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Stargazer McCabe

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Everything posted by Stargazer McCabe

  1. How wonderful. Dark skies all round. 21.4 from the roof of the villa here in La Palma last night and 21.9 from a little place @James and I know up a steep concrete track to a high water tank this morning... M33 naked eye was a sight to behold...
  2. What I’ve enjoyed about the VAMO since having it @Stu is that it’s as gorgeous to use as our Mini Ercole in manual mode, but it has that option to use the Nexus. Best of both worlds and i’d say we’re doing an equal amount of manual and technology enhanced tracking down. Nice to have the options. And my is it buttery smooth and quick to settle on the Gitzo...
  3. @Saganite Steve, you can have a gander at all the travel set ups when you come over. But this is the latest manifestation. All you see in the photo, plus a hatful of eyepieces and binoculars came with us this time...
  4. @Saganite If you want to pop over and see how we pack the Takahashi for travel when we’re back Steve, just holler... We’ve flown with scopes 5 or 6 times to the villa here in La Palma and twice to Namibia and Central Africa without issue...
  5. Ours arrived to 21.9 La Palma skies without incident... FC100 DF with Encoder equipped VAMO Traveller, Nexus II and a hatful of ES82* eyepieces and filters made it without even having to be opened for security... Hope your trip goes as smoothly...
  6. @Grant Without wishing to sound negative or against change, can you register a vote for the previous system being better please ? Particularly in the "for sale" section the large photos available in the thread makes scrolling through all images a bit of a pain... I can't imaging what the "show us your..." threads will be like henceforth...
  7. There you go @Alan White !! That’s two of us that got our VAMO within a short while... ?? Beat’s obviously getting his production timings shortened. As I say my AYO II with Encoders was only a month in manufacturing. Look forward to hearing your thoughts when you get whichever you plump for...
  8. @Alan White I phoned Beat and same day it was in the post. Swiss post and Parcelforce led to a “delay” of a week... Give him a call or an email. You’ll be surprised at his current stock levels and production capabilities. Even for a bespoke AYO II with Encoders I only waited a month... And Beat is a master engineer. His AYO II has had my 8” EdgeHD one side with a 20mm Lunt 100* eyepiece in it with an ED120 holding a 30mm ES 82* the other. That’s the beauty of his design and engineering. It doesn’t have to look like a tank to be as “sturdy” as one...
  9. Seek and ye shall find... http://www.aokswiss.ch/ayo/vamo_traveler/main_vamo_traveler.html It is rated conservatively to c 7kg. As shown, it holds my FC100 DF with ease... I don't need anything sturdier as a travel mount. If I want sturdier for the ED120 & 8" EdgeHD which often get mounted side by side, I reach for Beat's AYO II...
  10. @Astroblagger I’ve been very happy with my LS50. However, I would point out 2 things; Firstly aperture will undoubtedly help you resolve greater detail. I’ve seen subtle yet significant difference in the view through my scope and a friend’s LS60 at times. Not enough to make me rue buying the 50, but there nonetheless... Secondly, the LS50 helical focuser. You’ll be able to live with it for a while. But trust me, you will have a limit to how long you’ll tolerate the “sag” ? So when comparing prices do factor in the cost of a new or previously owned FT or Moonlight for the LS50. Then you’ll be comparing the cost parameter more fairly...
  11. @Stu As Dave Brailsford said “it’s all about the Marginal Gains” !! ??
  12. @Stu As a follow up I have more or less completed the layout of the case. The photo below includes: Takahashi FC-100 DF with original focuser, AOK VAMO Traveller with Encoders, 2 Filters, Nexus II unit, SW 6x30 RACI Finderscope (without bracket), Baader T2 Prism including 2” nosepiece and helical eyepiece holder (but those bits are removed and in a separate pouch), ES24mm 68*, ES14mm 82*, ES8.8mm 82*, ES6.7mm 82*, Nagler 6-3mm Zoom Weighed this morning, with all that, I’m at 9.95kg. So I’m sure you could hit your 10kg target. Admittedly I may ditch the 6.7mm or have a rearrangement and I will have to use checked luggage (for more robust stuff like brackets, rings and dovetail) and my “scope mule” Susie for other delicate stuff like binoculars etc ? But it gives you an insight as to what can be achieved and included within your allowance
  13. It’s about 2cm too short for the DF tube. If the DC is shorter and comes in under 47.8cm it could work.
  14. @Stu glad to have helped. And I was in two minds as to where to post this. Mount subsection seemed logical, but the travel thread did cross my mind. So worry not, questions on all aspects of the setup are welcome...
