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Sunday, December 20 2020
There is truly no single “best” type of detector when it comes to gold hunting. But understanding the differences between a VLF (very low frequency) and a PI (pulse induction) detector and their coils can help you decide which detector might be the “best” to use in a particular situation. VLF metal detectors are the most common. It is a single or multi-frequency machine that consists of a continuous sine wave. Sine waves travel down into the ground to find a metallic target, and once it does, the machine charges the target, releases an eddy current, and sends back a signal. The PI metal detector is not a continuous sine wave. Instead, it pulses on and off and on and off. It “talks” and then “listens.”
A VLF machine can have an advantage on shallow and very small targets, on and off of bedrock— as long as you can keep it stabilized, ground balanced, and the sensitivity set properly. PI detectors generally do better at greater depths than VLF machines, especially in highly mineralized soils.
Mono coils are designed for PI detectors. There is a single winding inside the coil that puts a concentric pattern into the ground. You will always get more depth with a mono coil, but it is more susceptible to ground mineralization noise and it will be affected by the ground mineralization itself.
Double D coils work for both PI and VLF detectors. Double D coils have two back-to-back D shaped windings inside the coil. At all times the coils are transmitting and receiving across the plane of the coil. The Double D design is like a knife blade that goes into the ground down the center of the coil. These coils are great at handling mineralization where it essentially takes the ground mineralization and distributes it all the way across the blade, lessening its effects.
Concentric coils work with VLF detectors by using two separate windings inside the coil— one sends and one receives.
When it comes to a round versus elliptical coil, there is really no difference in the size, only shape. Coils are measured off of a round coil configuration. For example, a 14 x 10 inch coil will have the same attributes as a 12-inch coil. The key difference is that elliptical shapes work extremely well in difficult areas.
Although each metal detector has its pros and cons, you can’t go wrong by wearing the best headphones possible, no matter which brand or model you choose. Many gold nuggets you will find are only slight whispers in the detector’s threshold, so you want to always wear high quality headphones. Plastic scoops and a digging tool with a wide blade should also be in your accessory bag. When hunting, limit the amount of metal on your body, which includes wearing non-magnetic boots and belts. Put your car keys in your back pocket. Keep your cell phone in your back pocket, too, and make sure it’s off to avoid any interference.
Saturday, December 05 2020
With gold prices on the rise, you might be wondering if now is a good time to sell some of the gold you’ve found over the years. And if you decide it is, you might also wonder how to best sell that gold and to whom. The type of gold any buyer is interested in varies, and will largely depend on what form of gold you have.
Gold dust consists of flour, fines and flakes. This is the stuff most prospectors find as a result of panning, sluicing and dredging. This form of gold is probably the lowest value because it will have the most impurities. Small nuggets start at about 1 gram and are a step up from gold dust in value. Medium nuggets, on average, weigh up to 31 grams or 1 troy ounce. Large nuggets are defined as weighing 1 troy ounce or more. Larger nuggets usually command higher prices, and could be considered museum quality. Gold in quartz is usually a collector’s item or a museum piece, therefore, prices widely vary.
Keep in mind, though, that even nuggets that appear to be pure gold are not. They will have impurities embedded and blended into the matrix. There is no such thing as 100% pure gold from nature. In fact, in North America, the average purity for prospected and mined gold averages 60% - 85%. The impurities in natural gold consist of metals such as silver and copper and other minerals that have combined with gold on a molecular level. Tests, referred to as an “assay” must be performed to accurately measure the purity of gold. Some jewelers and pawn shops can analyze your gold to determine purity with an XRF gun (X-Ray Fluorescence); expect to pay a charge for that service.
The majority of gold bought and sold from small-scale prospectors include: private buyers (some advertise on eBay, Craigslist, and other online sites) pawn shops, independently owned jewelry stores that craft and repair their own jewelry, museums looking for unusual specimens or rare nuggets, and refiners. Most refiners are contracted by large gold mining operations, but some smaller refiners will purchase gold from prospectors in any form or mesh size. An internet search will reveal refiners that will buy from individuals.
If you want to sell your fine gold or nuggets, there are a few things to do first. You may not get a totally accurate assessment of your gold’s value, but you’ll at least have a ballpark estimate. Do NOT melt your gold. Keep it in its original form.
When you make contact with potential buyers who specialize in raw and natural gold, be sure to ask about and understand their procedures and policies and payments. Ask how your gold will be assayed and how the purity is determined. If you are shipping your gold to a buyer, understand their requirements for packaging and shipping, insurance, and other safeguards. Some buyers pay for the testing and shipping, others pass along the costs to the seller. Remember that buyers have costs and will not pay 100% of the spot price. The exception to this would be if you have museum specimens or very large nuggets. In those instances, buyers will pay more than the spot price.
Be patient and shop around to not only get the best price, but to find a buyer who you can work with now and in the future. Get recommendations from fellow prospectors, or clubs such as GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America). If possible, make your first transaction with a new buyer a small one to assess your experience and satisfaction with the overall sales process. When you feel you have had a successful first transaction, you’ll feel confident you can continue that relationship in the future.
If you've not yet found your first gold, get Alaska paydirt here.
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