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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Unattended Telescope Security?
      #5817509 - 04/23/13 01:35 PM

For the most part I have only been photographing from my driveway, which I feel is pretty secure, although I still chain down the tripod anyway. 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. I occasionally fall asleep during photography session and would like the piece of mind that my scope will still be there when I wake up. I currently just run a chain thru the tripod spreader, but anyone with a brain would simply unscrew the spreader and leave it behind, and this doesn't secure the OTA or the cameras. Are there some better solutions out there? What do you guys do?

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.


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csrlice12
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817516 - 04/23/13 01:40 PM

That's why you make friends with your neighbors there and switch off watching out for each other.

Edited by droid (05/05/13 12:02 AM)


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5817536 - 04/23/13 01:50 PM

I've left my telescope unattended for awhile and never had anything being taken. I guess it depends where you at, haven't found an unsafe place to observe. I guess if the area is unsafe I wouldn't observe there.

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csrlice12
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5817560 - 04/23/13 02:01 PM

It don't get much safer then being the only one around for miles.....unless you're accident prone, I guess....

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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5817604 - 04/23/13 02:11 PM

I am not worried about security at my house or with my neighbors, but rather when I'm away from home. 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. The idea of a guard dog is actually pretty good, but sadly I don't have the money to support another member of the family. While land mines sound like a good idea, they might be rather destructive to the equipment I'm trying to protect.

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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817628 - 04/23/13 02:15 PM

Quote:

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.

Quote:

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.


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Doc Willie
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Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5817663 - 04/23/13 02:27 PM

I have heard at least three separate stories of stuff being stolen at star parties. A guy has a big dob with a ladder. Person goes up and says, "Hey there's no eyepiece here." Previous "viewer" has disappeared into the dark.

Really makes you want to share.


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tubehead999
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/25/08

Loc: Kennesaw, GA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817716 - 04/23/13 02:51 PM

Here...http://www.harborfreight.com/ne/omaha.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/driveway-alert-system-wireless-69590.html

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.


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John Kuraoka
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Reged: 12/12/12

Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5817739 - 04/23/13 03:04 PM

I'm planning on taking the family telescope with us when we go camping this summer. I'll probably just fold up the tripod and toss it in our tent, and leave the scope itself on top of the dog's crate with a towel over it. If anyone's more determined than that, well, there's not much more I can do about it since leaving the scope in a locked car with the windows up at altitude during the summer sounds like a recipe for exceeding the product's temperature specifications by a significant degree.

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.


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berobertsmd
super member


Reged: 09/28/09

Loc: Brandon, Mississippi
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817741 - 04/23/13 03:05 PM

A friend of mine designed a system he called "Gun Sitter". There are variations of it used at local gun shows. sections of 2 wire electrical cord are made up in various lengths, with RCA connectors on each end. Connected, then thread loosely (to avoid interference with function) through your equipment, then back to a small control box. Most of the gun dealers have varying lengths of cord and thread through the trigger guards. When turned on, with cord all connected, it's an intact electrical circuit, and nothing happens. If the cord is cut, or a RCA plug is unplugged, the circuit is broken, triggering a buzzer in the control box. It make be worth going to a gun show to see one of these systems. May even be able to purchase a used system.
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.


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John Kuraoka
sage
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Reged: 12/12/12

Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5817762 - 04/23/13 03:13 PM

I just remembered ... we used to have a battery-powered camp lantern that had a motion sensor on it so the light would go on when it sensed someone. When the kids were really little, we used it to make it easier for us to extricate ourselves and an urgent child from the tent in time to make it to the restrooms.

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.


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5817776 - 04/23/13 03:20 PM

Again, if I was alone in the wilderness I wouldn't have an issue, but being at a lakeside campground in a state park is far from alone in the wilderness. Groups of people walking around, sometimes right thru your campsite, vehicles driving to and from other campsites, kids, etc.

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.


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817790 - 04/23/13 03:28 PM

The Gun-sitter and motion sensor lantern or driveway alarm both sound like really great ideas. My idea isn't to completely prevent theft, which is gonna be impossible if someone is determined, but rather to slow them down drastically and cause them to at least be concerned about the noise/light if they come near the scope. Thanks for those suggestions that was exactly the type of information I was looking for!

