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  1. 14 points
    This is my latest "Nugget Detector Guide", now published for over fifteen years, updated August 2020 with some of the latest model information. Each model has a short description, followed by a very PERSONAL OPINION. Copyright 2002-2020 Herschbach Enterprises - Please do not reuse or repost without my express permission. This is offered as a simple guide for those wanting a general 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 just 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. The list below has over twenty models listed and still may be too much for some people. In recognition of this I have made my best shot at picking three possible options I am calling Steve's Picks. Click the link to jump there at the end of this page. 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 2020 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. A Steve's Pick. 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 very much indeed. 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. 2020 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. It is likely this detector will be discontinued by Minelab when current stocks run low, replaced by the new Vanquish coin detectors. 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 2020: 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 option when it was introduced, and 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. ads by Amazon... Minelab SDC 2300 ($3799, 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 for a over a year now and I must say I am very 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 if the goal is just to go find some gold, any gold at all. 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. Despite the new GPZ 7000 below this is still the unit most people should be looking at though the even lower price GPX 4500 above should also be considered. A Steve's Pick. Minelab GPZ 7000 ($7999, ZVT) - The new Zero Voltage Transmission technology from Minelab promises to take 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 accessory coil available at this time. Steve's Opinion - The GPZ 7000 represents the future and I am convinced it offers a performance edge when compared to the earlier Minelab PI detectors. For this reason I have sold my GPX 5000 and switched fully to the GPZ 7000. The only weakness the machine seems to have at this time is an inability to deal quietly with wet saturated salt or alkali ground and certain volcanic hot rocks. That said I have not regretted for one second selling my GPX 5000 due to the overall advantage I feel I get with the GPZ 7000 in my ground and on my gold. 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. Steve's Picks I decided to add something new to this page. The list above has grown so much over the years that even it is really too long for some people. So I have decided to just pick my favorites in the three essential categories that I think every new prospector should consider: 1. The super hot VLF 2. The medium frequency VLF 3. The ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI). The explanation that follows gives some rationale for my picks, but a huge factor is a good proven history in the field by many people under a wide range of conditions. Just being the latest new thing does not do it for me as much as being tried and true when it comes to my recommendations for others. It is very wise to wait about 6 months to a year after any new detector is introduced to see how others fare with it in the field before committing your hard won dollars. Widespread dealer support and service options are also very important. Finally, and this is most important. This short list is aimed at beginners. I assume the more knowledgeable folks don't need this kind of guidance. I am specifically assuming the reader is a first time buyer looking for the best value in a proven nugget detector. Along with that I lean towards simplicity of operation and focus on the task at hand as opposed to overwhelming control options. So these machines are not a list of the three "best" machines but instead a list of what I think are solid options I would advise a person new to nugget detecting to consider. Category one is the hot induction balance detector for finding tiny gold nuggets no other detector can find. These would be detectors running over 30 kHz. Contenders are the Fisher Gold Bug 2 at 71 kHz, Makro Gold Racer at 56 kHz, Makro Gold Kruzer at 61 kHz, Minelab Gold Monster at 45 kHz, and White's GMT and Goldmaster 24K at 48 kHz. This is a tough one because so many of these detectors get the job done so well. My pick at this time is the new White's Goldmaster 24K. This new detector is easy for beginners but has room to grow with features professionals will appreciate, good ergonomics, and a great coil selection. I have one myself, so there you go. Category two is the medium frequency VLF. The main goal here is to have a detector that can punch deeper on large nuggets in bad ground than the super hot VLF detectors and do a good job of discriminating out ferrous trash. These would be the good detectors for working trashy campsites and tailing piles. They are also the detector for a person wanting more versatility for other detecting tasks than offered by the dedicated high frequency detectors. The potential contenders list is very long - see above. My pick at this point in time is the Fisher F19, a more capable Gold Bug Pro variant available stock with the 5" x 10" DD coil, and at a lower price now than the Gold Bugs, which carry a higher price simple due to the name. An excellent alternative for those wanting a truly deluxe do-it-all machine with all the bells and whistles is the Minelab X-Terra 705 for just $50 more. Category three is a detector to handle the worst hot rocks and bad ground. For many serious prospectors this will be the primary unit, the one to find gold with. The obvious choice here (for me anyway) is a Minelab GPX 5000. This detector is the culmination of years of development by Minelab and it has incredible aftermarket support in the form of coils and other accessories. For those with the money and a desire to be on the cutting edge of new technology the Minelab GPZ 7000 is an alternative but the GPX 5000 is a safer choice for a wider range of conditions. Those who want a GPX 5000 and who can't quite afford it should instead consider the GPX 4500 at half the price. If a GPX is too intimidating, then the Minelab SDC 2300 may be just the ticket. Steve's Short List of The Prospecting Metal Detectors August 2020 1. White's Goldmaster 24K (category 1, small gold sniper) Important Note: White’s ceased production in July 2020 and it is unknown at this time if they will continue in business. 2. Fisher F19 (category 2, basic general purpose prospecting) 3. Minelab GPX 5000 (category 3, ground balancing pulse induction) In my opinion a well equipped prospector needs two detectors. One a high power GBPI for most nugget detecting and a VLF for trashy areas and as a backup. A GPX 5000 plus a F19 or Goldmaster 24K would be a hard combination to beat. A special note of the Minelab GPZ 7000. This detector represents a fourth category, the "hybrid" detector that uses continuous wave technology like a VLF but also employing time constants much like a PI detector. These detectors act like a "Super VLF" with the ability to detect gold missed by GBPI detectors but with the ability to get depths on par or exceeding those previously seen only with GBPI detectors. I hesitate recommending it over the GPX 5000 to just anyone because of the high price tag, weight, and lack of coil options. The GPX 5000 in my opinion is the safer choice for overall versatility, at half the price. 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 - 2020 Herschbach Enterprises - Please do not reuse or repost without my express permission.
  2. 5 points
    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 ounce 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
  3. 4 points
    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 Detecting for Gold Nuggets Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors Steve's Guide to Metal Detectors with Reliable Target ID Numbers 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 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 Multifrequency Metal Detectors Steve’s Guide to Metal Detector Discrimination Basics 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 Gold Nugget Target ID Numbers 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 Differences Between Minelab SD, GP, & GPX Steve's Guide to Minelab GPX Timings Steve's Guide to Ground Tracking As A Filter 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 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 White's MXT Engineering Guide 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 Gold Prospecting Research Material For Alaska General Other Metal Detecting & Prospecting Websites Steve's Guide to Successful Rock Tumbling Metal Detecting & Prospecting Library Catalogs, Brochures, User Guides, & Owner's Manuals
  4. 4 points
    My wife and I finally took a long-awaited vacation to Hawaii. We returned to the same location we had visited previously on the island of Kauai as it was really our kind of place. My wife mainly likes to lay in the sun and read. I like metal detecting the beaches and surf. So it works out well... she parks herself on the beach and I wander around nearby with my detector. My last trip to Hawaii three years ago produced only one gold ring in two weeks. See the story here for details on that trip. I was determined to do better this time. I took two detectors, my Garrett Infinium LS, and a new Minelab Excalibur 1000. I have a Fisher CZ-20 that I have been very fond of for freshwater hunting, but many have advised me they thought the Excalibur might do better in saltwater than the CZ-20, although the two machines are very close in performance. My main goal was to use the Infinium, but I wanted a back up unit. In particular, I had discovered some beaches off Kauai have lots of iron trash due to the two hurricanes that hit the island in the last twenty years. PI detectors like the Infinium tend to find iron items while VLF detectors are good at tuning it out, and the Excalibur is particularly good in this regard. I was most anxious to use the Infinium after my success with it nugget hunting in Alaska, but the first time in the water with the Infinium it binged and bonged and made all sorts of noise. I thought, "This is a heck of a note" and went and got the Excalibur. I had no patience at that point; I wanted to find stuff now. I found lots of coins with the Excalibur and finally a gold ring. The Excalibur was very quiet and handled the salt water environment about as well as I think a VLF detector can. But the fact is that a salt water/volcanic soil environment like Hawaii severely impacts the performance of VLF units, and so the depth of detection I was seeing with the Excalibur was not what I would be expecting with a PI detector. Detecting heaven - Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii I gave the Infinium a try on the beach to see what the story was there. I found I was getting noise off the salt sand at the end of my swings, and remembered the note in the owner’s manual about this very thing. It is instructed that the discriminate control be advanced to reduce these signals. I was about to say "false signals" but they are nothing of the sort. The Infinium is a particularly sensitive pulse induction detector. If you tune PI detectors up for their best sensitivity to small gold items you run into the area where saltwater, being a low conductive item, also starts to be detected. The Infinium at its zero discriminate setting picks up wet salt sand and saltwater. It is not a false signal, just a response to a low conductive target a less sensitive unit would not detect at all. This effect is enhanced by the 14" coil, which "sees" a large volume of material. By advancing the discriminate control to the point at which the salt effect is tuned out you will get stable operation. In theory this also means that some depth of detection or target strength will be lost on smaller low conductive targets like gold earrings. One thing I need to do in the future is test the Infinium at various disc levels to ascertain the effect on target responses. As a practical matter it does not matter. Just as the sensitivity of a hot VLF detector like the Fisher Gold Bug 2 must be backed off to compensate for high mineral ground, so to the disc control on the Infinium must be set to compensate for the conditions encountered. Hot VLF units cannot be used on wet salt sand at all since they see the salt water as a target and no amount of tuning will get a high frequency VLF to work properly on wet salt sand. Steve with Garrett Infinium on the beach trying 10" x 5" elliptical DD coil I did much like I would with the sensitivity control on a VLF detector. I adjusted the disc control to where I was on the edge of stable operation. In other words, I was running with a bit of background noise. Some people might prefer to go farther to eliminate such noises entirely, but I am used to running "on the edge" so to speak. I found the Infinium with 14" coil set at 3-4 disc level gave not quiet but acceptable background sounds on the beach. I proceeded to dig coins and a small toe ring. As I have found in the past the Infinium really likes nickels. I seem to always find a higher percentage of nickels than I would normally find with a VLF detector when I use the Infinium. This is because it is optimized for targets that fall in the nickel range, like most gold items. Armed with my newfound knowledge I gave the Infinium another try in the surf. And I do mean surf. I had on 40 pounds of weights to help me stay put as the waves crashed into and over me. When I get a target the weights allow me to duck to the bottom and stay put while excavating the target. I use the “fanning” method of blowing sand away with my hand. I’ve tried scoops for this but frankly I’ve got my hands full just hanging on to the detector while working. In high-energy surf the scoops just seem to get in my way. One thing I have heard speculation on is that the 14” coil might be a problem in the water due to its size. That did not prove to be the case for me. The Infinium is weightless underwater and the feel was good. I had no problem using it in very rough surf and in fact often was forced to brace myself on the bottom with the detector. We are talking adverse conditions at their worst, and the Infinium did fine. I found a disc setting of 5-6 was required underwater, and even then the coil needed to be kept parallel to the bottom. When I ducked to the bottom to get a target, the coil would turn up and point off into the water. It could then “see” more salt water, and start to signal. But I was so busy holding on and digging targets I really did not notice this much after a while. Steve suited up for metal detecting in heavy surf But lo and behold, the deep targets started coming… and the rings! First real surf dive of about three hours with the Infinium produced three beauties. An 18K gold and platinum ring was first, followed shortly by a 14K gold ring. Then a lull while I dug a few coins and nails (the Infinium does pick up large elongated iron objects the Excalibur ignores) and then a GREAT BIG GOLD RING! I was over a foot down, and expecting a big chunk of trash, when up pops a large class ring - 1963 U.S. Air Force Academy. It is a 14K gold ring with a large synthetic blue star sapphire. It looked incredibly large underwater, and is the most massive ring I have found to date. I'm working on finding the owner of this one. I was really stoked, but this was Sunday morning, the day before I was to leave. Some beach work with the Infinium and water work with the Excalibur had up until this point produced about 100 coins and one gold ring. But now that I had the Infinium figured out I had three great rings in less than three hours! The surf really beats me up, so I took a break and spent time with my wife. But that afternoon I hit the water again, and up comes an 18K gold ring with a deep blue faceted sapphire and a platinum band. The depths were all in excess of what I feel I was attaining with the Excalibur. I do not want to give the impression I’m knocking the Excalibur. It is a well proven and well thought of detector, and may in fact have the best performance in salt water of any VLF on the market today. But I just do not think a VLF detector with a 10” coil has much chance versus a PI detector with a 14” coil in saltwater environments. We had to check out at noon the next day, but I got up early and gave it one last go. A few more nails, some coins, and on last extra wide 14K gold band. I was ecstatic… it just seemed like I could not miss with the Infinium. In two days I found more nice rings than I've found in any other water detecting I've undertaken. My only regret is I did not try harder with the Infinium right off the bat. I found the Infinium to be a very good saltwater unit, but not having run any pulse units other than the White’s Surfmaster PI in salt water I certainly cannot say how it compares to other PI water detectors. Even the Surf PI I used three years ago has been upgraded to the Surf PI Pro model for enhanced sensitivity to gold items. That fits with what I experienced with the original Surf PI. It got the coins but left me with little gold to show. I would like to try the PI Pro as it is lighter and more streamlined than the Infinium. At $699 list it is also quite the bargain for someone wanting to try a PI detector for water detecting. But the Surf PI Pro also lacks the ground balancing capability and interchangeable coils that make the Infinium so versatile. The key for anyone using the Infinium around salt water will be to get the disc control set properly. I cannot overemphasize this point. It is the single most important adjustment for making the Infinium work in salt water, and my initial lack of knowledge in that regard cost me precious hunting time. I really think the Infinium disc control can be more properly thought of as a sensitivity control, and the key is to back the sensitivity down to a level that gives stable operation. Do not be concerned about lost sensitivity. I think I proved the machine retains plenty of power. But if you are picking up the saltwater itself you certainly will have little luck in detecting anything else. Still, I should add a cautionary note here. The Infinium WAS noisy! That means different things to different people. For me, as a long-time detectorist, it is just a thing to be dealt with, and I am used to running detectors "on edge". In other words, I often tune detectors to their limits, which many times results in noisy and erratic performance. The difference is that I can tell the difference between "good sounds" and "bad sounds". But someone else listening to what I am doing might not hear the difference, just lots of noise. So lest this story sound like a glowing reason to run out and get an Infinium do take note of its noisy performance here. I obviously made it work for me, but some people may not like either the noise, or the amount of discrimination required to reduce the noise to normal levels. For dry land use, especially while nugget detecting, I feel the Infinium is a very good detector. In salt water the results are mixed, and will depend a great deal more on the expertise of the detectorist. The White's Surf PI was a much smoother and easier to operate detector by comparison, and may suit the casual operator more than the Infinium if salt water is the sole intended use. The Excalibur is the only VLF detector I have ever used in salt water. It was much quieter in operation than the Infinium, although it constantly gave multiple tones on each target instead of locking on a single tone. It did a superb job of ignoring iron targets, and if there were enough iron targets it would certainly be the way to go. But the amount of iron I dug with the Infinium was nowhere near the level it would take to discourage me, and the bit of extra depth I feel I was getting with a PI made me feel more than happy to dig the few iron targets. The ratio was no worse than one iron target for every two or three non-iron targets. I think that unless iron trash is a problem PI is the way to go. I'm surprised that Minelab, manufacturer of what many believe are the most powerful PI units in the world, does not build an underwater PI unit. On the other hand, I have some fresh water lakes I hunt in Alaska that are full of iron trash, and I am anxious to use the Excalibur in those lakes. Iron junk, rings, coins, aluminum trash, and lead weights found metal detecting The picture above shows a typical mix of finds, although some of the oversized trash items have already been discarded. The first place I usually head after getting out of the water is the nearest trash can. In fact, I try to make a spectacle of myself disposing of the trash, especially the sharp glass I retrieve. It helps promote the image of detectorists as public servants. Hey, we are just getting this dangerous junk out of here. The iron items were all found with the Infinium. The Excalibur ignores iron better than any detector I have used. The majority of the coins were found with the Excalibur, although the Infinium got its share, especially nickels. Almost all the pull tabs were found with the Infinium, again confirming its power in the gold range. Many rings are identified by metal detectors as pull tabs because of their similarity electronically, and so the Infinium likes them also. Notice also the large fishing sinkers found by both detectors. I gave these to the dive shop I rented my dive gear from. If you are planning on doing some surf detecting in Hawaii, here is how I outfit myself. Obviously you need some kind of underwater detector. I prefer two, as I have had two different underwater detectors leak on me over the years. The chances are slim, but vacations like this are few and far between. It's cheap insurance. I use a neoprene shorty suit while in the water. The water in Hawaii is warm, but it can get chilly if you are fully submerged for some time. I also find the suit helps cushion the weight belts to prevent chafing. I used two weight belts totaling about 40 pounds. The weight belts and suit were rented locally. Each item was $18 for the week, for a total rental of $54.00. Next time I plan to have a suit with long legs to protect my knees while down on the bottom. I wore an old pair of tennis shoes and socks while in the water. There are lots of rocks and coral that can chew your feet up, not to mention spiny animals like sea urchins. This seemed to work very well and I would do the same thing again. I have a mesh bag that I attach to the arm of the detector for targets I retrieve that also has worked very well. It has a hooped metal opening that makes it easy to drop items in the bag, and yet I have never had a problem with anything getting out of the bag. I have a mask and snorkel that I have used for dredging and diving for many years that continues to give good service. The snorkel is a U.S. Divers model that features a water catch and drain system near the top that sheds water caught by waves going over the top. A good idea for surf work. Finally, a good pair of neoprene gloves to protect my hands while digging holes or holding on to coral. The only item I wished I had was a small rock pick. Every once in awhile I would find items that worked down into deep holes in the dead coral bottom. I had to abandon some of these as the items were too far down in the small cavities. A small rock pick would have allowed me to open the holes up to find those items... whatever they were. Time for a safety warning. Surf conditions can be dangerous and working over weighted can be particularly hazardous. It is important to be completely comfortable in the water and to have a realistic knowledge of your limitations. I have made hundreds of SCUBA dives and have thousands of hours on hookah diving systems. I am extremely comfortable in the water and there is little that could happen that would cause me to panic. Do not attempt rough surf conditions without being sure of yourself and your equipment. All found with Garrett Infinium except small gold ring on pinky finger Index Finger - Two 14K gold bands Middle Finger - Platinum band and 18K gold w/faceted sapphire Ring Finger - 14K Class Ring w/synthetic star sapphire and 18K gold & platinum band Pinky Finger - Stainless steel toe ring and 22K gold band (Excalibur) As far as where to hunt? Well, on the beach itself there is a zone up above where everyone sits. Lots of coins there. But if jewelry is the goal you need to get into the body-surf/boogie board zone. And that is pretty much where the waves are breaking. A rock or coral base with no more than about a foot of sand on it would be preferred. You do want some sand to hide items when dropped, but too much and items sink beyond detector range. The sand gets stirred a lot in this zone, and so stuff gets deep pretty fast. Areas where lots of tourists are in the water will generally be more productive than areas the locals frequent. It's a more affluent crowd and one that is more ignorant of the effects of water on jewelry. Just make sure you take time to watch people a lot. Just sit on the beach and watch people at play and where they are doing it. Any of those areas have potential, and the more vigorous the play, the better the potential. It was a great trip, albeit too short. I’m chomping at the bit for another go. I have often gone on nugget hunting trips where it seems like I spend 3/4 of my time getting my bearings, and then really start to score just before I run out of time. This was one of those trips, and between my trip three years ago and this one I think I’m getting a handle on surf detecting now. I can guarantee it won’t be three years before I next hit the surf in search of gold. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright 2003 Herschbach Enterprises Postscript 3/25/03 - A happy ending to the 1963 U.S. Air Force Academy Class Ring story. The class is celebrating their 40th reunion in 2003, and by contacting the reunion organizer I was able to find the owner of the ring. He lost it 17 years ago while body surfing in Hawaii and sure was surprised to hear his ring had been found. I hope he gets it refinished and wears it to that 40th reunion!
  5. 4 points
    I've been a longtime fan of the White's Goldmaster series, but I was really annoyed when White's put the machine into the XLT packaging. I like to keep weight off my arm, but more importantly I work some very steep hills where putting a machine down can be a problem. The unit will simply roll to the bottom of the hill. I also work in muddy conditions a lot and so I do not want to set my detector down in the soup. A little history. Prior to 1990 the White's Goldmaster was a simple T/R detector housed in a blue aluminum box. Those old obsolete models should be avoided by all but collectors because they could not ground balance. Around 1990 White's introduced the Goldmaster II, which featured a new black paint scheme. These black box models since 1990 are all quite capable 50 kHz nugget hunting detectors. The Goldmaster II used a S rod design that allowed the control box to be mounted in several locations on the rod, plus removed completely and either chest or hip mounted. This design was popular with prospectors. I still remember clearly the huge fuss when White's introduced the Goldmaster 4/B around 1998 and put it in the same one piece control box as was used in White's coin detecting models. This was no doubt partly a cost saving measure but also to accommodate a much larger circuit board as the Goldmaster series made the move from analog to digital. The Goldmaster 4/B was an hybrid analog/digital design that preceded the microprocessor based White's Goldmaster GMT. The dealer network raised a fuss and Jimmy Sierra in particular was incensed by the design change. He prevailed on White's to make a run of "chest mount only" models that basically took the handle and pod assembly and stuck it in the middle of the control box. A cumbersome design if there ever was one. It was also basically kept secret from anyone but Jimmy's dealers and so the chest mount only model is a rare Goldmaster indeed. This move coincided with Fisher introducing the Gold Bug 2, which at 71 kHz was hotter than the 50 kHz Goldmasters, plus had the hip and chest mount options with an even more compact design than the Goldmasters. Goldmaster sales plummeted and the Gold Bug 2 took over. The very unpopular Goldmaster 4/B was replaced by the 48 kHz GMT, a totally new microprocessor design. White's Goldmaster 3 (GM3) - last analog model, last with removeable control box Starting about 1990 the sequence was: White's Goldmaster II (1990) - new 50 kHz model, on S rod with removeable control box. White's Goldmaster V/SAT (1996) - added Variable Self Adjusting Threshold (V/SAT) control, on S rod with removeable control box. White's Goldmaster 3 (1997) - Added frequency offset, boost options, three piece rod standard (optional in previous two piece models), on S rod with removeable control box. Widely considered the best analog Goldmaster. White's Goldmaster 4/B (1998) - Added meter on a pod for iron discrimination, non-removable coin detecting type box design. White's GMT (2000) - Completely new 48 kHz microprocessor model, non-removable coin detecting type box design. White's Goldmaster 4/B with the new "coin detecting" control box design I really wanted a new White's GMT. The automatic ground balance and LCD iron readout are very good. So I thought about what I might do to get what I wanted. A GMT to chest or hip mount. White's makes a chest mount version, but it has the darn handle/pod sticking out the front where it blocks vision and is prone to getting hit while digging. And for hip mounting it bumps into things. White's Jimmy Sierra GMT chest mount I went ahead and bought the chest mount version, but the following conversion can be applied to the standard model as well. I went with the Jimmy Sierra special chest mount model as a starting place since the rod assembly is already a separate item. 2011 Update: White's does not make their chest mount version any longer. First step... take it apart! Here is the unit in parts, with a close up of the main board: White's GMT components disassembled White's GMT circuit board White's GMT pod contents The main board is clearly marked with what plugs where. Nice for reassembly. I took the pod apart, and ground the touchpad mounting down to just the pad itself as it was glued on too well to pry off. The LCD plugs into a mini circuit board in the pod, along with the trigger switch. Then a long cable runs through the handle and to a plug in the center of the main board. I wanted to chest mount the unit with the coil cable and headphones running out the right side. This meant the LCD would have to be mounted on one side. That particular side does not have enough room to flush mount the LCD into the case, so I decided to cut a hole in that side and mount the LCD on the outside of the case. This meant the mini circuit board would have to be mounted inside the case lid where the speaker resides. I am a headphones guy anyway, so out came the speaker. You could flush mount the LCD on the other side and retain the speaker, but then the coil cable will exit on the left. Good for lefties, however! You might even be able to do it the way I did and keep the speaker, but my fingers are not the most adept, and I figured I could use the extra work room. Mounting the pod circuit board The picture above shows the positioning of the mini circuit board inside the lid. The white ribbon cable runs out to the LCD. The green ribbon cable runs out through a hole I cut in the lid to the touchpad. I glued the touchpad on the outside of the case. More on that in a minute. The wires run to the new trigger switch location. I mounted the board on short spacer posts. Mounting the touchpad and LCD display The picture above shows you where we are heading. The LCD is mounted outside the case. The LCD was mounted using the hardware that originally mounted it to the mini circuit board. A D-Ring has been repositioned to the left. The touchpad is glued down partially covering the speaker holes. The rectangular hole in the case was left after removing the handle. You can see the new trigger switch location. I'm going to replace this switch with one of the rubber capped types. The touchpad covered the battery check/audio boost switch, so it was relocated to a position below the trigger switch. I had to lengthen the wires to do this, the only soldering involved. As I look down at the LCD, I can easily operate the switches and pad with my left hand. The switches are set so I can push down on them to activate the battery check or iron id accumulate mode. Relocated touchpad I cut an aluminum faceplate to cover all the leftover holes and glued it in place. Painted it all black so it would look halfway ok. If I had it to do over again, I would make the faceplate at the same time as I was mounting the touchpad. It was hard to make the faceplate after the fact, and I had to dismount and remount the mini circuit board to drill the bolts mounting it through the faceplate. Better to glue down the faceplate and pad as a unit, THEN drill the holes for mounting the mini circuit board. Relocated LCD display This turned out to be the hardest part. I originally figured I would be able to find some kind of clear plastic box to glue over the LCD to protect it. I cruised aisles in Lowes, Kmart, and Fred Meyer for hours looking for any kind of little box I could cut down and use. Finally I decided to make one. I got a piece of oak trim about 3/8" thick and made a bezel. I found a piece of thin plastic and made a window for it, and glued the window onto the bezel. I cut the original LCD stick-on window (the one that says "% probability of iron") down and glued it in place over my window. Finally, I glued the whole assembly over the LCD. Imagine my surprise when I tested it out after the glue had set up and the LCD was missing half its pixels! I was bummed. I took the case apart and wiggled everything. The unit was working fine, just the LCD was acting funny. Finally I pried my carefully placed cover off and looked the LCD over. No obvious problems. It was still just barely readable, however, so I figured the heck with it, and glued the cover back on. After it set up, I tried it again, and now the LCD was almost totally blank! I was using a glue called E6000 that bonds most anything. I decided that somehow the fumes from the glue had somehow "poisoned" the LCD. So I put a lamp on the unit and blew air in it periodically. And behold, the LCD slowly came back to life! Whew!! I cruised the net looking for info on this weird problem, but never did find anything. GMT conversion chest or hip mount So here is the final product. Actually, as you can see, I took these before I did the trim work. The chest mount is just for show. I need to rig up a full harness. But I'll tell you what... I really liked it. Everything right there where I need it, but well out of harms way. The alternative hip mount setup is better than the original by far, but I liked the chest mount so much I will only use it like this where there is no trash to deal with. I'm still looking for that spot! So there you go. This is not for the faint of heart. It was the first time I had done a mod this extensive, and it was a somewhat scary feeling to be tearing a brand new detector apart. Kiss that warranty goodbye! But now I have a unit I really like that will work well on steep slopes and other odd spots. Not to mention give my arm a break. The GMT is very well balanced, but every ounce counts when you are at it for 10 or 12 hours at a time. A final note. You could leave the pod on the handle and route a longer cable from it up the coil cable and to the control box. But I wanted the pod off the handle entirely, and adding more cables seems like a way to ask for more problems down the road. I know another guy that has now done this mod after seeing mine, and a third is at work on his. Maybe some people going to all this effort will tell White's that their old box design was better. Postscript: After the above post was made I took my new White's GMT chest mount to Ganes Creek, Alaska for a real world nugget hunt. The unit worked as I hoped and then some. Here is a picture of it and the 1.89 ounce gold nugget it found for me! 1.89 Oz nugget found with White's GMT chest mount conversion ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2002 Herschbach Enterprises
  6. 4 points
    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
  7. 3 points
