Garrett Infinium at Ganes Creek, Alaska
I visited Ganes Creek, Alaska over the Labor Day weekend to do some nugget hunting with some friends. I've visited the creek before, and used the Garrett Infinium LS to find a 1.2 pennyweight nugget on an earlier visit in July. We scanned an area that has been heavily hunted, for the same reasons that we were there. Three nuggets over 5 ounces were detected in the area this year.
For long hours of scanning, I prefer to use the Infinium in hipmount configuration. In other situations, where I may be digging more than actually scanning, I mount the control box to the rod assembly so I can set the detector aside while digging. But at Ganes Creek, where I may spend 12 hours a day scanning, keeping weight off my arm is very important. When hipmounted the rod and coil assembly weighs 3 lbs 3.8 oz on the arm, a significant reduction from the total unit weight of over 5 lbs.
The Infinium ran smooth and clear, so much so that I found myself waving my ring over the coil to make sure it was really working. Absolutely no signals from rocks in the tailing piles. Very odd when you are used to constant background sounds back from a VLF detector. But every once in awhile I got a signal, and dug either a shell casing, or an iron trash target. The dual-tone id on the Infinium LS is pretty simple. If you get a "hi-lo" tone the item is most likely a low conductive target like a gold nugget, gold jewelry, pull tabs, US nickels, and foil. Highly conductive targets like copper, silver (most coins except US nickels) and most iron and steel give a reverse "lo-hi" audio signal.
The discrimination on PI (Pulse Induction) detectors is not perfect, and so iron targets that might be rejected with a VLF (Very Low Frequency) may be signaled as "good" on a PI detector like the Infinium LS. It's important to know the dual-tone system is not an "iron rejection" system. It merely separates targets into two categories. Most iron and steel targets are highly conductive, but there are some that are actually low conductive. Bits of wire and flat, very rusty items are the worst offenders. When the Infinium reads on iron or steel targets as hi-lo tone, it has not made a "mistake" or wrong id. It is that there is a wide variation in potentially detectable targets, and some types of iron and steel have a low conductivity. So although the discrimination system on the Infinium was rejecting most of the iron trash, I was still digging some now and then.
I find shell casings and bullets to be encouraging, as that means there are likely more gold nuggets to be found. There is no id system available that will reliably reject brass and lead while getting gold nuggets. If these items remain to be found, then not all potentially detectable targets have been located. The same rule applies to pull tabs and gold jewelry. Leave pull tabs behind, and you leave gold jewelry for me to find. So the fact that the hi-lo tone groups gold nuggets, gold jewelry, bullets, shell casings, and pull tabs together is a good thing. This is the "gold range".
Still, the area had been well searched, and the finds were few. I finally located a 13.8 dwt (dwt = pennyweight) nugget, and then a 3.8 dwt nugget (20 pennyweight per ounce). Both were in an area of old cobbles that had lots of shell casings, and it may be that others had therefore avoided the location. The Infinium did it's job, and did it well. It runs incredibly clean in mixed cobbles that give constant, distracting variations in threshold sound on a high-frequency VLF unit.
All in all, I feel Garrett has done what they set out to do. Design a good general purpose ground balancing pulse induction detector for a very reasonable price. The machine almost totally ignores hot rocks and mineralized ground that give VLF units fits. And the dual-tone id system is a real plus. The machine should see lots of use nugget hunting, relic detecting, and of course water detecting. Now if they would just release the accessory coils - 14" mono and 8" mono. They are slated to be in dealer hands later this year.
~ Steve Herschbach
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