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Posts Made By: Paul Atkinson

June 30, 2004 11:38 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

New FeatherTouch Focuser - Any Vendors Have Them?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

A while back there was a thread and picture about a new version of the Feather Touch focuser that had some good improvements. Does anyone know if any of the vendors are carrying this model yet?

Paul Atkinson

July 2, 2004 07:07 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Precise Parts Vendor, I Am Impressed!

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I realized I needed a special part made for my mount on Wednesday of this week or I was dead in the water. This part is not currently made by anyone else for what I needed and was essential to get my setup running. Remembering that I had seen an ad on Astromart, I contacted Precise Parts (Astromart Vendor) later that afternoon and told Ashley (the owner) what I needed. After talking to him on the phone he sent me a detailed email proposal a short time later with the price, estimated delivery time, and shipping. He told me that he would have it ready in 5 days, which for machining is a VERY GOOD turn around time.

Being impatient, and wanting to work on my gear over the long holiday weekend, I contacted him back and asked him if there was anyway that he could rush it for me? He said that he could have it done by Friday, for a Saturday delivery, if I paid the difference in shipping. I told him we had a deal and to please proceed with the part.

I was pleasantly surprised sitting in my office yesterday afternoon (Thursday) when Ashley contacted me VIA A PERSONAL PHONE CALL to tell me the part was done. He then sent a picture to my email address for my review and, upon my approval, shipped it out for overnight delivery! Now that is what I call a rush job!

Well I got the part today, a mere 48 hours after talking to him for the very first time. After getting home and trying it, it worked and fit perfectly per my specifications. It was exactly as I needed and now I will be able to view this weekend where as I would have been out of luck.

Several things really impressed me about Ashley and Precise Parts:

1. Ashley himself. He was very pleasant, answered all my questions, and treated me like what I needed was very important. To me it was, and I felt he understood that.

2. The high level of service. The fact that he rushed the part and actually took time to call me to let me know it was done really impressed me. I was a nice personal touch and a lost art in todays business world.

3. The workmanship. It was top notch. Having some machined products of my own, I can say that his work is right in line with the highest standards offered by some of the best names in astronomy.

If you need something made, I highly recommend Precise Parts.

Paul Atkinson

July 3, 2004 07:50 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Pentax XW 40 or TV Pan 41?? YES, AGAIN!

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I know that this thread gets posted every few weeks. However, those posts always seem to spin off into other brands, focal lengths, and eveything else but these two EP's. :S I am looking for feedback from people who have actually used these two EP's or has used one of them specifically. 8) I am trying to accumulate some information and need to know the following? Not trying to sound harsh, but I am not interested in information on anything but these two EP's. wink

1. Edge of field performance?
2. Comparitive brightness?
3. Comparitive contrast?
4. Comparitive FOV?
5. Type of scope and focal length used?
6. Your overall impression?

I have tried the 41mm Pan but have not had the opportunity to use the XW so I am curious someone who has thinks about it.

Paul Atkinson

July 9, 2004 09:11 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Ever Wonder....???

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I was reading my new S&T the other day and as always, I was looking at the ad's. I was going over the 2 page Televue spread. On it they list the NP101, TV76 and some other items that have been out for well over a year (and in some cases 2-3 years) as NEW! That's funny. Now they list the TV 60mm APO as NEW, which it is. Why wouldn't they update the rest of the ad as those items clearly aren't "new" any longer. What constitutes an ad claiming a product is still new? A trivial topic to be sure, but I am just curious.

Paul Atkinson

July 16, 2004 07:15 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

New "Dew-Not" Heater Straps

Posted By Paul Atkinson

If anyone is interested there is company that is now making heater straps that use less power, cost less, and are of equal, if not better quality as the Kendrick. I found these being talked about on one of my Yahoo groups and then visited their site to see what they were about. They are really nice. I bought several and I liked them so much that I did a write up in the article section if you are interested in the complete details. By the way, I have no affiliation to this company whatsoever, but figured others like me out there like to know about new products when they come along.

