of threshold tone. Beginners and pros alike missed having any sort of iron discrimination, a standard feature on all other offerings at the time. Ultimately the GMZ was a great little detector but it really was sold at too high a price when compared to other machines on the market. I think it would have done much better at $399 but that was probably too low for White's. As a result the GMZ languished and even many White's dealers never really were aware of the model. It was finally discontinued in 2016. White's GMZ Instruction Manual White's Metal Detector Forum White's GMZ Technical Specifications* Internet Price $450 (Discontinued) Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 50 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Pre-Set Slow Motion Ground Rejection Manual One Turn Control Soil Adjust Yes - Salt Mode Discrimination No Volume Control No Threshold Control No (Silent Search) Tone Adjust No Audio Boost No Frequency Offset No Pinpoint Mode No Audio Output 1/4" headphone socket & speaker Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 6" x 10" DD Coil Optional Search Coils Three accessory coils available Battery Eight AA Operating Time 30 - 40 hours Weight 3.4 pounds Additional Technology Notes Discontinued *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
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  37. I held off on posting about this one for a bit while I got around to some unfinished business. Since my move from Alaska I have been slow to get another safe deposit box set up. I have always had one for my gold and other important valuables. The problem with posting about this stuff on the internet is it can attract the wrong kind of attention. This is something I would encourage everyone to think about. Now that all my gold and other goodies are residing at Wells Fargo I feel a little more free to post about this. Chris Ralph and I were prospecting in Northern California not too long ago. I was running the Nokta FORS Gold and concentrating on some areas littered with square nails, cable bits, rusted cans, and other ferrous junk. There were places the Nokta running in dual tone DI2 mode sounded like a machine gun from ferrous low tones. I would go along with the detector going "putt - putt - putt - putt - putt - beep - putt" and on hearing that beep, stop to dig a bullet or some other non-ferrous item. The weather was a bit wet but not unpleasant; kind of brings the forest smells out and makes for softer walking. I was afraid we were going to get rained out but it keep just on the edge of really starting up. There was not much sign of detecting, no doubt due to all the trash. Chris was off hitting some bedrock with his detector while I wandered around in the trees and duff overlying the old tailing materials. There was a bit of a mound around the base of a tree and I swept around it getting ferrous tones, when all of the sudden I get a strong non-ferrous beep. I looked down at the target id displayed on the end of the FORS Gold handle and it was showing 82. I thought "That's odd, a coin." I was still not tuned in one what the numbers meant exactly on the Nokta but on a typical 1-100 scale an 82 would be something like a penny or a dime. I have yet to find a really decent old coin since moving south, so I thought I was maybe going to dig some nice silver. I gave a couple digs and was surprised to see nothing pop up. Hmmm... must be bigger, deeper. So I open the hole up and dig deeper, and this dirty gray lump pops out of the ground. Dirty lump hides spectacular gold specimen My exact thought "you have got to be kidding me!" It was a filthy lump but I knew instantly it was gold. I could not believe my good fortune. I got out my water bottle and washed it off a bit and saw gold and large chunks of white quartz - I had found something really special. After cleaning it ended up as 1.83 ounces of stunning gold and quartz that would do a museum proud. Just a really spectacular specimen, the best I have ever found. I won't claim that only the Nokta would have found it because any good detector would have. Yet I do think this is a case where a good discriminating VLF detector proved to be of benefit in approaching an area that might cause most pulse induction operators to wander off in another direction. I cleaned the nugget by giving it a couple trips through my ultrasonic cleaner and picking the roots out with tweezers. An ultrasonic cleaner is perfect for these types of specimens with deeps pits and crevices. Other than that it has not been treated with acid or anything. Anyway, this is a fabulous chunk of gold and quartz. One thing that strikes me repeatedly while detecting in Nevada and California is how much nicer the gold is that that I used to find in Alaska. The gold here is generally purer with a richer, more butter yellow color. Many Alaska nuggets are higher in silver content and therefore have paler gold. The quartz in the gold here also tends to be cleaner and whiter. A lot of Alaska gold quartz specimens are discolored with gray and brown quartz variations. This does matter not just for appearance but for value. Large nuggets and specimen gold can command premiums over the value of the gold content, but that premium is based almost entirely on appearance. It a nutshell, the better a specimen looks, the more it’s worth. There are quite a few places in the western U.S. that produce extremely high quality specimen gold that can fetch premiums many times over the basic gold value. Alaska, not so much. I have no doubt the quality of my finds had improved since leaving Alaska. This specimen easily eclipses anything I ever found in Alaska for overall beauty. Just a terrific find, one of my best ever! This article was originally posted on the DetectorProspector Forum and additional commentary may be found there in follow up posts. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2014 Herschbach Enterprises
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  38. I slowly worked my way up the wash, swinging my new Garrett ATX pulse induction metal detector from side to side. I was on bedrock so hunting the best I could, taking extreme care to cover every inch of ground, and keeping the hot spot of the coil as close to the bedrock as possible. I took my time, and moved a rock or two when they kept me from getting the coil as close to the ground as I wanted to. I concentrated on the bottom of the wash but scanned areas along the side that looked inviting. Hours of careful work had produced a handful of targets. Bullets, shell casings, nails, and bits of flat steel. I was new to the area, relying on friends to point me in the right direction. One of those friends had found a couple nuggets earlier when we were both farther down the gully, but he had wandered off somewhere up ahead of me. I worked along a bend in the wash, where the sand covering the bedrock was deeper. There was exposed hardpan material along the inner corner so I worked along that, digging another nail. Then I saw a bit of bedrock peeking out of the sand, and scanned it with the coil. Another loud signal, probably another piece of steel. I gouged out some soil and fractured bedrock, and out popped a gold nugget! My first Arizona gold, and my first gold nugget with the new Garrett ATX. I was elated and got out my camera to record the event. The nugget was quite flat, more like a large flake of gold, and later weighed in at 0.7 grams. My expectations for this little trip had been about zero since I was absolutely new to the area and the detector, so I was very happy. I picked up the detector and gave it a couple more swings, and got another signal! This time I was pretty sure it was gold since it was less than two feet away from the first signal. I went ahead and exposed the bedrock crevice and carefully scraped and blew the material away until a small nugget was exposed to human eyes for the very first time. My first Arizona gold nugget and first found with the new Garrett ATX This nugget was even smaller than the first, weighing in at 0.39 grams. Again, a clean solid signal, no problem finding this little nugget. Now I had two nuggets in my bottle, and I gave the spot a good go looking for a third, but that was it for that stretch of creek. I continued my way up the wash, very happy with the day and the new Garrett ATX. Small 0.4 gram gold nugget in crevice - second found with new Garrett ATX I had recently acquired the detector but I was initially too busy to get out and go prospecting with it. I did a bunch of short day trips coin and jewelry detecting with the machine and posted my results in an earlier article. I finally got the time to go prospecting with the ATX and my first outing was a short day trip to an old hydraulic mine in the northern Sierras. With