RIP Peter Smitka, creator of the Porta-Ball
Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:54 PM
Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:33 PM
Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:58 AM
And thanks for creating those wonderful Portaballs. The first time I saw one, the 14.5", I was very impressed. What a unique and elegant design with great optics!
Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:14 AM
Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:21 AM
Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:34 AM
Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:03 AM
Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:53 AM
Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:29 PM
Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:26 AM
Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:56 PM
Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:14 PM
Sad news, another great person in our hobby has joined the eternal star party on the other side.
Well said Thomas. I'm curious as to why the ball thing hasn't take off even more. I know its not the cheapest way to go but its one of the most efficient and elegant at that.
Clear sky's Mr. Smitka.
Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:54 AM
Posted 20 October 2013 - 07:32 AM
Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:00 PM
The Portaball was/ is just about the simplest high quality , user friendly telescope that money can buy.
Peter saw the big picture , I just hope his last few years were good ones.
Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:34 PM
Posted 20 October 2013 - 11:23 PM
At first he was hesitant when I asked him if he could make it at a shorter F-ratio, but after a nice conversation we had, he told me to give him a call the next day. He agreed to build me a 12.5" f/4.5 scope. It was to be the perfect design for my seated position, with the ability to rotate the eyepiece upward when pointed near the horizon, and the eyepiece pointed downward when the scope was at higher altitudes.
As it turned out, I was in one of the last run of scopes that he built when he shut down the business. I was very thankful that he honored his commitment when when many others might have bailed.
I was also very thankful that he modified his innovative design to suit my disability. Thanks Pete!
Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:32 AM
Peter was just a hoot to talk with and we had many very lively conversations over the years. Sadly, toward the end of his business run, things went a bit haywire and obligations were not always met. These facts are not meant to hurt Peter's reputation but to present him as an innovative scope builder that has made most people happy and a few very aggravated. I have owned at different times, about 6 of Peter's PB's and they were superb performers.
Dave Jukem, the present owner of Mag 1 Instruments and a really solid and busy guy, took over Peter's company reportedly at great expense and made good on unkept promises.
I will always think about the fun times I had shared with Peter and the really superb views that I got through his scopes. I join in wishing Peter the restful/peaceful sleep that he deserves and hope that he is able to enjoy the stars even without his beloved PB's. Bob
Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:34 PM