People have been looking for gold since almost the dawn of our civilisation. Gold is not only a highly valuable material it is also a rare one. So gold prospectors, like myself have been going at it for a long time. The main event that marked the search for gold is the gold rush which lasted from 1848 to 1855 in California. It was the craze in which many people took their chances at striking gold in the valley. Gold was even used to produce coins, but later on, everyone realised that gold is not found in abundance so it had to be cut off from making coins.
Since the 70s, gold saw various changes in value and with it, the search for gold changed too. Nowadays, you need different gear and tools to look for gold, with the main one being a metal detector that works similarly to underground service locators. Other than the obvious, there are other types of gear you’ll need to be able to secure your gold nuggets once they’re found.
What Gear You Need
While they don’t seem like a big deal to many new prospectors, I can tell you that having two plastic scoops with you at all times is quite necessary. These essential metal detecting accessories may not be as technologically advanced as detectors, but they are crucial. When picking up gold, you’ll want to keep your hands free from incineration so you should use a plastic scoop. Using a plastic scoop when in the dessert is also safer, since all kinds of living things can bite your hands, such as scorpions.
One thing that I as an experienced prospector wear are headphones. But you can’t just wear any headphones, but metal detector headphones that are made so that you can hear even the smallest nuggets on the ground. The higher the quality of these prospecting accessories, the smaller of whispers you’ll be able to hear from the nuggets.
Boots & Belt
When looking for gold you need to limit the amount of metal on your body. This is where using non-metallic boots and belts can help keep your search as accurate as possible. When I was first starting out no one told me that these metal detecting accessories can help make your detector more accurate since it doesn’t pick up metal from you.
Digging is also going to part of your job, but don’t be like me and bring a geologist pick. A conventional pick won’t be useful, make sure to bring a pick with a wide blade.
Additional Gear & Items
Additional detector accessories you should consider bringing for convenience are a hat to keep you shaded from the sun unless you’re going prospecting at night, a water bottle or a hydration pack, depending on how long I’m going to be out there and a pair of pants with big back pockets. Why? This is where I want to put my phone, wallet and other belongings so they don’t clump around in the front two pockets.
Can a Metal Detector Find Gold?
A metal detector is perfectly able to detect gold but you must have a quality metal detector. Otherwise, you won’t be able to pick up gold nuggets. However, you should still consider getting a specialised gold detector.
Using Your Metal Detector
When looking for gold, you need to adjust your detector’s sensitivity setting. But make sure to do it with a bit of caution. I can personally tell you that improper sensitivity can make it hard for you to find any gold. Increasing the sensitivity too high can make it harder to identify targets.
Swinging the detector closer to the ground will increase the depth of detection. It is quite an obvious thing to do, but you will be surprised to know how many beginners don’t swing their detectors close enough to the ground.
The discrimination setting is something that I like to fiddle with since it can change how your detector detects. This is especially true for deeply buried nuggets. Make sure you reduce the discrimination to the lowest level you can stand as it will beep a lot. Then, just examine every deep signal and watch for a jump as you swing. Afterwards, adjust the discrimination setting according to the range you want.
Types of Metal Detectors
There are two different metal detectors that I’ve worked with, and while they both do the same thing, they do it differently. Metal detectors use coils to send out waves, and pulse induction detectors are no different, except they use the coils to send signals in bursts or electronic current, just like a bat’s echolocation technique.
Very low-frequency metal detectors use only two coils, unlike PI detectors which can have more than two. One coil sends signals and the other one detects the signal that bounces back to the detector. Many VLF detectors are able to translate a signal’s strength into a number.