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Everything posted by F15Rules

  1. Well put, Steve. I don't own a single Tele Vue product these days, but if money was no object at all of course I might be tempted. But you are right, the market is broadly in two parts- manufactured to a quality level, think TV, Takahashi, Lzos, TEC, Pentax Vixen, etc and then almost everything else, Synta/Celestron, Bresser/Meade, and various "house brands" et al to a price. Perhaps a couple of companies seem to straddle both ends, Baader, for example who are innovative but get under most top end prices, and Explore Scientific who seem to almost clone some of the top end makers gear at much lower prices. I for one hope there will always be room in the market for companies such as Tele Vue Dave
  2. F15Rules

    Nice night tonight..

    Having felt pretty ill on and off for the last 3 weeks, my observing has been almost zero. So it was nice to get home from work this evening to be greeted with clearing skies and 15 degree temperatures. I decided to set up both the FS128 and ED103s and spend some time on M42, comparing the two, as I haven't previously had the chance to do so. I had the ED103s mounted on a nice GPDX mount I acquired recently, they really are well matched, and the GPDX is really much more beefy than my previous (and excellent) GP mount. The Tak was, as usual, on the EM2 mount with its' simple but highly efficient RA drive, tracking for the whole session with just a simple visual alignment with Polaris. The EM2 is a similar size and weight to the GPDX and handles the quite large tube of the FS128 beautifully. First up was the ED103s with a 30mm Aero ep, giving a beautiful wide view at x26. The Trap looked very sharp, with the 4 main components nicely displayed, surrounded by the fainter stars embedded in the nebula. I'd set the FS128 up with the binoviewer and a pair of Parks Gold 25mm, and these delivered x38 and wonderful contrast..two eyed viewing really feels comfortable to me these days, and these fine old Japanese units with their winged eyeguards really deliver lovely images, pin sharp across their entire 52 deg field. There were faint stars popping into view right across the Bat wings and the Fish mouth was starkly outlined as a very dark mass. The benefit of the Celestron binoviewers is that they come to focus without a Barlow, adding only about 15% to the native magnification of the eyepiece pairs being used. Next, I loaded the Vixen with my Morpheus 9mm, giving x88, and to my great delight I could see both E and F stars, distinctly in the case of the E star, and faintly, but definitely in the case of the F component. Encouraged by this, I popped the 9mm into the Tak, cyclops, and giving x115 due to the longer focal length (1040mm) of the Tak.. as I'd hoped, both the E and F stars were easy to see , both with direct vision, and a lovely sight. However, with the binoviewer I couldn't see either, demonstrating that using a bv does come at the cost of a significant loss of brightness - I would guess between half and 3/4 of a magnitude. But the sheer comfort and depth of field of the binocular view does IMHO make up for the slightly dimmer image ceiling, in terms of improved viewing comfort and less tired eyes at the end of a session. I then tried pairs of Morpheus 17.5mm and Fujiyama 12.5mm giving x60 and x88 respectively. The Morphs delivered beautiful, wide (76 degrees) views, while the 42 degree Fuji orthos were razor sharp with pure black background..In fact I did think I spotted the E star using the Ortho pair. I did also have a quick look at Sirius in both scopes (cyclops mode), in the faint hope of glimpsing the Pup, but as expected there was just too much turbulence that low in the atmosphere this evening. At around 9pm the moon was really starting to brighten the sky, and was also poorly placed for me at that time (very low in the turbulent air), so I called it a night. So, what did I conclude from my brief comparison? No surprises really. Both these scopes are high quality apo doublets, optimised for visual observing, the Tak with Fluorite front element (FS = Front Surface), and the Vixen with (I believe), an FPL53 element - both objectives have low scatter and glare, indicating excellent levels of polish and figure. The Tak showed brighter images, as you would expect, being a full 5" aperture to the Vixens' 4", and I would say that it edged the Vixen on contrast, but the Vixen really showed lovely views and was in no way disgraced.. Both these lovely scopes could keep anyone busy for many years. Looking ahead, and hoping to retire next year, keeping both might prove to be a luxury I can't afford. If so, I would have to choose the FS128 to keep, as it really can, for me, be an all-rounder scope..But I'd love to see a side by side in depth test of the ES103s vs a Tak FC100 or FS102 at some point... All in all then, a very welcome and enjoyable session in the company of a wonderful showpiece nebula and two lovely refractors Dave
  3. F15Rules

