XP Deus Versus Wedderburn and what some say is the Hottest ground for Gold detecting.
Let me start by saying I am the least experienced Gold Detectorist there is in Australia at the time of writing. My first attempt was at Bendigo and then a few days Later, after the Wedderburn Token Hunt, I hit the bush for my second attempt.
So don’t expect to learn the secrets of gold detecting in this article. I am commenting on my experience using the XP deus as a gold detector, rather than my usual coin and treasure hunting.
Let’s Start with Bendigo as this was my first ever attempt on the goldfields.
I had NO test piece with me so I Literally had no idea what gold would like on the VDI number scale. After some study the night before VDI Numbers go out the window in this style of hunting as Gold can be very different depending on depth, size, soil etc etc.
Off I went using the Goldfield program out of the box. It didn’t work at all.
The Deus went ballistic so I manually ground balanced the machine and this made a considerable difference. Pretty straight forward really. BUT the false signals continued very regularly so I needed to do a little more tweaking.
I then adjusted the sensitivity down to 80 and using the expert menu raised the TX power up to 3.
It was then that the deus became very quiet and was picking up trash targets at a few inches. There was plenty of rubbish around the area and this surprised me a little. Being a hard worked area I would expect that the trash had been moved. This was not the case as I suspect many people dig up the trash and then either re-bury it or throw it out of the way.
As a Park Hunter I am obsessed with the removal of trash as every bit that is taken is one less signal that I have to deal with on my next visit. seems that was not the case here.
So after about 3 hours of moving through the area I didn’t find any gold but removed a lot of trash. A fact that the 2 Blokes I met at Camp, Mick and Frank where thankful for.
I was disappointed but the fact that the Deus was hitting targets gave me hope. If it can find a piece of rusty tin at 3 or 4 inches then a decent size bit of gold seemed possible, I just hadn’t walked over it.
For the next few days I was competing in the Wedderburn Token hunt and made a lightning trip through Ballarat to meet some new people. I’ll fill you in on the token Hunt in another post.
My second foray onto the goldfields was at Wedderburn. I made my way out of town and hit the public land about 7 Kilometres north of the township. I found a little road going into the bush and for the life of I can’t remember the name. It was something track?
I drove in about 2 k’s and parked up in the middle of the scrub and immediately started to get the Deus tuned up.
Now this ground was just a detectorists nightmare in my opinion, The Mineralisation bar on the deus went between completely FULL to 3 quarters full and never dropped below that. My worst ever hunt had maybe 2 or three bars of mineralisation, this was off the scale.
The program settings I used at Bendigo where useless, so I started from scratch.
I loaded the gold field program and manually ground balanced the Deus, NO Difference really, it was less noisy but still going Crazy.
Next I again lowered the sensitivity and played around with the TX power settings, I also lowered the reactivity to ZERO so I was using a lot of power but I had slowed the recovery down a lot.
This made huge differences and the deus was running ok. After half an hour Of digging up mostly HOT rocks I made one more major change.
I used the Ground Notch setting and after doing a few grabs of the ground, Used 82-90 on the ground notch setting and this made the world of difference!
It did not completely remove the hot rocks but it made them very Jumpy and scratchy and easy to identify by tone.
My test piece I had acquired was buried at a depth of 4 inches and I started to make a few passes over the piece. The test piece is about 1.6 Grams or so and I had it in a small round display container like you see when you buy a nugget at the shops.
Now the Deus ws picking up the test piece but the audio was very weak and to be honest I would have had a good long think before I dug that signal in any location.
At 3 inches things improved and I got quite a shock to see the Test piece had a VDI Number of anything between 82 and 98/99. Usually these high 90’s numbers are rollover from deep iron, but the audio was very sweet and it was obvious there was a target under the coil.
I must comment that I really thought gold would be lower on the VDI Number scale as my 18K gold ring rings up in the 70’s. It took a few minutes for that to settle into my head. After retrieving the test piece I started to cover some ground with a slow and low swing.
Now the swing was in no way as slow as I had seen some high end minelab users doing but for the Deus it was very slow.
I got a crisp audio tone and found a Pull tab, just the beaver tail end not the loop bit. Also I found a few bits of rusty tin can and I even nailed a Staple at about half an inch. YES a staple, just like the ones in staplers for paper. It was tiny rusty and gave me the right tone.
I was quite excited by the staple as it was so tiny It gave me hope that I could locate smaller gold targets if I could walk over them.
The strongest signal was from a figure 8 shaped piece of Iron, the tome was strong but the VDI Numbers where very low 01 and 03. So I pretty much guessed it was iron. What gave me encouragement was that it was about 5 inches deep. It was the first target I had with such a clean signal at over 2-3 inches down.
In the Photo you can see a few of the finds, that rock was sending the Deus nuts, I brought it home to use as test rock and practice discriminating them out better, while retaining desirable signals.
Despite a few hours battling the March flies and the heat, I was unsuccessful at finding Gold, But had learned so much about balancing the deus and getting it to perform in this crazy soil that Wedderburn is almost notorious for.
While taking in some fluid I started to get a little dissappointed about my lack of gold, but I realised a few things.
- I had made the Deus run pretty quiet and stable in that soil and for me that was a win in itself.
- I did find targets that where metal in that soil although NOT the metal I wanted.
- In my short time there I hunted very close to the track and there where many signs of diggings, so the area had been worked pretty hard.
- All in All it wasn’t too bad as my experience is basically NONE and I was able to get Deus running well and I learned a few things about TX power, reactivity and sensitivity and how they work together.
So In the sense of gold prospecting it was a failure, but in the sense of learning new things about the Deus it was definatley time well spent.
I will be using some of the ideas in my park and beach hunting like lowering sensitivity and reactivity while upping the TX power. Even on a test swing at the beach in my home town I noticed some very different results and a good increase in depth, especially on the wetter sand.
In conclusion the Deus performed as I expected in the Victorian gold fields. It didn’t locate any tiny bits of gold, But I could be very confident that If I walked over a 1 gram+ piece at a depth of 3 inches or less I would find it. It also showed me that if I was lucky enough to walk over a larger piece of gold I have no doubt I would have heard it at greater depth.
Now The Deus is NO main stream gold machine and will not take the place of your SDC’s, GPX,s and GPZ’s But for a part timer like me I actually had the confidence to say it would find gold if I could walk over it.
What I did like was that I was getting good information from the VDI screen and could identify iron very quickly even though in gold mode there is essentially one tone. That tone varies a lot and the closer a target to the coil the LOUDER and crisper the tone is.
I thouroughly enjoyed my time in the Victorian Gold fields and I have a 10 year Miners right to go back down there whenever I like in that time.
You can be sure that I will be returning to the gold fields again very soon, Just as soon as the updates to Deus are released to test them again in the Hottest soil I could find at Wedderburn Victoria.
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