Got to spend more $$ on new toys! wink


July 20, 2004 02:19 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

StarGPS? Are they open?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I have heard about this StarGPS and even seen an ad in S&T for them. However, when I try to go to the site I get a timeout error over and over like it isn't there. Does anyone know what the deal is?

Paul Atkinson

July 30, 2004 07:52 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Coronado PST - Who's Tried One?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I had the Coronado 40mm solar filter and really liked it. However, I eventually sold it because although I liked viewing occassionally, I couldn't justify the cost of the Televue Pronto I bought to use with it, the filter, etc... for the actual amount of use I was giving it.

Now this PST looks pretty cool and is very reasonably priced. $495 vs. the $1800 I had invested or the $1595 for the dedicated SolarMax 40 scope they make. Has anyone used the PST and what is their impression? I think it might be the answer for the occassional look without feeling guilty if I don't have it out all the time like before.

August 2, 2004 04:29 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

How To Turn A $319 ST120 Into A $1400 Scope

Posted By Paul Atkinson

OK... I love refractors as much as the next guy. However, having owned several high end models like the Tak FSQ, Tak FS102, Tak FC76, Televue 102, Televue 85... and others, I couldn't justify the high cost for the amount of time that I actually looked through them compared to my 14" Cat. As such, I have sold most of them. Now I don't image, so although optics are critical, I can get by with a little less when I am viewing nebula's and open clusters as long as the stars are tight and clean. Wanting a good wide field scope to compliment the relatively narrow field of the 14" I sought out to remedy the situation at a more "reasonable" cost that wouldn't make me feel guilty when it went unused. The ST120 seemed like a good choice with good light grasp at a very reasonable price.

I found a used ST120 in good clean condition on Astromart for about $250. I proceeded to disassemble the scope and do one of my patented high end mod jobs to it. First, I stripped the tube and repainted it a high end metallic called "Wildfire". Then I completely tweaked the optics and flocked the entire inside of the tube and properly lined the inside of the dewshield to boost contrast. Next, I set about designing an adapter that would allow me switch out the cheap focuser with a Starlight 2.5" FeatherTouch. I did this with the help of Precise Parts (a vendor here on Astromart). Then I added an AP Maxbright Diagonal.

Now call me cheap but it looks pretty good sitting on top of my C14 painted to match. Not to mention that I get ZERO color on bright objects including the full moon at low powers. Using the Nagler 31mm and Pentax 40XW I get stunning wide field swaths of the Milky Way star fields, clusters, and nebula which is exactly what I am using this scope for. In fact, the images are stunning when compared to my others. Now I am not saying this thing preforms on par with the APO's I own/have owned but then again, this scope cost me $1400 to assemble. That's for a 120 mm refractor! Of that, $900 was the adapter, diagonal, and focuser! This is a far cry from the $4000 I was quoted for 115mm APO which I almost rationalized in my mind.

Paul Atkinson

August 2, 2004 07:02 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Vernonscope $445 2" Diagonal

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Has anyone else seen this? New product showcase in the August S&T magazine has profiled a new Vernonscope 2" 1/20th wave (or better) VERNONscope Quartz Star Diagonal Mirror. Each diagonal mirror comes with an indivdual Zygo interferometer printout for proof of flatness. This bad boy cost $445 dollars!!! That is going to make the cost of the Maxbright and Everbrite seem like a bargain. Ok...

1. What does this translate to at the EP in a SCT? A excellent refractor? Others?

2. Is the supposed 1/20th wave cost justifiable over say the AP/Maxbright or Everbrite?

Paul Atkinson

August 4, 2004 09:04 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Do Any Major Vendors Accept Paypal

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Just curious. Paypal seems to be the cash of Astromart. Do any of the major vendors accept payment made by Paypal?

Paul Atkinson