Monday, July 18, 2011

Carrying handles

This telescope is quite heavy and bulky to move around. So I've decided to add some handles to make life easier. The most typical approach is to bolt down some furniture handles to the OTA. But I don't liked such an idea because the metal of the tube is quite flexible and will require a lot of back support (from inside) to safely accept carrying handles. Also it might be too much of additional weight especially if I would consider handles for 2 people carrying or additional "bottom bely" handles (see below).

My perfect solution was to add two rings of 1/2 inch thick soft rope, freely wound around the tube higher and lower the altitude semi-axes location and secured in place by tiny bungee cord. I can grab both ropes with one hand on any side and reliably hold the OTA in any position (between horizontal and vertical) convenient for the task. I can easily adjust ropes positions to compensate for any attached accessories weight too.

It turns out to be as well a perfect way to carry the scope at the observing site from location to location without disconnecting the OTA from the base. All I need is to put the OTA to vertical position, grab both ropes with one hand at its front side and by the base handle nearby - with another.

Remove the bungee cord and you have 2 independent handles in any place of the tube to carry it in pair or for a better control (e.g. if you need to put it on a high shelf). Needless to say that these same handles will continue to work over a soft scope cover during day break, also helping to better secure it in place too. These handles are cheap, lightweight, easy to remove and install without any tools, and with many other benefits which the extreme simplicity of the construction provides.

I plan to get a retro reflective rope to replace this one. It would be nice to see the telescope from far away using just dim forehead red light. Because when I'm all alone in the bush it's often takes several trips to the car and back to bring everything I need.

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