    The White's PulseScan TDI was released in 2008 and is still in production as the TDI SL. Prior versions have been discontinued. I was one of the original users of the TDI and still dabble with them to this day. See my story White's TDI at Moore Creek, Alaska for pictures of lots of TDI gold nugget finds. I also have extensive notes on using the TDI for coin detecting at Steve's Guide to White's TDI Coin Settings. The TDI is a unique detector and is seeing use in many applications unforeseen when it first came out. The TDI has been available in several versions but all are basically the same detector as far as how they work. October 2019 Note: White's has a model called the TDI Hi-Q, which is a TDI SL with straight rod, new coil, and tan or camo paint job. See the details here. I am a big fan of competition as I always want more and better detectors from the manufacturers personally, and I think competition is the best way to get better detectors. After Garrett got into the ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI) game with the Infinium people including myself were really after White's to make an entry into the field. I went so far as to visit White's Electronics personally to lobby for such a detector with suggestions on how to get there. In particular, I advised that rather than developing something from scratch, it might make more sense to license the existing Goldscan technology from Eric Foster, widely known as "the father of pulse technology" for his early work in the field. Eventually White's did decide to pursue the matter, and I was therefore aware early on that White's was working on a new detector, In 2007 I was sent a prototype unit to evaluate while I was on vacation in Hawaii. I was very impressed not only with the power of the detector but more importantly for me in Hawaii I was very impressed with how stable the detector was in salt water. It was also virtually immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues that had dogged my use of other detectors in Hawaii. White's TDI SL with closeup of control panel (compare to original TDI controls below) My use of previous GBPI detectors, the Minelab models and the Garrett Infinium, made me familiar with how they respond to targets with various tones. Each target generates a dual tone that varies depending on whether the target is above or below the ground balance point that has been set. You will hear either a high tone followed immediately by a low tone (hi-lo), or a low tone followed immediately by a high tone (lo-hi). This dual tone system is effective for most uses but if you get into a target rich location it in effect doubles the number of audio signals coming from the detector. I also had an opportunity in Alaska to visit with Brent Weaver, the main engineer at Garrett responsible for the development of the Infinium. While testing a prototype Infinium I asked him about the dual tones (Garrett now refers to them as "echos") and whether they could be suppressed. He told me the dual tones were integral in how the Infinium worked and that it was not practical to produce a single tone result on the circuit they were working with. White's did end up working with Eric Foster on the development of the TDI. His method is one I like because instead of the dual tone responses generated by the Minelab and Garrett models (hi-lo or lo-hi) the TDI generates one of two tones, either a low tone, or a high tone. The tone depends on whether the target is above or below the current ground balance setting, and therefore there is only a tone difference when the ground balance system is engaged. The ground balance off, straight PI mode has monotone responses. Also, because the ground balance can be set manually on the TDI, this tone "breakpoint" can be shifted by the operator. This allows targets to be separated broadly into two distinct groups. On one hand there are high conductor type targets, like most coins and large steel items, that on the TDI produce a low tone response. The other group is comprised of low conductor type targets, and includes most gold items, US nickels, aluminum, and small ferrous trash. These all produce a high tone response on the TDI. There are far more high tone targets than low tone targets in most locations. I really liked the prototype TDI that I used in Hawaii, in particular the fact that it generated half the audio responses compared to a Garrett or a Minelab. Once again I wondered if one tone or the other could be suppressed. I sent an email to Eric Foster, and was surprised when he told me that not only could it be done, but it would be a very simple thing to implement with a basic toggle switch arrangement. This came about very late in the TDI development, and I lobbied hard for just such a feature to be added. A last second vote was taken by those involved, and probably the last major change on the TDI before it went into production was the Target Conductivity switch. There was no such switch on the tan prototype models. Prototype White's TDI Used by Steve Herschbach in Hawaii Now, I do not want to give the impression I was some kind of major player in the development of the TDI. I was just one of many voices pushing at White's for years to develop a ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI) detector. I am pretty sure though my last second inquiry and little push was what made the tipping point to getting the Target Conductivity switch included, and I think to this day it is one of the most useful and intriguing features on the TDI. It allows for a vast reduction in the number of audio responses in certain situations and in conjunction with the manual ground balance and pulse delay offers a degree of discrimination on the TDI not seen on any other pulse induction detector made today. This makes the TDI a pulse induction machine that can be used effectively for coin detecting, if the operator knows what they are doing and employs some smarts in site selection. I wrote an article entitled Steve's Guide to White's TDI Coin Settings on this very subject. I will not repeat the information here in the interest of keeping this page from getting too long so check out the link. Suffice it to say the TDI has the ability to play tricks and discern targets far beyond what most PI detectors can achieve. Another major feature on the TDI is the ability for the ground balance system to be shut off. The method used to ground balance the TDI in effect subtracts the ground reading from the total readings returned by the detector. This subtractive method does actually steal some depth, which is easily shown in air tests on targets with the ground balance turned on and the ground balance turned off. The closer the target is in relation to the ground balance setting, the more depth is lost. People find this very confusing, as the whole point of ground balancing a PI is to get better depth, right? Original White's TDI Control Panel The way it works is this. In low mineral ground a PI gets maximum depth without using any ground balancing. However, as mineralization increases, depth is affected. The more mineralization, the more depth is lost. Also, ground effects increase. In low mineral ground, the coil may be raised off the ground with little response. In highly mineralized ground, raising the coil even slightly off the ground produces a false signal. Nearly all PI detectors have an audio retune circuit that slowly retunes the audio response to keep it at the set threshold level. Otherwise circuit drift and minor ground variances would require constant retuning. In high mineral ground, the ground produces a response, but the detector compensates as long as the coil is kept at an exact height over or on the ground. If the coil is raised quickly, the audio overshoots when the ground signal is removed and a false signal occurs. This can be a real problem in even ground or in the water where it is difficult to maintain a steady distance above the ground or sea bottom. Hot rocks or wildly varying ground mineralization present an even greater issue. Again, the detector does well as long as the conditions are constant, but when a hot rock or mineralized ground condition like a clay seam enter the picture, a false signal is heard. In areas with lots of hot rocks PI detectors that cannot ground balance are almost useless due to the overwhelming number of false signals. So imagine a PI with no ground balance in low mineral soil. All is well, maximum depth is achieved. Pretend we have the ability via a magic dial to turn up the ground minerals and/or hot rocks in the ground. A point is reached where performance and efficiency is greatly impacted. It becomes impossible to discern good targets from ground signals and false hot rock signals. At such a point, engaging the ground balance circuit gains back the lost performance and efficiency. It does this by eliminating the ground signal and hot rock signals. White's search coils for TDI (from 2018 product catalog) This leads to situations occurring where people use a GBPI detector in low mineral ground and decide they are no better than a VLF. That actually often is true, in that a good VLF in all metal mode will do about as well as a Ground Balancing PI in low mineral ground, if both have similar coil sizes. A GBPI does not come into its own until the ground conditions or hot rocks are such that a VLF operator wants to toss the detector in a gully in frustration. This has been a very long lead explanation to the TDI secret weapon. In low mineral ground, turn the ground balance off! The detector will become extremely stable with a very smooth threshold and become more resistant to electrical interference. Gain may be boosted and a great deal of extra depth achieved in situations that allow for this type of operation, and they are actually very common. This would be the preferred beach mode on most beaches, the exception being beaches with a lot of black sands. The White's TDI in pure PI mode is one of the most powerful straight PI detectors available. The tone differences between targets disappear, and sometimes the ability to differentiate targets is more important than the depth gained by shutting the ground balance system off. But do not overlook this ability to run without ground balance in situations that warrant doing just that as it can really pay dividends to the knowledgeable operator. In 2018 White's responded to long standing demand from customers and released a version of the TDI that is waterproof to 25 feet - the TDI Beachhunter. This is basically a TDI SL in a Beachhunter ID control box. The model weighs more at 5.2 lbs for obvious reasons. The TDI Beachhunter has all the same controls as the TDI SL with the exception of the conductivity switch. This means the TDI Beachhunter signals on all targets, but the dual tone scheme remains to allow the operator to differentiate targets by the sounds. In order to help insure waterproof integrity the coil on the TDI Beachhunter (12" Dual Field coil) has been hardwired into the control box. Forum thread with more information on TDI Beachhunter. White's Electronics TDI Beachhunter - new for 2018 ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2010 Herschbach Enterprises Official White's TDI SL Page White's TDI SL Data & Reviews White's TDI SL Instruction Manual White's TDI SL Special Edition Data & Reviews White's TDI BeachHunter Data & Reviews White's TDI Pro Instruction Manual White's Original TDI Instruction Manual White's TDI Field Manual Forum Threads Tagged "whites tdi" White's Metal Detector Forum Great Post on Batteries For the TDI SL White's TDI Coin Settings Some Commentary On TDI Tuning & Discrimination White's TDI Technical Specifications* Internet Price TDI SL $1189 (Special Edition $1049) (Beachhunter $1199) Technology Ground Balancing Pulse Induction (GBPI) Frequency 3250 - 3370 Pulses Per Second Autotune Mode(s) Slow Motion Ground Rejection Manual, one turn control Soil Adjust Ground Balance On or Off (two position switch) Discrimination Conductivity switch*, 10 - 25 Pulse Delay Volume Control No Threshold Control One turn control Tone Adjust No Audio Boost No Frequency Offset One turn control Pinpoint Mode No Audio Output Speaker, 1/4" headphone socket Hip Mount No (TDI Beachhunter - Yes) Standard Coil(s) 12" Round Dual Field Optional Search Coils Over 100 accessory coils available (TDI Beachhunter has hardwired coil) Battery Rechargeable NiMH & AA Operating Time Up to 6 hours Weight TDI SL 3.5 pounds ( TDI Beachhunter 5.2 lbs) Additional Technology The TDI was designed specifically to be able to use Minelab SD/GP compatible coils. However, performance can vary and the pulse delay may have to be advanced to compensate for coil differences that result in overload readings. TDI Beachhunter is waterproof to 25 feet. Notes *The TDI is unique in that it can suppress audio responses into two different classes. Targets have a high tone or low tone audio depending on how the target relates to the ground balance setting. In general high conductive targets give a low tone and low conductive targets a high tone. The TDI can be set to allow for one response or the other. See White's TDI Coin Settings for more details on this control. *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart. White's TDI SL High-Q Tan metal detector
  8. 3 points
    Well, back home safe and sound after a couple weeks in Hawaii with my wife. We visited the island of Kauai for the umpteenth time. We like the laid back vibe, made even more so by being familiar with everything. We do what we both like - she relaxes in the sun and I go metal detecting. And lots of walks and dinners together. The back story is told at Steve's Mining Journal about prior trips made to the same location over the years. Hawaii has always been a pet project of mine as it is the most difficult environment I have even encountered for a metal detector. There is of course the salt water. There is also literally military grade electromagnetic interference (EMI) from military installations plus missile and satellite tracking stations. Finally, there is a mix of non-magnetic coral sands and volcanic basalt derived sands and cobbles. Throw in the heavy surf and out of control tourists on surf boards trying to kill you... things can get interesting! If you stick to the tan to nearly white sands you can get decent performance from many detectors. But when the basalt gets involved is where things get fun. Most prospectors are familiar with basalt rocks and the challenge they present in gold prospecting. Well, just take the same hot rocks and douse them in really salty water and heavy duty EMI and you have Hawaii. Multi frequency VLF detectors like the Fisher CZ or Minelab Excalibur do ok in in the stuff but lack any real punch. They do best in the whiter sands, but the basalt sands and cobbles really leave them feeling gutless. I went to PI detectors early on, and overall probably had my best results with the various White's Surf PI models. Again, however, they worked best in homogenous materials. Places where the white sands and basalt cobbles mixed gave the Surf PI fits as it hit on the basalt cobbles. In darker sand beaches it was near impossible to keep the machine steady over the bottom in the surf, leading to lots of false signaling. I tried several Garrett Infinium detectors in Hawaii and got tantalizingly close to the detector I wanted. The Infinium as a ground balancing PI could tune out the black sands and hot rocks and eliminate many of the false signals. But it introduced just as many if not more by an inability to play well with salt water and EMI. The interference in particular made the Infinium almost unusable at times. I really wanted a stable Infinium, and confirmed this idea by using the White's TDI in Hawaii. It seemed to solve the issues I was having with the Infinium and so I waited for White's to make a waterproof TDI. And waited. And waited. I waited so long that Garrett had time to take what they learned from the Infinium and another model, the Recon, and build a next generation PI, the Garrett ATX. I was cautiously hopeful that all the noise I had made over the years had been heard, but frankly, I was not getting my hopes up too much. On top of that, the good old days are gone. I used to spend a couple weeks in Hawaii years ago and never see anyone with a detector. This trip I saw people every day! Ok, often the same guy but also more different people detecting than probably all my previous trips combined. The competition has gotten fierce by comparison to the old days. Hawaii treasure of another sort - beautiful beaches lit up at sunset! The Garrett ATX is the best PI detector I have ever used for difficult water hunting. Hands down, no comparison. I have to qualify that by saying that what makes it shine is the severity of the conditions. A person buying it and using it on clean white sands in Florida would probably have a less enthusiastic reaction. There is a lot of confusion regarding ground balancing PI (GBPI) detectors like the Garrett Infinium or White's TDI. They do not air test well against good VLF detectors and indeed do not really perform all that well against them in mild ground. People never really understand what detectors like these are all about until they get into difficult ground. The kind of ground where the best VLF detectors lose half their depth, the GBPI detector just keeps plugging along, and all the sudden now have a big depth advantage. Not because they go so deep to start with, just that VLF detector fare so poorly in really bad ground. GBPI detectors only really shine in the worst conditions. Let that sink in because it is very important. Anyone reading this should not get the idea these detectors are the be all or end all for all circumstances. But when the going gets tough, when other detectors fall on their face, a GBPI detector like the Garrett ATX can be the answer. Tuning a detector like the Garrett ATX can really bother some people. There is this resistance to doing anything that reduces the theoretical max depth of the detector. As soon as you start getting into reducing settings the feeling is that "well, yeah, but now it does not go as deep". The reality is that any machine that can be run maxed out in bad conditions has left some performance on the table. You may be able to max settings in benign ground, but you should have to back off of max settings in really bad conditions. That is why the controls exist - to compensate for bad conditions. The goal is to be set as high as possible while getting stable performance. The ATX is a powerful detector, and so it should be expected the machine has to be dialed back in severe conditions. The ATX has three adjustments that affect the depth. The Gain control is the simplest. You decrease the sensitivity of the detector to help compensate for conditions that are introducing too much noise. Just like the Gain or Sensitivity control on a VLF detector. This control was lacking on the Infinium and is a major reason why the ATX is superior. There is the pulse delay, which Garrett labels as a discrimination control. It is, sort of. Without getting all technical on you it is also a sort of sensitivity control, in that increasing the delay or discrimination also eliminates signals from weak conductor targets like foil, hot rocks, or salt water. This is really the only control you have on the Infinium to deal with false signals and it serves a similar function on the ATX. Finally, you have the ground balance. The ground balance is basically another type of discrimination circuit or filter. The signal produced by the ground is determined and then eliminated. However, this comes at a cost. Items that read the same as the ground signal are also eliminated, and items near to the ground signal will exhibit reduced signals. The White's TDI makes it easy to demonstrate this. You can turn the ground balance completely off, and when you do so the machine air tests far better than it does when you turn the ground balance on. This is because of the subtractive nature of the ground balance circuit on the TDI. Also, because it has a manual ground balance, you can see the effect of tuning the ground balance control closer to and farther from a particular target response. Instead of tuning out the ground the control can be manipulated to tune out other items instead. It is just a basic discrimination circuit. Different ground balance methods can affect items to greater and lesser degrees so the example shown by the TDI should not be taken as being the same with all detectors. But the effect is real and does exist to some degree on all ground balancing detectors, both VLF and PI. So why use ground balance? That should be obvious - to tune out ground responses. If there is no detectable component in the ground you would be better off without the ground balance circuit. Such conditions rarely exist, but they do exist. Absolute pure white coral based sands are one of them. The ATX at its hottest will detect salt water however, and new to the ATX is the ability to ground balance out the salt signal instead of the ground signal, but you are trading some sensitivity for stability doing it. Long round about way to explain that when the Garrett ATX is turned on with factory default settings the ground balance setting is at a minimum. The ATX should be tried first with the factory default setting and on many beaches you will not want to ground balance it. Just leave the discrimination (pulse delay) at zero, set the gain as high as possible while still allowing the machine to be stable, do a frequency scan, and go. In Hawaii at my location however I could not do this. I could on clean sand but not in the cobbles I wanted to hunt. But first, a total surprise. My ATX was almost totally immune to the EMI that I had previously experienced on Kauai without even doing a frequency scan. The frequency scan was basically redundant. That one thing made the ATX a huge advantage for me before I did anything else. I would not have believed it had I not had a White's Surf PI along for backup and sure enough, when I fired it up, the EMI was there. It was discernible in the ATX non-motion mode but even then nothing to worry about. I. Do not know what Garrett did or if I have a magic ATX but this one thing alone really floored me. It absolutely eliminated my number one problem with the Infinium. Basalt cobbles in sand on Kauai A detector with all controls set to max is in theory getting the best depth. But if it is not stable you cannot work with it, so you have to adjust back to find the best balance. The ATX is a very powerful detector and so I found a combination of settings that worked for me to get quiet, stable performance. This is in no way being advertised as a setting to for you to use! It is what I did for this location and other locations will take different settings. In general, the more powerful all your settings can be the better while still being able to have a stable running detector. So the ATX with factory default (minimum) ground balance, zero discrimination (pulse delay), and max gain would be at its most powerful. The worse the conditions, the more you may need to dial the settings back. The problem is with all the settings maxed out the ATX is very sensitive to small gold, but that also means it picks up salt water and hot rocks. I played with the gain control and the pulse delay (disc) control looking for a balance that left the detector running quiet. A discrimination setting of three and a gain of seven made the ATX submerged in salt water run like a VLF. I periodically reduced the disc setting or bumped the gain higher and noise was introduced, so settled on the 3 and 7 setting for my Kauai beach. Then I found a fat basalt rock buried in the sandy bottom and ground balanced over it, eliminating the signal. I would be the first to admit these settings were probably aggressive and of course costing me some depth in theory, but I got what I have always wanted in Hawaii. A PI detector running quiet as a VLF and by that I mean just purring along with a threshold sound, and when it made a noise, it was because I had a target under the coil. Here is another way to look at it. A very hot detector will detect salt water. It will detect hot rocks. And it will detect things you want. EMI can also be an issue. The trick is to reduce the signals from the things you do not want to hear as much as possible while enhancing the good signals as much as possible. It may be letting unwanted signals through will also increase depth on desired targets a bit. It may also be true that too many signals from undesired targets will inhibit success. You have to decide for yourself where the balance lies. If maximum depth is the goal then digging more undesired targets may indeed pay off. In my case I had plenty of targets, so the goal was quiet, efficient operation. I would not hunt clean white sand set like this. I would have the settings maxed out. I had a strategy in mind here, and my goal was to detect in the basalt cobbles. I was not tuning the machine for maximum performance in the easy stuff, but for maximum performance in the worst stuff. I wanted to detect the places where targets were more likely to have been missed by other detectors. Finally, after one go with the stock coil, I switched to the 8" mono coil. A few reasons. First, it is easier to handle underwater and fits in depressions better. It can be pushed through sand ridges and is less likely to move on the shaft. And I could find items edge on with it easier than with the stock coil. By that I mean turn the coil on edge and drag it in the sand and it acts like a pinpointer on small surface targets. The edge of a mono coil is very sensitive. A smaller coil is easier to pinpoint with to start with anyway. And honestly, I used the 8" mono because I was worried about sand getting in the twist locks and giving me problems, possibly even seizing up the rod assembly. The 8" mono and shaft assembly was my sacrificial lamb. If it got totally screwed up my stock coil would still be fine. Garrett ATX with 8" mono coil (goodie bag attached to arm strap, waterproof watch on handle) I may as well relate now that I did have issues with sand in the twist locks but not as bad as anticipated. The lower two twist locks seemed just loose enough that at the end of every outing I just worked them back and forth and the rod in and out and they cleared. But the upper one gave me problems. It got sand inside that refused to come out, even after taking it off and working on it under running water for a half hour. For some reason that upper most twist lock was just a bit tighter to start with and the sand would not clear out. Yet it never quit 100%. I lost most of the ability to twist the lock but it still twisted just enough to hold the rod in place. I am asking Garrett for advice on where to drill a couple holes or maybe slots to see if we can get these things clearing sand a bit better. Overall I actually am ok with them but they need improvement. In other types of sand it could be a big problem. I am going to see if I can get my upper lock to loosen up similar to the lower two and will report back later. The rod assembly got scored up quite a bit from being extended and collapsed with sand in the assembly. I will post photos later. Nothing that bothered me but some might hate seeing their expensive detector getting ground up like this. I have to say at the end of the day the physical design and the rod assembly in the water were nothing short of brilliant. I have given the ATX low marks for prospecting as being a duck out of water. The waterproof design adds weight, complexity, and expense not required for most dry land prospectors. But in the water the ATX felt really, really good on my arm. It is slightly negative so will settle on bottom if released. But not much; it is essentially weightless on your arm underwater. The rod assembly was a dream. I was working in heavy surf with 40 lbs of lead weight on. I steadied myself many times by leaning on the ATX with absolutely no fear it would break, and the rod never slipped. I could get in the shallows on my knees and shorten the rod down as short as I liked. And just right, no fumbling for the right holes, just loosen a twist lock or two and put it right how I wanted it. Better yet, due to the three piece design, I could also extend the ATX to be longer than any detector I have used underwater. I was in 6 foot of water with just my snorkel in the air, and easily detecting around me. I do a lot of breath hold recovery in deeper water and the ATX was just so easy to adjust for whatever depth I was working at. So easy and so solid and tough that I 100% forgive any little work needed to sort out the twist lock situation. This is one really great handling detector underwater in rough surf conditions that would leave other detectors in serious danger of breaking. The 8" mono was perfect for me. It stayed where I put it and I pushed it around a lot. I learned quickly if I wanted to adjust the coil position to be flatter all I had to do is turn the detector over and push down on the nose of the coil. Maybe not as easy as pushing down on the heel of a coil with a rod mounted in the center instead of the rear but no big deal, mainly because the coil stayed put. After two weeks of heavy use I never had to adjust the coil tension and it showed no signs of having any issue with all the sand it ran through. I had no scuff cover, and the coil shows no sign of cracking, just your normal scuffing from use. The epoxy appears much improved from the old Infinium days. A weak point - that tiny spring loaded rod lock, the one you flip to disengage the rod and coil assembly. The tiny spring popped out on me once. I took it apart, made the spring end ninety degrees again, and it worked for most of trip, but slipped out again last day. Not a big deal but needs beefing up. Be sure when twisting the rod and cams while cleaning to not hold the detector body. You will be twisting against that little lever. Hold onto the rods themselves and twist the cams. We need to find out what the part number is for the coil and headphones connector covers. Everyone should have a couple extra. Better yet, a couple spare caps like are fixed to the back of the ATX to cover the male headphone connection when not in use. One of these to put over the male coil attachment point inside the housing would be very helpful when rinsing and cleaning the ATX. Take the coil off, put the cap on, and now no worries while cleaning. I will find out the part numbers and pricing for those and get some and suggest ATX owners do also. I saw no point on beach hunting with all the competition. One guy in particular walked the beach a couple times every day with a Surf PI. I saw a couple Surf PI detectors at work, a Minelab Excalibur, and a Tesoro Sand Shark or Piranha. They all walked the beach and only the Excalibur guy ventured into the trough when it was calmer once. I spent all my time in the surf or deeper water with a weight belt and mask and snorkel. I recover targets by fanning or digging. And I went looking for mixed coral/basalt harder bottoms instead of deep sand. I played on the beach a bit and hit deeper sand underwater but basically all my finds came off of more solid bases. I am not going to say the ATX was some kind of super depth monster. That would be misleading and really missing the entire point. I have no doubt it was getting as good as depth as could be wrung out of the conditions. I was easily getting nickels down to ten inches in the basalt, maybe a tad deeper but honestly it is hard to tell recovering targets underwater while holding my breath in the surf. The real thing I am trying to relay here is the ATX was rock solid, just like using a good VLF above water, but in the worst detecting conditions I have ever encountered. It allowed me to just get on with the business of detecting targets and recovering them. If I was lacking for targets maybe fighting for another inch would be the name of the game but I never ran out of targets. Steve's Finds in Hawaii with Garrett ATX (Click on photo for larger version) The rings just banged! Nickels hit hard. By virtue of the ground balance system large junk goes low tone and I ignored many low tone targets. That cost me some dimes, copper pennies, and quarters but that is ok. Nickels, zinc pennies, and rings go high tone. As do sinkers, bottle caps, hair pins, and aluminum. Still, being able to ignore low tone targets upped my odds some. Though I dug a lot of low tones also just to learn more and frankly, because I have a hard time passing targets. You just never know for sure until you dig them and I was there to dig targets. Still, this photo shows my target mix skewed to high tone targets. With the exception of a few large items discarded at the trash can this is every item I dug over the two week period and about 50 hours of detecting time in the water. Another benefit with the ATX is the adjustable target volume and threshold, a real boon in an underwater detector. I had brought Gray Ghost Amphibian phones with me that started out loud enough but then got too quiet to hear, so I had to FedEx a set of Garrett phones in quick. I like the sound of the Ghosts better but not if I can't hear them. I surmise the sound chamber was filling with water and so will return them to get checked out. First time DetectorPro phones ever let me down. The Garrett phones have a lower tone but worked just fine. The volume and threshold control on the ATX makes them much nicer to use since they can be set comfortably for both above and below water use even though they have no volume control themselves. You can even set the volume on the fly easily while underwater. This is a very nice thing that most underwater detectors lack. I have read a few posts by people very concerned about the placement of the headphone connector. Total non-issue for me. It is under my right elbow and was never a concern at any time. Icing on the cake? The ATX retains all settings when turned off. Once I found my magic settings I was so happy with how the ATX was running I was afraid to change anything and did not have to. Just turn it off, turn it on, and ready to go. Everything is just the way you left it. This is very important with the ground balance setting. It is the one setting you have no idea where it is set. I wish and am suggesting that when the detector is manually ground balanced the LED indications reflect the entire range and show you where you end up at for future reference. Right now the LEDs simply follow to audio and reduce to nothing when the unit is ground balanced. But where am I and can I get back there? You have no idea and neither did I. All I knew was my ATX was running great and recovering targets at what I thought was good depth so I left it be. I used rechargeables exclusively. I kept rough track of detecting time and charged up about every ten hours. Again, it was nice being able to pull batteries out, charge, reinstall, and when the detector was turned on again no tuning was required due to the retained settings. I carefully looked for water in the battery compartments each time but never saw a drop. I have total faith in the waterproof integrity of the ATX after what I put it through. I just got back and blasted this report out but will probably edit it a bit to smooth it up over the next couple days. I will also post a more story like version with more details and photos on my journal in the next couple days. I am cleaning up a few of the rings. There is one very old class ring I thought was junk but is encased in sand and lime I am dissolving away and I have a couple silver rings to clean up. Once again the big diamond eluded me but no complaints here, it was my best haul ever for a beach hunting trip. In no small part due to the Garrett ATX but I will take some credit also for really hitting the water hard. So here are the rings. The bottom line is I just had my most successful trip to Hawaii ever. I recovered over a couple dozen rings with the ATX and half of those were gold or platinum. Some silver rings, a nice 14K bracelet, and a pile of coins and the inevitable PI junk. This despite bad weather early on and all the extra detecting competition. Eight Gold and Two Platinum Rings Found by Steve Herschbach with Garrett ATX in Hawaii Another view later after the better silver rings were cleaned up, and that fabulous bracelet Again though, do not take this as some kind of crazy ATX testimonial. Pay attention to my caveats. Beach hunters in clean white sand with tons of hair pins have less to be excited about here. But if you have black sand beaches or worse, the ATX is a machine to at least be aware of. I just can't help it though, I really like a detector that puts gold and platinum in my pocket! Things I most wanted? An indication of what the ground balance setting is and an ATX version of the 14" Infinium mono coil. Thing I liked most? The way the ATX handled in the water and the way it adjusted up to handle the conditions. My last detecting nut cracked - thanks Garrett and especially Brent Weaver for obviously listening to my suggestions all these years! I would like to learn more about this detector as there is much it is capable of. How exactly does it compare with factory default minimum ground balance mode versus PI detectors that have no ground balance at all? I tried the no-motion mode a bit but saw no real value for what I was doing - there has to be more to it that is of value in other situations. Most importantly, what combination of pulse delay, gain, and ground balance is optimum for various locations and targets? I found some that worked for me but I am not swearing they were the best settings possible. I admit to focusing more on detecting than fiddling and so it is hard to get me to stop and do comparative tests when detecting time is at a premium. I look forward to seeing what works for others and will add what I can as I learn more about the ATX myself. This article was promoted from a thread on the DetectorProspector Forum and those interested in the article will find additional information in the posts on that thread. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2014 Herschbach Enterprises Steve's Mining Journal Index
  9. 3 points
    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
  10. 3 points
