Gardnerville man invents revolutionary metal finder |

Gardnerville man invents revolutionary metal finder

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

People around the world looking for buried treasure may have found a gold mine in an invention by a Gardnerville man, who uses atomic bomb technology with impressive results.

Robert Yocum, 77, is the inventor of a nuclear harmonic resonator — the Omni Range Master, which is a revolutionary product in line for a patent. The resonator can find metals and minerals by identifying their molecular pattern.

While the technology is somewhat secret, Yocum said he has discovered the molecular signal of some 80 minerals and his Range Master can hone in on that frequency in a 360-degree pattern for up to 28 miles — although some of his customers swear it works for distances more than 100 miles.

Yocum recently tested his invention along the Highway 395 corridor. He had his wife and business partner, Barbara, walk down the street with a small piece of gold. With Yocum at his store near The Record-Courier building, the Range Master detected gold and maintained a reading as his wife traveled about a mile south, by honing in on its particular molecule structure.

“There is no way a metal detector can do that,” he said. “It is so exact. It will put you with 100ths of 1 percent.”

Success stories include a prospector in Bolivia, who found 30 tons of old coins, statues and Mayan artifacts, and a Texan, who found two tons of Spanish silver bars, worth about $15,000 each.

The Yocums have lived in Carson Valley since 1994. He owns the Prospector & Treasure Hunters Headquarters Inc. on Highway 395 and has been a professional prospector for more than 40 years.

A former U.S. Navy boxer, Yocum originally got the mining fever when he was asked by a friend to provide some muscle to thwart a claim jumper on a Mariposa, Calif. gold mine.

After ridding the mine of the interloper, who he later learned was a deputy sheriff in the area, Yocum said he became acquainted with miners and decided to strike out on his own.

Living in Southern California, Yocum was prospecting behind the hills in Burbank and found a cache of the shiny gold stuff D which later turned out to be Fool’s Gold.

“I thought I was rich,” he said. “But the assayer told me it was worthless.

“He showed me the difference in minerals and metals and got me hooked.”

Many years ago, Yocum wanted to show Barbara the famous California Keys Mine that had produced millions but he couldn’t find the road to it. Later, at a restaurant, the Yocums were sitting beside an old prospector, who worked at the Keys 26 years prior, and offered to show him where it was located.

As they were driving through the hills, the prospector told him about a gold finding unit he had invented.

“He told me he could pick up a gold vein 100 feet down. I didn’t think he was thinking straight, but he had taken samples and they were high-grade,” said Yocum, who soon returned home and couldn’t stop thinking about the invention.

Soon after, Yocum returned to find the old prospector, but learned he had died. He talked with some of the old man’s friends, and found out some basics about the “gold finding unit.”

Yocum consulted with engineers, physicists and metal experts to improve on the prospector’s invention and the Omni Range Master was born 12 years ago.

Since then, it has been improved several times, Yocum said.

Yocum said the signal energy causes the rods to cross each other — very similar to dousing rods.

“When the signal matches the molecule, it follows it right to the source,” Yocum said.

“We can even get into the Orwellian stuff.”

He said there are practical applications for the Range Master such as identifying gun powder or to sweep mine fields.

“A sniper can’t hide from it. It either picks up the ammo or the alloy used in the gun,” Yocum said.

He said the Range Master could eventually be used to detect the specific energy field or aura of a person.

“It will probably be advanced to that point,” he said. “When a guy is arrested you can get a snap of his aura. It is as distinctive as a fingerprint.”

Yocum is always working to improve his Range Master.

“I don’t see any limit to its capabilities,” said Yocum. The sky’s the limit.”

— Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at