Introduction & Questions on VLF Machines

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I figured I ought to introduce myself. I've been over many of the mountains and deserts of southeastern California, southwestern Arizona and southern New Mexico over the last few decades but never prospecting. My job kept me off the beaten path, in 4x4, for more hours than I care to think about. My wife said I could retire if I took her home. So, here I am in Yuma, AZ.

I currently have an old Bounty Hunter MD that I got as an Xmas present years ago. I recently hooked up with a neighbor that has been prospecting for 40 years from Alaska to Arizona and now I really have the bug. He has a number of MD's but mainly uses a GP3000 for nuggets. My brother-in-law, also retired, recently moved back to Yuma, too. It turns out that he also prospects and runs an SD2100.

I've been researching detectors on the net and have only come to one conclusion; I can't afford a GP or an SD, yet. :( But, since my wife also likes to relic hunt around ghost towns and old mining camps, I thought I'd get a decent VLF machine to start off and later wrangle a PI detector, keeping the VLF as a back-up and relic machine.

I have narrowed my choices down to a White's MXT, a GMT or Minelab's Xterra 70. My research led me to this site. So far I'm leaning toward the X70 as it seems that it will handle the local mineralization beter than the other two.

I've already contacted our host about an X70 but would appreciate y'all's input on VLF machines for southwestern Arizona.



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Good choices but also consider the Tesoro LST great prospecting unit that is pretty much an all arounder and lots of coils my next choice would be the X 70...Geo

The Lobo was on my initial short list. But, I must admit that while I like the "knob & switch" controls on the Lobo, I also like the idea of having a visual display. Of course, the ultimate goal is a detector I can afford and that will work well in my area.

I'm thinking that the option of running different frequencies is a plus. For that reason I've also considered the Eureka but keep coming back to the X70.

It looks like Rob has convinced me to go to the Gold show in Phoenix this weekend. I'm sure I'll either learn a lot or come away totally confused. :D

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If you are buying a new unit, I suggest a very good look at the xterra-70...I really liked the Lobo-st but I think this x-70 is a better buy for the money...especially if you get the e-dd and the stock coil for around 700 bucks...

you can't go far wrong with any of the units mentioned. You might want to go to Steve's Alaska gold forum and read his recommendations.


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If you are buying a new unit, I suggest a very good look at the xterra-70...I really liked the Lobo-st but I think this x-70 is a better buy for the money...especially if you get the e-dd and the stock coil for around 700 bucks...

you can't go far wrong with any of the units mentioned. You might want to go to Steve's Alaska gold forum and read his recommendations.


I've read Steve's recommendations (several times). In fact, it was one of his responses that led me to this forum. Besides posting a link, he suggested that one should go to a forum frequented more by Arizonans to see what is working better in a particular area.

I figure that I'll be very happy with any of the above mentioned MD's after plugging away with my old Bounty Hunter. Although, I have managed to amass quite a collection of bullets and even the end of a battery cable. ;)

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The Lobo, MXT, and X-Terra 70 are all great choices in a mid-kHz unit.

MXT at 14 kHz

Lobo at 17.8 kHz

X-Terra 70 (18.75 kHz with optional coil) standard 7.5 kHz

All can be had for about the same price, but with the X-Terra 70 you will need that 18.75 kHz accessory coil. You might be able to get one for free if you dicker.

Lobo is most basic unit, with automatic ground balance all metal nugget mode, and fixed ground balance single knob disc mode. The disc mode is suitable for nugget hunting trashy locations or for handling bad hot rocks. The Lobo is only one of these three units you can chest or hip mount. Great coil selection, including 3" x 18" DD Cleansweep coil. A Dave Johnson design.

The MXT is also a Dave Johnson design. It is kind of like having a Lobo, but with an LCD target id meter. It has either automatic ground balance or "fixed" which locks in the last auto setting. The always on target id meter makes the MXT superior to the Lobo in target differentiation for use in trashy areas while nugget detecting and while coin, relic, or jewelry detecting. Lots of coil options.

The X-Terra 70 has both automatic ground balance and manual ground balance. It is similar to the MXT but adds mutiple target tones and notch discrimination. It also has a pretty good coil selection at this point. Designed by unknown (to me) Minelab engineer. Not Bruce Candy.

As a very loose generality, the Lobo is more for the person interested in nugget detecting with less interest in other types of detecting. It should be noted it is very popular in England for hitting small silver and gold coins in iron trash locales. The hip and chest mount cpabilities could be very important for some uses.

The MXT adds the LCD target info that boosts its use considerably as a coin, relic, or jewelry machine, and adds capability for extremely trashy nugget locations, like Ganes Creek, Alaska. There is no arguing with its success and popularity as a general purpose detector strong on gold. So the MXT is a better choice than the Lobo for someone looking for more target id capability for all around use.

The X-Terra 70 adds even more features of interest to coin hunters in particular. It seems handle some hot rock locations better than the MXT in that you can use the coin mode and notch out certain types of hot rocks. Some reports indicate it handles bad ground in Oz better than the MXT. The MXT is faster and for someone covering huge areas the MXT gets the nod. I think it is a toss up with the MXT with people who want notch discrimination or more tone options going for X-Terra 70. Brand preference may also play a role as some people just tend to lean towards either White's or Minelab.

One or the other of these three units may outperform the other in areas of differing mineralization and in the end I think that would determine which is the best choice for nugget hunting. You'd pretty much have to just try all three in a particular location, or rely on the advice of others who have used the units in a particular place.

I used to be a huge MXT fan. But this year I'm going personally with a split decision. For straight up nugget hunting I'll be using the Lobo as I like the ability to hip mount the unit for long hours of hunting. For general purpose use, I'll be using the X-Terra 70, as I do like notch discrimination for jewelry hunting. The Prospect Mode on the X-Terra is great for hunting sand lots and pea gravel in school yards. Last summer the X-Terra 70 was the one unit I just left in my truck just in case I ran into a detecting opportunity as it can pretty much do anything.

Steve Herschbach

Steve's Mining Journal

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Thanks Steve. I had mentioned your "recommendation list" to my neighbor and before I mentioned your name he said, "Oh yeh, Steve from Alaska Mining & Diving." My neighbor spent quite a few years in Alaska before he moved south to thaw out. He had nothing but good things to say.

I'm still undecided on which detector. I think I'll wait, at least a few more days, and talk to folks at the Phoenix Gold Show.

I really apreciate everyone's input.

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Howdy everyone... now that the choice has been made... I have a X-terra 70 that

bought from my local dealer who is also a fellow club member... I paid full

price plus taxes. I find it "very capable" in the local Mojave Desert dryplacer

gold fields just a quick 100 miles north of my house... in the broad

Randsburg/El Paso Mtn range district... There are scattered "hit and miss" shallow

"bread and butter" grain-sized nuggets and flakesto be found around the spoil-pits

of old diggin's and out on the pediments and alluvial fans... I guess it is VLF-territory.

However... while I bought my '70 from a local dealer; I bought my Infinium from

Steve and my Eureka Gold from Rob. They are both top-notch dealers and

tell it like it is... Thanks, Steve and Rob.

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