    *Notes on specifications: This page is a footnote link in all "Steve's Reviews" - metal detector and gold prospecting equipment reviews by Steve Herschbach. Two basic technologies are described here; Induction Balance (IB) and Pulse Induction (PI). Induction balance is often referred to as VLF, or very low frequency. This is a misnomer, as some gold nugget detectors and some coin detectors are not very low frequency units as normally defined. VF = Voice Frequency = 300 Hz - 3 kHz, VLF = Very Low Frequency = 3 - 30 kHz, LF = Low Frequency = 30 - 300 kHz. Most IB gold detectors operate in the Low Frequency Range and quite a few coin detectors operate as low as the Voice Frequency range. Pulse Induction (PI) detectors operate over hundreds of frequencies employing a totally different technology than IB detectors but can be best imagined from an operational standpoint as Low Frequency detectors Internet Price - Manufacturer's often publish manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRP) intended to set the full value of an item. In the United States they also will often set a minimum advertised price (MAP) that determines the lowest price that can be used for advertising purposes. Note that this is not the lowest price an item can be sold for but instead is what you will normally see in print ads or online as the lowest advertised (sale) prices. The Internet Price in the chart is the normal advertised sale price as commonly found on the internet as of the date listed. Dealers will often try and sweeten the deal by including "free" items in the advertised prices. You can often negotiate a lower price by contacting the dealer requesting a lowest price for the item without all the "free" package items. Technology - The basic operating technology a detector uses has a huge impact on how it behaves. Early consumer 1960's model detectors commonly employed a method referred to as Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO). This simple design can be built by a school child with a handful of components. The search coil or loop was literally a coil or loop of wire. They are noted for making a distinctive "putt-putt-putt" continuous beat. The beat increases as a target is detected and the BFO responds to both conductive metals and magnetic minerals. The early 1970's saw the appearance of the Induction Balance (IB) detector. The IB detector employs two coils, a transmit and a receive coil, that are kept in electronic balance. They were therefore also commonly referred to as Transmitter/Receiver (TR) and that term saw more popular use. The TR produces a steady tone that increases in volume and the early TR models, like the BFO, responded to both conductive metals and magnetic minerals. The BFO and TR were both very limited because their ability to detect magnetic minerals interfered with their ability to detect conductive metals. An IB or TR variant was developed that allowed the detectors to not only eliminate the signal from ground minerals but to discriminate between various metals. These detectors ran at lower frequencies than the TR models and referred to as Very Low Frequency (VLF) detectors. Dual mode models existed, the VLF/TR, but the TR modes were so limited they were eventually dropped in favor of pure VLF operating modes. Almost all such detectors are referred to as VLF detectors today, but VLF is actually a misnomer. In electronics, VLF refers to the 3 kHz - 30 kHz frequency spectrum. There are detectors operating at under 3 kHz, and so technically they are Voice Frequency (VF) detectors. There are also many models operating over 30 kHz which are technically Low Frequency (LF) detectors, although because they are operating at higher than VLF frequencies many people refer to the as "high frequency" detectors. Therefore on this website the more technically correct term Induction Balance (IB) will be used. This is important because IB detectors are dramatically different than the other major technology employed at this time, the Pulse Induction, or PI detector. The IB detector requires two coils or loops that continuously transmit and receive in electronic balance. The PI detector requires only one coil but may use two. Rather than transmit and receive continuously, the PI detector transmits, pauses, then receives, which can be done with a single coil. The PI detector is able to ignore salt water and mineralized ground that an IB has difficulty with. This makes PI detectors particularly well suited for salt water diving applications, and that is where most consumer models have been aimed over the years. Simple PI detectors are often advertised as having "automatic ground rejection" but that is not strictly true. A normal PI will ignore common ground conditions, but they still are affected by highly mineralized ground and hot rocks, and so are not suitable for most prospecting applications. A company in Australia recognized the potential however, and developed PI detectors aimed specifically at the prospecting market. These detectors do actually ground balance, or tune out the effects of highly mineralized ground and hot rocks, and so along with other models now on the market represent a subset of the PI detectors, the Ground Balancing Pulse Induction (GBPI) detector. Frequency - Induction Balance (IB) detectors as radio devices normally operate on one of more frequencies that govern certain operating characteristics. The transmit frequencies are often quoted but what is most important is the frequencies the detector receives and actually processes. Most detectors receive and process a single frequency but a few detectors receive and compare the results of two or more frequencies. The focus on frequency has lead some marketing people to advertise multiple transmit frequencies in ways that are a bit misleading because people assume more is better. The reality is single frequency detectors excel at some tasks and multi-frequency detectors at others. Single frequency detectors can be better honed for specific tasks, such as nugget detecting. Multiple frequency detectors are better able to handle salt water environments and generally excel at target discrimination. In general, the higher the frequency, the more sensitive the unit is to small gold, but also more affected by mineralized ground and rocks. Lower frequencies penetrate mineralized ground better but are less sensitive to small nuggets. Multiple frequency detectors have historically acted like lower frequency detectors but newer models are so sensitive as to be practical for gold nugget detecting. Frequency article Pulse Induction (PI) detectors are sometimes advertised as using huge numbers of frequencies, which is technically true, but again is the marketing people going to work. Operating frequencies on IB detectors do not really equate with PI detectors which operate on a different principle. The closest specification in a PI detector that has some bearing on the operating characteristics is the Pulse Frequency which is the number of times the transmitter pulse is repeated every second. It is usually quoted at Pulses Per Second (PPS). The pulse frequency affects the response time (slower PPS call for slower sweep speed), power consumption (higher PPS uses more power) and interference rejection (adjustable PPS helps adjust out electromagnetic interference). Pulse Induction (PI) detectors again are a special case, and the sensitivity to small items and ground minerals is more affected by the Pulse Delay than the Pulse Frequency. The Pulse Delay is the wait time between the transmit mode and receive mode. The shorter the delay, the more sensitive the detector is to small items and hot rocks. In theory a PI can be just as sensitive as an IB detector by operating at extremely short delay times, but then it would suffer the same problems as an IB detector. PI detectors designed to hunt gold often have a pulse delay of about 10uS (microseconds). Salt water however signals at 10uS so salt water PI detectors often run about 15uS. Some PI detectors can have an adjustable pulse delay that commonly runs from 10uS to 25uS. Autotune Modes - Almost all modern detectors require the search coil to be in motion over the target to get a response. Nugget detectors employ automatic threshold tuning, which acts to help keep the threshold tone even in variable ground. The circuit seeks to return the threshold to a level preset by the threshold control. The retune rate can vary from slow to fast and in some cases can be adjusted by the operator. Holding the coil stationary over the target causes the target to disappear as the autotune circuitry brings the threshold back to the preset level. Detailed article Ground Rejection - Ground rejection or ground balance can be set at the factory (Pre-Set), manually set by the user (Manual) or automatically track ground conditions (Tracking). Fixed refers to units that lock in whatever setting the automatic system has at any moment but which cannot be manually adjusted. Manual adjustment allows a unit to be purposefully adjusted to specific conditions that cannot normally be attained through manual or fixed settings. The preferred option is to have both tracking and manual ground balance systems. A compromise between manual ground balance and ground tracking is an automatic "Grab" function. This allows the unit to be ground balanced by pressing a button. The ground balance setting is obtained instantly or with a few pumps of the coil over the ground. Soil Adjust - This refers to a control that allows the operator to adjust the unit for basic ground conditions. Common settings are Normal, High Mineral, Low Mineral (Sensitive), Salt (for salt water beaches or salt flats) or a variable setting. The technology employed may vary. The unit will compensate for difficult conditions by basically lowering the overall sensitivity of the detector in various ways so as to not detect the item or items causing problems. The sensitivity to desired items almost always suffers as a result. Discrimination (Disc) - Most detectors offer all metal detection, all metal with ferrous (man made iron or steel) rejection, possibly adjustable, and fully adjustable discrimination that can actually identify different non-ferrous targets one form the other. The method may be audio only, via a visual display, or both. A control that allows for only ferrous items to be rejected to a varying degree is commonly referred to as "Iron Mask". Volume Control - Detectors with volume controls usually have a built in speaker and this way you can adjust the speaker output. Detectors without volume controls operate at full volume at all times. Be sure and purchase headphones that have an adjustable volume for these detectors or the headphones will be too loud to use. Tone Adjust - This allows for a change of tone in the speaker output, to the sound that best suits the user's ears. Some people hear high tones better and some people better hear low tones. Audio Boost - Boosts the audio volume on small, faint targets, making them easier to hear. It may also boost ground and hot rock signals in some areas and so is usually offered as an option. Frequency Offset - Two detectors operating on the same frequency close together will "cross-talk" or cause some kind of false signals in both nearby detectors. A frequency offset or adjust allows for a small change in frequency so detectors are less prone to interfere with each other. The control may also alleviate interference from outside sources like power lines or cell phone towers, referred to as EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference). Pinpoint Mode - Common in coin detectors, rare in gold nugget detectors. The pinpoint mode is usually a variation on the all metal non-motion mode (see Search Modes above) that allows the detector to be held steady over a target as an aid to locating the exact position of the target. This may be of some benefit in some "silent search" that lack a threshold tone and which only make a sound when passing over a target. The mode is usually activated via a momentary push button or trigger switch. Audio Output - Nearly all detectors have a built in speaker and a 1/4" headphone jack. Others vary from the norm and are so noted. Also, be aware that some detectors have a mono output and some have stereo output. This is noted when known but it is best always to have headphones that can operate in either mode. Headphone notes Hip Mount - Some models allow the control box to be put on a belt or chest harness. A very desirable feature, as even a lighter detector can cause arm soreness, or even injury, if used for long periods of time. New detectors are so light this is now a rare feature more often seen on older models. An exception are the Minelab SD/GP detectors in that they are heavy, but through the use of an ingenious harness and bungee system they actually impose less arm strain in level ground than most detectors. Similar harness/bungee systems can be obtained for use on most detectors from aftermarket sources. Chest mounts however are still a valuable option for those thinking of using their detector in deep water. Standard Search Coil(s) - The search coil or coils that come that come with the detector. Also referred to as loops. IB detectors have concentric or double D (DD) options. PI detectors have mono or double D (DD) options. Concentric or mono coils are usually more sensitive but more affected by ground mineralization. Double D coils handle ground mineralization better but at some loss of maximum depth in low mineral conditions. Concentric or mono coils have an inverted cone detection pattern with maximum depth dead center that fades off in all directions. DD coils have an elongated inverted canoe pattern that covers the ground more thoroughly but lacks the maximum depth dead center that concentric or mono coils offer. Large coils get more depth and cover more ground than small coils, but lack sensitivity to small targets. Small coils lack overall depth but enhance sensitivity to small targets and have better target separation by not "seeing" two targets under the coil at once. Large coils are more affected by the overall ground mineralization, small coils are more affected by hot rocks. Suffice it to say that the more coil options one has, the better. Coil compatibility Optional Search Coils - See the note above. The more, the better. Battery - Options are usually disposable batteries, rechargeable systems, or both. Common battery types are AA batteries and 9V batteries. Disposable batteries tend to fade away slowly as they lose power. Rechargeable batteries maintain a more even power output then go dead very rapidly. Rechargeable are preferred by heavy users and a backup battery is a necessity. Operating Time - Normal battery life in operation with standard battery. Note that the use of headphones will significantly extend operating times. Weight - Weight of unit on arm with a few noted exceptions. Additional Technology - Features offered by this detector not normally seen on other models. Notes - Anything else of interest about the model in question.
  11. 3 points
    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 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 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
  12. 3 points
    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
  13. 3 points
    This section focuses on gold prospecting for individuals and small time operators. Equipment used may include metal detectors, suction dredges, gold pans, and sluice boxes. You will find articles here to help you for both beginners and pros. There is location information, equipment reviews, and more. Steve's Mining Journal - Real life gold prospecting and metal detecting stories spanning over 40 years. Gold Prospecting & Metal Detecting Guides - Basic information to get you started. Recreational Mining Sites, Parks, Museums, etc. - Locations available to the public to look for gold and other rocks & minerals. State Specific Information - General gold locations, geology, and history. Mining Claims For Sale in Alaska - Mining claims and leases in Alaska that are being offered for sale. Gold Prospecting & Metal Detecting Library - Online books and other reference material about gold prospecting and metal detecting. Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors - updated now for over 20 years, Steve gives honest opinions regarding various metal detectors past and present. Steve's Reviews - Equipment reviews focused on metal detectors for gold prospecting, much more in depth than the previous summary. Detector Prospector Forums - Forums on metal detecting for gold, gold panning, rocks & minerals, gold dredging, geology, plus coin, relic, jewelry, and meteorite detecting. Links To Other Websites - Links to other websites and forums with relevant information. Metal Detector Database - Metal detector feature and specifications database with user reviews.
  14. 2 points
    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
  15. 2 points
    After returning from Moore Creek in July I put the word out that I was looking for Honda 200 three-wheelers. I was offered one in good condition and bought it, plus another one not running that I purchased for parts. My father came up with a Honda 110 that a friend gave him. Our little fleet was growing. I wanted to make sure that for our assault on the old bulldozer we had plenty of ability to transport people and tools the three miles over the mountain to where the unit was stuck in a bog. When we acquired Moore Creek some of the equipment we got was actually over the mountain at another creek named Deadwood Creek. In fact, that other location was where the bulldozer was coming from when it got stuck three miles out from our camp. There was another Honda 200 ATV over at that far camp, and so my father and I decided to fly up to Moore Creek, drop off one of our just purchased Hondas, and then fly over the hill and get that three-wheeler. This proved to be a true Alaska Bush pilot adventure. I’ve flown around Alaska with my father for 40 years now and we have seen some pretty exciting moments in that time. But in recent years usually the flying is uneventful and even downright boring. Every once in awhile though you tackle some new airstrip in a remote location and things can get very interesting, to say the least. This proved to be one of those times. We crammed a Honda 200 3-wheeler into the Cessna 206 and flew it into Moore Creek. No big deal there. My father had checked out the Deadwood Creek airstrip previously when we had a friend up to Moore Creek with a Super Cub. He figured he could put the 206 in and so we went for it. The strip is dozed over the curve of a hill and grown up with brush. It is always something to be making a landing for the first time on a strip like that, and this was no exception. We hit the ground going uphill, and then had to skid to the left to stay on what appeared to be the best route. You roll up over the crest and down the other side, so forward visibility is limited. We made it but it was one of the more exciting landings I've made with him in some time. Airstrip at Deadwood Creek, Alaska over the hill from Moore Creek We explored a bit, and then loaded up the Honda 200 three-wheeler to take over to Moore Creek. The unit appeared to have real low hours but had been sitting in the weather for years. Two tires were flat, and although it would turn over the fuel tank was full of rust and it would not start. Then came the fun part... takeoff. A Cessna 206 with two guys and gear is iffy on this strip. We ran flagging over the hill so we would know which way to go since we could not see over the crest of the hill. Not only does the strip run over the hill but it is not straight. We had to spend an hour breaking brush and even tall grass as it slows you down plowing through it. We rolled the plane on down to the lower end of the strip, which meant a takeoff run up a pretty good slope, leveling at the top, then hopefully getting off the ground as we rolled down the other side. We had a preference for one direction as there are ridges to clear both ways, but the one way the ridge is farther away. Plus, if we had to abort the crash zone was smoother that way. We would run into downhill sloping brush as opposed to falling into a small valley the other way. No, I'm not kidding, you plan your crash... just in case. Only problem was a tacking tailwind going that way. So we parked and waited a half hour watching a piece of flagging tied in a tree. It finally hung down straight indicating a lull in the breeze, and we went for it. After all the suspense, we got off with no problem. That, my friends, is what it is like flying small planes in Bush strips in Alaska. This scenario may sound insane to some but it is what you have to do to be able to see and operate in the vast 99% of Alaska that nobody else ever sees. You have to be willing to land on beaches and ridges and marginal airstrips just barely carved out of the wilderness. The secret to success is an old Alaska Bush pilot saying - “There are old pilots and bold pilots but no old bold pilots”. You have to know when to go for it, and when to just give it up and go back home. And dear old Dad has proven he knows how and when to make those calls. The stage was set for the next attempt to get the old bulldozer back into camp. However, before I would return to Moore Creek I planned on making one last nugget hunt at Ganes Creek. This trip was prompted by Steve Burris finding an incredible 33.85 oz nugget at Ganes in June 2004, right on top of the ground in an area heavily hunted by others in the past, including myself. It was the largest nugget found at Ganes with a detector up until that point, and highlighted just how easy it is to miss nuggets when dealing with an area the size of Ganes Creek. Seeing a picture of the nugget gave me a case of gold fever, and the desire to give Ganes just one more try. I put the word out I was planning a trip to Ganes Creek, and in short order a group of people signed up to go the same week. Half were local people I know, and the other half were visitors from down south, mostly from Arizona and Nevada. Some of these I knew by reputation and the internet to be knowledgeable nugget hunters and so it had the makings of an interesting week. I planned on meeting my father in McGrath as the group left Ganes Creek and going straight over to Moore Creek rather than returning to Anchorage. The stuck D9 bulldozer The Ganes Creek trip is a long story in itself, but one I’ll leave for another time. The short story is that we had delays getting both into Ganes Creek and out due to the smoke from the many forest fires in Alaska that summer. It also became apparent that the years and number of hunters at Ganes Creek have had an effect on the chances of finding nuggets at Ganes Creek. I actually was very pleased with the nuggets I found, but the fact is that most of the visitors from the Lower 48 had pretty poor luck finding gold. In the early days most anyone swinging a detector at Ganes Creek could find a nugget, but at this point I think only the very experienced or very lucky will be finding nuggets in the future at Ganes Creek. It also was obvious that nugget detecting experience elsewhere does not prepare people for nugget hunting tailing piles in Alaska. It is a different game, and requires a different set of skills. Some of the guys from down south were not too happy with their finds… or lack thereof… for the week. While I found some nice nuggets and had a good week at Ganes Creek, it was with a certain amount of relief that I found myself watching the rest of the group get on the plane in McGrath and head back to civilization. I count among some of the very best times of my life those times when I have been totally on my own in remote locations of Alaska. There is something enlivening about being totally dependent on ones self and the knowledge that there is nobody to bail you out if something goes wrong. So now what? The smoke from the forest fires prevented my father from making it over the Alaska Range to McGrath to pick me up for the trip to Moore Creek. It was morning still, and I faced the prospect of checking into a hotel and waiting it out. By the time I got supper and breakfast I’d be looking at a $100 bill. The smoke was thick in the area but had lifted since early morning, and it looked flyable to me. So I wandered over to Magnuson Air and asked Lucky if he thought he could get me to Moore Creek. It costs $250 one way to the mine from McGrath but I figured I’d be getting a $100 discount by not staying in McGrath. Plus, I’d be able to get to work at the mine instead of just killing time. Lucky figured we could make it to Moore Creek, and so I loaded my gear up into the Magnuson 206 and we headed for the mine. It was actually a nice, sunny day despite the smoke, and the smoke thinned as we got to Moore Creek. We landed at the mine, and then Lucky took off to head back to McGrath. I opened up the camp and did odds and ends work waiting for my father and cousin Bob to arrive. I hung around camp a bit the next morning half expecting them to show up, and was just getting ready to go up and clear trail when they did finally arrive. They had a tale of wandering mountain passes in thick smoke trying to find a way over the Alaska Range that sounded not a bit fun, so I was glad they had made it to the mine safe and sound. We cleared the last bit of trail to the top of the mountain and so were finally able to drive our three-wheelers all the way to the bulldozer. The trail is actually an existing bulldozer route that has grown up over the years and so along some portions is actually like an old road in the lower elevations but fades to a bare trail above tree line. Once you get above tree line the ridges are rounded and smooth and so it is pretty easy to get around on an ATV. Using Honda 3-wheelers to run supplies over hill to stuck D9 bulldozer We took a dual approach to getting the bulldozer unstuck. A combination of trying to dig it out and trying to get the old beast started up. The D9 is a 1950’s era model that uses a small gasoline motor referred to as a “pony motor” for a starter. So first step was to try and get the pony motor started. It uses a 6V car type battery and so we used the ATVs to haul up a battery plus some fresh gas. The first thing we discovered was that the small exhaust pipe sticking straight up out of the top of the dozer had not been covered, and when we cranked the pony motor over water puked up out of the exhaust pipe! We drained what we could, and then ran the battery dead trying to clear water out of the system. The battery did not last any time at all, actually. The old starter motor seemed to just suck it dead in very little time. We spent the rest of the day digging away at the lower rear track where it was sunk in the mud. If we could get the motor running, we could hopefully use the rear ripper hydraulics to push down and lift the rear of the dozer up, so that logs could be stuffed under the tracks. But since we had more people than we really needed digging seemed to be another approach to take while also keeping busy. The old bulldozer has a cable lift blade in front, which unfortunately cannot be used to do the same thing up front. It can only lift, not push down. We headed back to camp eventually and put the battery on a charger overnight. Dad and Bob decided to fly over to one of the nearby mines to borrow a jack and returned with a loaned 40 ton jack. Then back up to the dozer for more digging and work. We got the rear corner of the dozer dug out far enough to get the jack under it and this started an effort of putting rocks and timbers under the jack and driving them down into the muck until a solid base was created. It took a lot of work to finally get the rear of the dozer to lift a couple inches. And with that accomplished, we stuck timbers under the rear of the track, which when the jack was let down just sunk into the muck. Over and over we jacked the unit up, stuffed timbers and rocks under the track, and let it down to all sink right back to where we started. We got the pony motor clear of water but it still would not start before the battery ran dead. And finally after a couple days we ran out of time and had to return to Anchorage. Lots of digging, lots of work with hydraulic jacks and log sections This time I returned with my other partner John, along with more batteries as the single battery was not giving us any life before it ran dead, and having to return to camp to charge it overnight was taking too much time. Plus a new jack. I found there was no spark on the pony motor, and so I pulled off the magneto, cleaned up the points, and put it back together. And Pow, Pop, Pop, Pow! Smoke came out and more water came from somewhere and got the plugs wet but at least we had fire! But we ran the batteries dead without the motor actually starting. We spent more time digging, and more time pulling every part of the pony motor apart we could trying to get it to start. It would pop and backfire and do everything but actually run. Finally we gave up and once again we had to return to Anchorage, frustrated by our inability to get the motor running. The dozer was now so dug out that it would most likely drive out of the hole, if only we could get it running. The fall colors were out in full, and winter was coming fast. We needed to do something soon or winter would put things off for another season. I got a hold of my old friend Tom, who has worked with heavy equipment for many years. He is a very busy person, but he agreed to come up and try and figure out what was up with the pony motor. I was stymied at this point, and was worried about the delay. Overland permits for bulldozer travel off claim blocks can generally only be had in the winter months. The ground is softer in the warmer months and so travel when the ground is frozen protects the ground. If we could not get the dozer running before winter set in, we would most likely lose an entire season. The main limitation in the permits is the requirement that the ground have snow cover. We needed to get the bulldozer onto the claims while the ground was still frozen. Tom, my father, and I returned to the mine for one last try in early October. The snow could fly at any moment, and we not only wanted to try and get the bulldozer running, but also wanted to stake some more mining claims. We had our hands full, and this was likely to be the last chance with the bulldozer for the season. We made it to the mine, and settled in for the evening. And awoke the next morning to snow and thick fog. It was only a dusting of snow, but it covered the ground just enough to hide the trail to the bulldozer. Add in the heavy fog, and we were soon basically lost up on top of the mountain trying to find our way to the bulldozer. Luckily I had used my GPS on the previous visit to trace the trail. Even so, what the GPS said argued heavily with what our eyes were seeing. Were it not for the GPS I have doubts we would ever have found the bulldozer that day. Winter is coming - fresh snow at Moore camp But find it we did, and Tom proceeded to try and figure out why the pony motor would not start. We had over time eliminated almost every possibility, and when you get right down to it these old motors really are not very complicated. You need fuel, compression, and spark. The only thing that seemed weird was all the backfiring and that the carb would want to blow out backwards instead of pulling air. There simply seemed to be no options left, when I thought back on my previous work on the motor. Early on I had pulled the magneto apart to clean the points. Did I maybe not put it back together correctly? It is a simple thing to disassemble, but if you are not careful you can put it back together 180 degrees out of where it came apart. I wondered about this for awhile, and finally piped up with “you know, maybe I put the magneto back together backwards”. So we pulled the magneto off, rotated it 180 degrees, and put it back together. Tom got on the dozer, turned the pony motor over… and it fired right up! I felt a very strange combination of embarrassment at having been the cause of a lot of extra work, and happiness at having finally figured out what the problem was. Tom let the pony motor run a bit, and after a rough start it smoothed out and sounded just great, albeit loud as heck. Kind of like listening to a shotgun firing 3600 times per minute. Then he engaged the clutch to the main motor, and smoke puffed out the big stack. And puffed, and puffed, and then all the sudden our bulldozer was running! Smoke coming out of the stack - the D9 starts!! What an incredible moment! The main engine really sounded good, and Tom let it warm up for some time. Then he gave a pull on a lever, and the blade lifted. We have a ripper unit on the back of the dozer, and had filled the tank with fresh hydraulic fluid. Tom pulled another lever, and the ripper blade lifted up. Dad and I got all the remaining timbers we had and laid out a parking pad just ahead of the dozer on level ground. We had just enough logs to cover two track lengths. Then the moment of truth arrived, Tom pulled more levers and the bulldozer drove out of the hole. Whoops and yells and handshakes all around ensued. Tom parked the bulldozer on our logs, and powered her down. We drained and covered everything to the best of our ability for the winter ahead, and left the dozer for the next spring. It was amazing how everything finally happened in so short a period of time, but it was all the hours of preparatory work that made it all seem so easy at the end. Dozer up and out of the hole, ready to drive to Moore Creek next spring We did our claim staking, and closed up the camp for winter. The year 2004 at Moore Creek came to an end, and the snows of winter came shortly after we left the mine. Success could not have come any later that year. Events slowed, but I did get an Overland Permit lined up in anticipation of moving the bulldozer into camp in the spring of 2005. Travel within a claim block is covered under our mining permits, but since the bulldozer was off the claims we needed a permit to bring it into camp. The main limitation was that overland movement had to be while the ground was frozen and covered with snow, and so we were aiming for an early spring operation. We were planning for April, but the winter of 2004-2005 proved to be one of the heaviest snow years on record. Dad and I flew up to the mine in April, but the dozer had snow drifted over the seat. It was still too early, and so we took advantage of the snow, and asked our friend Mike to fly a load of gear up to the dozer with his Super Cub, which was on skies for the winter. He landed on the hill by the dozer, and left a battery, propane tanks, a heater, and tarps plus some miscellaneous gear. Dad and I planned on flying into Moore Creek just before the snow melted, and so getting that gear to the dozer would have meant lots of snowshoeing. Now we were set. We monitored the snow situation, and finally flew up in early May in my brother-in-laws Citabria. Our original permit expired the end of April but I was able to get a two week extension due to the extreme snow conditions. There was still a few feet of snow on the ground in places but in most areas there was less than a couple feet. We made some passes over the bulldozer, and I launched sleeping bags and some basic camping supplies out of the plane. I’ve done some of these “bombing runs” before and they are actually kind of fun. Dad does all the work, however. I just hold stuff out the door until he yells “Go”! and I let go of it. With any luck it lands halfway close to the target. Aerial view from Citabria of snow in the hills in early 2005 We landed at Moore Creek, and hiked up to the dozer on snowshoes. We planned on camping the night, and heating the motor overnight, but it was rather warm (relatively speaking) when we got to the dozer so we went ahead and tried to start her. And amazingly, it fired right up! I had been studying my D9 bulldozer manuals, but the fact is I have never driven anything even close to one of these monsters. I really had no true idea what I was doing, but just followed the manuals. That worked well enough in getting the unit started, but finally after warming her up I had to make the big move. We loaded up all the tools, batteries and other gear. I held my breath, put it in gear, and engaged the clutch. The next thing I knew I was driving a D9 bulldozer up a mountainside. I had been warned that no matter how big these things seem, driving into too deep of snow conditions could get you high-centered in short order. The snow was only a foot or two deep, but I could not tell really how deep it was, except for my what seemed like endless trips over the trail on the three-wheelers the previous fall. I just kept her going slow and forged ahead, and after a bit it actually seemed pretty easy. Dad and I both had grins on our faces as well drove along, with all the overnight gear we had pre-staged loaded on the bulldozer unused. Up the hill I went, and down the other side. Basically just a drive over the hill, and I got to being lulled into how easy it all was. Finally we were on our claims, and camp was only minutes away. I was on cruise control, just enjoying the ride. And then the dozer broke through the crust and muck started churning! Only a heartbeat seemed to pass, but next thing I knew we had come to a stop in the middle of the trail. Apparently the low flat bog areas which we were passing through just before arriving at camp had thawed under the snow. The only good news was that it was still frozen a short distance below, but the dozer was spinning on the frozen muck and could gain no traction to get up and out of the hole we were in. Still, we had made it 99% of the way into camp, and so could not feel all that bad about the situation. It was only a 10-15 minute hike to camp, and we got a good nights sleep. Then up and back to the dozer the next morning, to get out of our little situation. We took chains, cables, and clamps for camp with us, and a chainsaw. We cleared a bunch of alders ahead of the dozer and laid them down in front of it to make an exit pad. The we cut a big dead spruce and levered it over in front of the tracks with a long pry bar. We took cables and ran then through the tracks and around the log. I fired up the dozer, and when I engaged the clutch the front end climbed up on the log and what seemed an incredible angle. I half closed my eyes, and the front end came up out of the hole, and fell over out and onto the alder pile ahead of the log. We were unstuck and on the first try. Project a year in the making - D9 finally back at Moore Creek and Steve clearing airstrip I now was much more cautious heading into camp, as my inattention the day before had got us stuck. If it even threatened to get soft ahead, I drove over the alders next to the trail, which created a natural pad. The next thing I knew I was driving the bulldozer into camp, and when I finally parked it and got off it was one of the happiest days of my life. I literally wanted to kiss the ground! Dad and I hugged and shook hands and slapped each other on the back. In all our years I do not think we have tackled a project that took so long and so much effort as moving this D9 bulldozer into Moore Creek camp. And like all things difficult to achieve, the final success was all that much more satisfying. In all the excitement I forget to take any pictures, but here is a shot of the old girl back in camp later in the year, with me working on clearing and extending the runway. I have to finish this tale by thanking Bob, John, Tom, Doug, Mike, and most of all my father, Bud Herschbach, for all their hard work and contributions towards getting our bulldozer back to camp. There is no way I could have done it without them. Thanks guys! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2005 Herschbach Enterprises Steve's Mining Journal Index
  16. 2 points
    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.
