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Posts Made By: Phil Frederick

March 24, 2012 03:27 PM Forum: AstroMart FAQ

Astromart Support Levels--Question

Posted By Phil Frederick

I've been supporting AM for years at the "red" level (6 months), but have been wanted to up that to the "brown" level (1 year). But when you go to the Support Purchase page, "brown" is not an option. Am I missing something here?? Can someone tell me how to do this?

Thanks! Phil

July 20, 2005 07:03 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Small multi-use refractor questions

Posted By Phil Frederick

Hi Craig--
You've gotten a lot of good advise and there's really no one good answer. I'm sure your head is swimming, but I'll give you my nickel's worth...however, I'm not sure what you price point is.

I have an Orion ST80 on a Bogen 3021 Tripod and Bogen 3130 Head at our place in Mexico. This is an extremely lightweight, portable setup that's great for nature views and the scope gives very acceptable wide field astro views (a little color on bright objects). You probably don't want to push this scope much past 100-125x. This is a very affordable setup and may be what you're looking for as a starter.

On the other hand my grab-and-go at our home in the states is a Televue 76 on a Takahashi Lapides modified Teegul AZ mount and Bogen 475 tripod. This is quite a bit heavier than the ST80 setup, but provides a rock solid mount with slo-mo controls and, of course, Televue quality on the scope. This is NOT a very affordable setup but if I had to part with all my other equipment, this is the one I'd probably keep. But for what you're looking for this is probably not where you want to start--just suggesting a price range smile.

One thing to consider is that a lot of AZ mounts pose a balance issue and many are sold on less than adequate tripods. The stouter ones with slo-mo controls can have the altitude axis locked down and fine motion made with the slo-mo control--this keeps the scope from flopping. A couple you might consider (although I haven't personally used them) would be the Vixen Icarus D and Vixen's new Portamount which mounts the scope along side of the altitude axis and somewhat simplifies the balancing issue (although I don't recall if this mount has slo-mo controls--which I'd definitely recommend). The Orion AZ3 might also be acceptable with a very lightweight scope such a the ST80. I'd recommend on NOT skimping on the mount--you'll really be annoyed at a jumping image! And if you have a good mount it's much easier to upgrade which seems to be a common affliction among us stargazers!
Good luck!

Clear skies,
Phil in Seattle

December 13, 2005 03:27 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Mounting two scopes side by side

Posted By Phil Frederick

Steven Lynn said:

I'm considering to mounting a TV-85 and a Vixen 90mm scope on a GP mount. Or in the future on SCT and one of these scopes on the GP.
What would you recommend, side by side, stacked? Who makes the parts?
This would be for a portable set-up.

Hi Steven,

I also condidered a similar deal with my Orion 100ED and TV76 on a SkyView Pro mount. Like you, I also wanted to be able to grab and go. For me the portablility issue won out and because of the size and weight of the SVP I gave this up.

I ended up adapting my Takahashi Lapides Teegul AZ to my SVP Legs which ends up being a very solid setup and more portable than the SVP. I'm using a Tak Saddle with a Losmandy DUPS plate to which I've attached the Orion rings and the 100ED. On the opposite side of the rings, I've attached a Vixen type dovetail bracket to each of the rings (makes the rings more rigid) and then attached the TV76 clamshell to the dovetail. Note that in this case the scopes are side-by-side with the center of gravity aligned with the altitude axis of the mount. With this setup I can haul the mount outside and then both scopes together already attached to each other and to the Losmandy DUPS plate. It's then just a matter of slipping the plate into the saddle and you're ready to go.

This setup on the Teegul AZ with its silky slo-mo controls works really well for visual work. Thought you might be interested in this AZ application. I'm sure there are lots of folks who have done this on an EQ mount but I'm not one of 'em.

Clear Skies from Seattle,

December 20, 2005 05:00 PM Forum: TeleVue

TeleVue-76 Review

Posted By Phil Frederick

Excellent review, Aaron.

I've had a TV76 for several years now and agree it's a real gem. I use it primarily as my RFT (although it does take power very well) along side my Orion 100ED and Celestron C5. Don't think I'd ever part with this baby!

Just a side note. I also used the TV76 on a Telepod/Bogen 475 but the balance issue when going from heavy to light EP's drove me crazy. So I sprung for Tak Teegul (Lapides Modified). That turned out to be a wonderful mount with all three of my scopes. Silky smooth and no more balance issues grin .

Thanks again for the good review.

Clear Skies to all from Seattle,


December 29, 2005 03:53 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

'Pluck' Foam

Posted By Phil Frederick

Hi Paul--



Paul Adams said:
One of my Xmas presents was a tool chest for the observatory, I want to keep eyepieces etc in it. Does anyone know a good source for 'pluck foam' I can use in the draws?