the drive there and back I only had a short amount of time detecting, and unfortunately did not find any gold. I did learn a few things however. First and foremost was that I forgot to bring along the sling that comes with the ATX. I went ahead and used the detector without, and by the end of the day decided a sling or harness is mandatory for using the ATX for more than a couple hours. Prospecting combines long hours with rough terrain and so is more physically demanding than most types of metal detecting. My forearm and hand was sore at the end of the day from using the ATX. More detecting to come but lets pause and talk about setting up the ATX for gold detecting. The ATX is ridiculously easy to tune up for nugget detecting. A good way to start if unsure of the detectors settings is to hold the RETUNE/PINPOINT button down while turning the detector on. This resets everything to factory default. The ATX factory default settings are: Mode: Motion Discrimination: Zero discrimination (1st LED) Sensitivity: 10 Threshold: 7 Volume: 10 Ground Balance: Neutral Ground Track: OFF With this starting point in the locations I have hunted so far I have been able to adjust the Sensitivity all the way up to the maximum setting of 13. In most locations it is not needed but as a matter of habit I then push the FREQ SCAN and let the ATX cycle for a minute to find the quietest operating frequency. If I intend to use my Garrett Pro Pointer I have it turned on and a couple feet away while the frequency scan is performed to help eliminate interference from the pinpointer when I am using it. If I have a buddy hunting nearby they also should be turned on an operating maybe 50 feet away while the scan is performed, to help eliminate any possible interference from their detector. I want to point out that I was in very close proximity to some high tension power lines on this trip. The ATX was able to tune out the electrical interference from these lines with no problem unless directly under them. I would be able to work there but only by backing the sensitivity down quite a bit. I normally do a manual ground balance. Just push and release the SHIFT button, insuring that the red LED indicator comes on. This activates all the control secondary functions. Then press and hold the GND BAL button while pumping the coil up and down about 6 inches over the ground. The ground will initially signal (unless it is neutral ground) with louder signals indicating more mineralized ground. Then within 3-7 seconds the detector should go quiet, indicating that the ground balance is complete. Release the button. Finally, I adjust the threshold to be a barely discernible tone. Running without headphones and using the built in speaker I find this to be a notch above the factory default of 7 and so set my ATX at threshold 8. Now I am ready to go nugget detecting. Garrett ATX standard 12" x 10" DD search coil I have an 8" round mono coil for the Garrett ATX that I think may be a good choice for nugget detecting but so far I have used the 12" x 10" modified DD coil that comes with the detector. I did this on purpose to be able to report to people on how the coil that comes with the detector performs. I learned a couple very important things. First is that small nuggets give varying tone responses depending just where they are under the coil. A small nugget dead center under the coil will usually give the normal high/low audio indicating a low conductive target. That same nugget moved forward of center under the section of coil connecting the nose to the center coil circle will reverse in signal to low/high. In order to get consistent tones small targets must be centered under the coil. Most importantly, the signal on small nuggets weighing under a gram is greatly enhanced under the inner 5" x 4.5" coil area. Although this is a DD coil it is a new modified design with the inner windings split apart to form the small inner coil area. In some respects it acts like two coils; a large 12" x 10" outer coil and small 5" x 4.5" inner coil. My advice when hunting for small gold nuggets using the stock coil is to focus on and treat the small 5" inner coil as the only coil on the ATX. Larger nuggets will take care of themselves and signal anywhere under the 12" x 10" coil though as a DD coil the field is centered more down the middle of the coil. The ability to find small nuggets is enhanced in the center coil area with best depth and tone response dead center in the middle of the coil. If hunting for larger than gram nuggets you can focus more on using the overall coil but again, if chasing small gold, focus your attention and act as if you have a 5" coil on the detector. My air tests with the 8" mono reveal that it has the even coil response I would expect of a mono coil and overall better depth on half gram nuggets than what is in effect the 5" inner coil that comes stock with the ATX. There may be a situation where the 5" inner coil meets the 8" mono in performance on the smallest nuggets weighing only a grain or two but I have not had time yet to explore this possibility. The bottom line is that the ATX comes stock with what acts like two coils, a 12" coil for most targets and a 5" inner coil for tiny targets. The obvious caveat is that you are swinging the weight of a 12" coil when you use it as a 5" coil. And as I found, it is impossible to get the small 5" inner coil into pockets in bedrock or even laterally up against a large rock or the base of a bush. The outer 12" x 10" ring acts as a barrier. So I do very much recommend that for hunting small gold a prospector seriously consider adding the round 8" mono coil as an option. I plan on using it for future hunts now that I have experience with the standard coil. The good news for many people, especially those that might hunt for nuggets rarely, is that the ATX 12" x 10" DD coil is very versatile and can serve well finding small gold nuggets without investing more money in a specialty coil. Garrett ATX with 8" mono coil I have lots of questions regarding the stock coil versus the 8" mono as far as how the two differ in handling mineralized ground, hot rocks, electrical interference, and depth on both large and small gold nuggets. I have a lot left to learn still about the Garrett ATX but I will pass on what I learn as I learn it. The stock coil is marginally sensitive to false signals when contacting rocks. This is a bit odd since it is an epoxy filled coil so in theory the coil windings cannot move to produce false signals when bumped. The signals do not occur consistently or often but in my case at least happened most often when the coil would catch a rock on the surface and roll the rock under the coil. It is possible that the coil cable, even though protected by being enclosed in the lower shaft assembly, is jiggling enough to produce the signals. Another area for more investigation. The open design of the stock coil provides lots of edges to catch on rocks and stubble. A solid bottom scuff cover would be a nice option although they have a tendency to collect debris. This would allow the coil to slide better on the ground, possibly reducing the false signals, and more importantly keeping the coil from hanging up. If I had a wish it would be for a solid elliptical mono for nugget detecting, perhaps a 10" x 6" more or less. The 8" mono with solid coil cover will be nice. This all leads right back around again to arm strain. The ATX is a heavy metal detector at 6.9 lbs. Add to this the need to use carefully control the 12" coil while prospecting. I found the combination of the need to keep the coil close to the ground while avoiding having it false by rolling rocks under the coil or catch an edge on an obstruction to be very wearing. I have to constantly tweak, twist, and twiddle the position of the coil in relation to the ground. This is normal in nugget detecting. In my opinion superb coil control is one of the secrets that separates the pros from the amateurs. The ATX is simply too heavy for 8 - 12 hours of this activity daily, especially for days in a row. At least for this guy! There are no doubt some people for whom it will not be an issue. I have decided that for my nugget detecting with the ATX additional support is necessary. The included sling is much better than I thought it would be. It hooks over one arm, drapes across the back of the neck, and drops over the opposite shoulder to support the ATX. I found the easiest option is to just slip the elastic loop at the end of the sling over the control pod and onto the handle of the ATX. With the rod length kept short it balances perfectly there, and is very easy to just slip back off when putting the detector down to dig. The only improvement I can see would be for extra padding under the area directly