Unattended Telescope Security?
Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:35 PM
I was looking at an electronic alarm that, when touching a piece of bare metal, it will sound a loud alarm when any skin contacts any piece of bare metal. Problem is the only bare metal is on the tripod legs, not sure how it works thru painted surfaces if at all.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:40 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:50 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:01 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:11 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:15 PM
Recently I've been doing a bit of traveling and taking my scope with me when I go camping, and I plan on attending some star parties later in the year. I'm looking for some recommendations on telescope security when away from my house.
At star parties everybody leaves everything unattended all the time. It's hardly practical to pack up your 24-inch Dob while you walk over to visit someone else, or go to sleep, or even leave the site entirely to eat lunch or do some sightseeing.
When observing all on my own in the wilderness, I might pack my scope in the car and lock the car if I was planning to go off for a multihour hike. But as long as I'm nearby, why bother? People aren't likely to sneak up on you in the middle of the desert. Too far to walk, and the sound of a car would alert you to their presence.
I was looking at an electronic alarm that, when touching a piece of bare metal, it will sound a loud alarm when any skin contacts any piece of bare metal.
That sounds like a really bad idea unless you want to be woken up the next time a raccoon wanders by and gets curious about your scope.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:27 PM
Really makes you want to share.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:51 PM
This is your first line of defense ...and beats tin cans on a string tied around your campsite.
Driveway alarm....battery operated fairly insensitive to anything but large objects...Will at least let you know if someone is fooling around in your area...Fairly loud as well.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:04 PM
Two things, though. 1: We already have a dog as a family member, although it's doubtful he would do much if a nefarious individual came into our site. He's black, though, and likes to squeeze himself right underfoot to say hello, so if it's dark said person could trip over him. 2: My scope is smaller than yours in both size and value.
We once did have stuff stolen from our campsite in this area! Taken were a couple lounge chairs, an ancient propane stove, and a backpack (and what was in the backpack made for a very funny story upon finding it in the possession of the culprits). The local Sheriff Deputies were thrilled, thrilled to have something to investigate besides fishing license violations and expired CF numbers, and we got everything back the same day.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:05 PM
The other threat you mentioned was "kids running around". I saw a neat idea to protect your equipment from being accidently knocked over. Get a twist-in yard anchor and screw it in centered under your tripod. Then use rope or bungee cords to secure it to the cross-member. Also will help with stabilization of tripod.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:13 PM
We are so very glad they have their own tent now!
The sensor wasn't overly sensitive, so it could be aimed directly at our tent door while ignoring passers-by. Back when there was more bear activity in this particular campground, it would occasionally go on, off, on, off a few times in the night.
Anyway, that phase of our lives was just a summer or two, and the lantern has long since died. But I think it also had some sort of alarm setting as well, perhaps intended for scaring off animals. We never used it.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:20 PM
The star party that I plan to attend is again at a public state park campground, and therefore open to the public as well. While I'm not too concerned about my fellow star gazers stealing my stuff, I am concerned of the fact that there will be a field full of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of telescopes, a smorgasbord to a would-be thief. While mine will be far from the most expensive equipment on the field, it is still not something I can afford to take a risk on. Losing any one of my pieces of equipment would put me out of commission for a very long time. I budgeted for almost a year to afford what I have now, and at this time of the year I can absolutely not afford any mistakes. While $2k-$3k worth of equipment may not be much for some of you to risk, it is huge to me, so please stop with the "Don't worry your stuff will be fine" responses. If I was 100% certain my stuff would be fine, I wouldn't have asked for advice on securing it. Also, its a hell of a lot harder to steal a setup 24" dob then my 6" SCT that can be disassembled and thrown in the back of a car in less then 2 minutes.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:28 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:46 PM
I know what you mean about the dear price of astro-equipment. Good luck, maybe we'll meet this summer.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:49 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:54 PM
Now...the star parties I have been to have been relatively small compared to some of the mega-events I have heard about, so this doesn't necessarily apply to all events. The probability of a bad apple in the bunch goes up with the size of the bunch
When camping at campgrounds I hesitate to leave my scope out. I've had idiot kids rooting around in my cooler for beer in the middle of the night, and while I doubt they would steal a scope, they might be tempted to mess around with it. So I pack up the scope after each use. I'm sure a telescope can withstand the heat in a closed car - after all, we leave them outside in observatories all the time. As long as it is not exposed to sunlight (i.e., in a closed case) I don't think you'd have any problem.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:08 PM
By the way capacitance type proximty alarms don't require bare metal.
Have you never walked near a car in the mall and been startled and annoyed by a voice suddenly saying : "STEP AWAY FROM THE CAR" ?.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:13 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:37 PM
I regularly camp at a lake with numerous other campers around the area, cars driving thru, and kids running around. I can assure you a stray group of kids in this area wouldn't think twice about stealing or destroying valuable equipment.
In a case such as this; the best security is you staying awake & being with the scope while it's setup. If cars are driving thru, etc., then imaging wouldn't be the best anyway. Another suggestion might be to invest in an observing tent. With the equipment inside a tent, it would be much more secure than standing out in the open.
Here is one observing tent. You can snooze right alongside your scope.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:45 PM
To be honest in an environment like that I would think the chance for theft actually goes up. With so many people coming and going and moving around, it would be hard to tell if a person is actually stealing gear or just messing with his own gear. I personally will have 4 people in my party, and likely they will all be messing around with my scope. While its nice to think your fellow campers will watch out for your gear, are they going to memorize all the faces of my party and others around him and remember who's equipment belongs to who? Doubt it. Someone could easily cruise up and pretend to be packing up some of their own gear when in reality they are stealing yours. Call me paranoid, but with this investment I can't take any unnecessary risks.
Will be looking into a child proximity alarm as well, thats another great idea. I agree a visual alarm wouldn't go over too well at star parties, but for all those other times when I'm alone it should work perfectly
Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:58 PM
I would love to be able to stay awake while my scope is in use (I do photography only, I don't even own an eyepiece), but it just doesn't always happen. Not to mention a lot of my work is done in the ice cold of winter, while I sit inside my warm garage or tent operating the scope with my computer. Telescopes are amazing, but seeing it take the same picture over and over again for hours gets a little boring, and sleep gets the best of me. I suppose I could just leave the scope at home only if I wanted to eliminate risk, but if thats the case it makes me wonder why I even bought a portable scope in the first place.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:16 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:22 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:30 PM
You could use a product like the pet tracker (see link). If you attached it to your scope and it moved outside of a user defined area, an alarm is sent to your smart phone, you can then track it anywhere. And you can use it for the dog (or kid ) when not on the scope.
Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:08 PM
I'm glad to hear that most everyone has positive experiences at the Nebraska star party. I'm really looking forward to it as this will be my first large star party and the skies up there around Valentine are so incredibly dark its almost scary to be out at night. Not to mention the fishing at Merritt res. is usually fantastic, so be sure to bring your fishing gear if your into that.
Looking forward to seeing all you guys there. I think I've got a pretty good handle on security of my scope now with all your recommendations. Thanks a ton!