  15. @Stu Stuff like rings and dovetail will go into checked. Thus far, he said touching wood, whether it be Budget Airlines to La Palma, Scheduled to Southern or Eastern Africa and the usual light aircraft charters around those countries the Castor or Mini Giro, tripod, Dovetails, finder brackets and anything "not breakable" have travelled safely in checked. Carry on has been limited to scope, eyepieces, filters, finderscope and Binoculars. This time I'm considering the mount in Carry On because of the encoder discs and readers. I spoke with Serge who said it would be best to not remove them too often as the screws into the readers go into plastic, and he feared widening the holes through regular insertion and removal - no matter how careful one tries to be.
  16. @Stu The mount with encoders weighs 1.4kg. What you see inside the case picture - the case, FC-100 DF (bear in mind heavier focuser than your FT and even the DC focuser) and Mount - weighs in at exactly 8kg at the moment... Any other dimensions / weights or combinations - just holler...
  17. @heliumstar It is an old Gitzo Carbon G1325 Mk2 that I used to use for photographic purposes. At high mag it seems to work fine. After focusing it takes a fraction of a second to settle as is to be expected, but is very stable. The MEF-3 fine focuser helps reduce disturbances, as does the helical focuser eyepiece holder. Between the two I can make fine adjustments without inducing too much wobble. And whether the tension on either axis is tight or relaxed the mount moves exceptionally smoothly in Altitude and Azimuth... No criticisms thus far...
  18. @martinl They are indeed the TrekPak dividers and metal clips they provide. They’re easy enough to grasp and withdraw, so thus far I haven’t employed the tags.
  19. Although we thoroughly enjoy finding our way around the night sky manually, there are occasions when my wife and I elect to let our encoder equipped Dob and AYO II Mount assist us. While it's been nice to have the option of letting "technology do the work" from time to time, thus far this choice hasn't been available on our overseas sorties. However, during a recent conversation with Beat about improving our travel kit, he made mention that he and Serge at Astro Devices had worked on designing an encoder kit for his VAMO Traveller Mount. With Beat confirming he had a VAMO in stock and available for shipping that day and Serge agreeing he could build and ship an encoder kit that same week I thought it worth a whirl to see if I could assemble a much improved travel set up before we head out at the end of this week for our regular end of year spell in La Palma... Both guys, ParcelForce and DHL did their bit and at the end of last week I sat down to assemble everything. As others (like @JG777 with whom I have been in discussion) may be interested in a lightweight, Encoder enabled "Grab & Go" or travel setup I've documented things below. Serge's encoder package can be seen below: The magnetic discs were then pushed into each axis of the mount and tightened with the Allen Key to achieve a snug and secure fit The Encoder Reader is secured to the mount by screws if the new version of the mount is being used (the new version has the 3 holes seen above). If the older version is being converted, the Reader is secured by a sticky pad on its underside. Once installed each axis should look like this: And that's it... That took me 10 minutes. Serge also designed a shelf which will accommodate either my Nexus DSC or Nexus II units. Allowing the final travel kit to be assembled like this I can report it is buttery smooth in both Azimuth and Altitude, even when a 2" diagonal and accessories are being used and is a colossal improvement over our Berlebach Castor. And although I haven't fully finalised the layout of the carry on case, having followed @Stu's lead for disassembly and use of neoprene lens caps (plus a couple of neoprene knee braces !!) it is coming together like this... With sufficient space remaining for eyepieces and the Nexus II unit. The PeliAir 1525 fits within the strictest carry on allowances. I'll try and answer any questions and will report back on how it all performs, but initial testing this week has been nothing but positive.
  20. Good to natter. Let me know when you want to come up. I sent you an SMS with directions and full contact details
  21. Martin I have a mini Giro Ercole I am considering passing on. I have just bought an AYO II and a VAMO Traveller making the Mini Ercole surplus to requirements. It’s this one https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p8256_Giro-Ercole-Mini-Azimutale-Montierung-fuer-Instumente-bis-9-kg.html If interested PM me and I’ll take some photos. Or, given I’m at Junction 9 of the A1(M) you could inspect in person... I used it regularly on a 3/8” photo tripod I also have a Berlebach Castor that might also be available... https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p7605_Berlebach-Castor-Alt-Az-mount.html Simon
  22. If it’s as an all rounder with a bit more Light gathering @John, our 8” EdgeHD is very good with a lovely flat field. We only use it visually. And from time to time we use it’s dedicated 0.7x reducer too...
  23. This is just up the road from where we stay several times each year in the Canaries... On La Palma. On the dark side of the island too... http://athos.org/ I travel with our Tak & Bins. But I know @James has rented gear from them Graham
  24. @John, I know you frequent CN and may have seen this, so apologies for duplication if so. But this, although old, is very useful in places about the Mewlon... https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/263977-mewlon-210-ota-vs-c8-xlt-ota-vs-edgehd-8-ota/ Our "aperture bridge" between the 5" and 14" is an EdgeHD 8. If you want any views on that do yell, but I won't divert this thread.
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