back of the neck where the sling splits to go around the arm. There is no padding there and it tends to dig a bit if used long hours with just a thin shirt. I decided to go one step further however. I recently acquired a Minelab Pro-Swing 45 harness and bungee system. This new harness incorporates a plastic strut that transfers weight from the shoulder to the waist belt. This not only relieves shoulder strain but helps keep the harness belt from creeping up your back as the front of the harness is pulled down. I have other heavy detectors I thought might benefit from using this harness and so it was a happy coincidence I already had one on hand to use with the Garrett ATX. The Pro-Swing comes with a clip and Velcro wrap you can position wherever you like on the detector. I keep as much weight as possible to the rear by keeping the shaft short, basically just using the lighter two lower sections and about 3 inches of the uppermost rod section. This makes a nice little spot between the upper rod locking rings to attach the clip. The bungee can be disconnected at both the detector end of the bungee by slipping it off the clip or off at the shoulder also, which I found I preferred. I now buy cheap LCD watches for all my detectors and leave on them since I normally do not wear a watch myself. I can keep track of time or set alarms for myself to tell me it is quitting time. I put my ATX watch on at the same location. Total aside here but every detector with a LCD readout should have a built in clock and alarm. Time flies when I am detecting! Garrett ATX and Minelab Pro-Swing 45 harness It took a bit of fiddling to get the detector set right, which is very easy. Just take a guess at the correct bungee length and go detecting. It takes just a second to adjust the length by pulling down on the bungee end to release and pulling up again to lock. You feel very quickly if the setting is too long or too short and just adjust up a bit to get it right. For even terrain the system works like a dream. I just glided along with no weight on my arm, directing the detector back and forth. In rough terrain I adjust a tad short so I have to push the detector down a little, and can take pressure off the bungee to allow the detector to come up a bit when needed. Negative pressure, if you will. Only when hitting a high spot did I actually need to lift the detector. Bottom line for me when using the ATX for full days of nugget detecting this is the only way to go. I have experienced tendonitis from excessive detecting hours (is there such a thing?) and it is no laughing matter. It can put you temporarily out of business for a long time as these sorts of injuries take a lot of time to heal. Do not ignore arm pain when detecting! Now back to the fun stuff. The Garrett ATX handles bad ground and most hot rocks with ease. I have detected several different locales now and basic ground balancing is all that I have needed to do. I doubt I will ever need the optional ground tracking but it is there if I do need it. In very uneven mineralization automatic ground tracking can smooth detector responses but it also can rob depth so should only be used when absolutely needed. Manually balancing to the ground should be sufficient. I did encounter hot rocks. If few in number I basically ignore them as they are usually on the surface and a little kick takes care of them. If they are more numerous, or more intense, like the basalt cobbles I encountered at one location, it is possible to manually ground balance against the hot rock to eliminate it or reduce its effect. Just find one and then balance over both the rock and the surrounding ground. I try to find an average setting that works to eliminate the ground and hot rock signal and usually the ATX will do just that. The ground and the offending rock are both tuned out. More intense rocks may require tuning mostly to the ground and a bit for the rocks to alleviate issues from all but the worst rocks while keeping the ATX properly balanced to the ground. If required, back off the sensitivity as full sensitivity enhances ground and hot rock effects. I would not even have encountered the issue at the default ATX sensitivity setting of 10 but maxed out at 13 some hot rocks "lit up". Remember the goal is to get the smoothest possible audio out of the detector that allows very small or very deep nuggets to jump out. Fighting too much sensitivity is a common mistake. If the ATX is banging on hot rocks that cannot balance out, back the sensitivity down to compensate. In very rare cases advancing the pulse delay (Discrimination) setting on the ATX will allow for dealing with extreme situations. Finally, the DD coil may also be of help versus the mono coils if mono coils are being used, although I have not confirmed this as of yet. The new Iron Check feature on the Garrett ATX is very effective. It is biased to not give false signals on gold targets so only works on shallower and larger targets. Still, I found it very helpful in confirming that loud shallow signals were indeed the ferrous targets I thought they were. It would only take a quick dig to confirm the ferrous identity but in areas with lots of surface trash this eliminates a lot of needless digging. Just push the button, wave the coil, and the ATX gives a "goose honk" on ferrous targets. Non-ferrous items like bullets or shell casing will read good but as always they could also be nuggets and so they need to be investigated. Many iron hot rocks will also read as ferrous so an option in some areas instead of other tricks may be to use the Iron Check to confirm suspected hot rocks. I continued my hunt up the wash, concentrating on exposed bedrock. I got a very faint signal in a little pocket and dug in, this time exposing an even smaller nugget. This one only weighed 2.5 grains (480 grains per Troy ounce) or 0.16 grams. Now we are talking! I was impressed with the large coil on the ATX being able to find such a small piece of gold in mineralized bedrock. Again, a very clean, discernable signal, although weaker than the nuggets found before. Note here that I opted to use the speaker on the ATX this day and forgo the headphones. It was a very quiet place so I could hear the detector well enough, and there were snakes in the area (saw a hawk carry one off!) so it was nice being able to hear what was going on around me. Still, I am certain using headphones would have made this small signal jump out even more. It is always a good idea to use headphones when chasing small gold that produces the tiniest signals. Small 0.16 Gram gold nugget found with Garrett ATX - can you see it? Frankly, in the United States more often than not it is all about the small gold. Large nuggets are easy to find in many locations, like the area we were hunting. The bedrock is shallow and most of the large nuggets have been found except in rare places a coil has not been over yet. Going deeper will find no more gold since bedrock is so shallow. Small nuggets are hard to detect however and they are also far more plentiful than large nuggets. Many mining districts do not have any large gold at all so you either find the small nuggets or nothing at all. Garrett seems to have realized this and made significant progress in improving the small gold ability of the ATX compared to the now over ten year old Garrett Infinium. Now truthfully, in many locations a good, relatively inexpensive VLF detector is the best choice in the United States when chasing small gold. The problem is areas where there is either ground mineralization or hot rocks or both that seriously impede the ability of VLF detectors to operate efficiently. These are the locations where the ATX will shine. Luck was with me this day. Again, I worked slowly and carefully up the wash, concentrating on places where I thought bedrock was shallow enough to detect. I got another faint signal from a crevice in exposed bedrock. This one was down in some pretty solid rock so it took a bit of hacking and prying to get it out. Out popped nugget number four, the smallest yet at 1.8 grains or 0.12 grams. One little nugget was maybe a fluke, but now two tiny gold nuggets with the Garrett ATX with stock 12" x 10" DD coil. Definitely impressive. 