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Half Hitch with Sky Commander -Go To Nirvana

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#1 Full Sun

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:42 PM

Many posts here have discussed the merits of the Half Hitch mount for Grab and Go astronomical applications. I am another satisfied customer and consider my HH II to be a quality Alt-Az, well supporting my 102mm Tak refractor and allowing me quick set-up and tear down when the need arises.
Let me continue. I have had several Go To mounts in the past but have only recently felt any sort of confidence in actually utilizing them properly for their intended purpose. Up to about three years ago I have just used them to track known objects. It is hard for me to admit this even to myself but I am 'growing'. So now I have this fancy new mount from Charles, with added encoders and computer and I am determined to get this thing to work and not just point it to Saturn all of the time. The manual seems a little bit daunting and I hate to do dry run throughs in the dark...... but here we go..... Ok clear night > grab scope and mount and go out the door > level and balance mount (1 min.) >turn on the SC XP4 > turn laser on, point to Polaris, center in 20 mm XW- "enter' . Point laser to Arcturus ,center in 20 mm XW and 'enter'. Now enter any object du jour and point it following the arrows. Pointing accuracy is finding all kinds of objects and without error..
What I am trying to say is once the scope is set up in the field (grab and go), activation of the automated sky navigation with the Sky Commander is at worst a two minute process. Wtih the limiting magnitude I may have about 12-15 thousand objects now at my (slow motion) disposal. Saturn will have to wait tonight. My point is this.......who knew? Astronomy has just become an elementary course .
Many of you will not understand this as a revelation, but for the technology challenged, this ranks right up there with my first use of an I-Phone . Life is just grand!

#2 Doug D.

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:15 PM

It is a great mount - no doubt about it and it is great to hear a report from another "convert". I'm on my second HH and I am very pleased indeed.

Just one semantic point though - the HH is not really a Go To mount. Sounds like you own (owned?) some true GoTo mounts, which are motor driven (both GEM and Alt/AZ designs) and use electronics to point a properly aligned OTA toward an object. So as not to confuse other would be HH owners - the DSC's and XP4 on your HH make it possible to find your object but you supply the horsepower to get it there...... ;)

And with an iPhone running StarmapPro.... you're right, doesn't get much better, LOL!! Enjoy your mount - the HH is grab and go perfected IMHO.

#3 Full Sun

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 07:26 PM

You are correct on all counts. Perhaps this whole process is better decribed as "Push to Nirvana". I might add that it is nice not to have to travel with a power supply,and juggle maps with reading glasses and a flashlight but I must remember now to bring my phone.

#4 Denimsky


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Posted 02 May 2009 - 07:52 PM

My Half Hitch mount is also excellent for my 4" f/8 scope. Once it is set up, the mount completely gets out of way between me and my scope. My scope stays perfectly balanced pointing anywhere in the sky due to the unique two-axis balance capability of Half Hitch mounts. The friction applied to the axis of the mount is very small still. The mount doesn't need friction to be stayed balanced. I've never experience a mount like this before.

The DSC on my Half Hitch works wonderfully as Full Sun mentioned. With careful alignments, I can get the targets within FOV of my Pentax XW using 240X.

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