    Mewlon Moon

    Great contrast Stu..really nice, black terminator Dave
  4. I have loved Vixen telescopes and mounts for nearly 30 years. I think they are a very underrated brand, and they have (and still do) produced some of the best, most accessible amateur scopes and mounts ever. From achromats to reflectors, mak-cassegrains to apochromats, they have offered, in my experience, excellent optics, understated but attractive build characteristics and very pleasing instruments. Their Super Polaris, Great Polaris and GPDX mounts were the original (and best, IMHO) affordable equatorial mounts, much copied, but not bettered for longevity and quality of engineering for the price. I have owned the following models: SP102m, Custom 80m, Pulsar F13 102mm all achromats), and 2 ED103s doublets...and 2 wonderful GP mounts. I'd love to see your pictures of Vixen scopes past and present, of whatever type, and with any anecdotes or stories about them that you are happy to share. Here is my starter, my ED103s doublet, seen here fixed to a CG-4 mount with a Takahashi FS102 clamshell. It is optically excellent, very lightweight and portable, and makes me smile every time I use it. Looking forward to seeing yours Dave
  5. I should have mentioned, the Pulsar F13 I had was a rare Altazimuth mounted scope, it came with a yolk type robust fitting on the tube, very simple but effective. It had really long flexible slow motion controls too. I removed the yolk mount though and covered the holes left by removing it with black insulation tape. Shown here on an old Vixen Super Polaris mount and CG5 tripod.. Dave
  6. Lovely setup, Chris! I owned an F13 Vixen 102mm a few years ago - it was called a "Pulsar". It was actually the only Vixen scope I ever owned that under performed..I actually got the lens tested by Es Reid, who suggested that the outer 10% was the problem (he said it was operating at 1/4 wave at best). On Es' recommendation, I made a mask down to 90mm and it transformed the performance and turned it into an F14.7 90mm. It was always a beautiful scope to look at, and the guy who bought it from me knew about the lens' limitations but was more interested in it as a "statement piece" for his London flat! Vixen also made an F15 102mm frac, called the Saturn - not many of them about, but apparently totally amazing on double stars, with very little CA.. I once came close to buying one from a guy in Northumberland for £500 complete with a Vixen original full height pier and GP mount - now THAT was a gorgeous looking scope!! Dave
  7. Fabulous gun emplacement, er, I mean scope setup Kerry! I'd love to have a peep through an Atlux - as a much younger man in the 80s I used to drool over them in the catalogues and astro mags, you could buy half a house for the cost of one even then! Thanks for posting Dave
  8. Hi Keith, To be honest I wouldn't bother..unless you are into Imaging, the manual alignment with the original polar scope will work for years yet.. just get Polaris near the centre of the reticule and it will track well for visual use Dave
  9. Some beautiful Vixen based setups you have there Brian. That little Newt looks just so "right" on the Vixen SP, thanks for sharing! Dave
  10. F15Rules

    COMPLETED - Tripod spreader wanted

    Found, many thanks! Mods please archive ad☺. Dave
  11. Hi, I'm looking for a back or white tripod metal spreader for an EQ5 or CG5 mount. Just the spreader itself will do if you haven't got the central retaining bolt ☺. Many thanks, Dave
  12. F15Rules

    Hilkin telescope t-705

    It's an "Eikow" made scope I think, pretty much the same as a Swift 831, a well regarded old scope. There is a lot of info on the Swift 831 on the net, so do have a delve and digest as much as you can. Here's a link to start you off.. https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/578091-swift-831-restoration-advice/ If you scroll down you will see a few photos, the similarity to yours is striking☺. Dave
  13. I have available for sale this excellent WO mounting plate which fits all Vixen/Skywatcher etc mount pucks. It's in good, used condition and rock solid. Length 195mm Width 90mm (widest measurement), with Vixen width base underneath (see photos). Multiple pre drilled holes for various sized rings etc. Price £35 posted in the UK. Thanks for looking. Dave
  14. This lovely Tak clamshell is now surplus to my needs. It's in very good used condition with a few minor marks, and was originally for an FS102 scope. I have been using it with my Vixen ED103s and it will fit perfectly any scope tube with a 114mm diameter. Very solid bit of kit, made in Japan and in beautiful Tak green. Very secure and can be used with a Vixen style puck by adding a dovetail to the base (bolts not included). Price £100 including signed for shipping in the UK. Thanks for looking. Dave
  15. F15Rules