0.12 gram gold nugget found with Garrett ATX metal detector After two days of nugget detecting I can say without doubt that the new Garrett ATX is a very capable nugget detector. It easily handles ground conditions that most prospectors will encounter in the United States. Most impressive for a pulse induction detector is the small gold sensitivity of the ATX out of the box with the stock coil and no tuning tricks. Basically all I did was bump the gain (sensitivity) up, ground balance, and go. The ATX retains all settings when powered down, so firing up again after a break is no more difficult than turning the detector back on. The waterproof design does add weight, but with the obvious benefits of being able to work in pouring down rain without fear that the detector will be damaged. Even the speaker is fully waterproof. I think the ATX has great potential for working in and around streams and rivers looking for gold lodged in underwater crevices and pockets. I have my suit ready and have the optional underwater headphones required to use the ATX with mask and snorkel. The included headphones allow the detector to be submerged but the actual working ear muff portion of the headset must be kept high and dry. All in all Garrett has produced a very powerful and very versatile detector at an extremely attractive price. That is a lot of superlatives in one sentence but it is a fact. I have no doubt my ATX will pay for itself in the coming year. My only warning is that this is a professional grade pulse induction metal detector and not for people expecting VLF type discrimination capability. Yet with practice the ATX offers far more than just base level PI discrimination, which is all but non-existent. For basic dig-it-all nugget detecting however, the Garrett ATX is about as simple as it gets. A novice can be up and running in minutes with this detector. The team at Garrett deserves praise for bringing a unique detector to market, expanding the options available for all detectorists. 1.36 grams of gold nuggets found with Garrett ATX - smallest 0.12 & 0.16 Grams Here it is, four gold nuggets found with the new Garrett ATX pulse induction metal detector. Total weight 1.36 grams, smallest nugget 0.12 grams. The dirty quarter found metal detecting is for scale. All found in mineralized ground with the stock 12" x 10" DD coil and no headphones (used built-in speaker). Again, I was impressed by the ability of the ATX straight out of the box to hit gold this small. I can't wait to see what I can do with headphones and the 8" mono coil. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2013 Herschbach Enterprises
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  39. "I hunted hard and got gold every day but one for two weeks, but could not get over larger pieces. I went left when I should have went right. When it comes to getting the big ones the first couple rows you hit often tell the game. 14 nuggets this week got me not quite another ounce of gold, for a two week total of 36 nuggets and 2.86 ounces. Most of the gold was found with a Fisher F75 Special Edition, three nuggets were found with my Minelab GPX 5000 and eight small nuggets with the Fisher Gold Bug Pro. I can't help but admit I am shy of where I was hoping to be on gold, but that said had the best two weeks of fun times with good people I could have. Really, really good groups, and the people make the fun. Many thanks as always to the Clark family and crew for a fantastic experience." Little did I know when I wrote the paragraphs above that I would have already made my last visit to the Ganes Creek Pay-To-Mine operation. It was quite a surprise when in the fall of 2012 it was announced that the last and final season at Ganes Creek had already happened and that the mine was closing its doors to the public. I can't say I did not see it coming but I thought there would be at least a "one last time" or "final season" sort of affair. So much has been written about Ganes Creek in the last decade that I see no reason to delve into the details of hunting gold at Ganes Creek. Over 1700 ounces of gold nuggets and gold specimens were found by visitors since the mine opened to the public in 2002. It truly has been a once in a lifetime experience for many people and this last entry I will just devote to some random photos and notes. Ganes Creek is actually a large commercial gold mining operation, with the pay-to-mine happening as a side business. Here is a shot of the main mining camp. The closest cabin is the combination washroom and rec area. Main camp at Ganes Creek, Alaska Ganes Creek valley is both wide and long, with many square miles of tailing piles left by decades of mining with bucket line dredges and bulldozer/dragline operations. Many locations were mined more than once. Here we have a view of the mine above the camp, with the camp just barely visible in the distance. Ganes Creek upstream of camp (just barely visible at tip of dark area extending from right) Each day the mine sends a bulldozer around to various locations to flatten out old tailings for detecting. Visitors wait until a large enough area is ready for everyone to have a decent shot at finding something. Bulldozer prepping an area for the visitors to metal detect for gold Tailing piles mowed down and flattened by bulldozers Longtime visitor Bernie P excavating a target - will it be a nugget? Depending on the time of year visitors may get to see parts of the commercial mining operations at work. Here we have the miner using a Denver Gold Saver to process buckets of concentrate from the main operation. Denver Gold Saver employed as a cleanup device at Ganes Creek Although the goal of the detector crowd is finding large nuggets, the bulk of the gold found while commercial mining is actually smaller in size. here is a cleanup from the Denver Gold Saver. Gold recovered while commercial mining at Ganes Creek Finally, all good things come to an end. At the end of each week visitors put their gold out for a group shot of both the gold and the people. The total take for Week 3, 2012 at Ganes Creek, Alaska. Very large multi-ounce nuggets are getting hard to find. The visitor group for Week 3, 2012 at Ganes Creek The opening paragraph of this article explains that while I found gold almost every day, I was unable in a two week stay to find even one nugget over an ounce. This is one reason why the mine closed to the public. The t-shirt shot above has gold separated into piles and you can see many people are finding just a few small nuggets in a week. For many people this might be the most gold and even the only gold they have ever found, but the mine owners want to see everyone going home with more gold than what has happened in the last few seasons. Here is my gold from this two week visit, and a couple photos of the totals board. The board had a running total for a decade but was erased on this trip. Luckily I took a photo just before it got erased to document the amazing finds made over the years. Steve's two weeks - 36 nuggets and 2.86 ounces total Final look at the multi-year records before the board was erased - 1651 oz by end of 2011 First 3 weeks 2012 - 72 nuggets/18.45 oz (Wk1) 72 nuggets/17.6 oz (Wk2) and 74 nuggets/11.95 oz (Wk3) That sums up my final visit to the Ganes Creek pay-to-mine operation. It was really something to see over the years, and I am proud I played a little part in making the whole thing possible. It does turn out however that that 2012 would not be the absolute last time a group of people hit the tailings at Ganes Creek looking for gold. In 2014 an exceptionally heavy flood season took out much of the valley and even the old machine shop - a real shame since the machine shop was an in place museum of sorts. The flooding caused a lot of issues at the mine and a group was privately invited up to inject a little cash for cleaning up the mess. You can get some details of that 2014 visitor group here. With that, one last pretty picture of Ganes Creek Mine, Alaska. Click photo for larger version. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2012 Herschbach Enterprises
