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Posts Made By: Jim Carpenter

October 26, 2008 01:16 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Digital Setting Circles

Posted By Jim Carpenter

Assuming the TV Sky Tour is the same Tangent box as the JMI Max series, you can download the manual from the JMI website at


November 19, 2008 12:44 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Autumn in New England 1

Posted By Jim Carpenter

Thanks, guys. I'll try to get some more posted when I have time to do some processing.


November 27, 2008 12:32 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Boom Lake, Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta.

Posted By Jim Carpenter

Fantastic shot, Mike. Thanks for posting.

January 5, 2009 10:36 AM Forum: Refractors

Diagonal Comparisons

Posted By Jim Carpenter

I've had several 1.25" diagonals, all imported, including one TV, and all were way out of collimation. In fairness to Televue, that particular diagonal was the same as sold by other vendors, so I wouldn't consider it to be "true" TV.

I also had a 2" standard WO diagonal a few years back that someone in the QC department forgot to check because the barrel nearly fell off due to the set screws not being tightened at the factory. Since that same problem occurred to numerous others and was widely reported on various forums, I'm pretty sure WO has taken steps to alleviate that problem on their current diagonals. However, after reassembling the diagonal and making sure the set screw holding the barrel to the body was tightened, I sold it and bought a Stellarvue 2" dielectric diagonal. I now have three of the Stellarvue 2" dielectric diagonals and one Stellarvue 1.25" dielectric diagonal. All are spot-on collimation-wise, and very well machined and assembled.


January 25, 2009 08:27 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Anyone Using a Netbook???

Posted By Jim Carpenter

I have an Asus eee PC90 (900mhz cpu, 1 gb ram, 12 gb sshd, WinXP). I use it primarily for travel since it's so light and the sshd can take the abuse of bouncing around the motor home. The 12 gb is a limitation, but as I said, since I use it mainly for internet access in campgrounds as we travel and for plotting itineraries using MS Streets and Trips I don't need a lot of hd space. I do have SkyMap loaded on it, although I typically use TheSkyPE on an old HP Jornada when I'm at the eyepiece.

The newer netbooks by Acer and HP look very attractive, and I probably would have gone that route except I liked the idea of the sshd rather than spinning platters for my particular use. I guess I should have posted my answer down in the RV forum ;-)


April 1, 2009 11:33 AM Forum: Ham and Shortwave Radio


Posted By Jim Carpenter

Sorry for the late reply, but I've been traveling for the past two weeks and was unable to respond. As moderator of this forum, I requested that Herb rename it for several reasons:

1. As a ham radio only forum, it was seeing almost zero traffic. If it had stayed that way, the forum probably would have been dropped during the recent purge of inactive forums.

2. Keeping track of the ads on the non-related (but still Astromart) Ham and Shortwave Radio classifieds, there were many more ads for GC receivers than ham radios (e.g. transmitters or transceivers). This implied to me at least, that there were a lot of SWL's and other radio enthusiasts in the amateur astronomy community who had no forum of their own. It seemed logical to invite that segment of the community, and perhaps do a bit of elmering in the process. Perhaps if some of the hams would start talking about their amateur radio experiences, some of the SWL's would be prompted to take the next step.

3. Two different critters? Maybe, if you want to split hairs. But my thought was to have a single place where all radio hobbyists could meet and exchange ideas. There's enough commonality that I think we can coexist. A recent thread on antennas is a good example, as was Jon Isaac's post about reviving a SW receiver.

4. What I'd really like to see is more talk about how the two hobbies relate...for instance, a mobile or portable ham radio station is a great way to spend the daylight hours at a star party, and a way to introduce new folks to amateur radio. Is anyone doing this, and if so, some photos of your equipment set-up would be great. Or maybe starting a new Full Moon Ham Radio HF Net to share astronomy ideas when the viewing is not optimal.

Finally, this forum will go where the membership takes it. If we start seeing a lot of ham radio only traffic, or a lot of SWL/scanner traffic, then maybe it would make sense to separate into two separate forums. It's up to you guys.

Thanks for the soapbox and 73,

April 9, 2009 09:23 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Computerized Object Locator for hardin 8"?

Posted By Jim Carpenter

An alternative would be PalmDSC with a Dave Ek interface box. If you already have a Palm-type PDA you're halfway there. If not, they can be found used for very reasonable prices. I bought one for only $10 that just needed a new battery (~$30). The interface box has to be assembled, so you do need some soldering skills. Plus you'll need the encoders and related gears, which will be your biggest expense. PalmDSC is a free download.

More detail can be found on the Yahoo PalmAstro forum
You can find appropriate links on that forum site or just Google PalmDSC and Dave Ek.


April 9, 2009 09:37 AM Forum: Camping and Outdoors

backpacking scope

Posted By Jim Carpenter

For true backpacking the overall system weight is the most important factor. I like Tom's suggestion of the monocular, but I would prefer a lightweight binocular. The advantage of either is that they would be easy to use for daytime birding, etc. If the binocular has a tripod adapter socket, all the better.

Otherwise, I'd go with the recommendation of the SV50 (or one of the 66EDs if you can handle the extra weight) on a light photo tripod. Maybe one of the other hikers is a photographer who would share his tripod at night for the scope. Dedicated photo tripod heads are not the best for astro use unless they're 3-way types that can flipped onto the side to get better balance. Otherwise get the lightest alt-az mount you can find that will fit whatever tripod you're going to use. The original UA Microstar comes to mind for this.


May 7, 2009 08:36 AM Forum: Landscape Photography

An Extraordinary Swimming Hole

Posted By Jim Carpenter

It is a beautiful spot, one of the gems of the Texas hill country. Hamilton Pool is just a few miles west of my daughter's house in SW Austin. It's really neat when there's water running in the creek above, creating a waterfall into the pool.

BTW (for Bill), might you be thinking about Edge Falls? It's similar spot that used to be open to the public, but the land was sold and closed to public access. We used to go there back in the late 50's through early 70's.


June 11, 2009 12:51 PM Forum: Reflectors

Large Reflector on an Alt/Az mount?

Posted By Jim Carpenter

I recently picked up an Orion 8"/f4.9 Newt tube, and have been using it on a regular Unistar attached to a tripod consisting of the hub from an old Orion Skyview Deluxe GEM with woodwn legs from Hands-On Optics. The tube balances quite well and moves very easily in both axes. Since the Unistar requires the OTA to be mounted on the right side of the mount, I flipped the focuser so it was oriented on the right side of the tube rather than the left side. This also allows the observer to stand outside the tripod legs. The long moment arms of the Newt do induce noticeable jiggling, particularly when focusing, but it's not too bad -- maybe a second or two. The dovetail mount of the Unistar allows easy balance adjustment for light or heavy eyepieces.