I am fortunate enough to live close to Steve H when he was otherwise engaged in pressing business, so he loaned me the only existing US GPX 6000. I loaded up the Toyhauler, RZR, girlfriend and doodle dog for a week or so of detecting at Sawtooth. Lundy dropped by for a swing or two and we gave the 6000 a pretty good go on some heavily detected patch areas.
GPX 6000 - I won't repeat all the other information already shared by Steve H and Lundy on their views of the 6000. I had the time to do a little more testing of the other features.
14"DD Coil- I spent most of one day running the DD in the saltiest, most reactive ground I could find. I found 2 tiny nuggets, depth not more than a few inches. One thing I noticed on these small targets is too much swing speed and you will flat out miss them. I'm talking patch cleaning speed, not patch hunting speed. I'm sure swing speed would not be as critical on bigger nuggets, but these are in the .1 or smaller pieces and a fast swing speed loses them entirely. It handles the hot ground like a dream, especially if you use the Auto Modes. There are only 2 DD modes, a cancel EMI mode and a cancel Salty ground mode. It seems you still have a normal and a difficult setting as well, but I'm not sure of the effect. I couldn't discern any difference in my short time.
17"Mono Coil- I think most people are going to want a bungee and swing arm. It's not the weight particularly, Its the repetitive motion on my feeble joints I felt the most. The swing arm from my 7000 really takes the pressure of that shoulder joint. The 17 should do great in normal soils and handled the salty ground remarkably well especially with the Auto features. I spent another whole day patch hunting with the 17 and I think that back in the Yuma ground it would be the go to, assuming it can handle the EMI from the fighter jet traffic.
The Speaker- For whatever reason, as has been discussed by JP, the external speaker loads up with EMI noise. It seems to get better after 30 minutes of run time, but gets annoying initially. I normally hunt with Ear Buds and the 1/8 connection fits perfect in the 6000 headphone port, but you lose that wireless feature. I tried the Aventree wireless neckband, it connects and pairs nicely and works great, just not my comfort style especially in the heat.
Auto+ plus Threshold- I was watching one of the Aussie videos and learned that in Auto+ you can press and hold the Difficult mode button and get a threshold tone in the otherwise silent (Bogenes setting) auto mode. I'm not sure what if anything this accomplishes, hopefully JP can give us a little more insight.
I found gold, nothing big and nothing deep. I spent a great deal of time in areas that just don't have deep nuggets, and the GPZ's had already cleaned out the big stuff. Then I spent a lot of time trying to find a new patch, always an iffy endeavor. Despite having the machine for over a week, I probably didn't get more than 30 hrs of pure detecting time. First was the weather. I hit N NV desert just in time for a cold front. One day I was wearing shorts, the next day it was snowing. One day I saw the storm brewing and tried to outrun it back to camp only to get hit with sideways blowing hail. I had taken the windshield off the RZR to keep the dust vortex to a minimum, and sure regretted it that day.
Detecting time also gets consumed by domestic duties, handling the BBQ, entertaining the dog etc.. It's good the have the family along, but you have to make a few sacrifices and pure detecting time is one of them.
When the weather forecasts looked unsettled for the upcoming week, it was time to take the girlfriend and dog home which precipitated the misadventures. By then the dog was limping, having gotten a fair share of foxtails stuck between the pads of her front paws. A quick look showed hot swollen patches where the foxtails had embedded themselves in her skin. A trip to the vet and $200 later she's on the mend.
I thought I would load up the whole works and try to beat the weather, nope! My toyhauler is a 5th wheel and relies on 12 volt landing gear for leveling and hitching. The internal gear started slipping so I added the manual crank and broke off the main drive shaft. Internet research reveals this is a common problem, way undersized gears and drive mechanism for that much weight. New dual motor landing gear ordered, that's more expense. I left the trailer and brought girlfriend and dog home, then returned to Sawtooth the following day. I arrived just in time for 2 days of cold wind and rain.
I waited it out and got 2 more days of detecting for exactly zip, nada, nothing. Ground was wet and sloppy in places, the 6000 handled it fine by the way. I just couldn't get the coil over any yellow stuff.
So, I surrendered and loaded up to come home. I used some MacGyver tricks to load the trailer. My hitch is an Anderson conversion and not a true 5th wheel hitch. It has an adjustable ball height mechanism connected to a bed mounted Gooseneck hitch. I dug out wheel trenches to get my truck under the trailer's hitch with the truck ball at it's lowest height, once centered I persuaded the ball up into the connector with a few hammer blows. Once the ball was pinned to it's highest level, I used an inflator to fill my truck's load leveling air bags to their highest point, about 2 inches. That was just enough lift to take the weight off the landing gear and free the extensions up and out of the way. I fear this kind of functional fixedness may be lost on the next generation whose skill seems to be finger dexterity and computer games.
I took the long way on Jungo Road to Winnemucca because it is really well maintained for all the HyCroft mining traffic. I hit the freeway heading for Fernley and a couple times felt an odd vibration. I was facing a stiff headwind and the trailer was making that diesel engine work just to maintain 55mph. I got an error code for excessive engine boost and noticed the transmission temps heating up more than engine coolant temp. Then stuff happened. The truck started bucking and hard shifting as I tried to slow down. The emergency lane is no place to be on Highway 80, when the speed limit is 80mph and triple trailer rigs are zooming by. I limped it to Rye Patch road and limped down to Dan's Gold Digger Pizza place. Dan had no trailer space with hookups, but he let me park it in the back lot. My girlfriend drove out from Fernley because she has the AAA card and I was going to need a ride home anyway.
I had the truck towed to the only place in Winnemucca who could look at it within the next 2 weeks. Car Care Clinic near the Walmart, great bunch of people in there. Anyway, it seems I broke the right rear axle and it was hanging on by a thread. The repair tally hasn't arrived yet, but it's sure to be further eroding my discretionary funds account earmarked for a GPX6000.
I try to think positive. It could have been much worse. The weather is clear and warm, I'm still upright, the dog is good as new and I'll have a brand new axle. That dinosaur GPZ 7000 is going to have to carry me through a bit longer.