Thanks for the help.


January 11, 2006 01:09 PM Forum: Mounts

Stellarvue Stableglide M6 Alt/Az

Posted By Phil Frederick

Hi Steven--

You might also check into the Takahashi Teegul (Lapides Modified). Like you, I wanted a smooth, solid AZ mount to compliment my EQ and this mount seems to fill the bill. I've had my 100ED and TV76 in a side-by-side setup (about 20 pounds)and the mount performed very well. Also, the slo-mo controls are silky smooth.


Steven Keaton said:

Another mount inquiry, How does the Stellarvue Stableglide M6 perform? I currently own and love my GM-8, but am thinking about picking up a quick set-up Alt/Az for those evenings that I don't want to drag out the battery and cords, etc.



February 1, 2006 10:39 AM Forum: TeleVue

Tele-Pod Mount Upgrade

Posted By Phil Frederick

I've used the Telepod/TV76 on a Bogen 475 which works very well. Excellent Tripod.

FWIW, I also upgraded the Telepod to a Tak Teegul which I've also used on the Bogen 475 with my 100ED. Very solid setup and I love the slo-mo controls on the Teegul.

I've also mounted the Teegul on my SVP tripod which damps any vibration almost instantly. The Teegul has a 3/8-16 mounting hole in the 2" diameter base which fits snugly in the recess on top of the SVP tripod. I believe the Telepod is also 3/8-16 thread so perhaps you could make this work if the bottom of the Telepod will fit into the SVP recess. The problem, as I found out, is that the rod in the SVP tripod that locks down the mount and cinches up the spreader plate is metric, 13mm I believe, which is very close to the 3/8-16 thread. I had to fabricate a new rod using 3/8-16 allthread and a combination of spacers and clamping knobs and a little grinding to remove a short bit of thread where the rod goes into the the top of the tripod. This tripod and mount combo makes for a very smooth solid setup. I've had my 100ED and TV76 mounted in a side-by-side arrangement (over 20 pounds) with almost instant damping. I've attached a pic.

Good luck,

Aaron McNeely said:

Hi. I use a Tele-Pod with my TV76. The mount works well, yet I am interested in obtaining a more substantial tripod. I realize that many upgrade to a Bogen tripod.

I would like any replies as to which tripod would be a good upgrade.

I also have an Orion SkyView pro tubular steel tripod. Has anyone ever attached a Tele-Pod head to this type of tripod? This would make one stable combo.


February 2, 2006 09:19 PM Forum: TeleVue

Slo-mo for Gibraltor

Posted By Phil Frederick

Haven't built my own, but have reluctantly sold my Telepod because of a lack of slo-mo controls. Bought the Tak Teegul and have found this to be a wonderful, ultra solid mount, with great slo-mo controls. Come on, Al cwy , you've got to have a solution to this.


David Colton said:

I've commented on this site that while I like the Gibraltor mount, it craves manual slow motions controls. As no one is offering this as an "after-market product," I'm wondering if anyone has built their own? Any ideas of how this might be done, for example, where could I obtain the gears to fabricate my own?

June 21, 2006 01:38 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Red-dot finder suggestions?

Posted By Phil Frederick

I have the Stellarvue version of the WO finder. Great finder but the red-dot is not very visible during the daylight even when cranked up to full brightness.

I've been using the Orion EZ Finder on my WO80FL and the dot on this finder is easily visible during the day. The dovetail base that attaches to the finder can be mounted using the single screw hole on the scope's rotatable focuser. You just need to get a metric flat head screw that's the same size as the set screw on the scope (M4 ?) and slightly ream out one of the holes on the plastic dovtail base. The single screw holds base very firmly with no movement. This is a quick release unit and is small enough to fit in the case.

Good luck!

August 28, 2007 11:34 AM Forum: Refractors

SV Nighthawk NG or Orion ED 80

Posted By Phil Frederick

Jack Bruneau said:

Which of these two moderately priced ED doublets is the best scope. I am most concerned about optics and color correction. All opinions welcome!

I replaced my Orion ED80 with a SVNHNG. For visual application I could not see any appreciable difference between the scopes. Color correction and contrast on both were very good. Neither had any other abberations that were apparent to me. However, I cannot comment on imaging as I'm strictly a visual observer. I'm sure others can chime in on that.

As far as mechanicals go, the SV is a very nice piece of work. Fit and finish are excellent and the standard dual speed focuser works very well and easily handles a 2" diagonal with large Naglers. The SV also includes a set of HD rings that are far superior to the ones purchased optionally from Orion. While the Orion is functional, it doesn't have the same level of finish, build quality is not as high and the single speed focuser, while adequate, is not nearly as nice to use.

Hope this is helpful! smile