A precisely machined test nest holds a single hard disk drive slider. The test nest is fabricated to contain a micro pickup coil that is positioned to be able to detect magnetic flux from a write element of the slider. The micro pickup coil has highly repeatable and controllable positioning with respect to the write element. This technique also allows local magnetic field to be applied to the read element, and its small size allows excitation at higher frequencies than are currently achievable today. The coil is lithographically defined and integrated into the test nest and used on single slider testers. The low inductance of the coil allows it to be driven at high frequencies. Its position within the test nest ensures good heat sinking and enables large current pulses to be employed.