  17. 2 points
    The Fisher Gold Bug Pro was released in 2010 and is still in production. It is the final version of a series of new digital Gold Bug releases intended to replace the older analog Gold Bug models. The easiest way to tell the new Gold Bugs from the old Gold Bugs is that the new models sport a prominent digital readout. The model is also marketed separately by First Texas, Fisher's parent company, as the Teknetics G2. The G2 has a different rod and handle assembly and comes standard with the 11" elliptical DD coil for slightly more money. The Gold Bug Pro comes standard in three versions - with a 5" round DD coil (actually 4.7" diameter), or with the 7" x 11" elliptical DD in which case it is called the Fisher Gold Bug Pro DP. Finally, there is a dual coil package the includes both the 5" round DD coil and the 5" x 10" DD coil. In addition to the three coils mentioned here DeTech markets the 13" Ultimate DD coil for the G2 that will work on the Gold Bug Pro. For more information see the Guide to Different Versions of the Fisher Gold Bug. I have come to rely on the Gold Bug Pro as my general purpose prospecting detector for when I want a unit that can handle trashy areas. I appreciate its light weight and simplicity in getting the job done. I prefer to run the detector in all metal mode for the best depth and sensitivity. The nice thing is that the meter always displays possible target ID information to help make digging decisions without having to switch or toggle to another mode. This is far more efficient in the field not to mention wear and tear on switches. I prefer the 5" x 10" DD coil for general use - it is too bad Fisher does not sell the Gold Bug Pro with that as the stock coil. The only way you can get it is as a package deal or as a separate accessory item. The only thing I wish was that instead of displaying the ground phase as a large number while in all metal mode the Gold Bug Pro instead displayed the possible target ID number. The target ID is displayed on a small "racetrack" display above the ground phase number. I rarely if ever need to know what the ground phase is but I constantly refer to the target ID. Hopefully this will be addressed in future versions. Fisher Gold Bug Pro - Gold Bug DP variant (7" x 11" DD coil) I normally hunt in all metal. The detector hits all targets with the same audio signal except the stronger the target, the stronger the signal. There is a little "speedometer" target id readout in all metal above the big ground phase reading and so after hearing target I work it and eyeball the reading. If you get no target id it is target deeper than disc can hit (all metal prospect mode goes deeper than discriminate mode) so dig until you get target id or target. You need to decide on what target id to dig and what to pass. In theory all 40 and above is non-ferrous so in theory just dig all 40 and higher. Reality is small gold or very deep gold can read iron. I usually opt for digging some iron, and so depending on types of ferrous trash and ground mineralization the actual number I choose may be 35-39, usually 38. Then, and this is key, work the target. If the number bounces even once to or above your chosen break point, dig. The numbers bounce around, and if they consistently read at or below your chosen reject number, for example 38, if the number is always 38 or lower pass it up. If it bounces even once to 39 or higher dig it. Again, number picked depends on actual ground conditions. Start lower, maybe 35, then adjust upwards after digging targets. As long as you are not digging too much ferrous stay put but is too much digging adjust higher. VLF discrimination can and will lie on small or deep gold so better conservative and digging at least some ferrous than leaving gold. Fisher Gold Bug Pro with 5" x 10" elliptical DD coil Ok, let's assume too much trash, to many signals to analyze each one. Go to disc mode. Immediate depth loss! But now we can set target id audio break point. The unique tone disc system has three tones, mid tone, low tone, and no tone (target rejected). You can move range but it is not totally adjustable. The low tone area compresses as the disc is set higher. If you set low tone cutoff at 30 all target below 30 make no sound at all and all passed up. You never know they are there. 30 to about 55 will be low tone, meaning most gold and small ferrous, 56 and above will be mid tone, usually brass but maybe big nuggets. There is no high tone on the GBP. You can adjust this potential gold tone range to a certain extent. Set at 35 and nothing below 35 reports, 35 to maybe 60 (doing this from memory so may be off a bit on the numbers) will be low tone, above 60 mid tone. Or if trash really is bugging you set at 39 so only 40 and above beeps. But because some targets read mostly ferrous but bounce non-ferrous at times it is a fuzzy choice. If you set for 40 and above and small nugget reads 38 on first pass, you miss it and never know it was there. At the end of the day it depends on trash level and how much target analyzing you want to do in the fuzzy zone. Most small nuggets actually read around 50 but again all depends on gold size, shape, purity, ground mineralization and other factors. ads by Amazon... Lots of nuance in what is a deceptively simple detector. The more I use it the more I appreciate it. In all metal with 11" x 7" DD it approaches PI depths on most average size gold in moderate to mild ground. I very much like having the dual ability of hunting in all metal while having visual target id. No toggling back and forth. I not only use the Gold Bug Pro for prospecting but for jewelry detecting. It is a not the best coin detector in the world but does well, especially in trashy areas with the little 5" coil. All in all a great little machine, one I can swing high and low all day long with little fear of arm strain. I highly recommend the Gold Bug Pro for anyone looking for their first nugget detector or for old pros like myself wanting something light, simple, and effective. Official Fisher Gold Bug Pro Page Download the Fisher Gold Bug Pro Instruction Manual Here Guide to Different Versions of the Fisher Gold Bug Forum Threads Tagged "fisher gold bug" First Texas (Fisher) Metal Detectors Forum Fisher Gold Bug Pro Technical Specifications* Internet Price Basic Gold Bug $499 / Pro $549.00 (5" coil) or $599.00 (7" x 11" coil) Technology Induction Balance (IB) Transmit Frequency 19 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Pre-Set Slow Motion Ground Rejection Manual Touch Pads with Grab Function Soil Adjust No 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 No Standard Coil(s) Choice of 5" round DD or 7" x 11" DD Optional Search Coils Many accessory coils available from Fisher and aftermarket Battery One 9V Operating Time 15 hours Weight 2.5 pounds with 5" coil Additional Technology Continuous ground phase readout Notes Also available as 5" plus 10"x5.5" DD two coil package for $749 *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
  18. 2 points
    I have added two new sections to the website that cross link to each other. The first is a Metal Detector Database with User Reviews. Most current name brand metal detectors are listed with basic specs like price, weight, water resistance, etc. You can sort the listing by these basic specifications and you can leave your own review of each detector. Discontinued models are now being added. The new area is accessed in the menu under "Reviews" The second area is a revamped Downloads Area. Various manufacturer catalogs are collected there for historical reference to models, specifications and prices. More importantly, each detector in the Reviews database has it's user guide listed for download plus any other pertinent documents like sales flyers. Basically the Reviews area links to the Downloads area and vice versa. This is all under construction still and will be for some time as regards discontinued models. I am adding cross links and new listings almost daily. Hopefully this will allow people easier access to information and manuals now scattered across the internet. Please do your part by leaving reviews of any metal detectors you have used. Thanks!
  19. 2 points
    From original forum post 5/27/2008 updated 2/14/2010, 1/13/2013 and 1/3/2014 The White’s PulseScan TDI is a ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI) metal detector and as a rule these detectors are considered “dig-it-all” type detectors. The TDI, however, has a number of manual controls that can be adjusted to allow for a degree of discrimination not normally found in PI units. Most normal pulse induction (PI) detectors have a monotone audio response on targets. In other words, the soft threshold tone simply increases in volume in relation to the target strength. All target sound more or less the same, the only difference being a stringer or weaker audio response. This makes things real simple - you just dig everything. Ground balancing pulse induction, or GBPI detectors, employ a method of ground rejection that in current models has an audio side effect. Tones are produced in relation to the current ground balance setting. In the case of the Garrett and Minelab models, a dual tone is produced by a single target. Either a high-low tone or a low-high tone, depending on the target and how it relates to the current ground balance setting. The White's TDI has a simpler response on a single target, either a high tone, or a low tone. The targets and the tones they produce fall into two broad categories. In general one category has low conductive items, like aluminum, US nickels, most gold, and small ferrous trash. On the TDI these items produce a high tone. The other category has highly conductive items including clad, copper, and silver coins, silver rings, some large gold rings and very large gold nuggets, and large ferrous items. The ground balance varies depending on the ground itself but usually is around the same as zinc pennies, and therefore these may read in either category. Other settings, such as the pulse delay on the TDI, can also cause items to vary. The following photo shows how the two target categories break down digging around school yard playground equipment. Coins found with GBPI detector Left side high tone targets, right side low tone targets As you can see in the photo the vast majority of targets produce a high tone response. What is lacking at this location is large nails. Large nails will give a low tone response and so would end up with the coins on the right. Still, by digging low tones only, the vast majority of trash targets can be passed up and excellent results had on deep copper and silver coins. The following photo shows what might result digging low tones only in a park setting. Coins and nails detected with PI Low tone only targets The icing on the cake with the TDI is the Target Conductivity switch. Normally you would have to listen to all the tones the detector produces, the vast majority of them being high tone, to pick out the much rarer low tones that would possibly indicate a deep coin. The Target Conductivity switch allows one response or the other to be suppressed, and by selecting for high conductive low tones only, the TDI operates very quietly in very trashy environments. This value of this feature cannot be overstated, and it makes the TDI a secret weapon for pulling coins out of extremely mineralized ground where VLF detectors would fail. The TDI can go even farther, because unlike the Garrett and Minelab models it features a manual ground balance. This means that in milder ground conditions the ground balance control can be purposefully misadjusted to directly affect target tone responses. This method was passed on to through comment from Reg Sniff and George Kinsey so credit goes to them for turning me on to this. The method involves purposefully misadjusting certain controls to get results and I’m not saying these are the best settings per se. I would encourage more experimentation to see what you can coax from the Whites TDI as I have not seen a detector so prone to experimentation and yet with relatively few controls. This is not a VLF detector and so lessons learned with VLF detectors often do not apply, and in fact could get in the way of understanding the TDI. Have an open mind and experiment. I highly recommend the use of a PI pinpointer with the Whites TDI. You need some serious pinpointing power. The DetectorPro Uniprobe units are very good, but you may need to switch the TDI off when employing the Uniprobe pinpointer if the TDI interferes with the Uniprobe. Coiltek makes a 1” probe with switch box that can use the TDI itself as the pinpointer as another option, along with the more common self-contained pinpointers like the Garrett Pro-Pointer. With the unit powered off, set the TDI Gain at 12, Pulse Delay at 10uS, Ground Balance knob at 1.5, GEB switch On, Target Conductivity On, and then turn the unit Power On. Set for a faint Threshold. If you are getting any interference (uneven threshold, warbles, and funny noises) slowly run the Frequency knob through its range seeking the quietest setting. Then flip the Target Conductivity switch to High. The threshold should go extremely smooth. If you get spikes or noises breaking through the normally rock solid threshold you may need to reduce the Gain. But usually at this point the threshold will be so smooth and solid you will find you can reduce it so low as to be barely heard. Now try waving various steel items and coins a few inches under the coil and note the responses. You will see that most steel and iron, aluminum, and bottle caps will not signal. Beyond that, there are three basic responses. First, hold a coin 6-8 inches from the coil. Note the soft, sweet tone, woo, woo. Listen to it over and over, as this is your deep coin signal. Now run a coin or larger steel item within 1 inch of the coil. You will get an overload signal, a strong baaaaawo, baaaaawo. This is the shallow item overload signal. If you are trying a steel or iron item, increase the distance from the coil. Note that at a certain distance it abruptly cuts off. Now try a coin and slowly increase the distance from the coil. It will gradually turn into that sweet coin tone. The way you tell shallow coins from shallow junk is to slowly raise the coil. If the target just cuts off – junk. If it slowly mellows out – dig! OK, let’s go detecting. What follows is the results of an outing using these settings. Listen for that sweet, deep coin sound. Those are the oldies and you main goal. In some hunted out parks this may be about the only signal you get as there are no shallow targets to generate to overload tone. Just go dig coins. Walk around each target and insure it gives a good, clean response from all angles. Be sure and use proper digging practices to leave the ground undamaged. Please protect our hobby. In other places you will get lots of overload signals. If all you care about is deep coins, ignore them. If you want, however, just raise the coil while sweeping, and if the signal cuts off, skip it. If it fades to the deep coin tone, use your pinpointer and there should be a coin within an inch or two of the surface you can just pop out. The Target Conductivity switch can be set too All to investigate questionable targets and to size targets. A pipe buried horizontally will have a high tone its entire length but a low tone at each end. When you walk around these in the High setting you will only hear the low tone and think it is a coin, but they tend to fade in one direction as you walk around them. If the target seems iffy, switch to All and see if you are picking up the end of an elongated iron or steel item. This false positive can occur well off the end of the pipe and so if you dig and nothing is there you may be off the end of a pipe or rebar. This is where a top notch pinpointer comes in handy. The Pulse Delay seems to be most critical, and if you set in much higher than 10uS the ability to ignore iron is lost. But when it is working right the iron rejection is amazing. Try walking up to a garbage can or other large steel item. You will get no signal until you get close enough to overload the unit. Not only does the unit ignore iron, but nearly all aluminum and bottle caps. The only ferrous target I found was a very rusted bottle opener buried vertically in the ground. If flat it is rejected but the TDI does pick it up if held vertically. I never did dig a bottle cap. I did get two aluminum screw tops that gave the shallow overload and that then sounded like shallow coin when the coil was raised. I got one older aluminum screw cap that was not deep or shallow so I checked it out. I also got positives on two copper wires, two chunks of broken heavy aluminum, an aluminum grommet, and a copper screw cap. Coins found with White's TDI Oh yeah, I found 39 coins. Including three silver dimes and three wheaties so they were not all recent drops. That is 39 coins to 10 trash targets using a PI detector in a turf setting. That is a four to one ratio, and when hunting the deepest targets no worse than a VLF. Better yet, the targets that fooled me were not exactly bad targets by deep detecting standards. There was a time I would have said this was impossible with a pulse induction metal detector. I really did feel most of the junk was iffy but I wanted to check as I am learning. Coins sound oh so sweet and when I’m 100% sure it is a coin it almost always is. What else to say? The GB control is in effect the discrimination control. It is all about setting the Pulse Delay, the GB control, and the Target Conductivity switch to get the best balance of depth and iron rejection. The iron rejection tends to be best at low GB settings, and in high mineral settings best depth is at high GB control settings. If you have no clue what I’m trying to say, you are not ready for the Whites Pulsescan TDI. In high mineral conditions you are trading max depth for max iron rejection. You have to set the unit for the best balance for your conditions. But if you get it right, hold on. This detector is like no PI you've ever used. I have been able to run the Gain very high. I’m sure not everyone can based on where they are. So experiment, experiment, experiment! What about coils? Things might change depending on the coil you use. To summarize the TDI can find coins using two different methods. The simplest is to just run the detector tuned for best depth and dig low tones only. In high mineral ground this will produce coins VLF detectors have been unable to reach while passing on most common trash. The second method makes the TDI into a very effective coin detector, but the misadjustment of the ground balance ends up giving up the extra depth attained with the first method. Still, it does something no PI has ever been able to do before, and that is to find coins with nearly as much efficiency as a VLF detector. I do not want to give the impression I am pushing the TDI as a coin detector. If you want a detector strictly for coin detecting I suggest you get one to do just that. The real point of this article is to highlight that the TDI is a unique detector prone to experimentation. It is a machine for more serious detectorists willing to think outside the box. For those willing to dig some junk and having locations that favor the method, digging low tone targets will find deep coins missed by the best VLF detectors. The main use for the TDI is still nugget, beach, and relic detecting, make no mistake about that. But if you have a TDI , it can pay to experiment with it as there is really nothing else quite like it on the market. Thanks to Eric Foster and White's Electronics. White's TDI Information Page ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2008 Herschbach Enterprises
  20. 2 points
    Modern induction balance (VLF) detectors usually can operate in two basic modes. A true detect everything all metal mode or a discrimination mode. Discrimination modes use various filtering methods to help separate desired targets from the trash. The filtering takes away from overall depth and the target identification gets less reliable with depth. In nearly all cases a detector operating in a pure all metal mode will find targets deeper than a unit running in a discrimination mode. It is possible to take a detector running in discrimination mode and set it to accept all targets. You are now running with zero discrimination, and the detector now sounds off on all targets. The problem is that some detector manufacturers are labeling this zero discrimination mode as an "all metal" mode since all metals are being detected. Unfortunately, you have not really turned off the discrimination. A true all metal mode employs no filtering at all, it directly reports a target. In zero discrimination the target is still being filtered, but you are telling the machine to report all filtered targets as good targets. The bad news is you still are losing depth and sensitivity compared to the true all metal modes. Most metal detectors are made for coin detecting, and so most only run in a discrimination mode. You can set them to accept all targets, to run zero discrimination, but these units simply do not have a true all metal mode. All metal detectors designed with serious prospecting in mind have a true all metal mode. The reason is simple. True all metal nearly always hits hard to find targets, either very deep items or very small, better than detectors running in a discrimination mode, even when set to zero discrimination. This is so important to me that I will rarely ever consider purchasing a detector that does not have a true all metal mode. Be careful when buying a new detector that if you want a true all metal mode you do not end up with a detector that really is offering only a zero discrimination mode. One clue is that a detector with a true all metal mode will also have a threshold control to set the audio in the all metal mode to a barely perceptible sound level. Zero discrimination modes are usually what is referred to as "silent search" modes without a threshold sound and therefore no threshold control. It is possible for a detector to run in all metal and discrimination modes at the same time. This is referred to as mixed mode Very cool! 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 discrimination signal in the other ear. More common are detectors that put the all metal output through the speaker and the discrimination signal on the meter. 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 depending on where the discrimination knob is set. But there is a third, more subtle audio 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 but there will be an audio signal. When nugget detecting, you want to hear these, and dig down until the target id 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. White's V3i Mixed Mode program option The various Fisher F75 and new Gold Bug models have a basic single tone in all metal, but the meter is still active in discrimination mode. So you get the signal, then check the meter. If within range, you will see a target id. If deep, the meter will be blank. It is very similar to the old Compass Gold Scanner Pro, which had a target id meter that functioned while in all metal. The White's V3i has a very powerful programmable stereo mixed mode setting. The DFX also offers mixed mode. The new Garrett AT Gold has a true audio all metal mode while the meter is still working in the discriminate mode. The same thing can be achieved with many detectors by running in all metal mode and then, after a target is acquired, switching over to discriminate mode to check the target. The obvious downside is that this requires lots of switching back and forth, and a mixed mode detector eliminates the switching. The key to mixed mode is simple. Those targets in a good location that are so deep you get no indication on the disc 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. I have found from my personal experience that detectors often run smoother and targets are easier to hear in all metal mode. I tend to prefer a detector that has an audio all metal mode coupled with a metered discrimination mode. I just listen for the target, and once I hear it I stop and analyze it with the meter. When in doubt, dig it. Some people prefer to dig only targets that read as probable good targets as they do not like digging junk. I tend to dig anything unless it is almost sure to be junk. In other words, I dig the iffy targets. That means I dig more trash but it also means I make finds others miss. It does depend on how patient I am feeling though, and some days I will just dig those really good targets. Those are getting harder to find these days. The only place mixed mode does not work well is in very trashy locations, especially the units that generate multiple tones. It just gets real noisy. But for many experienced detectorists mixed mode is a sort of secret weapon. Now you know why! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2010 Herschbach Enterprises
  21. 2 points
    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 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 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 or I had written them off as ground noise. 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
  22. 1 point
    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? 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...
  23. 1 point
    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 at the email address above. 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.
  24. 1 point
    FISTS FULL OF GOLD - How You Can Find Gold In The Mountains And Deserts by Chris Ralph Yes, it’s true that you can prospect for and find your own gold – it’s still out there! The title of my book is “Fists Full of Gold” because that’s what I hope it will bring you. I’ve put in years of experience to make this book the most comprehensive prospecting book ever written. It's very different from what is on the market already – It's focus is to teach you how to find gold deposits, both placer and hard rock. There is a huge amount of information here that is just simply not available in any other prospecting book. It has plenty of basic coverage for new prospectors but lots of material for those guys who have some experience and want to learn more, plus even more advanced information for prospectors with decades of experience. It is up to date with all the latest technology and science. - Chris Ralph This book takes a unique and different approach in teaching the “trade skills” of prospecting – it covers not just equipment, but the knowledge you really need to find those locations with recoverable gold. This information is important because in the final analysis, no matter well you operate your dredge, metal detector or other prospecting equipment, unless you can find the deposits where the gold is concentrated, your equipment cannot help you recover it. It's designed to be the one prospecting book you will never outgrow. It’s a quite a reference: more than 360 pages long with over 225,000 words. That makes it longer by far than any other prospecting book written for individuals – longer than any 2 or 3 of them combined! In spite of this, it’s all written for the average individual who does not have any formal training in geology or mining. Fists Full Of Gold book by Chris Ralph A note from Steve Herschbach, professional prospector - "I was privileged to be able to help proof Chris' book and I can say without doubt it would have saved me years of learning things the hard way had it been available when I started out. This book addresses the huge gap that exists between books teaching elementary prospecting methods and hard to read technical manuals. Chris brings together a wide array of information in a readable fashion. If you are ready to take that next step up from the basics, this is THE book to read". Some of the highlights of the information contained in the book include: The basics of prospecting and finding gold, including: The fact that there is lots of gold is still out there to be found How to use a gold pan, including crevicing, mossing and sniping for gold How to get the best recovery out of your sluice box or highbanker How to use a suction dredge to find and recover paystreaks How to operate a dry washer for gold An extensive section on metal detecting, perhaps the best on the market Building your own equipment, including building your own: Portable sluice box Lightweight suction dredge Desert dry washer How to operate a small scale commercial mining operation How to deal with and get the most out of your black sands How to get the best prices for your gold, specimens and nuggets A full coverage of the geology of gold and silver mineral deposits: All about minerals and how to identify them Minerals associated with gold deposits Rocks: what they are and how to identify them Basic geology for the prospector in an understandable form A detailed explanation of placer geology and how paystreaks form A detailed explanation of hard rock geology and how gold deposits form How to recognize many types of hard rock gold and silver deposits How to do research to find your own rich concentrations of gold: Using and understanding topographic maps, aerial photos and GPS Where to find little known sources of information on gold deposits How to use geology maps to find gold Signs and indicators of gold deposits that you want to look for in the field: How to read and interpret signs of old timer workings How to recognize geologic indicators of gold mineralization How to prospect for commercial deposits of gold and silver Mining law and how to stake and maintain your own claim Platinum placers and deposits – How to prospect for them Diamonds in placers – How to recognize them Maps of where to find gold in the US and Australia Plus hundreds of photos, diagrams and illustrations to explain the concepts presented in the book. 8" x 11" 362 pages.
  25. 1 point
    Where Do I Begin? by Ron Wendt You’ve developed an interest in prospecting for gold. A couple friends have told you how much fun they’ve had looking for gold. In this article I’ll point out the pros and cons about this activity and in the end you’ll probably have decided to what degree you want to pursue your search for gold. To begin with, it must be pointed out, there are several types of prospectors: 1 - Those who wish to dig right in as a recreational prospector. 2 - One who is serious about learning about the finer aspects of geology related to precious metals and would pursue possibly developing potential income from this endeavor. 3 - A hardcore, hand miner “give me a bulldozer, I wanna gamble.” Of course mining can be a gamble and the biggest mistake some folks make is getting too serious about it. Many times most of the fun goes right out the window when it becomes serious. What happens is the deep desire for gold becomes elusive and discouragement sets in when there are no results. Looking for gold can be hard work with few rewards. Years ago an old timer once told me; “the fellows that got rich during the gold rush were just plain lucky!” Napoleon once said that too: “I want good generals, but I also want lucky ones!” Yes, there is a lot of luck in this business. The old timer and Napoleon were right. A lot of it is luck, but a lot of it is hard work to. You can choose to enjoy it with a little reward or to not enjoy it with little reward. The truth is the odds are you won’t get rich, but you might get lucky! We all know about luck. You can go to the gambling hall and pull on the “one armed bandit,” all day and not make a dime. Such is mining and prospecting. I’ve been lucky and I’ve been unlucky. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I like rich better, and I like getting lucky. Shoveling gold bearing dirt into power sluices To be a prospector you must be willing to take a risk to a certain degree. There are those who think they can go out and simply put their shovel into the ground and there it is! They believe they’ll strike it rich. I have known some who have struck it big their first few times out. They didn’t have a clue, but were in the right place at the right time. There are several things in your character you should be aware of. 1 - You should be the type of person not easily discouraged. 2 - You should not be afraid of getting dirty and not afraid of hard work. 3 - You should have a keen interest in exploring, prospecting things that are related in this field because it is all connected. 4 - Be frugal. Don’t mortgage the farm. It doesn’t take much in the way of investment to get into this “field of study,” as I call it. 5 - You should not be afraid to get wet, camp out, or endure the elements. 6 - Attitude is a major in this business of mining/prospecting. This probably goes along with “don’t be easily discouraged.” 7 - Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a great learning experience. 8 - Have some curiosity about what could be over the next hill or under the next rock. 9 - Be optimistic. If you’re not, you probably shouldn’t be in this business. 10 - Most of all enjoy it. Enjoy it even though you don’t get rich from it. Your reward is experience and experiences many will never have the opportunity to do. Where do I begin? First off don’t go out and buy a bulldozer, when a gold pan can simply do the trick. In other words, start out learning the basics. Those basics are the gold pan, pick, shovel, sluice box, and perhaps a sniffer bottle to suck up gold from cracks. It would be good to go along with a veteran, not only to see how it’s done but to see if you like it. I have seen many times where folks will go out and buy a $1,500 suction dredge only to sell it the next year because they probably got discouraged, when a gold pan and hand tools would have sufficed. A big majority of prospectors I know will tell you they started out small, by that I mean, small mining tools which would include sluices, gold pans, picks and shovels. Once you decide you will make prospecting your side line, one can eventually branch out into other methods. Dredging for gold There are some who will head out into the world of nugget detecting. Here’s something to think about. When you spend $600 to $1,000 on a brand name detector, before you even make a decision to buy it, ask yourself this; “Where will I use it?” This may seem like a funny question, but in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, we may have a lot of gold scattered around up here, but is it detectable and accessible? Will I be able to drive somewhere during my time off from my regular job and spend enough time detecting nuggets? Is there a location close by where gold is detectable? Am I willing to invest this kind of money to use this machine in a proven area? There’s nothing worse than buying a piece of mining equipment and not be able to get into areas that are productive. For instance, the mountains behind my house generally yields mostly fine gold and some hardrock gold. For me to get any bigger gold I must travel south of my house about two hours down the highway or 5 to 10 hours to the north to get into productive ground. I am willing to spend times going to my favorite remote spots in search of gold. So you must determine how much am I willing to put into this to get results? It’s the same with going from your gold pan/sluice operation to a high banker or a suction dredge. Are you planning on a few choice trips to areas to get results, which by the way aren’t guaranteed? My recommendation is build up your knowledge of prospecting over 2 or 3 years before investing in bigger toys. This way once you’ve established a good, possible gold source, you might feel it’s now time to go for higher production. Large scale industrial miners work in much the same way. I have a good friend who suction dredged for a few years on a creek. After taking out numerous ounces of gold, he made a decision to go bigger. From there he bought a small D-6Cat to feed a sluice box, then eventually he added a backhoe. Today he has a D-9, a bigger backhoe and a dragline. He’s been seriously at it for over 25 years. In the off season he has another job to support his “sickness” called “gold fever.” Gold found by a prospector I’ve met a few folks who complained: “Yeah, I went out for a couple hours, and didn’t get a thing. There’s nothing out there!” He immediately was very skeptical there was any gold at all out there.” I said that was fine. There’ll be more for the rest of us! I told this fellow, a couple hours does not do the trick. You have to work at it. It won’t jump up into your pan, and no one will tell you exactly where it is because they don’t know themselves where it is exactly. We have an idea, but we can’t always pin point it. Most of the time we walk right over it. I remember an old prospector from up on the Yukon River was once asked where he kept all his gold, to which he replied; “Its in a safe place in the creek!” He knew he could dig it out anytime he wanted to, but he had to make the effort. No one would get it for him. He took out enough gold to survive on most of his life. It was his lifestyle and sole occupation. Finally, recapping everything, I can’t stress enough: 1 - Start small, then gradually increase your devices to accommodate your potential production. You might advance from a sluice/gold pan to a nugget detector. You might eventually obtain all the tools of the trade, short of buying a bull dozer. The bull dozer purchase would probably indicate you’re pretty serious or you’ve got money to blow! 2 - Enjoy this endeavor. If you don’t enjoy it, get out of the business. You probably should not have gotten into it. 3 - There’s no room for discouragement. If you’re easily disappointed then prospecting is probably not for you. 4 - Expect to work hard at it. Be patient. Patience is a virtue. You will put in time of no rewards, but when they come, it’s worth it all. 5 - Don’t get greedy. If you hit it big, a few ounces here and there or bigger, consider it your much deserved reward. 6 - Don’t mortgage the farm. Never, never do this! I’ve known miners to put all their eggs in one basket and they all cracked! Unless you like living in tents on the edge of town, never gamble with your stability. 7 - Enjoy prospecting. Its one of the most fascinating occupations I can think of. What better way to enjoy the outdoors, splash around in cold water on hot days, explore old ghost towns, collect rocks, view big game, there are folks that would give their right arm to do this. A word of encouragement to those in search of gold: Practice patience, be optimistic. Always learn from your mistakes and always keep enough bug dope in your pack! by Ron Wendt 2005 Note from Steve Herschbach - Ron was a dear friend who left this world too soon. He donated this article for use on the website not too long before his health finally failed. We all miss you Ron! R.I.P. Ron Wendt 1956 - 2007 From the obituary: Ron Wendt was born April 24, 1956, in Fairbanks, in the Territory of Alaska. He was raised on his family’s homestead on Chena Hot Springs Road outside of Fairbanks and his father’s mining claims in the Circle gold fields. He developed an early interest in Alaska history by exploring ghost towns and mining camps and talking with old-timers from the gold rush era. Ron worked as a gold miner, newspaper reporter, photographer, college instructor, construction worker and custodian before starting his own publishing business, Goldstream Publications, in Wasilla. He wrote about gold rush history, modern day mining and prospecting, and many tales of Alaska. He was a member of the Alaska Miners Association, an avid baseball fan and loved to travel the roads of Alaska with his wife, Bonnie.