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  40. I visited Ganes Creek, Alaska in 2011 for two weeks of gold nugget detecting. I have been there many times before and have other stories about Ganes Creek on Steve's Mining Journal. So this is intended more as an update with latest tidbits than a full-blown story. For that, see the Steve's Mining Journal contents page. I took two detectors, a Fisher F75 Special Edition and Minelab GPX 5000. I used the F75 SE most of the time since detecting at Ganes Creek is very much like a competitive hunt. I wanted something light and fast for the bulldozer pushes. The Minelab I brought along for off push hunting in the evening or between weeks. First off, the theory that the richest material mined on the bottom ends up on the tops of the tailing piles is proving out. Most of the larger bucketline cobble piles and dragline piles have been bulldozed, and the biggest and easiest to find large nuggets were in the top layers. Bulldozing deeper into the same piles is producing gold but on the whole the nuggets are smaller. Like 1 pennyweight and 2 pennyweight in size. Larger nuggets do turn up but time and again piles that once produced many large nuggets are now seeing slimmer pickings appear. I found the most nuggets in both of the weeks I was at Ganes, but they were smaller than what I have found in the past. I got about two nuggets a day average, and my first week only added up to .86 oz. Nice stuff, but no big ones. Only by heading out on my own and hunting an old dozed pile got me a 2.6 oz nugget on the day between weeks. I got a 1.25 oz nugget soon after during the second week on a push on a pile that still was near the top. Piles that used to produce big nuggets do not seem to be producing the big ones any more. Makes sense when you think about it. My buddy Bernie got a 5.04 oz chunk out of the cobbles. Now Bernie my friend, if you are reading this I am not trying to put your find down. The fact is though it was a 5 oz rock with maybe a half oz of gold sprinkled in it. Many people would have passed over it for a hot rock, so Bernie did well in getting it. But it puffed up numbers in week two beyond what it really was. I'm just trying to be realistic here in my report. Week One had 9.38 oz for 13 people. Week Two had 19.65 oz for thirteen people but that included my off-push 2.61 oz find and Bernie's 5.04 oz find. Knock them out and you have about 12 oz for thirteen people. Almost an ounce per person is not bad, but unfortunately it does not spread out evenly like that. These photos show how the finds went for weeks one and two. as you can see a few people found only a few or no nuggets. The nuggets in parentheses in the second picture were found in between weeks by those staying over from the first week. Ganes Creek Nugget Results Weeks One & Two 2011 Some details on my 2.61 oz nugget find. The nice thing about booking consecutive weeks at Ganes is you get an extra day for free. People leave Saturday morning and new group arrives Sunday morning. You are on your own to hunt where you will on Saturday. The six of us staying over wandered up the creek. I had my eye on a dragline pile near where we had hunted the previous day, so stopped there while the rest went on up the creek. The pile was a big one that had been dozed a time or two with basically just the top knocked off. It looked like easy digging so I wanted to attack it with my GPX 5000. I had been using my Fisher F75 all week and wanted to give the Minelab a go for the day. I dug steel for an hour on top, then started to side hill the pile. The second target was just over the edge, about two feet below the lip. Dig, dig, dig, and out pops a large nugget! It looked like about 3 ounces. The good thing about Ganes is you can have many poor days and make it all up in one nugget. All the sudden I had most nuggets, biggest nugget, and most weight in the group. I hunted the rest of the hill but just dug junk. When I met up with the rest of the boys they also had found gold in an old push but nothing like mine. Still, it perked up the group with the feeling that our cold streak was broken. 2.61 oz gold nugget fresh out of the ground, found with Minelab GPX 5000 The nugget weighed in at 2.61 ounces, at today's prices possibly a $4000 find. It is solid gold with a bit of quartz, rather flat, would make a great pendant for a football player. I think overall I got the best results for the total of the two weeks, and at 5.65 oz the only thing I can say is the increase in gold prices has let me able to say I broke even plus a few bucks for two weeks. I think I am the only one who can say that. Ganes is now a place where if you have not ever found a gold nugget you can go and have a good chance of saying you found your first gold nuggets. But they will be smaller than what we would have expected in the past, and the chances of coming out ahead dollar wise is now slim. Steve's Ganes Creek Finds 2011, Largest Nugget 2.61 ounces All nuggets except largest found with Fisher F75 SE If you do not worry about getting back your investment and simply want to detect gold, Ganes is still one of the best things going. My worry is they (Doug & Company) do not recognize that and so the whole thing may shut down soon. The crew is not inclined to continue unless people are getting very good results but they may think people need more results than they do. I went to the UK last October hoping to find one gold coin and got none. I found gold almost every day at Ganes. Getting gold at Ganes Creek is easy compared to anywhere else. That is not to say it is easy. Just easier than elsewhere. I tried to jump start a situation where mining claims in Alaska would be easily available to the public in the way of pay-to-mine operations. It worked for a time but unfortunately only a few places became available. The process is just too difficult for most miners. We had a glory day with Ganes Creek and Moore Creek whereby significant finds became common. I sold Moore Creek and in one season it went offline. Ganes is near the end. I just hope they give it a go again next summer. I remember when nobody ever found a big nugget with a metal detector in Alaska and sad to say I think the best days are behind us. Not for me or others with an "in" but for the general public looking for a place to detect and have a shot at large gold. Old bucket line dredge on lower Ganes Creek property If Ganes is open in 2012, and it may take some lobbying, just sign up and do it. An era is passing and do not wait and wish you had done it. Great people, the best in the world as far as I am concerned, and getting to rub elbows with the crew at a real operating family oriented placer mine in Alaska is something only a few now reading will ever enjoy. Many thanks to the crew at Ganes Creek for giving me some of the best weeks of my life! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2011 Herschbach Enterprises
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  41. I have not been down to Crow Creek Mine for a long time and was curious about what was going on down there. I mainly went to just look around but took my Fisher Gold Bug 2 along to give it a spin. I got a new one recently and wanted to break it in. Since I was chasing tiny gold I put the little 6” elliptical coil on for the trip. The fall colors were out but it was a bit gray and rainy. My first surprise on getting to Girdwood was to find that Crow Creek Road is now paved to where the state maintenance ends, getting rid of a lot of what used to be a section loaded with potholes. Second surprise is that just before getting to Crow Creek there is a huge new parking wayside for the trailhead that goes down to Glacier Creek and the tram that crosses over to the Alyeska side of the valley. Third surprise was that Kate and Nate have really spruced the place up. The old camp at Crow Creek looks better than ever with more relics on display and everything looking much tidier. I visited with Nate for quite some time catching up on news. Then I headed up the creek to find a patch of dirt to work with the Gold Bug 2. By the way, metal detecting at Crow Creek is $20.00 per day, keep all the gold you find - if any! I chose a spot where the creek was undermining the bank and so it was on the steep side. What caught my eye was a layer of loose looking cobbles resting on a layer of finer grained material. I surmised the cobbly material was loose tailings and that the material underneath was virgin ground. At Crow Creek I’ve often found gold where the two meet. So I got in and knocked down a bunch of the cobbles to uncover the layer below. Easy enough to do as the whole bank wanted to come down, so the main challenge was not getting hit by cobbles or falling in the creek. Crow Creek Mine at Girdwood, Alaska The ground here is very low mineral and so the Gold Bug 2 can be cranked up to levels that would not work in many locations. Set for all metal audio boost on, low mineral mode, sensitivity to max, and ground balance about 6 for this spot. I then proceeded to use the coil with no scuff cover like a little rake, scraping down the slope to knock off no more than an inch of material at a time. In just a few minutes I got a sharp little “zip” and quickly used my plastic scoop to isolate a very small nugget weighing maybe a grain. Good deal, the spot has gold! So I continued to slowly and methodically scrape away at the bank, using my pick now and then to dislodge a rock. The rain may have helped as the material was pretty soft and easy to work with the coil alone. Usually I’d have to use the pick to scrape and then check with the detector. About every five minutes I’d get a tiny signal and recover a small nugget. I also got about an equal number of rocks that gave signals but they were much easier to find and eliminate since they were much larger than the nuggets. Most detectors would not have sounded off on them but with the Gold Bug 2 running so hot any mineralization at all in the rocks