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HOW TO HUNT GOLD WITH A DETECTOR;

Electronic Prospecting The Basics

Assuming you have ground balanced your unit properly, and tweaked the gain to its optimum setting... these are some simple tips that might be helpful in your quest for those elusive Gold Nuggets using a modern Gold machine.

 

Always ground balance your detector slightly positive, giving a faint increase in threshold sound as the coil is lowered to the ground, at the height you normally swing the coil, just a very faint increase. This will help you pick out tiny nuggets, or weak signals. Always sweep the coil as close to the ground as possible, work slow and thorough, always believe there is gold there and you are going to find it on the next sweep. Concentration is the name of the game. If you are not confident there is gold where you are searching, why are you there? If you are just starting out, it would be in your best interest to learn the ropes from a pro, the learning curve for electronic prospecting is formidable, find someone who can teach you how to maximize the potential of your particular machine. If you use a Goldmaster, find someone who really understands the machine, and has a hunting area where you will find some gold, even if it’s salted, practice, practice, then more practice…

Make sure you keep the search coil level with the ground, and as close to the ground as possible, following the contours of the terrain. Work one small area at a time, completely. Take the time to grid the site, and work slowly, cover every square inch, at least twice, at 90-degree angles. 10’X10’ is a reasonable size, don’t look out over the vast expanse of the terrain wondering where to try next, concentrate on where you are now. Don’t make the mistake of looking at the entire length and width of the coil as being the hot zone. A wide scan is like a wiper blade, the hot zone runs the length of the coil, but the field is stronger in some spots than others. Wide scans cover more area per sweep, but lack the overall depth capabilities of a concentric coil. The trade off is the wide scan’s ability to handle mineralization better, but at the sacrifice of depth. To be thoroughly effective, imagine you are painting the surface of the grid with a one inch round paint brush, in effect, with a concentric coil, that’s exactly what you are doing, the hot spot is small, and well centered.

Keep your coil moving at all times, the auto tune circuit (SAT) can cancel a signal if you stop the coil. Go slow, don’t be in a rush, make sure you overlap your sweeps, and recheck your ground balance frequently, just in case the level of mineralization changes. Check the ground balance every three minutes or so, leave nothing to chance. I have found some respectable size nuggets over the years, only a few really screamed, most were soft whispers that got louder as I dug down. Try to avoid digging a narrow trench (blade width), dig a wash bowl shaped hole when possible. A narrow deep hole upsets the SAT/ground balance, the machine can start sounding off over the hole itself. You may have missed the nugget by a few inches either way, become frustrated, then walked away from a possible target, believing it was just a false signal, or hot rock. Always find the source of the signal. Don’t let the hole itself, cancel out your chances. Learn your machine inside and out. You must be confident in your equipment, technique, and ability. If you don’t believe what the machine is telling you 100% of the time, find a better machine.

Work slow and thorough, leaving no rocks left unturned. Gold prospecting is a game of inches, always bring a rake along, just in case you need to clear an area of cobbles or loose rocks. Three inches in the air, is three lost inches in the ground. I’ve found more than my share of small nuggets in areas where others were lazy. A smaller coil is also helpful to get around and in between rocks that can’t be moved easily. Most hobbyists don’t carry a small coil, so they miss opportunities to find gold in these rocky conditions. The smaller coils are useful for finding the tiny specks, the larger standard size coils miss. Another advantage is that it will force you to overlap your sweeps a little closer. I move ahead 3-4 inches at a time, concentric coils have a cone shaped search pattern, and it’s easy to miss a nugget that’s under the coil, but out of the hot zone. Pin pointing should remind you just how small the hot spot really is. Cover less area, more thoroughly, and you will find more gold, guaranteed. If you find a nugget, concentrate on the immediate surrounding area, nuggets are seldom alone, where you find one, others are sure to be nearby, possibly deeper in the alluvium, so scrape and sweep carefully, this is what you have waited for.

Always use high quality headphones designed for use with metal detectors. I prefer at least 20-25 db of noise canceling, especially if the wind is blowing, or there is extraneous background noise. When the weather is sweltering, I don a par of Sennheiser open style headphones. They are cooler and extremely sensitive. The higher the Ohms, the more efficient the headphone. Most of mine range from 150-300 Ohms. When you consider which pair to buy, look at the specs, they will tell you how much current it takes to drive them at a given sound pressure. The more sensitive and efficient they are, the longer the batteries in the detector will last. It takes a fraction of the power to drive efficient headphones, as it does to drive an external speaker of questionable audio quality. Good quality headphones make all the difference when listening for a faint blip in the threshold. Avoid models rated below 65 Ohms.

Happy hunting,

PS The new White's Double D coil for the Goldmaster series is a must have for any serious GM user.  It covers more ground with each sweep, with a minimal loss in depth.  It sure quiets the GM down in hot soil.   I found nuggets too small to bother digging!

 

 

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