  26. 1 point
    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!
  27. 1 point
    The Minelab Eureka Gold was introduced in 1998 and was discontinued in 2017 after a 20 year run. The Eureka Gold has been replaced by the new Minelab Gold Monster 1000. The Minelab Eureka Gold for a long time was the only nugget detector that allowed you to change frequencies with the flick of a switch; 6.4, 20, and 60 kHz, all using the same coil, unlike the Minelab X-Terra units. This made the Eureka Gold one of the most versatile VLF gold prospecting detectors available for handling different ground conditions. The Eureka Gold 20 kHz mode is used for most detecting for great all-around performance. The 60 kHz mode is used in low mineral soil looking for extra small nuggets. The 6.4 kHz mode is used in extreme mineralized soil that would overwhelm most VLF detectors. The Eureka Gold is a good choice for someone hunting areas with widely varying mineral conditions. Weight including rechargeable battery pack 5.3 lbs. The control box may be chest or hip mounted removing most of that weight from the operators arm. It comes stock with a 5" x 10" elliptical DD coil. Four accessory coils are available for the Eureka (Minelab and Coiltek). The Eureka Gold with its three selectable frequencies will handle a wider range of ground conditions than most other VLF detectors. For a 60 kHz detector, it lacks the edge of the Gold Bug 2 or GMT when it comes to the smallest nuggets. This is because the 60 kHz mode is not the native operating frequency of the Eureka Gold but a harmonic offset of the main frequency. The Gold Bug 2 and GMT are dedicated single frequency units designed specifically around their respective operating frequencies. The best setting on the Eureka Gold appears to me to be the 20 kHz mode, as the detector seems optimized for this frequency. You will generally lose depth in the 60 kHz mode and so this mode should only be used for small shallow gold. The 6.4 kHz mode on the other hand is more of a fallback frequency only for situations where the 20 khz mode is proving ineffective due to hot rocks of ground interference. 6.4 kHz is simply too low a frequency to be effective on small gold nuggets but can help penetrate highly mineralized ground to find larger gold nuggets. Minelab Eureka Gold prospecting metal detector I used the Minelab Eureka Gold and it's predecessors, the XT 18000 and XT 17000 as well as the American Gold Striker. My favorite of the three was the XT 17000 which ran at 6.4 kHz and 32 khz. The 32 khz may seem quite high for the time, but it is a low gain 32 khz and so ran quite well in mineralized ground. I was in Alaska at the time however and low mineral ground and small gold is the norm. Neither the XT 18000 nor the Eureka Gold impressed me much as their 60 kHz frequency was no match for the 71 kHz Fisher Gold Bug 2 or even the 50 khz White's Goldmasters of the time. Those detectors did better for me in the areas south of Anchorage, Alaska that were my stomping grounds for many years. The ferrous discrimination on the Eureka also seemed less reliable than that available on those detectors. The bottom line is that while I used them enough to get familiar with them and find a little gold, they did not suit my particular ground and gold as well as some other detectors. Still, I always recognized that and acknowledged that the Minelabs were a better choice for highly mineralized ground, especially variable ground where its ground tracking shines. The Minelab Eureka Gold played a part in gold rush history. Around the turn of the century new gold rushes were igniting in several third world countries, driven by the discovery of goldfields amenable to metal detecting in those countries. Certain models would be seized on by the locals as being the only thing that would work. The Minelab Eureka Gold enjoyed this status for some time in Mongolia, with all available units worldwide being sought out and shipped to Mongolia, often at exorbitant prices. The rush eventually subsided but probably had something to do with the Eureka Gold being on the market for as long as it was. The Eureka is a good detector, but lighter and less expensive detectors will do just as well for most people. The weight and high price made the Eureka hard to recommend in later years. Now that it has been discontinued Minelab will continue to service existing units for at least seven more years (until 2023-2024). Steve with Minelab XT 17000 in early 1990's Regarding used models. The XT 17000 and XT 18000 both came with rechargeable battery packs before the battery technology was really up to it. Those old battery packs had very limited lives and any still in existence are probably bad. A strange little adapter was available to convert the XT 17000 and XT 18000 to AA battery use, but those were rare and hard to find. If you ever shop a used Minelab XT 17000 or XT 18000 be sure to investigate the battery situation. The Eureka Gold also came with a rechargeable battery pack, but a AA battery holder option was widely available. Again, the older rechargeable battery packs are not likely to have much life in them, so rounding up the AA battery holder is important if looking for a used Eureka Gold. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2018 Herschbach Enterprises Official Minelab Eureka Gold Page Minelab Eureka Gold Instruction Manual Note On Differences Between Early Minelab VLFs Minelab Metal Detector Forum Minelab Eureka Gold Technical Specifications* Internet Price $1049.00 (Last price before discontinued in 2017) Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 6.4, 20, & 60 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Preset Slow Autotune Ground Rejection Fixed, Fast & Slow Automatic Ground Tracking Soil Adjust No Discrimination Variable Iron Reject Level Volume Control Yes Threshold Control Yes Tone Adjust Yes Audio Boost Yes Frequency Offset No (Except for three main frequencies) Pinpoint Mode No Audio Output 1/4" headphone socket & speaker Hip Mount Yes Standard Coil(s) 10" x 5" DD Optional Search Coils Several accessory coils available Battery Rechargeable Operating Time Up to 20 hours Weight 5.3 pounds Additional Technology Change frequency with the flip of a switch! Comes with hip mount bag. Notes Discontinued in 2017 *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
  28. 1 point
    The Makro Gold Racer metal detector was introduced in 2016 and is still in production. I very much anticipated the Gold Racer as something unique on the market at the time - a 56 kHz high frequency gold prospecting detector with all the extra discrimination and other features to make it versatile enough for other uses. What follows is a basic description with a very detailed review starting below the specifications chart. Note that Makro has introduced the 61 kHz Makro Gold Kruzer in 2018 and there is a possibility the Gold Racer will be discontinued soon in favor of this new model. The Makro Gold Racer comes standard with an 10" x 5.5" DD coil and has optional 5" round DD, 10" x 5.5" concentric, and 15.5" x 13.25" DD coils. The Gold Racer has been changed slightly from the original Racer design to make the handle grip more comfortable based on customer feedback. The original Bluetooth dongle and wireless headphones have been replaced by a proprietary 2.4 Ghz design to help reduce the audio lag that was occurring with the regular Bluetooth design. The main item of note however is the very high 56 kHz operating frequency, making this one of the hottest machines available on tiny non-ferrous targets. The Makro Gold Racer shares many features with the original Racer plus has added many more. The new iSAT control from the Nokta FORS Gold+ is visible as is another new feature called iMask. The Gold Racer adds a Tone Break feature often requested by Racer and FORS owners and the Gold Racer has the ability to save its settings when shut off, unlike the Racer. The layout of the control panel has also been simplified making what features are available in what modes much more obvious. Makro Gold Racer metal detector Makro is fast gaining attention as a company that listens to its customers. The new Gold Racer model is the perfect example of that, creating a unique machine based almost solely on feedback provided by customers in the prior year. Official Makro Gold Racer Page Gold Racer Color Brochure Makro Gold Racer Instruction Manual Ray Mills (TrinityAU) Makro Gold Racer Review Makro Gold Racer vs Racer 2 Forum Threads Tagged "makro gold racer" Makro Metal Detectors Forum Makro Gold Racer Technical Specifications* Internet Price $509 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 56 kHz Autotune Mode(s) iSAT Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold Ground Rejection Grab, Manual, & Tracking Soil Adjust No 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 1/4" Headphone Socket & Speaker Hip Mount Shaft Mount Only Standard Coil(s) 10" x 5.5" DD Optional Search Coils 5" round DD, 5.5" x 10" concentric, 13.25" x 15.5 DD" Battery Four AA Operating Time 25 - 30 hours Weight 3 pounds Additional Technology iMask noise suppression technology, built in LED flashlight, backlit screen, save settings Notes Optional 2.4 Ghz wireless headphones *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart. Detailed Review Of Makro Gold Racer by Steve Herschbach Makro Gold Racer finds small Nevada gold The Makro Gold Racer has been one of my most anticipated new VLF metal detectors in years. This completely new model represents something I have wanted for a very long time – a high frequency VLF metal detector that does not skimp for features, in particular as regards discrimination options. A little background. First, I have been testing prototypes of the Makro Gold Racer, and this review is based on those prototypes. The final version due soon has a completely new LCD display layout, audio boost, refinements to other settings, and physical refinements like a change in the handle angle, etc. That being the case this review should be considered preliminary and final specifications are subject to change, as well as details you may see in my photos regarding the physical design of the detector. Second, what is the intended market for the Makro Gold Racer? The machine looks deceptively like many other detectors aimed at general purpose metal detecting. I want to emphasize that first and foremost this is a gold prospecting detector. There are only a few other detectors that directly compare to the Gold Racer which is running at a very high frequency of 56 kHz. Comparable detectors would be the White’s GMT at 48 kHz, the Minelab Eureka Gold running in its 60 kHz setting, and the Fisher Gold Bug 2 at 71 kHz. The intent with very high frequency detectors is to sharpen the response on extremely small metal targets. High frequency detectors are in a niche all their own when it comes to finding the tiniest of gold nuggets. This sensitivity does come at a cost however, in that the detectors are also responsive to ground mineralization and hot rocks that less sensitive, lower frequency detectors might ignore completely. There is no free lunch in detecting, and I want to caution anyone thinking that the Makro Gold Racer is going to be a magical solution to all their detecting desires to be realistic about things. Inevitably when new detectors come out people fall victim to wishful thinking, and I would like to try and avoid that here. When it comes to reviewing detectors I do the best I can to describe detectors to help people decide if they might be interested in them or not. Do realize again however that this review is based on preliminary information. Also, I honestly do not want people buying new metal detectors based solely on my reviews. There will be some of who want the latest and greatest right now, and I appreciate that, but being a first adopter does have its risks. My normal advice to people is to never buy anything based on a single review, but to wait for more of a consensus opinion to emerge. I have used the Gold Racer in the field, and I have found gold with it. Right now though if it is just a matter of you wanting to know if the Makro Gold Racer can find gold then I refer you to the excellent field review with photos posted by Ray Mills at the Detector Prospector Forum. In outward appearance the Makro Gold Racer resembles its immediate predecessor, the Makro Racer, but this really is a new detector, not just a Racer running at a higher frequency. Feedback on the original Racer has been incorporated as well as extensive testing and commentary from prospectors around the world. Besides the obvious color difference, major physical changes include completely redesigning the layout of the LCD display to better differentiate what are all metal functions and what are discrimination functions. All metal functions are on the left, and discrimination functions are on the right. I think the new display is more intuitive and better accommodates the extra functions implemented on the Gold Racer. The angle of the bend in the S rod handle grip has been relaxed based on feedback from Racer owners. The vibration mode was eliminated, shaving a tiny amount of weight and freeing up room on the display menu. The Gold Racer with stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil and NiMH batteries installed weighs in on my postal scales at exactly three pounds. Coils available at launch are the 10” x 5.5” DD that is stock on the detector. Optional coils include a 10” x 5.5” concentric coil, 5” round DD coil, and a lightweight 15.5” x 13” DD coil. Makro Gold Racer with 5" round DD coil Let’s take a look at the functions. Under All Metal on the left side of the meter are the functions that apply only to the All Metal mode. On the right are the functions for the two Discrimination modes. The settings are independent in each mode, and once set can be saved when the detector is powered down. This simple and intuitive setup is also part of the power of the Makro Gold Racer. It is incredibly easy once each mode has been customized to flip quickly between the three modes, cross checking target responses to make a dig/no-dig decision. All Metal is the heart and soul of nugget detecting, and the Makro Gold Racer has an extremely powerful, smooth, and sensitive threshold based all metal mode. The Sensitivity setting is familiar to anyone who has used a metal detector, except that there are three base levels of sensitivity or gain. Significant boosts occur between 39 - 40 and again between 69 - 70. Most detectors max out at what is a setting of 69 on the Gold Racer. Settings of 70 and above are a type of hyper gain setting that takes the machine above and beyond, but in extreme ground overload signals may occur. Overload signals are indicated by a “warning siren” audio and the machine is telling you that there is either a large metal object under the coil, or that you are encountering extreme mineralization. In the case of mineralization, either raise the coil slightly while scanning, lower the sensitivity setting, or both. Overloads occurring at 70 will almost always be eliminated by dropping to 69. Rest assured very little is lost by lowering sensitivity to 69 or below, again, because many detectors cannot be set as hot as the Gold Racer even at their maximum setting. Do you ever run detectors and have the distinct feeling some performance has been left on the table, because the detector can always be run at maximum settings? Makro has given you that extra power for where it can be used, but in doing so they expect you will lower settings in places where that extra power works against you. Luckily, the audio alert makes it easy to know when this is. Most people do not know it but many detectors simply shut down and quit working under similar conditions with no indication at all to the operator, a situation referred to as “silent masking”. ads by Amazon... The threshold setting is the normal control that sets the volume of the slight audio tone that is key to any experienced nugget hunter finding the tiniest or deepest gold nuggets. The most minute variations in the threshold tone can indicate a gold nugget, and the ability to read the threshold is what sets most really good nugget hunters apart from everyone else. Makro has added a feature to the Gold Racer called iSAT, for “Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold”. This setting consists of several levels of adjustment that vary the rate at which the threshold tone steadies itself. Higher levels of iSAT smooth the threshold more aggressively which aids in maintaining a smooth threshold in rapidly varying ground. Lower levels allow for faint variations to be heard more clearly in milder ground for extra depth and sensitivity. The Gold Racer can be ground balanced three ways. Holding the trigger switch under the control pod in the forward position activates an instant automatic ground balance. Just pump the coil over the ground a couple times, release the trigger, and you are done. There is a short delay when you release the trigger, and during this delay you may manually adjust the ground balance setting. The instant ground balance is neutral to slightly negative. Those that like a slightly positive ground balance need only perform the instant balance, then tap the right hand control button three of four times. The Tracking function on the control panel engages and disengages automatic ground tracking. This is most useful where the ground conditions vary wildly, a perfect example being mixed cobble piles or river bars. The tracking is very quick yet resists tracking out genuine gold signals as much as possible. This can also be an aid to anyone new to ground balancing detectors as it makes the process entirely automatic. The Backlight setting adjusts the illumination level of the backlit screen. The FD/Save setting allows adjustments to be saved when the detector is powered off, while the FD function resets Factory Defaults. There is also a Frequency Shift setting to help eliminate outside electrical interference from power lines, or another Gold Racer being operated nearby. This is set through a combination of control buttons but not visible on the menu. Finally, although this is a true threshold based all metal mode, the meter acts independently in discrimination mode at all times and indicates target id information when the signal strength is sufficient to do so. Easy to read well designed screen Under the Discrimination menu are settings that are completely separate from the All Metal settings and also saved or reset separately. Disc 1 is a standard two tone mode with low tone ferrous and higher tone non-ferrous. Disc 2 is a similar but deeper, more powerful mode. Quick switching between these two modes, each with fully independent settings, creates a many layered and subtle approach to target discrimination. Both discrimination modes are silent search, no threshold based systems. However, new to Makro models is the ability to set the point at which low tones flip, or “break” over into being higher tones. Typically 39 and lower target id will cause a low tone, and 40 and above a higher tone. This ability somewhat replaces the three tone mode on the original Racer because by increasing the Tone Break setting it is possible to create various coin detecting scenarios. For instance, all targets with an id number below copper penny could register low tone, and therefore copper pennies, dimes, quarters, and dollar coins a higher tone. Conversely, lowering the Tone Break setting would create a more conservative approach for nugget detecting by accepting a little more ferrous digging in return for possibly finding another nugget or two. The Sensitivity control on the Disc menu is the same as but independent of the All Metal setting of the same name. ID Filter is a variable discrimination control, with higher settings eliminating or blanking out id numbers lower than the current setting. This setting is independent for each Disc mode, and again flipping back and forth can create some interesting scenarios for comparing targets at completely different sensitivity and ID Filter levels. This quick mode switching between All Metal, Disc1, and Disc2, all with independent settings, is a very powerful tool once you get used to it. Also new with the Gold Racer is the iMask setting. I noted at the start of this review that all metal detector designs involve making trades of some sort. Extreme high frequency sensitivity to small metal targets does increase chatty false responses in extreme ground when in the discrimination modes. iMask attenuates or suppresses weaker target responses in the discrimination modes and provides a secondary level of adjustment separate from and in addition to the Sensitivity and ID Filter settings. If the detector is producing lots of quick, spurious signals in the discrimination modes, reducing sensitivity or increasing ID Filter settings or both is the first line of attack. If this does not work, go back to the original settings on those functions, and try increasing the iMask setting. If this does not work, again lower sensitivity or increase the ID Filter or both on top of the current iMask setting. iMask acts as a pre-filter giving an extra level of control to help deal with extremely bad ground conditions. Finally, Disc1 is a less aggressive mode than Disc2, so using Disc1 offers even another level of possible options when dealing with bad ground in the discrimination modes. The Backlight setting is independent for the discrimination modes, as is the Factory Default/Save Settings function. I think it goes without saying that there has never been a high frequency metal detector ever produced with this level of options and control. There are a lot of variables to play with here, and I would not be truthful at all if I said I have this machine all figured out. In fact, I think part of the fun with the Makro Gold Racer is we are entering uncharted territory. Until the final version of the machine is released, and until quite a few people get their hands on it and experiment, it is very difficult to say just what applications creative detectorists may find for the Gold Racer. It is a very powerful VLF gold prospecting detector, I can vouch for that. Applications also may be found for jewelry detecting and relic hunting in particular, and even coin detecting, due to the unique combination of features the Makro Gold Racer offers. OK, finally – some notes on real world use! Again, this is all based on prototype models and so I can only speak in generalities for this report. However, there is no doubt in my mind that even the prototype detectors rival anything currently available in a VLF detector for finding tiny gold nuggets. I can easily locate flakes of gold weighing under one tenth grain with the Gold Racer and the stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil. In fact, the machine is so hot with the stock coil I thought using a smaller coil offered minimal if any benefit, mostly because of lost ground coverage and possibly lost depth on larger nuggets. I would only use the smaller coil myself for nooks and crannies where the stock coil can’t fit, but otherwise the stock coil really is the way to go in my opinion. Keep in mind I did say grain not gram. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce and in my opinion I can find flakes all day long with the Gold Racer that weigh less than 1/10th grain, or less than 1/4800th ounce. Smallest nugget unweighable, largest 2.4 grams In trashy locations I generally preferred running in all metal and just checking the meter for ferrous targets, which tend to lock in hard at 21 or 22 on the numbers. In theory anything under 40 is ferrous, but to be safe I might investigate items as low as 35 or even 30 depending on the situation and amount of trash. However, as I noted most ferrous locks in hard around 20 leaving no doubt what the target is. In All Metal mode very tiny or very deep targets beyond discrimination range give no target id at all, automatically meaning they need investigation. The main reason I prefer to always hunt in All metal is the extra depth and sensitivity it affords, and checking targets visually is very quick and more efficient than toggling back and forth to a Disc mode under normal circumstances. For areas with too much trash where meter watching might get to be a bit too much, I normally use one of the disc modes set for two tone ferrous/non-ferrous. Iron targets just burp away, while non-ferrous target pop out with a beep. If even that got to be too much for some people, increasing the ID Filter to eliminate most ferrous responses completely can make for a quieter experience in really trashy locations. As always, I must include the warning that the more discrimination applied, the more risk of missing a good target. Use no more discrimination than needed to preserve your sanity! I used the Gold Racer to hunt a couple trashy areas where I just could not go with my big dollar all metal machine, and easily located nuggets in the midst of trash. For me personally the Makro Gold Racer fills in two areas where the high price big gun detectors come up short. The ability to find the tiniest, most dispersed gold possible, both in flake form or enclosed in specimen rock. And the ability to deal with really trashy areas where good discrimination is needed. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was when I decided to give the 15.5” x 13” DD coil a try. Honestly, I did not expect much from it. You normally do not see a coil this large for high frequency machines because the ground feedback usually overwhelms them, negating any gains that can be had regarding depth. Instead, the Gold Racer seemed to be even better behaved with the larger coil than with the smaller coils. I hunted some cobble piles with it and it ran smooth as can be at higher sensitivity levels. I then wandered into some moderately hot ground with it, still with no problems, and was actually surprised when I came up with a couple small gold nuggets with it. The first was only 0.8 grams which I thought was pretty fantastic. So I put a little more effort into it, and found a 0.3 gram nugget. With a 15.5” x 13” DD coil on a VLF? That is really kind of unheard of, and I was thoroughly impressed. I am not sure what is going on there but I do know the Makro detectors can sense what coil is on the detector. Something different going on with that big coil? I don’t know, but the results and performance surprised me. Also surprising was that for such a large coil it actually was not bad swinging it for half a day. That could be from my using large, heavy detectors all summer however. Still, it was an eye opener all around and changed how I think my Gold Racer might get used in the future. It looks to have more use for covering very large areas blue sky prospecting than I would have imagined. The 15" x 13" DD coil is unique for detectors running in this frequency range I would be remiss if I did not include at least a note on the versatility possible with the Gold Racer. I recently took it to a local park. Now, my ground in Reno is screaming hot, full of magnetite. The mineral percentage graph on the Gold Racer and similar machines all come up one bar short of maxed, and ground balance numbers run around 88-90. A magnet dropped in this stuff comes up with a lump of magnetite. As a result getting accurate target id numbers with even the best coin detectors past 5” is a chore. I know that sounds crazy but it is the truth. I ran the 5” DD coil and even then had to back the sensitivity down to 69 to prevent overloads in the worst areas. One thing about the Racer detectors that I have heard people complain about, and that is that they tend to up average target numbers in bad soil. For me this is a good thing. Many detectors will see target id number average lower in bad ground, and so fringe targets are more likely to get identified as ferrous when they are in reality non-ferrous. This is obviously not a good thing for nugget detecting. The Racer and the Gold Racer both tend to up average, and so targets like lead sinkers or aluminum that you would expect to give lower numbers often give coin like responses with the Racers. It is odd to see in practice. I got a good high signal reading near 80 at about 5” that when dug up turned out to be a common round lead fishing sinker. Out of the hole the target id promptly dropped to about 45. This effect whether by design or by accident is common with European detectors. I think it is by design because first and foremost these machines are made to pull non-ferrous targets out of ferrous trash. Improperly identifying a non-ferrous item as ferrous is the worst possible result, and so up averaging helps insure that non-ferrous items will not be missed. However, it also means these types of detectors are not as efficient at cherry picking coins as common coin detectors are. You get the coins for sure, but you dig more trash doing it. Still, I experimented a few hours and if you are content to live with the limitation I just described you can actually make some good finds with the Gold Racer under almost any conditions. The ID Filter works very well, and by just running it all the way to 79 it was easy for me to cherry pick a few coins though larger aluminum items like screw caps or big pull tabs often came up in the 80s also. I do think this is a result dependent on ground conditions to some degree, but really the Gold Racer is best suited for people like me who want to recover all non-ferrous targets. I prefer to hunt jewelry rather than coins myself, as one gold ring makes up for a pile of coins. And to hunt jewelry you have to dig aluminum, no two ways about that. The Gold Racer will suit me well hunting jewelry, especially micro jewelry like ear rings and fine chains. This report is very long, and yet I really am just skimming over the features and possibilities inherent in the Makro Gold Racer. I will close by once again noting that while everything regarding the Gold Racer is pretty much set in stone at this point, last second changes are possible. Look for more soon when the factory production models hit the street. I also get frustrated when people want information on new units, but then turn right around and characterize reports trying to provide that information as hype or a sales pitch. I have tried my best here to just present what facts I can without leading anyone to think that the Gold Racer is anything other than what it is. And that, in my opinion, is a very interesting, unique, and capable metal detector. I look forward to hearing for myself in the future what people think about it and the applications and tricks they come up with, because you pretty much need to toss anything you think you know out the door when approaching this machine. Many thanks to the folks at Makro and in particular Dilek Gonulay for providing me with the opportunity to be one of the first to use the Gold Racer. I admit that VLF detectors were beginning to bore me, and the Gold Racer has reignited my interest in seeing what they can do for me. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2015 Herschbach Enterprises
  29. 1 point
    The Chisana area of Alaska was the site of the last major gold rush in Alaska in 1913. As a young man researching areas to look for gold I found a reference to this remote location in the Wrangell St. Elias Mountains. It is accessible only by air and for short periods of time each year. I started visiting this area in the early 1970's and then off and on again over the decades that followed. The area is high above treeline and frozen for most of the year. It was mined with simple shovel into sluice box type operations along the creeks followed up by hydraulic mining on bench deposits. The remote location, lack of water, short season, and generally small area of the gold deposits meant this district never saw anything more complex than hydraulic mining operations. In later year operations have been confined to smaller scale hand operations plus gold dredging and metal detecting. I told a couple stories about this area as part of my Steve's Mining Journal but kept fairly low key about the location. This was mostly because the claim owners were not looking for publicity. However, the mine owners decided to sell a couple of their claims. They had to advertise them to sell them. That in turn gave me the excuse to finally tell more about my visits to the place over the years, and to share the many photos I have of this rather unique part of Alaska. I am telling the tale as part of an on-going episodic thread on the Detector Prospector Forum - The Chisana Story - check it out! Steve Herschbach with gold creviced from bedrock at Chisana, Alaska
  30. 1 point
    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
  31. 1 point
    The XP metal detector company has announced a new model for late 2018 called the XP ORX. This new model appears to be a refined version of the XP manufactured Depar DPR 600. The DPR 600 was made to take advantage of the African gold rush by offering a model designed primarily as a gold prospecting detector with other uses taking a back seat. I personally think the Depar DPR 600 was used as a proving ground for the new high frequency (HF) coils while also offering an opportunity to fine tune the Gold Field program. My expectation all along is that XP would eventually release a similar model for sale outside of Africa. It looks like after almost two years that new refined version of the DPR 600 is available for purchase as the XP ORX. This introduction is so new that information at this time is limited - everything here is subject to change as new details emerge. For now what we know for sure is that the XP Orx will be available in two configurations. The versions are basically the same, with a wired headphone version for 700 Euro, and a wireless headphone version for 800 Euro. U.S. pricing is unknown at this time but $799 and $899 is probably in the ballpark. You can choose either the 9" round HF coil or 5" x 9.5" elliptical HF coil. There is no exact word on availability yet, but presumably we will be seeing this model available for purchase in early 2019. XP ORX gold prospecting metal detector It is possible hints about the new XP Orx can be gleaned by reading the DPR 600 User Manual. One main difference is in the User Modes. The DPR 600 and XP Orx both have four preset programs plus two user custom program slots for saved programs. The programs on the DPR 600 are designated as 1. General 2. Large Gold 3. Fine Gold 4. Iron Discriminate. The XP Orx is designed for a bit wider appeal, and so it looks like the General and Iron Disc modes have been recast as coin hunting modes. The modes on the XP Orx are 1. Gold 2. Fine Gold 3. Coin Fast 4. Coin Deep ORX Key features: HF coil technology (21 Frequencies ranging from 13 to 81kHz). Extreme sensitivity to small targets with high frequency 50kHz and 81 kHz. 4 factory programs: Gold Prospecting (x2) – Coins and Relic (x2), + 2 user. Trusted XP fast wireless technology: Coil – Remote – Headphones – MI-6. The all new “WS Audio®” compact wireless headphone receiver. Re designed ultra-light Telescopic “S” stem. The lightest machine on the market at only 770grs (remote hip mounted). Easy to operate with a user-friendly interface. Wireless connectivity to the MI-6 pinpointer + advanced remote settings. Lithium batteries, giving up to around 20 hours of detecting. Easy to charge with any certified USB charger or via computer (XP USB charger optional only) Available with a choice of HF coils – 22cm (9") Round or 24/13cm (9.5"x5") Elliptical. Compatible with the X35 coil range (22, 28, 34/28cm). Software Update (remote control via USB cable). Go terrain mobile app compatible (coming 2019). 5-year warranty – Made in France. Affordable price – Suggested maximum retail price: 699€ including taxes – 799€ including taxes with wireless headphone (WSA). Note that the upper armrest area of the rod has been redesigned and is different than the existing Deus rod assembly. XP ORX Controls & Settings ORX settings: 99 levels of sensitivity 21 frequencies (13 kHz to 81 kHz). 99 levels of discrimination + 5 levels of IAR Discrimination in Gold programs. 20 levels of Threshold. 4 levels of Reactivity. Iron Tone with Pitch audio (ON/OFF) Ground balance: manual adjustment from 60 to 90 or automatic (fast grab). Salt mode ground rejection: 00-25 4 factory + 2 user programs. Target ID/ Iron probability. Pinpoint function with target zoom. Go-Terrain compatible (smartphone app coming soon). ads by Google... XP ORX MI-6 Compatibility Advanced remote settings when the ORX is paired with the MI-6 pinpointer: 50 levels of sensitivity Audio tone from 120 Hz to 1582 Hz 2 audio modes: PITCH or PULSE 3 factory + 1 user program Recover a lost MI-6 (even when switched off) Target zoom screen Battery life indicator I don't think there is much mystery here except for how many people will opt for this new model versus the new X35 coil based Deus models. In my opinion by extending the top end frequency of the new X35 coils to 28 khz has inadvertently removed some of the demand for this higher frequency version. Small gold sensitivity gains over 30 khz are quite minimal and with the extra features the Deus offers many people may continue to prefer it as their detecting solution. A lot may boil down to the price difference between a 9" round X35 Deus package and the 9" round HF Orx package. No matter what I am very confident this new high frequency XP model will do very well for gold prospecting. I do not expect performance to be any different than that I observed while testing the XP Deus with elliptical HF coil on small gold. XP Orx Data & Reviews XP Orx Owner's Manual Forum Threads Tagged "xp orx" XP Metal Detector Forum XP ORX Technical Specifications* Internet Price estimate $649 wired headphones or $795 wireless headphones Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 14, 28, 56 kHz (round 9") or 14, 28, 70 kHz (elliptical) Autotune Mode(s) Multiple "Reactivity" Settings Ground Rejection Grab, Manual, Tracking Soil Adjust No 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 9.5" elliptical DD Optional Search Coils new X35 coil series Battery Built In Rechargeable Operating Time 20 hours Weight 2.0 lbs Additional Technology Wireless coils, control box, headphones; firmware updates via internet Notes Probably based on "Africa Only" Depar DPR 600 *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
  32. 1 point
    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.