will be detected. Since these were positive hot rocks they most likely had arsenopyrite in them, which is pretty common at Crow Creek. There was no trash at all in the material, just nuggets and hot rocks. Close-up of gold bearing material and bottom of 6" Gold Bug 2 coil Good use of a plastic scoop is critical as these tiny nuggets can be very hard to find. I use the "divide and conquer" method. Scoop up the material that has the nugget in it. Give the scoop a good shake to get the nugget into the bottom of the scoop. If you have a couple inches of dirt in the scoop and the nugget is on top, you may not be able to detect it when you run the scoop over the coil. I prefer to do this with the bottom of the coil turned upright (just like in the picture) so I can get the scoop right over that hot spot in the middle of the coil. If I confirm the nugget is in the scoop, I dump half in my hand and check again. If it is still in the scoop, I place the material in my hand on the ground where I can check it again later. If the scoop no longer beeps, the nugget is in my hand, in which case I discard the material in the scoop. I just split and check until I'm down to a bit of material, which in the case of these little mud covered nuggets sometimes is just a few little pieces of dirt which have to be check one at a time to find which one has gold in it. Once you get good at this it goes real fast, but care must be taken to not get a nugget in the scoop only to discard it. That is why you put all the dirt in a place where you can check it again when you are done. Sometimes you can get more than one nugget in the scoop at once. Another option is to simply put all targets in a pan and pan it all later. But since I'm following the gold I want to know just where each nugget came from so I prefer to locate them as I find them. I had got a late start and did not want to get home too late so I called it quits after an hour and a half. Once I got back to town I found I had 16 nuggets, the largest being 5.4 grains and the three smallest so small they will not register on my digital powder scale that goes down to 1/10th grain. A total of 17.4 grains in 16 nuggets so this is some small stuff indeed. There are 480 grains in a Troy ounce of gold. Some might question why you would want to go after such small gold. Well, at over $1000.00 per ounce a one grain nugget is now worth over $2.00! So my rather leisurely effort netted me $35.00 worth of gold in a fairly short time. If you follow the little stuff long enough larger pieces do come along. If I’d put in some serious effort for an entire day I think I’d have done very well so I may have to go back soon and do just that. Sixteen little gold nuggets 17.4 grains total The trick is in having a place with mineralization low enough that you can crank up a VLF unit to the max. Higher frequency detectors will do best for the real tiny stuff. Manual ground balance is also preferred as automatic ground balance tends to tune out the tiniest pieces of gold. There really are only two detectors I think are up to this task. If you want the best, use either a 71 kHz Fisher Gold Bug 2 or 50 kHz White's GMT (or earlier 50 kHz Goldmasters) and outfit them with the 4" x 6" accessory coils. Other detectors will hit small gold but nothing as good as either of these detectors. It is also important to get that coil right down in the dirt. Normally I’d recommend a scuff cover for this type of stuff as you can actually wear through the bottom of an expensive coil doing this. But in this case I really wanted to go to the max and so was not even willing to give up the tiny bit of depth lost by using a scuff cover. Which is going too far really as if done properly depth is not really an issue using this method. The idea is to slowly work your way closer and closer to gold that is out of reach until it can be detected. Since the small stuff can only be detected at an inch or less, you have to take the ground off an inch or less at a time, or you’ll scrape gold away. Crow Creek has been detected to death. But there is plenty of gold left to be found only inches down out of reach of detectors. Yeah, it is small stuff, but there is a lot of them and I like finding every one. They do add up, and best of all they keep you interested in what you are doing until a larger nugget comes along. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2009 Herschbach Enterprises
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  42. I walked a little ahead of my detecting buddy Jeff as we searched along the bulldozer trail for gold nuggets. The bulldozer had pushed little berms of material along each side of the trail as it made its way through the old tailing piles. I swung off the trail to one side where the tailing pile sloped down into the brush. Sweeping my White's MXT over a moss covered cobble pile resulted in a loud beep. I peeled the moss and cobbles back with my pick and looked down at the largest gold nugget I have ever found! This story actually starts in 1972. That is when I purchased my first metal detector, a White's Coinmaster 4. I put in lots of hours with that detector, finding thousands of coins in Anchorage, Alaska, in the days before metal detectors became more common. I was already doing a little gold prospecting and so I just had to try my new detector out for finding gold nuggets. I purchased a little 4 inch coil touted by White's as being the hot ticket for finding gold. They actually called it the "Gold Probe". However, after a couple outings I discovered that the detectors of the day were just not up to the task. The inability of the early units to compensate for ground mineralization made it impossible to find all but the largest nuggets. I am sorry to say that these large nuggets were very uncommon in my area, and so the chances of my finding gold with the early model detectors were slim to none. Steve in 1973 on very first nugget hunt - Moore Creek, Alaska & White's Coinmaster 4 This early experience caused me to overlook metal detectors as a practical mining tool for many years. In fact, when my partner Dudley Benesch and I got into business in 1976 we sold metal detectors from the start but strongly downplayed their usefulness for prospecting. My standard line was "you can probably find more gold with a $5.00 gold pan than a $500.00 metal detector". During the 1980's, I was heavily involved in gold dredging, so much so that I did if full-time for a couple of years. The amount of gold I thought I might find with a metal detector seemed trivial compared what I was producing with my suction dredges. I continued coin detecting from time to time but did not spend as much time at it as I had previously. It was at this time that stories of fabulous gold finds in Australia started to appear. My attention returned to using metal detectors to find gold nuggets, and I finally found my first nuggets with a Compass Gold Scanner Pro in 1989. I was still selling metal detectors as a dealer and it was about 1990 that White's introduced its breakthrough Goldmaster II. At an operating frequency of 50 kHz, it was by far the most sensitive detector available for smaller gold nuggets. The Anchorage area has lots of gold but it is mostly in match head size and smaller nuggets. Nuggets weighing up to one-quarter ounce are very rare and nuggets weighing an ounce or more are almost unheard of. The Goldmaster II opened up the local area to nugget detecting with its small gold sensitivity and ease of operation. Put all this together with its bargain retail price of $499.95 and the Goldmaster II quickly became one of the fastest selling metal detectors ever. It is one of the only detectors I ever sold that quite literally could not be produced fast enough to meet demand. I contributed to this electronic gold rush by taking my new Goldmaster II to local gold mining sites and finding thousands of gold nuggets with it. One popular site, Crow Creek Mine, had produced only small numbers of nuggets with other metal detectors. However, the Goldmaster II and its successor, the Goldmaster V/SAT, appeared be the perfect detectors for Crow Creek. The creek has only moderate mineralization and tremendous amounts of the smaller gold the White's units could find so easily. All of a sudden it seemed like gold was pouring out of the mine, all due to the introduction of the Goldmaster models. Steve with White's Goldmaster II in 1992 Jeff was managing our Mining Department at that time, and if anything, he was even hotter than I with the Goldmaster. We were both having a great time finding gold and posting photos of our finds at the store. The Goldmaster models got so popular at Crow Creek that problems started occurring with so many people running the same frequency unit in the same area. Detectors