    COMPLETED - Tripod spreader wanted

    Thanks David, looks very professional . I think I have found what I need (definitely the spreader) possibly not the central bar..I should know later today. Thanks for responding☺. Kind regards, Dave
  16. This is an excellent diagonal mirror in 1.25" format with compression ring. It is unbranded, but of very good quality, it reminds me of an Opticron that I previously owned. In mint condition with both end caps, it has a great mirror and has hardly been used as I am now using prisms for the most part. Price £27 to include UK signed for delivery Thanks for looking. Dave
  17. Sorry, it was sold a couple of weeks back.. Mods ,please archive this ad, thanks☺. Dave
  18. F15Rules

    Vixen HR comfort

    ...Or maybe needs a clean? I think these tiny eye lenses are often so fiddly to clean that people don't bother.. ..But they can still get a film over them. Short FL Eps like these have one purpose - to give the sharpest, clearest, most scatter free performance your scope can deliver. So they need to be as clean as possible..☺☺ Dave
  19. F15Rules

    Hilkin telescope t-705

    That makes a bit more sense now, thanks David. Take a look at this thread on this forum.. New vintage 1960s SYW Yamamoto 60mm F13 refractor It looks very like the Eikow/Swift design but was made by Yamamoto, who I believe were bought up by one Mr Takahashi at one point. This one had wonderful optics and went north eventually to be used as a solar scope..I believe the buyer still has it.. Your Hilkin should perform very well..Would be good to see photos☺ Dave
  20. F15Rules

    Hilkin telescope t-705

    Some pictures would really help☺. One of the "Old Timers" Dave
  21. F15Rules

    Vixen GP-DX clamp upgrade

    Looks the business Stu...Looking forward to your first light report Dave
  22. F15Rules

    What did the postman bring?

    Great band, the Winery Dogs..Billy Sheehan on bass, Richie Koetzen on lead guitar and vocals (ex-Poison among others), and Mike Portnoy, drums (ex-Dream Theatre). If you've not heard anything of them and you like rock, have a listen to "Captain Love" on YouTube Dave
  23. F15Rules

    Unbelievable Jeff !! - not actually

    Hi John, I had a similar evening, spoilt more by the sky than domestic stuff this time. I've been feeling rubbish for almost 2 weeks, during which time we have probably 5 lovely , moonless nights, that I couldn't take advantage of.. last night the sky looked good apart from a very bright waxing moon, but the seeing was just lousy - I couldn't even split Rigel in my Tak, even after an hour! And the moon was a boiling mush, even at only x50. So I cut my losses and went back inside before 8.30pm to watch TV. C'est la vie.. But still very disappointing, even though I know there will be other nights. John, keep smiling, it will get better, as surely as the sun rises each morning ☺ Dave
  24. F15Rules

    Sirius B and E/F stars - what does it take!?

    I think I may be the colleague Steve was referring to 3 years ago..It's scary to think that is how long it is since I first glimpsed the Pup in my Vixen ED103s refractor. Thay was back in LP plagued Leicestershire..since we moved to rural Lincolnshire 2 years ago, I haven't seen it since, even with my FS128, although the E & F stars are easy when the sky is steady. Buy we do have a micro climate here, being surrounded by low hills, and some nights although darker than the Midlands, the seeing just isn't there.. Sadly, tonight the sky is like jelly here..I couldn't even split Rigel, and the moon is overpoweringly bright and shimmering non stop. Very disappointed tonight.. I hope others in here have much better seeing this evening.. Dave
  25. F15Rules

    Vixen HR comfort

    What aperture do you find you can get the 3 way split in, Mike? Dave

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