  33. 1 point
    The Fisher F19 was introduced in 2014 and is still in production. It was originally released in two "Limited Edition" models that feature a camouflage paint scheme, one in green and one in pink. There are no other differences between the Ltd models and the standard black and gold model finally released in late 2015 except for a slightly lower price. The Fisher F19 is basically a Fisher Gold Bug Pro enhanced with additional features to make it more appealing as an all around detector. The F19 is mainly targeting the relic hunting market. The features revolve around enhancing the discrimination capabilities for working in sites with heavy ferrous trash. In particular, the ability to adjust the volume of the ferrous tones has been welcomed by many. A backlight has also been added for working in low light conditions. First Texas, the company that owns Fisher, also markets this detector under the Teknetics brand as the Teknetics G2+. The main difference is the Teknetics model uses the pistol grip rod and handle from the Teknetics T2 instead of the "S" rod utilized on the F19. Fisher F19 Black and gold variant with 6" x 10" DD coil The extra features do not really add to the ability of the F19 to perform as a nugget detector but neither do they detract from that capability, and some people may prefer this detector to the Gold Bug Pro due to the extra versatility. In particular those wishing to have the 5" x 10" DD coil as the primary and only coil for the detector will be interested because this currently is the only model in the series that comes with this coil as standard equipment.\I am a big fan of the Gold Bug Pro but if I was to buy another one new today I would personally be looking at the F19 or G2+. I may not have a pressing need for the extra features, but I would rather have options and not need them then find a time when I want the option and don't have it! These machines have been offered periodically at very steep discounts, and so with careful shopping you can get an F19 for not much more than a Gold Bug Pro, especially once you consider the coil options. Fisher F19 with 11" DD Coil Option and Teknetics G2+ variant Official Fisher F19 Page Fisher F19 User Review Page Fisher F19 Instruction Manual Difference Between Gold Bug, F19, and G2+ Forum Threads Tagged "fisher f19" First Texas (Fisher) Metal Detector Forum Fisher F19 Technical Specifications* Internet Price $449.00 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Transmit Frequency 19 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Pre-Set Slow Motion Ground Rejection Manual Touch Pads with Grab Function Soil Adjust No Discrimination One turn control, Visual ID, Tone ID, Notch Disc Volume Control Yes 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 No Standard Coil(s) 5" x 10" DD or 7" x 11" DD Optional Search Coils Many accessory coils available Battery One 9V Operating Time 15 hours Weight 2.6 pounds Additional Technology Meter backlight, ferrous volume control, adjustable tone breakpoint between ferrous and non-ferrous Notes Available in green camo and pink camo or standard black & gold *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
  34. 1 point
    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
  35. 1 point
    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.
  36. 1 point
    The Fisher Gold Bug 2 was released in 1995 and is still in production over 20 years later. I had the first Gold Bug 2 in Alaska and to this day it is one of my all time favorite detectors - a true classic. Amazingly, nobody has come out with a better detector for hitting tiny gold after all these years. Quite a few models have tried to challenge the Gold Bug 2 on the tiniest gold, and while many can be said to give the "Bug" a run for its money it is debatable if any have really exceeded it. There is a specialized tool called the Falcon Gold Probe that will actually hit smaller gold than a Gold Bug 2, but it would be more properly termed a pinpointer than a normal metal detector. What makes the Gold Bug 2 special is the 71 kHz operating frequency. It was the highest operating frequency in a commonly available ground balancing metal detector for a long time. When paired with the 6" elliptical concentric search coil, the Gold Bug 2 easily detects small pieces of gold weighing less than 1/10th grain. There are 480 grains in an ounce so we are talking less than a 4800th of an ounce! I have a set of digital powder sales that weighs to 1/10th grain, and I regularly found single flakes of gold that will not register on the scale with the Gold Bug 2. Don't think such small gold is found at any depth. I get these tiny bits by literally scrubbing the small epoxy filled coil into the soil. The coil is tough and immune to false signals from being knocked around so the goal is to get that coil right down on the gold. The 6" epoxy filled concentric coil perfectly tuned to the Gold Bug 2 is no doubt part of the magic since other detectors in this class normally run DD coils. The Gold Bug 2 is a perfect detector for "scrape and detect" operations where the surface is carefully scraped away to expose more soil for detecting. It is also ideal for checking quartz for tiny gold, like when hunting around old mine dumps. The Gold Bug 2 will hit specimens with wire or sponge gold that other detectors cannot detect. There are only three coils for the Gold Bug 2, a 6.5" elliptical, 10" elliptical, and 14" elliptical. All three are concentric coils - there has never been a DD coil produced for the Gold Bug 2. I am a little surprised there have never been any aftermarket coils produced for the Gold Bug 2 due to its enduring popularity. I have always wanted a probe for it that would basically turn it into a Falcon Gold Probe type unit, but with more adjustment and iron discrimination. The coils are all waterproof and come with extra long seven foot cables for use when the control box is chest or hip mounted. The coils are among the best I have ever used and are immune to false signals from bumps and knocks. The chart below illustrates a common misperception. People often ask which coil gets the most depth, and it is assumed bigger coils go deeper. That is definitely not true. Coil size has to be matched to probable target size for best depth, and the chart clearly shows how running too large a coil can cause gold nuggets to be missed entirely. The normal 10" coil is a compromise but better depths can be obtained using not only larger coils but smaller coils. Since I normally hunted small gold with my Gold Bug 2 the small coil rarely came off it. Coil Size vs Depth Fisher Gold Bug 2Source - Field Testing the Gold Bug 2 by Gordon Zahara Despite the high operating frequency the Gold Bug 2 can be made to work in the worst ground conditions. I took one to Australia recently and was surprised how well it did in tough ironstone country. It has a very good iron discrimination setting intended for rejecting man made ferrous trash. This also acts as the setting of last resort for highly iron mineralized soils and hot rocks. When in iron discriminate mode common hot rocks will be ignored or at most pop and click, but they will not sound like gold. Some sensitivity is lost in iron disc mode, but the Gold Bug 2 is so sensitive to small gold it will still hit small nuggets in disc mode that other detectors would miss. The design is very compact and tough, and with what is getting rare these days, a removable control box. The box can be slid off the rod, and slipped on a belt with the integrated belt slots. There is plenty of extra cable, and a chest mount can easily be made with just a belt and a camera strap. This is ideal for working in deep water or heavy rain since the control box is protected and better yet creates a detector so light it can be used for very long hours with no arm strain at all. I usually have the Gold Bug 2 set at full volume and full sensitivity, with the mineralization switch set to low and audio boost engaged. I run this way until I can't due to hot rocks or ground, and then usually go to iron disc mode. However, if you do stay in all metal mode the proper way to deal with mineralization issues like hot rocks is to reduce the sensitivity, mineralization switch settings, or both. Disengaging the audio boost also moderates the responses generated by tough ground. Audio boost does just that - it boosts the audio so that faint signals are louder and more distinct. It also boosts spurious ground signals and so in some cases you may want to run the detector in Normal audio. I have found in practice I very rarely take the Gold Bug 2 out of audio boost mode. Fisher Gold Bug 2 nugget prospecting detector I should note here that the Gold Bug 2 employs VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) audio. Responses not only get louder but they increase in pitch ,producing very distinct "zippy" responses on non-ferrous targets. Large targets literally squeal. Some people think this means the Gold Bug 2 employs some sort of audio discrimination because they can tell a coin response from small trash responses due to this. All that is really happening is that strong signals sound different than weak signals, and so a deep coin will sound just like a shallower, smaller target. The mineralization switch adjusts the threshold auto tune rate, with the low setting being a slow auto tune and high being a very fast auto tune. This is similar to White's Variable Self Adjusting Threshold (V/SAT) control but instead of variable you get three preset selections to choose from. A fast auto tune setting dramatically impacts performance but can be an aid in very uneven ground conditions. Experiment with it to see what I mean but for me in most places it stays set in low. You can find more information on auto tune at Steve's Guide to Threshold Autotune, SAT & V/SAT. Fisher has gone this one better by also adjusting the gain (sensitivity) via these settings at the same time as the auto tune rate is adjusted. The Low Mineral setting not only slows down the auto tune rate but it boosts the gain above and beyond where the sensitivity control is set. The high mineral setting speeds up the auto tune rate and attenuates the gain. Fisher Gold Bug 2 control panel There is an undocumented trick that may or may not work on any particular Gold Bug 2 in iron disc mode. The threshold control usually has no effect when the unit is in iron disc mode. However, some units display a distinct difference in iron disc performance between the threshold being set low or being set high. This ability to "supercharge" a silent search disc mode by turning the threshold up is not unheard of in other detectors and it appears some Gold Bug 2 models have this ability. Several of us used this ability to good effect at Ganes Creek. The detector pops and clicks a lot when supercharged in this fashion but adds considerable depth on large gold nuggets. After awhile the popping and clicking is mentally tuned out as nuggets have a distinctly clearer beep. This ability may have been an accident on some units, as more recent Gold Bug 2 models display no change in the disc mode when the threshold control is manipulated. A simple air test between low and high threshold settings while in iron disc mode will reveal if your Gold Bug 2 has this ability to be supercharged. The iron discrimination on the Gold Bug 2 is unique compared to most detectors in that it is either on or off. There is no direct adjustment of the setting. In theory the Gold Bug 2 in iron discriminate mode rejects signals from ferrous man-made iron and steel targets plus many ferrous based hot rocks. It does this by simply ignoring and producing no signal on items deemed ferrous in nature. The setting is designed to be conservative, and so it does produce a signal on many ferrous items, but the audio response is choppy and more often a "click" than a "beep". Practice with a nugget and various ferrous targets will make the differences clear. ads by Amazon... The more mineralized the ground, the more chance there is of gold nuggets being accidently rejected as ferrous. Borderline targets will often be rejected if swept one way and sound good if swept another way. It is therefore not a good idea to hunt directly in iron discriminate mode, as a bad call on the first sweep will cause you to miss the target and not even know it was there. It is better to hunt in all metal, then flip to iron disc to check the target. This can be an undue burden in thick trash though and sometimes it is simply more efficient to hunt directly in disc mode, but the likelihood of missing nuggets goes up dramatically. As noted above the threshold setting may have an effect on the responses generated in the iron disc mode. The sensitivity setting will also affect the setting, and by enhancing ferrous ground mineralization response it may also lead to more gold nuggets being identified as ferrous. the ground response overwhelms the nugget response leading to a false iron reading. Reducing sensitivity may produce more accurate iron disc readings in bad ground. If you are switching back and forth from all metal to iron disc mode constantly it can prematurely wear out the switch. I have seen several examples of the switch getting so loose as to be inoperable due to the nut on the backside of the control panel becoming loose or even falling off inside the control box. The control panel can be removed and the nut tightened if this is the case. I have found many thousands of gold nuggets with the Gold Bug 2. Granted most were small but not all. The largest I have found with the detector is a 4.95 ounce specimen at Ganes Creek, Alaska. I have numerous stories on Steve's Mining Journal that highlight the Gold Bug 2. See Detecting Small Gold at Crow Creek, Detecting Gold at Ganes Creek, Lode Gold at Hatcher Pass, Memorial Day at Ganes Creek, and Detecting Micro Nuggets at Crow Creek. The Gold Bug 2 is a very specialized detector usually used solely for gold nugget detecting. Recently people have taken note of its extreme sensitivity and have pressed it into service searching for very small jewelry items that others detectors normally miss. Simple post earrings and thin gold chains are difficult if not impossible to detect and the Gold Bug 2 excels at finding these small targets. Thomas Dankowski coined the term "micro-jewelry detecting" to describe this type metal detecting. The Gold Bug 2 does have limitations. The extreme sensitivity that makes it signal on hot rocks that other detectors would ignore. This can be very problematic in some locations, although somewhat offset by using the iron disc control in places where the hot rocks are iron based. More serious is that in highly mineralized ground the Gold Bug 2 has very poor depth on pennyweight and larger gold nuggets compared to most nugget detectors. The high frequency air tests very well but loses that depth quickly on in ground targets. Depth losses of 20-25% are not unusual with the Gold Bug 2 in highly mineralized ground when compared to detectors running in the 12-20 kHz range. The Gold Bug 2 is often best used when paired with another detector for depth on large gold while it serves as the small gold sniper. The Gold Bug 2 also gives a strong response on wet salt sand and so when used for micro-jewelry detecting on salt water beaches wet sand must be avoided. Despite these caveats, I consider the Gold Bug 2 to be a unique and essential detecting tool that even after 20 years is worth consideration by gold prospectors wanting the hottest metal detector possible on tiny gold. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2008 Herschbach Enterprises Official Fisher Gold Bug 2 Page Fisher Gold Bug 2 Instruction Manual Control Box Cover for Gold Bug 2 Hip Mount / Chest Mount For Gold Bug 2 Changes To GB2 Rod & Coil Design Forum Threads Tagged "fisher gold bug 2" First Texas (Fisher) Metal Detectors Forum Fisher Gold Bug 2 Technical Specifications* Internet Price $699.00 Technology Induction Balance (IB) Frequency 71 kHz Autotune Mode(s) Fast, Medium & Slow Autotune Rate Ground Rejection Manual - Course and Fine Tune Knobs Soil Adjust (High/Normal/Low) Three position switch Discrimination Iron Disc setting (On or Off) Volume Control One turn control Threshold Control One turn control Tone Adjust No Audio Boost Yes (On or Off) Frequency Offset No Pinpoint Mode No Audio Output 1/4" headphone socket & speaker Hip Mount Hip, chest, or shaft mount Standard Coil(s) Choice of 10" or 6" elliptical concentric Optional Search Coils 14" concentric accessory coil available Battery Two 9V Operating Time 25 - 35 hours Weight 2.9 pounds with 10" coil Additional Technology Notes Extreme high frequency detector for sensitivity to the smallest gold. *Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.
  37. 1 point
    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!
  38. 1 point
    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
  39. 1 point
    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
  40. 1 point
    Jack Wade Creek runs along the Taylor Highway a few miles north of Chicken, Alaska. It has a long mining history. Jack Wade Creek is open to recreational gold panning from one-quarter mile (0.4 km) upstream of the Walker Fork Campground to the mining claims near Milepost 85. No permits are required. Panning is not allowed on adjacent mining claims. What's Allowed: gold pans, picks, pry bars, shovels, metal detectors, manually fed rocker boxes and sluice boxes. What's Not Allowed: Motorized equipment, including suction dredges, pumps, and earthmoving equipment; disturbing the Taylor Highway roadbed or shoulders. Jack Wade Creek is in the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River Corridor and so is subject to special rules and restrictions. Camping is prohibited between Walker Fork Campground (milepost 82) and Warner Creek (milepost 92). Camping for more than nine days at other locations may require a permit. See the BLM River Corridor Rules for details. Walker Fork Campground is a BLM fee campground with eighteen sites, outhouses, and a picnic area. Gold nuggets found by Steve Herschbach on Jack Wade Creek with a metal detector Note from Steve Herschbach: I spent a lot of time on Jack Wade Creek in 2013 and 2014 and found a lot of gold there metal detecting. I have stayed both in Chicken and commuted to Jack Wade to look for gold. I have also stayed at the very nice Walker Fork Campground. The campground saves a 40 mile round trip drive each day, but staying in Chicken can get you access to Wi-Fi for communications (no cell phones towers here). These trips were posted online at Steve's 2013 Alaska Gold Adventure and Steve's 2014 Alaska Gold Adventure. There are many photos and tips there that will be very helpful for anyone considering a trip to Chicken, Alaska and Jack Wade Creek. Jack Wade Creek Public Gold Panning Area Rules Jack Wade Creek Public Gold Panning Area Location Map
  41. 1 point
    The mention of Alaska has always conjured up visions of gold. Early gold-seekers traveled to Alaska by every means imaginable and endured endless hardships. They stayed to build communities in the wilderness. Present-day travelers, still lured by gold, come to Alaska to try their hand at panning or sluicing on the streams of the last frontier. They search for elusive gold nuggets or other semi-precious minerals. The Dalton Highway Built in 1974 to transport materials to oilfields on the North Slope, the Dalton Highway slices through northern Alaska, paralleling the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from Livengood to Prudhoe Bay. The BLM manages public land on both sides of the highway from the Yukon River to Mile 301. The state manages the land from there to Prudhoe Bay. The Dalton Highway is a gravel road that can be very rough, dusty or slippery, depending on weather. If stopping, pull as far to the right as you safely can. Do not block the gates on pipeline access roads. Off-highway vehicle use is prohibited within five miles of the highway. Carry emergency equipment, such as a CB radio, blankets or sleeping bags, spare tires, standard tools and first-aid equipment. Gas, restaurant food, lodging, phone, tire repair, and emergency towing are available at Yukon Crossing (summer only) Coldfoot, and Deadhorse. No other public services are available along the Dalton Highway. Recreational Mineral Collection Some BLM-managed public lands along the Dalton Highway south of Atigun Pass are open to recreational mineral collection. The BLM has inventoried and rated these streams for their mineral potential. The ratings are listed on the map below. Areas closed to recreational mineral collection include the pipeline right-of-way (27 feet on either side of the pipeline) and land legally claimed for mining or other purposes. You should stay at least 100 feet away from the pipeline to ensure you don't encroach on the right-of-way. To collect minerals on a private mining claim, you must obtain permission from the claimant. Check with the BLM's Public Information Center in Fairbanks (474-2251) to determine the claimant's name and address. The removal of placer gold on navigable waterways is regulated by the State of Alaska. For further information, contact the Department of Natural Resources at (907) 451-2705. Equipment You can use a pick, shovel, rocker and sluice box, and metal detector. Motorized equipment is not allowed. Suction dredging is prohibited within the Utility Corridor (the BLM-managed public lands surrounding the Dalton Highway) without prior authorization. Authorization can only be given for suction dredging on existing federal mining claims. Historic and Prehistoric Sites The 1906 Antiquities Act prohibits the removal, excavation or destruction of any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of historic value located on federal land. Please notify the BLM if you find any items protected by the Antiquities Act. Maps For accurate locations obtain the following inch-to-the-mile maps from U.S. Geological Survey. 1:63,360 quads: Bettles C-2, D-1, D-2 Wiseman A-1, B-1 Chandalar B-6, C-6 Dalton Highway Gold Panning Sites - Click image for larger version The use of any motorized vehicle off the highway is prohibited within 5 miles on either side of the Dalton Highway without prior written authorization. This prohibition does not apply to off-road vehicles necessary for oil and gas exploration, development, production, or transportation or to a person who holds a mining claim in the vicinity of the highway, and who must use land within five miles of the right-of-way of the highway to gain access to their mining claim. Camping Marion Creek Campground, approximately five miles north of Coldfoot, is the only developed public campground along the Dalton Highway. It has both pull-through and tent sites, as well as outhouses and a water well. Each site has a picnic table and either a grill or a fire ring. This BLM federal fee site is open June through mid-September. Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders pay half price. Campground hosts live on site. Travelers may also camp on gravel bars along rivers and in some pull-off areas left from old pipeline camps. Arctic soils and vegetation are easily damaged and take a long time to heal, so please practice “leave no trace” camping. Recreational camping is limited to 14 days at any one spot. Here is a list of parking areas, access points, and facilities. In general, be aware that facilities are few and far between on the Dalton Highway. Bring everything with you that you may need, including tools and spare tires. See the BLM Dalton Highway Visitor Guide 2017 for more information. Mile Agency Location Description 105.8 AF&G Kanuti River Small parking area and concrete boat launch to Kanuti River on east side of road. 115 BLM Arctic Circle Wayside Site is complete with a wayside, picnic tables, grills, restroom facilities, interpretive displays, and a campground. 132 BLM Gobblers Knob Wayside-Parking, toilet and scenic view. 135 DOT(P) Prospect Creek Day use campground area with restroom facilities and a boat launch area. Interpretation is planned. 136 BLM Jim River Parking and river access. 150 DOT(P) Grayling Lake A small turnout was identified as a potential site for interpretation of the archeology of the area. 156 BLM South Fork Koyukuk River Parking, unimproved boat launch at river crossing within highway ROW. 161 DOT(P) Chapman Lake Views of Brooks Range. Identified for improvements including a picnic area, restrooms, parking, and trails. 175-180 BLM Coldfoot/ Marion Creek Campground Amenities include a visitor center, restrooms, parking, campgrounds, and trailheads. Plans exist for interpretation. 186 DOT(P) Scenic Overlook Offers views of community of Wiseman and Koyukuk River. Interpretation about community and mining history possible. 188.5 DOT(P) Middle Fork Koyukuk Bridge #1 Bridge No.1 with turnout. Dolly Varden, grayling, whitefish. 197 DOT(P) Gold Creek Trailhead Established trails exist in area, parking and trailhead development at this site would improve access to the back country. 204-207 BLM Sukapak Mountain Overlook Small pull off could be expanded. The BLM has identified two potential sites for photo and interpretive opportunities. 207 DOT(P) Dietrich River Bridge Turnout to west at south end; burbot, grayling, whitefish and Dolly Varden. 211 DOT(P) Disaster Creek Served as a checkpoint during the development of the pipeline, interpretive opportunities exist, no scenic views. 235 DOT(P) Last Tree This site has been identified by the BLM as an interpretive site. Parking exists close by. For more information contact: U. S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Northern Field Office 1150 University Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-3844 (907) 474-2200 Related BLM publications: Birds along the Dalton Highway Dalton Highway Visitors Guide Bear Facts Current road conditions: Department of Transportation Recording: (907) 456-7623 Traveler's Advisory Radio: 1610 AM (originating at Fox, Alaska) Visitor information is available at: • Yukon Crossing Visitor Contact Station, Mile 56. Open Memorial Day to August 31 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., no phone. • Arctic Interagency Visitor Center, Mile 175. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., phone (907) 678-5209, fax (907) 678-2005. BLM Dalton Highway Visitor Guide 2017 BLM Dalton Highway Website Dalton Highway Corridor Management Area Source: The above is derived from the BLM brochure Dalton Highway - Areas Open to Recreational Mineral Collection.
  42. 1 point
    Sixmile Creek Gold Panning Area Early prospectors named Sixmile Creek because the creek was about six miles up Turnagain Arm from Cook Inlet. Gold was discovered in Sixmile Creek in 1895. In the 1930s, hydraulic mining was attempted. In recent years, there were several small suction dredge operations. Sixmile Creek has produced up to 2,000 troy ounces of gold, mainly in the area just below the confluence of Sixmile and Canyon creeks. A withdrawal bounded by the east bank of Sixmile Creek and a line 200 feet west of Hope Road’s centerline, is available for recreational panning—0.7 miles to 5 miles north of the Hope Junction (Map). Sixmile Creek south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula Sixmile Creek flows through a broad glacial valley with numerous gravel bars and some bedrock exposures. Park at mile 2.4 on the Hope Road, at the pull-out on the east side and follow a steep trail down the road embankment to Sixmile Creek (Map). Gravel bars along this stretch of creek contain flat flour gold and occasional small flakes. Pans have produced 15–20 fine colors of flat, well worn gold. The south end of the gravel bar nearest the road is best, especially on the downstream side of larger rocks. Panning gravel on bedrock downstream from the bar can also produce gold. A rough trail from the north end of the parking lot will reach these sites that are best accessed during low water. Rusty-colored quartz float along the creek sometimes contains pyrite (fool’s gold). Suction dredges (4-inch or smaller) are only allowed from May 15 to July 15 with a free ADF&G permit and a ADEC permit ($25 annual fee). You can find good panning at mile 4.3 on the Hope Road (not shown on map). Pull out on a short side road into the trees and follow the trail to Sixmile Creek. You can find gold on point bars to the east and old channels next to the creek. Sixmile Creek Public Mining Site Here are a few simple rules and guidelines that all recreational gold panners must know: Recreational gold panning on the Chugach National Forest consists of the use of hand tools, panning, sluicing, and suction dredging with a 4-inch or smaller intake hose. You must follow all National Forest rules, such as camping limits, discharge of firearms, and use of trails. You can find regulations in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), with general prohibitions in part 261. Review these regulations before you go gold panning. You can find copies of these regulations on the Internet and at Chugach National Forest offices in Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward, and Moose Pass. You can use gold pans and hand tools-fed sluice boxes year round in the streams listed in this booklet. No hydraulic mining or use of earth-moving equipment is allowed. Work only the active stream channel or unvegetated gravel bars. Do not dig in stream banks! You are not allowed to build structures, cut trees or dig up archaeological, historical, or paleontological objects, nor are you allowed to obstruct others in their recreational pursuits. If you find those objects, please report them to the Chugach National Forest. Suction dredges (4-inch nozzles or smaller) are permitted from May 15 to July 15 only. Remember that permits are required. The Kenai Peninsula is home to brown and black bears. Stay alert and avoid bears whenever possible. For more information, get Bear Facts from the U.S. Forest Service or Alaska Public Lands Information Centers. The water is cold and you can expect to get wet— after all, the gold is in the water. Wear insulated waterproof boots and gloves. Wool clothing can keep you warm even when wet. Bring extra clothing and dress in layers. Keep Alaska green, do not trash or litter. Many places have a $1,000 fine for littering. Follow Leave No Trace principles. Good luck and good prospecting! Sixmile Creek, Alaska in 2014 Most of the information above was derived from GOLD PANNING, Guide to Recreational Gold Panning on the Kenai Peninsula, Chugach National Forest, Alaska (2018) found here - See the full text for more information and details.