running at the same frequency interfere with each other electronically, and it got to where people would have to take turns running the detectors at some of the more popular locations at Crow Creek. This problem was finally solved with the introduction of the Goldmaster 3 and its frequency shift control. Despite these successes, gold dredging still occupied the majority of my free time in the 1990's. I was using a 6-inch dredge as my production unit, and the consistency with which I produced gold with it could not be matched by the more sporadic success one has with a metal detector. That, and the finds at Crow Creek and other local sites were depleting and so more and more time and effort was required to be successful detecting gold in these areas. A couple things about my dredging bothered me however. One was that I was finding good quantities of gold but I was finding very few large nuggets. It was not until 1998 that I finally found a 1 ounce gold nugget while gold dredging. My use of larger dredging equipment was tying me down to local areas where large nuggets are very rare. I really wanted to be able to find a monster nugget like I would read about other people finding. Second, I was spending all my time going to the same nearby areas, over and over again. Days, if not weeks, were spent working in the same stretch of creek. I wanted to get out and spend more time exploring remote areas of Alaska. I became convinced that if I wanted to get serious about gold and prospecting I needed to get away from the local area. Therefore, I made a conscious decision in 2000 to focus on metal detecting as a prospecting method instead of suction dredging. I sold my mining claims near Anchorage and my 6 inch gold dredge and invested the money in new metal detectors. I have used all the various brands over the years and found each one has strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion one key to successful nugget detecting is to have a variety of machines with differing capabilities. I invested in several makes and models of metal detectors that I use depending on particular nugget detecting tasks. I was amazed with the results of my new strategy. Not only did I see no real decline in the amount of gold I was finding each year, but my nugget finds blew away decades of dredging results. I was finding more gold nuggets weighing over an ounce than I had thought possible. My previous record of a 1 ounce gold nugget from Crow Creek Mine was totally eclipsed by 4.95-ounce nugget from Ganes Creek in 2001. Finding that nugget was one of the biggest thrills of my life! The real secret proved to be the freedom afforded by my metal detectors. With only a few pounds of gear to pack, it became far easier to go to remote Alaskan sites where large gold nuggets are found. It helped tremendously that I have developed many contacts with miners in my years of business and as a member of the Alaska Miners Association. These contacts are helpful when it comes to getting access to nugget producing mining claims. The fact is that most of the good locations for nugget detecting Alaska are on mining claims and so getting permission from the claim owners is critical. Ganes Creek is in west central Alaska near the town of McGrath. Ganes Creek has produced some of the largest gold nuggets ever found in Alaska, including a 122 oz monster. The creek has a long mining history and so has many miles of tailing piles from old bucket line dredge operations, and from more recent heavy equipment operations. It was at Ganes Creek that I found my 4.95-ounce nugget and numerous other gold nuggets in the 1 to 2 ounce range in 2001. Fall colors and old tailing piles at Ganes Creek, Alaska With some prodding on my part the owners of Ganes Creek decided to give a "pay to detect" operation a try. Opportunities to metal detect at places like Ganes Creek are rare, especially for people from outside Alaska. As part of the effort to get the word out about the operation, I received permission to bring a couple "key players" in the detecting industry up to Ganes Creek for a short visit. The idea was that once they saw the potential firsthand they would no doubt spread the word to others. In the spring of 2002 I decided to organize a Gold Show at Crow Creek Mine near Anchorage. We had never done this type of show in Alaska before and I thought it would be fun for all involved. Little did I know the work that goes into making a show like this come together. It proved to be a massive undertaking, but a rewarding one. One key to a successful gold show is to try to convince manufacturer representatives into making the expensive trip to Alaska. We received a lot of support from various suppliers but that shown by White's Electronics and its Alaskan distributor Renton Coin Shop was truly exceptional. Many accessory items and gold coins were donated as prizes to be given out for various activities of the gold show. Most impressive was the latest version of the White's Goldmaster, the new GMT, which was donated as grand prize in the detector hunt held during the show. This was very fitting, as there have probably been more Goldmasters at Crow Creek over the years than any other single model of metal detector. The generous donations were greatly appreciated by everyone attending the show. I would like to offer particular thanks to Mary Gladding of Renton Coin Shop for her enthusiastic support. Steve Houston of White's Electronics had come up for the gold show, and so I took the opportunity to arrange a trip up to Ganes Creek. Steve is an avid nugget hunter and so he jumped at the opportunity. I arranged for a visit immediately after the Gold Show ended. Steve had never been in a small airplane before, and so the bush plane flight into Ganes Creek from McGrath was an adventure in itself for him! Having flown in small planes my whole life, I underestimate the effect swooping low over the terrain and landing on small runways has on the inexperienced flyer. After we arrived at Ganes Creek, we did a bit of metal detecting in the immediate camp area, as quite a few gold nuggets had previously been found right around the cabins. The whole camp is built on old tailing piles that have been flattened out. After a little time spent with no results, we decided to head upstream. The first group of 10 visitors was already at the mine, and two nuggets weighing over 5 ounces each had been found the day before. The nuggets were found just upstream of a large drainage ditch that had drawn my attention the last time I had visited the mine. The ditch is piled high on both sides with excavated material. I reasoned that the piles might contain some nuggets, since the material from the bottom of the ditch was from deep below the surface. We started detecting the area, and in an amazingly short time, I heard Steve yell that he had found one. Sure enough, scanning the sides of one of the piles with his GMT produced a chunky 3.2 oz gold nugget! Well, that was so easy we figured there must be a bunch of nuggets along the ditch. However, as much as I tried I could not find a nugget myself, and Steve's initial find remained his only find. As if he really cared! I finally wandered away and found a small gold nugget on a large tailing pile nearby but that was it for the day. Steve Houston with 3.2 ounce gold nugget found at Ganes Creek with White's GMT This was a very short trip and so we only had the following day to try and find more gold. I found a few more small nuggets and Steve found none. Searching tailing piles for gold nuggets is literally like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Entire days go by with no finds, but when gold is found it tends to be worth the wait. I was grateful Steve Houston found a nugget as large as he had in our limited amount of time. It was the largest nugget he had ever found, and better yet, larger than anything his regular hunting buddies had found. More than 30 people visited Ganes Creek in the summer of 2002. Over 10 pounds of gold was found, with many nuggets weighing over an ounce and several in the 5-ounce range. The success rate was amazing; with a large majority of the visitors able to say they found the largest gold nugget of their lives at Ganes Creek. Still, people started to wonder if the creek was "worked out" and that all the nuggets had been found. I scoffed at this idea, as I have seen even small parks produce old coins missed by decades of diligent metal detecting. The idea that a few dozen people could find all the nuggets to be found in many square miles of tailing piles is not something experienced detectorists would worry about. To prove the point, I put the word out that I would make a visit to Ganes Creek after all the visitors had been there that summer and go find some