  43. 1 point
    A suction gold dredge is basically an underwater vacuum cleaner. Material is transported from underwater to the surface and run through a sluice box to capture the gold. A sluice box works because gold is 15 times heavier than sand and gravel and so is easily trapped by the riffles and carpet in the sluice box. Dredges almost always need to be mounted on a set of floats. This is because a dredge has just enough power to lift water and gravel to just above the surface of the water. Every inch of vertical lift above the surface of the water robs power/suction from the system. Floats are also needed because there is rarely a nice gravel bar in just the right place to set up a dredge without floats. Manufacturers rate suction dredges by the inside diameter of the main suction hose. So a 5" dredge has a main suction hose with a 5" inside diameter. However, nozzles are used on dredges which restrict the intake to a size smaller than the inside diameter to help prevent clogs. A 5" dredge may have a nozzle opening of 4" for this reason. The volume of material processed is determined by the nozzle opening, not the inside diameter of the hose. Therefore most dredge permits refer to the nozzle size, not the hose size, when imposing rules and restrictions. This is a very important thing to remember when working with permits. What a dredge manufacturer calls a 5" dredge may be a 4" intake nozzle dredge for permitting purposes. Nozzles sizes may be up to 2" smaller than hose sizes. A gold dredge is powered by a motor and pump. A common misperception is that gravel is sucked through the pump. The pump actually pumps only water, which is delivered to a venturi type device (called a power jet or a suction nozzle) which indirectly creates suction in a larger hose. The solves two problems. First, gravel pumps are very expensive, heavy, and high maintenance items. Second, a 2" pump can easily be used with a venturi to create suction in a 4" hose, greatly increasing the volume of material that can be processed. A common suction gold dredge design - 4" surface dredge with air compressor In normal operation a gold dredge is run by an operator at the intake nozzle who directs the nozzle and who captures and discards oversized rocks that would plug the intake hose. A properly set up sluice box does not need tending - all the material sucked up passes over the riffles with no extra attention needed by the operator. The operator can therefore stay at the nozzle and process material until the motor runs out of gas and needs refilling. The sluice box normally need not be cleaned out more than once a day at the end of the day. The riffles and carpet are removed and all material (concentrates) in the box washed into a tub and panned out with a simple gold pan. Larger dredges may employ gold wheels or other devices to aid in the cleanup of the concentrates. The diagram below shows a basic suction dredge flowchart. The foot valve is a one way valve with a screen. Nearly all dredge pumps are not self priming because the mechanism that enable self priming results in a less efficient pump. Simple fire fighting type high pressure, high volume pumps are employed which need to be primed before starting the motor. This explanation from Keene Engineering: "Before starting the engine, the pump must be fully primed. This means the pump must be full of water and all air removed. All jetting pumps provided with our dredges have a mechanical water pump seal. Without the presence of water in the pump, friction could cause a seal to overheat and require replacement. Priming the pump on some of the smaller models is accomplished by thrusting the foot valve back and forth under the surface of the water in a reciprocating motion. This will cause water to become pumped into the foot valve assembly into the pump. A pump is fully primed when water is observed flowing out of the discharge end of the pump. It sometimes may become necessary to hold the discharge hose above the level of the pump to complete the priming operation. The larger dredges that have a rigid foot valve, are easily primed by removing the cap provided on the foot valve and filling, until water overflows. Caution must be exercised to prevent sand from entering the foot valve or intake portion of the pump. Excess amounts of sand could dam age the water pump seal, or pump impeller. It is recommended that the intake portion of the foot valve be placed in a sand free environment underwater." The intake screen prevents large items from entering the pump, but sand can still pass through and cause excessive wear over time. Place the foot valve on rocks, in a bucket underwater, or strap it under the floats to keep it off the bottom and out of sand. Once a system is properly primed the one way valve retains the prime even if the pump is shut off, allowing for easy restarts. If the foot valve is allowed to suck air and the prime is lost, shut off the pump as quickly as possible to prevent damage to the pump seal. It is a good idea to always have a spare pump seal as once one is damaged the dredging operation will be at a standstill until a new one is installed. Water entering the footvalve passes through the pump intake hose and into the pump. It is pumped into the pressure hose and then into the venturi device that creates the suction in the main suction hose. The most common device is the power jet, which is installed in between the sluice box and the main suction hose. A power jet pulls material up and into the sluice box. An alternative is the suction nozzle which installs on the end of the suction hose in place of the suction tip. A suction nozzle pushes material up the suction hose and into the sluice box. Power jets take less hose and are more efficient so therefore very common. However, care must be taken to not suck air into the main suction hose or the system will stop working until all the air is purged from the hose. A suction nozzle keeps water in the system at all times and so is preferred for shallow water use where sucking air into the nozzle is inevitable. Suction nozzles are rarely seen as a stock item except on 1.5" or 2" dredges and must be added as an accessory item on larger dredges. The main suction hose is attached to the intake end of the power jet. It varies from 10 feet long on small dredges to 20 feet or more on larger dredges. A suction tip is fastened into the intake end of the hose which has a reduced opening to help prevent hose clogs. The discharge end of the power jet plugs into a flare. The flare widens the flow of material out to the width of the sluice box, and in doing so slows the speed at which the material enters the sluice box. When the material enters the sluice box it passes over a classifier screen and under a damper. The damper is usually a large sheet of rubber best seen in the photo at the top of this page, that rides on top of the flow of water. It smoothes the water flow and forces any small gold that may be riding on top of the water back into the main flow. The classifier screen also acts to slow the flow of water and create a partial separation of the large rocks from the smaller gold bearing material, which passes through the screen and directly into the first couple riffles. The screen may be a punch plate or a heavy wire mesh with holes varying from 1/4" to 1" in size. The main gold capturing section of the sluice box has riffles over a carpet. The riffles create gold traps which direct the gold into the carpet which captures and holds the gold. Many types of riffle designs exist, the most common being an inverted "L" design referred to as "hungarian riffles". Expanded metal screening of various types are also used in many sluice boxes as a riffle or in conjunction with other riffle types. Carpets employed included black ribbed rubber matting, riffled indoor/outdoor carpeting, and a type of carpeting referred to as "miners moss". Miners moss is a nickname for a type of commonly used in building entryways that looks like pressed spaghetti. The original design is 3M Nomad® but third party alternatives have recently become available. The open weave design that makes it good for trapping dirt from the bottom of shoes also makes it an excellent gold trapping carpet. Hookah Diving Air System An optional component on most suction dredges is an air compressor which is operated off the same motor as the pump via a belt and pulley arrangement. The air compressor is a special breathing air compressor than can deliver air to a diver underwater for as long as the motor is running. The air is delivered to the diver with an airline, reserve tank, and regulator. Surface air supply dive systems are commonly referred to as hookah diving systems. Dredges are normally sold as complete units but most component parts can be obtained separately as replacement parts or to build a custom dredge out of parts. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2012 Herschbach Enterprises
  44. 1 point
    This outing was part of my testing of the Minelab Gold Monster 1000, a new high frequency (45 kHz) VLF detector for gold nugget detecting. The Gold Monster 1000 was designed for use in Africa and other third world countries and therefore has some unique design features. The key design goal is ease of operation, and the control set is kept minimal, with everything possible done automatically. The GM1000 is the first nugget detector I have ever used that even has an automatic sensitivity tracking function. All this adds up to the Gold Monster 1000 being an extremely easy detector for beginners to learn. Yet the latest twist of high gain, high frequency circuitry means the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 has enough power to satisfy long-time detectorists like myself. Frankly, when I first saw the Gold Monster 1000 I thought it was an odd looking thing. The lack of normal threshold based operation in particular takes some getting used to for somebody who has an ear trained to listening to a threshold. The GM1000 is silent search, which is definitely disconcerting at first. However, the boosted audio and very good external speaker quickly won me over. The Gold Monster 1000 bangs out so loud on even the tiniest gold that this a machine you can use without headphones unless there is a lot of background noise. The near automatic operation makes the machine great for quick grab and go detecting. Between the automatic ground tracking and automatic sensitivity I found I could get the GM1000 to handle almost anything I threw at it, including some wet alkali ground that would quickly shut down most detectors of this type. I found I liked covering ground more quickly with the Gold Monster than would normally be the case with manual tune detectors. It is a terrific detector for quick and dirty scout work. Minelab Gold Monster 1000 on red Nevada soil dusted with salt particles - hot alkali ground! The problem with a silent search machine while in manual ground balance mode is that without a threshold you can end up leaving some performance on the table. If a setting of eight generates a little ground feedback, and you decide to go with 7 to make the machine completely silent, there is nothing wrong with that per se. However, if the ground changes and gets milder you may have the ability to run at a higher level of sensitivity, and without a change in the audio to alert you to a change in the ground, you will just leave the setting where it is. In my case if a setting of 7 is completely silent, I will bump to a setting of 8, and this almost always gives me that little ground feedback I want. If 7 is too noisy, I will drop to a setting of 6 and this will probably do the trick for me. The range between each setting seems about perfect for a person to settle on a range of three settings, too little, too much, and just right. For my areas 6 - 7 - 8 are the magic numbers. For worse ground the range may shift lower, to 5 - 6 - 7. Nugget embedded in lump of dirt excavated from ground while using Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Try and picture this. At sensitivity 7 I am just scanning along, coil lightly on the ground, with soft ground feedback, waiting for that hard little signal that even the tiniest target will generate. Then all the sudden the machine goes dead quiet. I have entered less mineralized ground. One thumb tap to sensitivity 8, and I get my "false threshold" back. Or, at a setting of 7 the machine gets noisier. Maybe a little alkali patch or more mineralized ground. A quick tap down to 6 reduces the feedback to my desired minimal level. What I am doing is letting the ground tracking do its job, and then just bumping the sensitivity up or down a notch to ride the ragged edge of best performance for the ground. Quick guide to Minelab Gold Monster 1000 functions / controls I for all intents and purposes always use the all metal deep seeking mode, and use the iron discrimination meter to decide whether the target is worth digging or not. The disc mode gives up significant depth, and items can be missed entirely whereas the all metal mode will always give a signal if at all possible. Personally I would only use the disc mode to shut down very troublesome hot rocks or for areas where the trash is so dense that analyzing each target would be too inefficient. I much prefer the 10" coil over the 5" coil for doing anything but chasing the tiniest bits. The 10" elliptical coil really will hit gold nearly as tiny as can be had with the 5" coil, but with double the ground coverage and much better depth on larger nuggets. To sum up, I will normally always run the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 in all metal mode, let the ground tracking handle the ground, and bump the sensitivity up or down within whatever three number range seems to work best in any given area. For me and northern Nevada 6 -7 - 8 does the trick very well. I have an article that explains the settings in much more detail here. Eleven gold nuggets found by Steve with GM1000 - 14.9 grains total, largest 4.4 grains, smallest at bottom 0.6 grain and 0.3 grain I found it deceptively easy to find some sub-grain bits of gold (480 grains per Troy ounce) in areas I have previously hunted. I went from skeptical about this funny looking little detector to being quite pleased with it, and currently it is one of my favorite detectors. A warning however. The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 handles ground as well as a hot VLF can, but it is in no way a substitute for a pulse induction detector in the worst ground and hot rocks. Anyone expecting that of an inexpensive little VLF is expecting too much. To sum up, I am having a terrific time with the GM1000 and am glad I got involved in the project. Thanks Minelab! This article started as a post on the DetectorProsepctor Forum. More information might be found there in follow up posts. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2017 Herschbach Enterprises
  45. 1 point
    I have done well in Hawaii with my Garrett ATX as told in my previous story at my previous story here. Most of the details of where and what I am doing, detector settings, etc. are all covered there so I will not repeat it all here. My wife only had a week off for spring break so I had half the time to work with this go round. Still, I think I did all right. Now that I have my system down less time was wasted figuring things out. I used the Garrett ATX exclusively with the 8" mono coil. Discrimination was 3 and Sensitivity 7-8 with unit ground balanced underwater over basalt rocks. I only worked in the water with mask and snorkel. I work right in the trough at the base of the beach slope a lot in 2'-4' waves and so I use 40 lbs of lead weight to help stay in place. Working overweighted in surf like this can be very dangerous if you do not have a very high comfort level. I have multiple SCUBA certifications up to and including my instructors certificate. Official disclaimer - I do not recommend working like this unless you are trained and know what you are doing. Just swimming trunks with shirt. I use cheap knee brace pullovers you get in the pharmacy area in a general store as knee pads. Cheap rubber coated work gloves to protect my hands while digging. Surf shoes to protect my feet, and a good mask and snorkel. I hook the velcro strap on the ATX armrest around the handle of a clasp closure mesh goodie bag to hold stuff as I recover it. I bend bobby pins before dropping them in the bag or they slip through the mesh. I hunt with mask and snorkel until I get a target. I look around for surfers and boogie boarders, evaluate the wave situation, and do a breath hold and duck to the bottom. I generally fan the bottom with my hand or excavate by hand to find the target, then stuff it in a goodie back hanging off my ATX armrest. Scoops are just one thing too many for me to handle in the surf and no good on hard surfaces anyway. I focus on the area where the sand is tapering into a hard coral or rock bottom that will catch and hold targets from sinking too deep. Steve with Garrett ATX geared up to metal detect in the surf My main change of strategy this trip was to not dig everything. The ATX makes a hi-lo tone or a lo-hi tone on targets. Lo-hi is high conductive stuff like copper pennies, dimes, quarters, and large iron junk. Or silver rings or very large mens gold rings. Hi-lo is almost all gold or platinum jewelry, zinc pennies, nickels, aluminum stuff, and small steel stuff like bobby pins and rusted bottle caps. I was getting lots of copper pennies, dimes and quarters plus some large junk the first couple days. Dimes and quarters may sound nice but when recovering them in surf at risk to life and limb they are a definite trash target as far as I am concerned, though I did get a large silver ring also. I decided that gold rings were the main goal and with the short week I had no time to waste, so switched to digging hi-lo tones only. I was happy with the results and would recommend this to anyone using an ATX who for similar reasons what to improve the dig to ring ratio. Be aware though certain high value targets like very large mens rings will be missed. I recovered a couple earrings and that impressed me very much in an underwater scenario. The ATX hits gold about as small as is possible in salt water. There was one well made fake diamond ring in particular that would have been my best ever had it turned out real. I recover them underwater, can't really tell but they sure look good underwater, and do not know until I get back to my room and empty the goodie pouch if I have made a big find. I hope the whole rest of the hunt, only to be let down back at the room. Gold rings on the other hand I know immediately are good finds. I also found a couple more old Sheraton hotel big brass keys to add to my collection. These are rare now at the beach as they are large easy finds, but if the sand scours out one will still turn up now and then. Coins, jewelry, and keys found by Steve detecting Hawaii surf All the quarters, dimes, and copper pennies were recovered in the first two days. After that it was nickels and zinc pennies only and I toss the zincs in the garbage. Unless only a day or two old the salt water rots them away to junk. I had a nice pile of lead fishing weights I donated to the dive shop where I rented my weight belts. There was the usual junk as seen on the other page linked at the start of this post but this year I discarded it daily as I have done enough "here it all is" pictures. All in all given that I had half the time to hunt my finds were on par with the last trip though the beach is depleting out. I considered going to other locations but by the time I drive somewhere else and back that is another hour or more that I could have been in the water. I do not hunt just Poipu beach but the next several beaches in a row so there is a large area I can walk to. There are always newer rings lost but it is the combination of many years of old rings and new rings that make it good, and as the old stuff depletes out then all there is to find is recent drops and the pickings get slimmer. Still, the location is far from worked out. I only saw one other person with a detector, a local I saw last trip, who walks the beach at waters edge at low tide. He seems as concerned with being out for a walk as detecting as he covers ground real fast. I like the ATX ability to easily adjust the rod length on the fly from very long to extra short. I did experience a little sand binding in the rods but took care to work the rods and flush them out before leaving the water each time and everything worked fine. I only charged batteries twice on the trip. The 8" mono with rod assembly is now my dedicated water coil, with the 12" x 10" used above water. The water use is rough on the rod and internal cable assembly and so I figure having a coil and rod just for that keeps the stock coil in better shape for normal use. I came away very happy once again with the Garrett ATX. It suits me very well for my style of water hunting. The rings Steve found on this trip with the Garrett ATX The four 14K rings weighed in at 21.9 grams total. The silver colored 10K white gold ring with five small diamonds weighed 4.1 grams. The excellent gold smelt calculator at http://coinapps.com/gold/scrap/calculator/ reveals that to add up to 14.47 grams or nearly 1/2 oz of pure gold or about $500 bucks if sent to a smelter. I plan on refinishing and selling the rings in the future instead of having them smelted as I have in the past though so they should bring a bit better value that way. This article originated as a thread on the DetectorProspector Forum. Extra details may be found there in follow up posts. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2015 Herschbach Enterprises
  46. 1 point
    I have all my various metal detecting requirements pretty well covered. I like to do a lot of different things with detectors so that takes a collection of models all with specific purposes. Most of these purposes have to do with gold in one form or another. One thing I have been lacking for some time however is a waterproof pulse induction detector. I have used several, most recently the White's Surf PI Pro and Garrett Infinium. The Infinium in particular served me well - see my previous story on the Garrett Infinium in Hawaii. I really liked the Infinium but had two main issues with it. When I recently became aware of a new detector in the works I sent word to Brent Weaver, the engineer at Garrett working on the unit (I am sure with the help of others) to please, please, please work on the EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) and salt water stability issues. These two problems dogged my use of the Infinium, particularly in Hawaii. The Infinium is perhaps the best detector I ever used in Hawaii on one level - on another it drove me nuts. It was near impossible to get the detector to quiet down and run smoothly, so although it worked it was a tiring exercise. The Infinium is a classic first generation detector. Very good but very rough around the edges. Well, I am not going to take credit for harping on the subject for over ten years but for whatever reason Brent and company really appear to have got it right in the new Garrett ATX model. This detector screams next generation product. It is hands down one of the best pulse induction metal detectors I have ever used. I am amazed at how refined it is. The ATX in many ways acts and sounds more like a VLF than what I have come to expect from a PI detector. I suspect the Recon was the second generation and the ATX is now the third generation product as it is just so much better than the Infinium. Bravo and congratulations Brent and whoever works with you, job well done!! The first thing that got me was the EMI rejection. This is not the frankly rather horrible process used on the Infinium. The Infinium has 32 discrete unmarked settings in a single turn knob. You are supposed to guess at 1/32 of a turn, wait and listen, turn another 1/32, wait and listen, and after doing this 32 times remember what unmarked setting was better than the rest and go back to it, except basically they all sort of were only a little better or worse. The ATX, push the tune button, wait a couple minutes while the detector cycles, and then the detector is quiet. Really quiet. VLF quiet. Better than some high gain VLF quiet. In my house, in the middle of the city - quiet. I have no idea what they did but oh my gosh this machine tunes out EMI and does it so well it is amazing. Want to use your Garrett pinpointer with the ATX? Turn the Pro Pointer on and toss it a couple feet away. Let the ATX cycle to find the best operating frequency. Now not only no EMI but you can use the Pro Pointer with the ATX on and get not a peep. No interference. Now there has got to be a catch and urban locations where there is interference but so far I have been using the ATX around Reno like it is a VLF going coin detecting in parks and getting no interference. Now add in a rock solid stable threshold. Good VLF stable. Minelab GPX 5000 stable. Clean and clear at stock settings, a little noise at higher than stock gain levels, again, in the middle of a city! Garrett ATX Waterproof Pulse Induction metal detector I am sure this is not at all what anyone expected from me. I was supposed to go out and go nugget detecting, right? Well, for personal reasons that was not an option when I got the ATX. I have been experimenting with coin detecting with ground balancing PI (GBPI) detectors in the past and have written several articles on the subject. I have found piles of coins with the Minelabs, Infinium, and TDI. Coins from depths VLFs cannot hit except in all metal mode, but with better discrimination than a VLF in all metal mode. But I had lots of issues with EMI in particular, and the relative crudeness of the detectors I was using - crudeness now only apparent because I am running the ATX. Item three - a very well modulated audio target response. Shallow targets sound shallow, deep target sound deep, and lots of nuance to go around. There is a ton of information in the audio of the ATX, much like in a very good VLF for those that hunt by ear. All the sudden Garrett has dropped the best urban pulse induction detector in my hands that I have ever had. I went coin detecting! One thing I found on moving to Reno was the ground is mineralized and pretty well detected. I was doing some coin detecting looking for my first Reno silver, but finding depth not what I expected at all. Coins deeper than about 6" were giving weak and erratic signals on the best VLF units made. I was finding coins, but more recent stuff, and nothing beyond about 6". The ground here is not very easy on VLF detectors and what is detectable has been hit pretty well over the years. But I knew it had to be there. I took the ATX and used the old Infinium trick of concentrating on just low/high targets. The signals break depending on the ground balance setting, so it varies, but in general the tone break is right around zinc penny. Zinc penny and higher coins (silver, clad coins, nails) give a low/high tone. Zinc penny and lower (nickels, most trash, gold) give a high/low tone. The high/lows are very common since all aluminum and small ferrous trash gives a high/low tone, plus nickels, and gold jewelry. Low/high tones are much rarer, basically silver and clad coins and larger ferrous items like nails. The ratio of coins to trash basically depends on the amount of nails in the ground. Old cabin sites would be impossible to hunt. But many parks have few nails, and in the past my ration has run about 50/50 coins versus ferrous trash digging just good sounding low/high tone targets (or just low tone on the TDI). It helps immensely to dig isolated low/high tones as opposed to double blip type tones, which usually indicate a nail. Zinc and screw caps can go either way depending on the ground balance but usually are a much louder signal since they tend to be shallow. The combination of EMI being non-existent, clean steady threshold, and well modulated audio made using the ATX more like using a VLF than using a PI in the Reno park setting. The big, big difference is the sounds are totally PI and must be learned from scratch but any decent VLF hunt by ear types should get the knack pretty quickly with the ATX. I know I did. Next thing you know I am digging wheat back pennies and my first silver dime in Reno. Only as 1954 silver but silver nonetheless. My brief foray into coin hunting with the ATX had this result: Nails and coins found park detecting with Garrett ATX - including silver dime! Three clad quarters, three clad dimes, four copper pennies, two zinc pennies, 1954 dime, 1920 penny, 1942 penny, 1949 penny, 1956 penny, 14 nails, and a screw cap. There were a few large iron items I did not get out of the hole, so about a 50/50 trash to coin ration, plenty good for me. The old coins were all nice mellow low/high tones, the quarters and more recent stuff much louder shallower targets. I could have left them and just gone for the older deeper targets but they were too easy to retrieve and hard to resist so I got them. A few of the nails are square nails which makes me feel good about the age, as does that 1920 penny. I think I am going to nab some good silver soon! One thing I learned was take a pair of pliers. The nails tend to come up one end or the other in the hole and if you can grab it with pliers you can pull it out and get rid of it so it is not there to be detected in the future. Otherwise they stick pretty hard in the hole. My holes are always filled and invisible when I get done so this can be a bit more work than nugget detecting, where I just blast a pit into the ground. We have to protect the hobby so use care in parks to never leave a mark. Which leads to item number four. Superb pinpointing. The 12" coil pinpoints dead center, backed up by an honest to gosh no motion on demand pinpointing mode. The coins were in the middle of my plugs. Or one end of the nail. Excellent pinpointing capability, better than a VLF DD coil. This DD acts more like a mono than a DD, with the inner coil area doing the heavy lifting. For small targets treat the inner coil as the only coil for overlapping purposes as that is the hot zone for small gold nuggets, etc. Garrett ATX outfitted with 8" round mono accessory coil I am not trying to sell anyone on coin detecting with a PI. I repeat, I am not doing anything here but telling you what I am doing and my results. Urban PI detecting is not for the faint of heart or those who detest digging junk. Most of you reading, just don't go there. Those of you who see what I am up to, well, this is for you. More later as I get more time under my belt but for now I will say this. The Garrett ATX is the best urban PI I have ever used. For me it (urban PI detecting) just went from a curiosity sideshow thing to something I am going to pursue more in the future. My main issue with the ATX is hand in hand with it being waterproof - it is a heavy detector. It weighs 6.9 lbs with the stock 12" coil and rechargeable batteries loaded ready to run. Big boys will have no issue but I am of slighter build and so can feel the weight. The good news is the sling included is simple and surprisingly effective. If like me weight is an issue do yourself a favor and use the included sling right off the bat. I went without awhile and once I tried the sling was pleasantly surprised. It just slips over your arm and over the handle, very easy to just slide off the handle when digging. Do keep the rod assembly short for best balance. OK, the Infinium was the best waterproof GBPI I ever used but it had issues and I have been waiting for over ten years for something better, Frankly, I thought it would be somebody else, not Garrett, that would do the deed. So the ATX first and foremost in my mind is the potential successor to the Infinium that I have been waiting for. I had to get this baby in the water, and fast. So I made a run up to Lake Tahoe, where water meets black sand hot rock infested beaches. I had my water hunting gear from Alaska, chest waders and long handle scoop, so hit it day before yesterday, both on the beach and in the water. I got the usual beach suspects, various trash items, a handful of coins, two earrings (looked good but fake diamonds) and a 14K gold ring with five little 1/10th carat diamonds. Gold and diamond ring found with Garrett ATX at Lake Tahoe I could see the black sand lines in the sand. There were hot rocks aplenty, all of which I just ground balanced out with the simple push button method and then just locked. I do not generally use automatic ground tracking and have not needed to on the ATX yet in my limited experience. Again, no EMI. I ran gain up high for awhile and the machine was well behaved but it did introduce a bit of noise. I decided to opt for a quiet stable threshold which was a notch above the stock setting of 10 at the 11 setting. I think you are better off setting the ATX to run quiet so that even a peep is a target. Too much gain leads to false peeps so resist the urge to max it out. I am looking forward to getting out and doing some prospecting with the ATX but first and foremost for me it is a water detector. I have plenty of prospecting detectors, and the ATX is a bit heavier than I like for dry land use. I can't wait to get the ATX into the water in Hawaii and see how it does in locations I previously hunted with the Infinium. I think the Garrett ATX is really going to perform for me there. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2013 Herschbach Enterprises
  47. 1 point
    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
  48. 1 point
    Winter in Alaska. The days are short and the ground covered in snow. What is a miner to do? It is time to work on the permits. Since we just acquired the Moore Creek property in 2003, the first order of business for 2004 was permitting. We have quite a few things to do before mining can commence, and so I decided to put in for a five year Annual Placer Miners Application for general exploration and facilities work. There are several things we need to accomplish. First, the previous owner left one of our D9 bulldozers stuck about four miles out of camp in a mud hole. We need to get the bulldozer started up and get it unstuck. Since it is outside our claim block, we need a Miscellaneous Land Use Permit for Cross Country Travel to move it to the claims. Once we get the bulldozer into camp, we want to use it to lengthen our airstrip. This needs a plan and permitting. We also want to clear existing trails that have grown over with brush. One thing some people do not understand is that structures on mining claims also need permitting, even if they already exist. We have several cabins on our claims. In these days of lawsuits, abandoned structures represent a liability to the government. Part of the permitting process includes getting a permit to have permanent structures. Things like fuel storage and outhouses must be covered. Then there are the mining and prospecting activities. Our initial operations will be of a small-scale nature, but still they must be described in detail in the plan. The main thing on state land is that activities that disturb less than 5 acres do not require bonding. Any disturbance over 5 acres requires that bonding via the State Wide Bond Pool be obtained. Yearly reclamation reports must be filed for all work performed, even that under 5 acres. Suction dredges need an EPA permit, Corps of Engineers permitting, and possibly a fish habitat permit. Other agencies, like the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology must be notified to review your plan. If this all sounds like a lot, you are right. Moreover, because there are so many agencies to notify, it would be easy to miss something and get in trouble. Luckily, in Alaska the state has a master permit in the form of the Annual Placer Miners Applications (APMA). This one master application is filled out and the state farms it out to most of the various state and federal agencies for approval. Various applications can be made for periods of up to ten years. Aerial view of tailing piles and ponds at Moore Creek, Alaska I filed for a “Multi-Year” Miscellaneous Land Use Permit and Reclamation Plan Approval for five years. There is a $100 fee for the first year, and $50 for the other four years, so the filing fees came to $300. This is a bargain considering all that is done for you in one application. You can find all the paperwork online at the Alaska State Division of Natural Resources (DNR) website. If you examine the forms you will note that they are designed to cover many different scenarios. Just fill out the applicable sections, and draw lines through areas that do not apply. Overall, it is not terribly difficult, and the process has the virtue of making you think through the entire process by asking some questions you may not have thought of. Anyone thinking miners can just go out and tear up the earth without a second thought should read these things. You have to have a plan for filling every hole and ditch and a need a permit for just about everything except breathing the air. Our main permitting covered moving the bulldozer into camp, getting the facilities and fuel storage covered, the use of suction dredges and highbankers for placer sampling, and possible pitting or trenching on the hardrock prospect. We also applied for the ability to upgrade the existing airstrip to make it safer, as it currently is a bit too short for continual safe access. It also is limiting the amount and size of equipment that can be flown in, as it is dangerous to attempt to fly in with anything larger than a Cessna 206. Safety is the main concern over time. You might expect all these permits to take forever to be approved, and for operations that are more complicated, they can. However, our low level of initial activity made permitting easy, and the state of Alaska is doing a fantastic job of getting these things processed. I got the approved permitting back in less than 30 days. Huge kudos to the people at the Division of Mining, Land, and Water. Do remember, however, that it can take longer if you want to do something more complicated, so file well in advance.Overflight of D9 bulldozer stuck on hill The only real surprise I received was from the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology. I had proposed that as part of continuing operations that old pre-existing ditches and other remnants of mining be reclaimed and derelict old structures removed. I thought this would be a benefit in that we would in effect be "cleaning up" after the old miners. You can imagine my surprise when I got a letter notifying me that these old ditches might be historic, and that we should not disturb them. Funny how the ditch I dig today must be filled back in, but if the ditch is old enough, it now must be left alone! The first order of business to consider was the bulldozer move. The overland permit stipulated that the move had to be made by May to take advantage of frozen ground conditions and snow cover. This meant that we must get to the bulldozer in the winter, which presented difficulties of its own. The bulldozer was stuck up to the top of the track on one side, and so would be frozen in and hard to get out. Combine that with the size of the unit, a D9, its age, mid-sixties, and our general lack of operating knowledge, and I came up with what I thought was a good solution. We offered to trade the dozer itself to a local miner on the condition he got it unstuck and did what runway and trail work we needed done before taking the unit off-site back to his own mine. In this way, I figured we avoided the difficulty of not only getting the unit into camp from its current location but got our work done by a more experienced operator. So we made just such a deal. Old D9 bulldozer stuck in soft spot over the hill from Moore Creek Our plan was to acquire a smaller, newer bulldozer that would be more reliable and more fuel efficient for the smaller scale operations we anticipated. But as we researched the situation it became obvious that this was going to get real expensive. Even a used bulldozer was going to run a good chunk of change, not to mention the cost of getting it to McGrath. Then would come the difficult task of getting it from McGrath to the mine, a distance of over 60 miles. That old bulldozer began to look better all the time. But the deal had been made, and so we waited for spring to come. As has often happened in this Moore Creek story, things worked out for the better. The miner was unable to retrieve the bulldozer for us. On one hand I was unhappy to see the opportunity missed for the season, as we would now have to wait until the next winter to move the bulldozer overland. But that was more than offset by the fact that I now realized what a valuable thing a bulldozer is that is already on-site in remote Alaska. We were far ahead to work with what we had. Now it was left to us to get the bulldozer running and out of the hole it was stuck in, and then move it into camp in the spring of 2005. Our runway improvements would have to wait another year Memorial Day finally approached and our first trip to the mine for the season. A new 6” suction dredge was purchased to take the mine for some bulk sampling work, as well as a little 2.5” dredge and small highbanker for more portable sampling efforts. I wanted in particular to sample some of the old tailing piles to get an idea how much smaller gold there was in them. We already knew they contained scattered large nuggets, but if it is to pay to re-mine the old tailings it will be the smaller gold that really makes it pay. The inefficient old recovery methods used at Moore Creek, combined with the large amount of heavy magnetite and chromite in the concentrates, and the clay content of the material, all indicated to me that the gold losses would have been substantial. High of the list was getting the old existing bulldozer trail up to where the dozer was stuck cleared out of brush enough so we could get our Honda 3-wheeler up to it. Four miles over small mountains toting tools, batteries, and whatever else we might need on our backs was not an option we liked. We needed something cheap and small that would fit in the 206, so I shopped around and found a used Honda 3-wheeler. If you ever buy one of these be sure and check the tires because even if the unit is free three new tires is going to set you back a few dollars. Once we got the trail cleared for the 3-wheeler we could then begin the task of getting the bulldozer started and out of the hole. Honda 3-wheeler stuffed in back of Cessna 206 My father and I planned on heading up with a full load of gear in the Cessna 206, and my brother Tom wanted to make his first trip up to the mine. I was excited to have Tom along as his job as a surveyor usually kept him busy summers so we rarely get out together. This made for a full load so I had the 6” dredge shipped to McGrath prior to our departure. We would fly to the mine, open up the camp and deliver our equipment. Tom had to go back to town the third day, so the idea was to fly him to town and then go into McGrath to bring the dredge in the same day. A 6” dredge is more than a single load for the 206 but by staging half the unit in McGrath we saved an extra trip to Anchorage. My cousin Bob planned to come up from Missouri a few days after we left for the mine. He would hook up with a friend of ours, Mike Graves, who would fly them up in Mike’s Super Cub. And so, with plans all made and dredge waiting in McGrath, we finally headed out for Moore Creek. The flight was rather uneventful. When we arrived at Moore Creek, it was obvious that spring was early this year. There were more leaves on the trees than there normally would be on Memorial Day weekend. Usually things are still pretty bare this early, and patches of snow and ice would not be unusual. But as you will see in the pictures the trees are were pretty much leafed out when we arrived. I had been waiting all winter to do some prospecting, and since Tom had a limited amount of time we decided to go prospect the tailing piles. Metal detectors have been effective in determining which tailing piles have larger pieces of gold in them, and presumably smaller gold also. We have been mapping all nuggets found and so a picture of where the hot areas are on the claims has been slowly building up over time. Since I wanted Tom to have the best shot at finding some gold, I loaned him my Minelab GP 3000, while I used the Garrett Infinium. The Minelab has a significant edge in that I have it outfitted with a 24" x 12" Coiltek UFO coil. This larger coil not only gets some extra depth, but probably more importantly allows the operator to cover more ground while detecting. In some ways I think the amount of ground one covers with a detector is more important than an extra inch or two of detection depth. If my detector covers twice as much ground as your detector, I am going to be electronically processing more material than you, even if your detector gets a couple more inches of depth than my detector. Just like when running other mining equipment, it is often about how much yardage you are processing more than recovery efficiency. By the time we got the camp opened up and equipment put away we did not have too much time left. We headed down to some tailing piles next to the runway where a couple nuggets had been found the summer before. It seemed like a good area, but all we dug was small steel trash and bullets. Tom finally found a little 0.13 oz piece but that seemed about it for the spot this time so we headed back to camp. We decided to do a little more hunting near camp and just at the end of the day Tom found a 1.21 ounce nugget, by far the largest he had ever found in his life. Not bad for the first day on the ground, and a short day at that! I, on the other hand, had no gold to show for the day. Tom with Moore Creek gold specimen excavated from tailing pile The next day we decided to head way down the creek to check areas we had not hunted before. In theory the chance for larger gold should diminish as we head downstream, but you never know until you try. We hoofed it on down and did quite a bit of work getting through thick brush in low lying areas. But try as we might we had no luck down the creek. After some time with no success you get the feeling maybe you should wander back to areas where gold has been found before. We did just that, and Tom found a 0.15 ounce piece near Nevada Gulch below the airstrip. Then back to the cabins and he goes and finds a 0.25 and 0.10 ounce pieces near to where he had found the 1.21 ounce chunk the day before. And here I am again on the second day without a nugget to show. It appeared I was on one of my rare cold streaks. Not much you can do about them except persevere. Given the choice I'd rather Tom was finding the gold anyway but it is even better to both be finding gold. My father was not much into detecting this trip and so was doing general camp work and scouting out the trail over to the bulldozer. Tom and I headed off the third day down the the area below the airstrip where Nevada Gulch comes in, and I finally got a couple small pieces, 0.09 and 0.07 ounces respectively. Not very big, but lots better than my time on this trip so far. My father and I got involved in more camp work, but Tom wanted to do some more detecting. I pointed out an area between the cabins and Moore Creek I thought really should have some gold. I had hunted there so far with no results, but the area just felt right. There was some bedrock outcropping there and that seemed like a good sign. And so right at the end of the day Tom goes and finds a 1.64 ounce nugget with my detector exactly where I pointed with my finger when I pointed the spot out! Tom's time was up, and so he and my father flew off to Anchorage the next morning. This also offered the opportunity to fly in another load of equipment and fuel from Anchorage. I on the other hand finally had my GP 3000 back in my possession, and so I headed down and across Moore Creek to try some areas on the far outer edge of the paystreak. In theory the northern side of the creek is where the gold occurs and so by heading over to the south side I was heading in the wrong direction. But gold is where you find it, and I figure any disturbed material at all in an old mine is worth running a detector over. You just never know. And sure enough, I came up with four nuggets weighing 0.08, 0.14, 0.27, and 0.68 ounces, for a total of just over an ounce. This was more like it and it showed gold at the far extreme edge of the old operations. Tom's 1.64 oz and 1.21 oz nuggets showing iron staining common at Moore Creek My father returned, and we made the flight into McGrath to pick up the 6" dredge. This is the Keene model with twin 5.5HP Honda pumps. I like the twins as they are easier to handle than one big pump, and also have the advantage of allowing a person to use one or the other or both pumps for other things. One of the pumps works great on a 4" dredge or as a highbanker pump. So the twin pumps add some versatility to the operation. A 6" dredge is a pretty bulky unit, but we had flown the floats and hose in on the previous two loads. We were able to get all the remaining parts of the dredge into the plane and then on into Moore Creek in a single load. The main reason for the 6" is for use as a sampling device on the many large tailing piles left by the old mining operations. There are several factors that combined to put what I guessed was a substantial amount of gold into the tailings. First, the nature of the gold itself. Even a lot of the smaller stuff has quartz attached, making it lighter and harder to catch. Then Moore Creek has an exceptionally high chromite (chrome ore) content in the concentrates, with some concentrate containing over 35% chromite. Chromite is a lot like magnetite (black sand) in appearance, but is not nearly as magnetic. It is likely the old-timers experienced quite a bit of riffle packing from the heavy concentrates. Another factor is that the decomposed material near bedrock has a fairly high clay content, and much of the material would have clumped and run completely through the box without completely breaking up and releasing the gold. However, years of sitting exposed to rainfall percolating though the tailing piles should have broken down a lot of the clay in the tailing piles by now. Most of the loss was due to the nature of the recovery systems employed. The old operations used long straight sluice boxes with angle iron riffles. They fed everything a one yard at a time into the sluice, including all the larger rocks. They did not screen off the rocks but instead just pitched the larger ones that stuck in the box out by hand. These large rocks created turbulence as the water flowed around them which could blow the gold out of the riffles. And the dumping of full bucket loads caused surges in the flow of material instead of the steady even flow that is desired. All these factors combined meant we have good reason to suspect the 1.5 million yards of tailings at Moore Creek contain substantial amounts of smaller gold in addition to the obvious loss of the larger pieces we are finding with the metal detectors. Since nearly all the tailing piles have large ponds of water adjoining them, a 6" dredge makes for a relatively inexpensive and portable device for testing the tailing piles. Newly assembled 6" suction dredge ready to go to work We used a Honda 3-wheeler and trailer to haul the dredge up to the tailing pond at the upper end of the mine and got it assembled. While we put the unit together I heard a "woofing" noise on the hill behind us. There sat a nice little black bear, watching us and no doubt wondering what we were doing. We watched him and he watched us, and finally he lost interest and wandered of around the edge of the pond. We floated the dredge over to the pile where we had first found a number of nuggets with detectors in 2003. We measured the section of the pile we wanted to dredge to calculate out the yardage so we could come up with a per yard figure of the gold content of the material. The dredging itself was the easiest I have ever done. This particular tailing pile was mostly decomposed bedrock with a few larger cobbles scattered through the material. The pile looks almost sandy on the surface and has little vegetation growing on it, indicating that it came from on or in the decomposed bedrock layer and has little of the organic surface material in it. These types of piles have almost always proven to be a good place to metal detect. I placed the suction nozzle for the dredge just below water level on one end of the pile, and fired the dredge up. A hole was created just below the water line, and then we used picks and hoes to rake the material down into the water where the nozzle just sucked it up. The occasional oversize cobble that appeared was grabbed and tossed before it could get to the nozzle. We ate into the pile, creating an underwater shelf a little over a foot underwater as we moved forward. There is an incredible amount of dredging that can be done at Moore Creek with a pair of knee-high boots and little need to bend over. Basically you just stand there and rake material down to the nozzle. All the material being dredged is actually being dumped back into the bottom of the excavation from which it originally came years ago, so we are in a way we are returning the place to it's original condition by mining it a second time. The old timers dug a hole and put it in a pile; we are taking the pile and putting it back in the hole. About this time Mike Graves and my cousin Bob show up in Mike's Super Cub. The tailing pile we were dredging on is actually an island in the middle of a pond created when the excavation the miners created filled with water. We were using a little inflatable boat to travel back and forth to the island. It was a one person raft, so a person would paddle over while a string was tied to the shore. Once you get to the far shore, someone back where you started pulls the raft back for their use. Well, Bob paddles over with no problem. The trick with these little rafts is to sit or kneel in the middle. But Mike tried sitting on one end, a thing my father had tried previously, and got similar results. Backwards and over into the ice cold water! I really felt sorry for Mike but luckily it was a nice day and the cabins near at hand so he could get out of his wet clothes in short order. We wrapped up our little test dredging operation. A half day of dredging moved approximately 9 yards of material and produced 0.21 ounce of smaller gold or 0.023 ounce per yard. Not counting the larger nugget that might be found now and then it looks like this pile might deliver 1/4 to 1/2 ounce a day of gold if worked with the 6" dredge. This pile had produced nuggets weighing over an ounce while detecting the surface and so it is likely that the diligent dredger would have the occasional day running over one or even two ounces of gold due to this "nugget factor". Normally I would not consider a 1/4 ounce of gold in a day with a 6" dredge to be something I'd get excited about back in my old dredging haunts on the Kenai Peninsula. But there I dredged along with the knowledge that it would be the rarest of things to ever dredge nuggets weighing more than 1/4 ounce in size. That average daily take of smaller gold is all a person can really count on. Here, I'd be a much more motivated dredger knowing that it is almost inevitable that nuggets weighing one to three ounces will be found from time to time. We will never really know just what this will really average out to until somebody goes ahead and works a tailing pile for a couple weeks in this fashion. Suction dredge sampling tailing pile at Moore Creek One thing I know for sure is that in my over 30 years of dredging the largest nugget I've ever found with a suction dredge was a one ounce nugget at Crow Creek Mine in 1998. I have no doubt I could easily break that personal dredging size record at Moore Creek, and so I think in some ways the dredging opportunities here are almost better than the metal detecting. Many people, like my father, prefer to see some kind of reliable, steady gold production. Metal detecting is for the select few who can go for days finding nothing and not get anything and still not get demoralized. But from what I've seen more people are happy getting at least some gold every day as long as they know they still have that shot at a really good day now and then. As the surface areas get detected out this type of steady production work will be more and more important. The main goal for me is to prove enough yardage by this type of testing to justify setting up a small excavator and trommel operation to reprocess the tailing piles. I have had a gut feeling it will pay but I do not buy excavators based on gut feelings. The next morning I got Bob set up with my GP 3000, and Mike had his own Minelab Eureka Gold. I told them about the area below the airstrip where I had found my largest nugget the summer before, a 3.5 ounce section of a rich gold bearing vein. The area had produced a good number of nuggets so far and the area was regarded as the "hot spot" on the creek by the previous owner. I had good reason to believe the area still held good promise, and Mike and Bob headed down to check it out. My father and I moved the dredge over to the next closest tailing pile. This one looked distinctly different from the other pile. It had more cobbles and rocks and more vegetation growing on the surface, indicating that it contained more overburden than the other pile. Yet it had produced some nice nuggets with the detectors also so I was curious how it would prove out with the dredge. We worked away at this new tailing pile. This one was much taller, and so the face of the excavation got to be over 10 feet tall. It is important not to undercut the material adding to the risk of falling rocks or a complete collapse of the material, and so we found ourselves standing high above the water raking material down to the nozzle below. Careful raking and the tossing out large rocks before they could fall to the nozzle made this work remarkably well. We threw all the rocks into a zone between the island and the edge of the pond with the idea of eventually creating a causeway that would allow us to walk over instead of using the little raft. The pond is deeper than it looks and so it will take some time but I've always found it to be beneficial to direct rocks to a certain area than just tossing them randomly in every direction. Bob and Mike showed up halfway through the day, and as Bob stood on the bank of the pond he held up something big to show us. We paddled over to check it out, and it turned out Bob had gone right to the area I had sent him with my detector and found the largest specimen we've located at Moore Creek to date. A 5.13 ounce chunk of what appears to be a perfect cross section of a rich gold-bearing vein. Just like the type of vein I'm dreaming of finding on the hill above our claims. It is exciting to find this kind of large gold specimen, but more exciting for me is what they keep telling me could exist elsewhere on our claims. These specimens have not traveled far at all from their source. Bob was of course ecstatic at having set the Moore Creek record for our group, but since nuggets up to 20 ounces have been found in recent years and up to 100 ounces in the early days his glory may be short-lived. I have since performed a specific-gravity test on the specimen, and it consists of 2.94 ounces of quartz and 2.19 ounces of gold. Some exceptionally rich gold ore indeed. Bob Herschbach and his 5.13 ounce specimen Close up of 5.13 ounce gold specimen seen on edge 2011 Update: I purchased the specimen from Bob. The gold was only visible around the edges and so I tried an experiment. I ground the specimen down on all sides until gold was visible, and then put a partial polish on it. The quartz is partially translucent so you can actually see below the surface and see gold enclosed in the quartz. The price of gold increased enough that I finally sold the specimen. 5 ounce gold specimen ground down and polished to better show gold We wrapped up the dredging for the day as soon as we moved about the same 9 yards of material as we had from the other tailing pile. This time there was only 0.11 ounce of gold to show for the work, and so it was obvious this pile did contain more of the worthless overburden material than the other tailing pile. This calculates out to about 0.012 ounce per yard. Nothing to get too excited about with a dredge but an excavator with a one yard bucket it would add up. Since this material is already sized and stacked and next to an existing tailing pond/settling system the cost to process it is much lower than it would be to process virgin material. A good trommel system should also get better small gold recovery than a 6" dredge. More sampling is needed but the initial results so far look very promising with at least some small gold to be found, without consideration of larger nuggets. A couple days of dredging left me feeling like doing some detecting. Even that easiest of dredging operations was a lot more work than swinging a detector. We got in a coupe hours before turning in for the evening, and I found a 0.09 oz nugget and my father found a 0.29 oz nugget. The real chance would come the next day, our last for the mine on this trip. We loaded up the next morning and headed down to where Bob had found his piece. It was one of those chunks myself and others had walked within feet of. And like most nuggets, this one, although found with a Minelab GP 3000, was shallow enough that any detector at all would have found it. Bob just got his coil over it first. We all started hunting, but results at first were pretty slim, with me finding a few smaller pieces. It got very hot, and everyone started running out of energy as the temperatures climbed. I finally wandered off down the creek on my own and back into an isolated little area back in the brush. And boom, up comes a 1.93 ounce specimen! I got really excited, of course, and in short order I found another piece weighing 0.28 ounce. It was time to call in the troops so I climbed a nearby tall tailing pile and yelled away for the other guys to come over, but could not hear anyone reply. I hiked on over and rounded up Mike and my father, but Bob had already returned to camp. Unfortunately I had broken the spell, and try as we might my new area dried up. I ended up with the gold of the day, with the 1.93 oz and 0.28 oz pieces, plus 0.18, 0.09, 0.07, 0.08, and 0.05 ounce pieces for a total of 2.68 ounces . That put me over 4 ounces for the trip, but Bob beat me for total weight, most gold, and largest specimen so far, all in one find! 4 ounces gold specimens found by Steve at Moore Creek The pictures above show my finds for the week, plus the 0.35 ounce of gold dredged from the tailing pile shown below. The pictures are not to scale; my specimens that are shown too small as the dredged gold is closer to life-size as seen in this picture. Those larger pieces found dredging would brighten most people's dredging days. As you can see even the smaller gold is very rough and has quartz attached. This gold has not so much rolled down the creeks as it has just rotted out of the rock and so there are going to be lots of pieces with quite a bit of character to them. The only real downside to this gold is the quartz content does not make it very amenable for jewelry work, as the quartz tends to pop out when heated. Gold found while suction dredge sampling the tailing piles All in all a very good start for the year. We got our propane refrigerator working but were frustrated by the 3 kw diesel generator. The darn thing has a hand crank starter and although it would pop and cough we could not get it running. It appeared to be some sort of fuel supply problem, but take apart what we may it just would not run before we all got so tired of cranking we gave up. The dozer problem remains to be tackled. Getting the dredge on site was a big plus, as getting good volume samples is critical in deciding just where and how to set up larger scale mining operations. I'm a very cautious miner in that regard. I do not believe in proceeding with any kind of serious mining without sufficient yardage blocked out and proven in advance. Too many people think that is time wasted and just jump in and start mining, but that is why the vast majority of mines go broke. We will block out enough pay to make whatever operation we go with have a high probability of turning a good profit. Part of that will be determined by exactly what equipment gets used in the actual mining operation, which also gets determined by the sampling program. Final lesson for this trip - if I ever loan you my detector and point you in a certain direction, you'd better head there! Both my brother and cousin got their best finds ever on this trip and I was glad to see it. The next best thing to finding a nugget or me is seeing other people find them. The happiness is contagious whenever gold is being found in our camp, no matter who is doing the finding. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2004 Herschbach Enterprises
  49. 1 point
    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
  50. 1 point
    There is a prelude to this story. In mid-May my wife and I flew down to Reno for our youngest daughter's college graduation. Her older sister was also there, and the last night of our visit we went out for dinner. The place had Asian food, and we all got fortune cookies. My fortune: ''You will have gold pieces by the bushel.'' I put it in my wallet. My friends Jeff, Brian and I made a spur of the moment trip to Ganes Creek near McGrath, Alaska to metal detect for gold over the three day Memorial Day weekend. We made a similar trip last year in July, and had good luck finding gold nuggets, including the largest I've ever found, a 4.95 ounce nugget. As you may imagine, we have been anxious to make a return trip. Brian is new to detecting, so I loaned him my chest mount converted White's GMT with 14" coil for the trip. Jeff and I used Fisher Gold Bug 2 detectors, both with 14" coils. It was spring at Ganes Creek, but the weather had been hot in Alaska, and so the only ice was left on some ponds and along the creek. Daytime temps were hitting the 70's and 80's, but it was into the 40's at night. There were many fires in Alaska due to our abnormally hot, dry spring making for hazy air, and at times you could smell the smoke. The mosquitoes were not yet out in force, and head nets were not needed. Unfortunately, this is not normally the case later in the summer. Jeff went up Friday morning, and Brian and I met him Saturday morning. Brian was feeling a bit competitive and worried Jeff would get a big jump on him, but my hopes were to see a lot of gold on our arrival. I was a bit worried that perhaps our visit last year was a fluke, and that gold might be harder to find than we thought. So I was not happy when Jeff reported only one nugget for a long days hunt just upstream from where I had found the 4.95 ounce nugget last year. And only a pennyweight nugget at that. Not very promising. I had my heart set on hunting some old dragline piles next to the airstrip. We had hit them a bit last year, with no results but some trash. But I felt there had to be gold there. We had found several nuggets in the airstrip itself, including a 3.5 ounce nugget my father found. The airstrip was topped with material from this tailing pile, and so we figured the gold had come from there. We loaded up our detectors and headed off to give it a try. Tailing piles along airstrip at Ganes Creek (Brian standing in top center pile for scales) I walked up onto the pile and in ten minutes had a 1.11 ounce nugget! Jeff was amazed. He had spent a long day before looking for gold, and I score a big nugget right off the bat. That set the tone for the three days. I had numerous areas I wanted to try, pinpointed from my aerial photos. At most we hit I had the first nugget, in about ten minutes. Sometimes the other guys found gold, sometimes not. I on the other hand was unusually lucky this trip. I just kept putting my coil over the gold. Still, Jeff found his largest nugget ever this trip, a one ounce nugget not 50 feet from my first in the ''Airstrip Pile''. Brian also found his largest nugget ever, a 1.33 ounce nugget from a pile within a couple hundred feet of the camp, christened the ''Cabins Pile''. I found a 1.89 ounce nugget in this same pile. Brian with his 1.33 oz "Bear Nugget" The next day I got off to a slower start, but caught up at the very end of the day with a 2.45 ounce nugget off the ''Airstrip Pile'' down in the brush. I like hitting oddball spots, and my willingness to work in the brush paid off big time. The last day, Memorial Day, I went clear off the scales. We went over a mile upstream above the camp, and I found a .97 ounce nugget. Another tall tailing pile by the runway with the windsock stuck in it, the ''Windsock Pile'', gave me 9 nuggets, five a 1/4 ounce or better. Everywhere we went I found gold. I wanted to try the old bucketline tailings way downstream, and within ten minutes found the largest nugget of the trip, a 3.22 ounce gold/quartz specimen. Finally, trying above the cabins upstream on the tributary, Potosi Creek, got three more nuggets; 4.2 dwt., 6.0 dwt, and 11.3 dwt. Steve with 3.22 ounce gold/quartz specimen The bottom line is I could do no wrong with a detector this on this trip. Brian got 2.5 ounces, Jeff 2.8 ounces, and I ended up with an incredible 14.4 ounces! The last day alone I found 8.14 ounces of nuggets. Grand total for three people in three LONG days - 19.72 ounces. So is it all gone? Did we get it all? No way. We did not scratch the surface. Ganes Creek is vastly larger in area than you can imagine. The tailings run for miles. There are a couple areas we have given pretty good attention, but none I would not hunt again. All hunting was with the Fisher Gold Bug 2 or White's GMT with 14'' coils, with full rejection of any iron targets. Only solid good signals were dug, and all scanning was ''speed scanning''. All the areas that produced gold should produce more with careful work. All I can say now is there is plenty of gold to be found, and after everyone gets through hammering the creek this summer I will go up again this fall, and find more gold to prove it. But really, what do I think of the odds for finding gold at Ganes Creek now? Brian is relatively inexperienced compared to Jeff and I, and was learning a new detector. I'd say his finds were about on par with what I expected of him. Jeff was way off... a real cold streak. He should have found twice as much. And I was hot as could be. I found about twice what I would expect. All this is based on bare gut feelings, but I'm thinking 1 ounce a day is a sort of average. But any number of nuggets will blow that away... and bad luck could shoot anyone down. Steve shows off gold found at Ganes Creek over Memorial Day weekend Close up of the gold nuggets and specimens from Ganes Creek The big thing here is the ''nugget factor''. You can find nothing all day, then end up with a couple ounces in one nugget. I was just plain lucky in that regard. I simply happened to place my coil over more large nuggets. They add up fast, and so really get you ahead fast. So the biggest advice I have is never quit, never give up, never slow down. We put in about 15 hour days, and used them well. But if you are easily discouraged, you'll have a tough time at Ganes Creek. Persistence is the name of the game. And a good fortune cookie might help. The newer dragline/bulldozer tailings are vast in extent, and seem to have more nuggets, but more trash, than the old bucketline tailings. But I can't help but feel that really big nugget is in the bucketline tailings. They are relatively trash free, and so require real patience. You can hunt for a couple hours with hardly a signal, and those are usually large steel. It's easy to get the feeling there is not much gold in the cobble piles. But in all those cobbles I just have to believe there is a fist-sized cobble of gold/quartz lurking. Just like my 3.22 ounce piece... but larger! 2011 Update: I was right - many nuggets weighing over a pound have come from the cobble piles since. But if you do not mind more trash targets, the dragline/bulldozer piles seem to have more nuggets in general, and would be worth the most attention for most people. Steve's five largest "chunks" of gold from Ganes Creek weekend Ganes Creek is being opened to the public for the first time this year, with one week stays at the mine running $3000 per person, room and board provided. You keep all the gold you find. The largest nugget found at Ganes Creek weighed 122 ounces. For more information and photos see the Ganes Creek page here. 2011 Update: Those early days of easy pickings at Ganes Creek are gone forever. Now, ten years later the pay-to-mine operation continues. I was at Ganes for two weeks in 2011 and will be there again for two weeks in 2012. These days bulldozers are run every day to turn material over and expose new nuggets. Every nugget found is one less to be found, however, and it is getting harder to find gold at Ganes these days. In 2010 I found 6 ounces of gold in one week at Ganes Creek. My spring 2011 trip of two weeks also got me 6 ounces. A half ounce to an ounce a day average may still sound pretty good, but the fact is only a few very experienced detector operators like myself pull it off. The majority of people who visit Ganes would do better to set their sights on perhaps an ounce of gold in a week of detecting. Though big finds still happen now and then - the largest nugget found at Ganes Creek by a visitor in 2011 was a solid 10.5 ounce beauty. ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2002 Herschbach Enterprises
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