gold. OK, I have to admit there was a certain amount of bravado in this. The fact is that detecting tailing piles is very much a hit and miss proposition. In general, sheer hours of diligence will pay off, providing the nuggets are there to be found at all. However, there also is a bit of luck involved, and sometimes even the most dedicated person will get skunked. If it was easy we would all be out swinging a detector looking for gold nuggets for a living, but that is not the case. So, although I was talking big I certainly had my doubts about how much gold I would find. It was late in the season when Jeff, Brian, and I made that final 2002 visit to Ganes Creek. Brian is an avid gold dredger and so his focus for the trip was to do some exploratory gold dredging. Jeff and I were both hot to go detecting for gold, however. As I noted before, Jeff is a very accomplished detectorist, and we usually have a cheerful competition going while nugget detecting. We brought along several different detectors to try. I had my GMT but also White's new MXT model. I was intrigued with this machine that combined the basic Goldmaster circuitry with the features normally found on high-end coin detectors. I figured its exceptional target ID features might prove useful in the trashy tailing piles, and especially around the camp area. Jeff and I traded machines back-and-forth to get a feel for how the different detectors worked at Ganes Creek. Jeff in particular was in the market for new unit, and so was most interested in trying them out comparatively. Jeff with White's MXT at Ganes Creek, Alaska We first headed back up to that ditch area where many of the large nuggets were found, including Steve Houston's. The area had been hammered hard all summer, but we figured there might be some gold left to be found. I located a 13.8 dwt (dwt = pennyweight) nugget, and then a 3.8 dwt nugget (20 pennyweight per ounce) the first day. Jeff, although he tried in earnest, came up with no nuggets. We also tried some old tailings upstream farther, but found no more gold that day. The second day dawned under rainy skies. We decided to stay near camp, and see if there were more nuggets waiting to be found around the cabins. I grabbed the new White's MXT, while Jeff used the GMT. The rain poured, but we stuck with it. Lots of bullets and shell casings were dug, which I consider a good sign. You cannot get all the nuggets and leave bullets in the ground. However, by the end of the day we had no nuggets. We headed up to the bench deposits above camp and found some small nuggets, just so we could say we did not get skunked. Jeff found a nice little pennyweight nugget, and I got a few smaller bits. Nothing to brag about, but at least we could say we found gold. I have to note that I was very impressed with the MXT around camp. I used the 6" elliptical coil, and ran the unit in the relic mode. This mode, when set up a certain way, gives a high tone on non-ferrous targets, and low tone on iron targets. It was easy and efficient around camp, and all the targets I dug were non-ferrous items. It has very good trash separation with the small coil, and easy target ID with the dual tone system. The machine was great for places where trash is literally inches apart. The weather cleared the third day. Jeff again ran the White's GMT, and I the MXT with the small coil. We started in camp, and I found a small nugget just behind the cabins. We then tried some of the dragline piles above camp near where I found my 4.95-ounce nugget in 2001. I switched the MXT to the 950 9.5" coil. Both Jeff and I found nuggets weighing several pennyweights each. So far we were not exactly knocking down the nuggets. Frankly, we were both a bit puzzled, as our constant digging of bullets indicated nuggets were still to be found. If an area were thoroughly detected we would be digging nothing at all. Nevertheless, our nugget results were lean, and so our enthusiasm was flagging. I am a big fan of aerial photos, and had some new ones showing an area downstream opposite the old bucketline dredge machine shop. Long rows of old bucketline tailings ran far back away from the road, and so I suggested we run down and check them for a change of pace. Jeff was running the White's GMT with the Sierra Max 14" coil, and I ran the MXT with stock 950 coil. The more I used the MXT the more I liked it. On the cobble piles I ran in prospect mode, with full gain, minimum V/SAT setting, and in automatic ground balance. The 14.7 kHz frequency ran smoother on the mixed rocks of the cobble piles than the higher frequency GMT. High frequency detectors tend to get weak signals from mineralized rocks because of their extreme sensitivity. The MXT seems well suited for searching areas of mixed mineralization due to its lower frequency and fast automatic ground balance. We followed an old bulldozer trail back towards the area I had spotted in the aerial photos. I concentrated on the edges of the main trail near to and in the brush. My goal was to cover obscure areas others may have missed. I finally got a good clean signal and gave a couple digs with my pick. The moss and rocks flipped back, and there lay a large gold nugget. I did not get as excited over this one as with my 4.95 ounce nugget of the previous year, as I was not sure exactly how much the nugget weighed. Jeff, however, knew immediately it was something to jump up and down over. And he was right, as upon weighing it came in at 6.85 ounces! My largest nugget ever, and the largest found at Ganes Creek that summer. I also had the satisfaction of proving that finds always remain for those willing to look. This particular nugget is strange, with very dark, lustrous quartz encasing a solid gold core. The quartz is almost like agate. Fingers of dendritic (leaf) gold reach up from the gold core into the quartz shell. It is a unique nugget, unlike any I have seen before. And at 6.85 ounces it gives me entry into a very exclusive club. Few people can say they have found a gold nugget weighing over one-half Troy pound without heavy machinery. Steve with 6.85 ounce gold specimen from Ganes Creek found with White's MXT My White's MXT had paid for itself rather spectacularly. It is hard not to like a detector that finds a big gold nugget. However, while it bench tests well on small gold, frankly it does not hold a candle to the White's GMT when it comes to very small gold under actual field conditions. If small gold is your bread and butter, the GMT is still the way to go. Not only do higher frequency detectors have an innate edge on tiny gold nuggets, but also the manual ground balance on the GMT offers better control for small gold. The MXT must be auto ground balanced, then "locked". The GB point is then fixed, but it cannot be manually adjusted from there. The GMT has both automatic and manual ground balance. The MXT does do very well on nuggets weighing a few grains or more, and the bigger the gold gets; the less difference there is between the MXT and GMT. Frankly, for nuggets weighing in pennyweights or more, I actually prefer the MXT. It operates smoother than the GMT in mineralized ground, and has depth as good as, and maybe under some circumstances better than, the GMT. It is a great machine for large nugget hunting. Combine that with the fact that it has a superior target ID system, with both iron readout and conductivity measurement, and you can actually do things like tell most gold nuggets from a .22 shell casing. I used the relic mode with the small coil on the MXT to work extreme trash areas to good effect. This machine has lots of potential to explore, and yet is very easy to use. Add in the fact that it has a 6.5" x 4" elliptical DD, 5.3" round concentric, and 10" x 5.5" elliptical DD coils available as options, and I think the MXT is now the machine to beat for all-around use. Coin, nuggets, relics, and jewelry... it does it all. Moreover, despite its wealth of features, the list price is only $799.95. This article may seem like a White's ad, as I have purposely made the brand a centerpiece of the story. The fact is that I have owned and used all the major brands of detectors and continue to do so. I think all the major manufacturers make good units; Nevertheless, White's will always hold a special place in my heart as being the first brand I ever owned. It was that White's Coinmaster 4 that got me started metal detecting all those years ago. To come full circle 30 years later and find the largest nugget of my life (so far) with a White's detector is particularly fitting. You may contact me online at the DetectorProspector Forum if you have questions regarding this article. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2004 Herschbach Enterprises
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