Edited by Sean13 (04/23/13 03:52 PM)


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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817955 - 04/23/13 04:46 PM

Beware security systems that use light(s) as a signal or deterrent. I've been reading forum threads about star party etiquette, etc. in preparation for my first star party this summer (Nebraska Star Party). An innocent wanderer might trigger things that would make YOU the bad guy to the dark-adapted neighbors.

I know what you mean about the dear price of astro-equipment. Good luck, maybe we'll meet this summer.


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Qwickdraw
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817956 - 04/23/13 04:49 PM

There are a number of child proximity alarms that sound when the two devices are separated by certain distances.

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YetAnotherHobby
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Reged: 09/02/09

Loc: Central CT
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5817964 - 04/23/13 04:54 PM

I've been to a few star parties on the east coast, some on public land, some private. There are so many people around 24x7 that I have never felt a need to take security measures with my scopes, although like you my equipment is pretty far down the "desirable" list compared to some of the Astro-Physics and Obsession gear that routinely shows up. If I was going to leave for an extended period I would pack up the valuable stuff that is easily concealed (anything with a Televue label, for example) but it takes quite a bit of obvious effort to make off with an entire telescope - someone would notice. I would be a lot more concerned about my GPS unit or my DVD player (for astro video display) vanishing because those are readily sold on after the theft. Telescopes are quite a bit harder to "fence" I imagine.
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.


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: YetAnotherHobby]
      #5818200 - 04/23/13 06:08 PM

"Fencing" is easy-there are a couple of famous internet sites ,one free, and one fee, that move an enormous number of items.There is basically no way for the buyer to know if the seller acquired the items as a gift, ,estate auction,was the original purchaser , or stole it. A friend had his machine shop cleaned out :Starett,and other quality tools, the accumulations of decades of business by a couple generations. No alarms BEFORE the burglary because he didn't think anyone would steal tools.Mechanics could have told him different.Police advised him the tools would be sold on craigslist,ebay, at flea markets, and even bars. He never got back any of the thousands of $$$ of specialty tools .He has an alarm system now.

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" ?.


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MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: YetAnotherHobby]
      #5818220 - 04/23/13 06:13 PM

My rule wherever I go -- front yard at home, remote area, etc. -- is that when the scope is in use I am there with it or at least within range to observe it, and when it is not it is put away. Same as with any valuable item.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5818316 - 04/23/13 06:37 PM

Quote:

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.

Link


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: YetAnotherHobby]
      #5818353 - 04/23/13 06:45 PM

The Nebraska Star Party at merritt reservoir will be my first as well. I only live a couple hours from there, so I routinely go there throughout the year to camp and fish, and recently have been bringing my scope along with me since the skies are so amazingly dark up there.

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


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5818416 - 04/23/13 06:58 PM

Really liking that observing tent as well, may have to save some money and just purchase that and a basic proximity alarm.

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.


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Achernar
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5818464 - 04/23/13 07:16 PM

I leave mine set up at star parties or my front yard, and when I am using it at home, I am always nearby. At star parties I cover the primary mirror, or if incliment weather is coming, stow in in the car with the eyepieces before retiring for the night. I do not think someone would steal my large Dob, but they could steal eyepieces or vandalize my telescope. That is why I do not leave my equipment unattended, there are a lot of brats or thugs in training out there who will destroy someone's equipment any chance they get. Also, if I feel there is any potential for danger to my person, I will not observe there.

Taras


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City Kid
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/06/09

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5818474 - 04/23/13 07:22 PM

At the Nebraska Star Party I regularly leave my scope unattended during the day. I suppose someone could steal it but I guess I'll continue to take my chances. At night I'm always using my scope so it's never unattended. My eyepieces and other small valuables get locked away anytime I'm not with them.

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tomcody
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Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5818492 - 04/23/13 07:30 PM

link
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.
Rex


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: tomcody]
      #5818980 - 04/24/13 12:08 AM

Another great idea! Although I don't like the idea of continually having to pay a monthly fee, I guess the fee is pretty small for the piece of mind of being able to track your equipment.

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!


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Greyhaven
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Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5819025 - 04/24/13 01:01 AM

I never leave small items unattended at star parties.But, I camp where I observe the scopes are left out but covered .I can not imagine not being awake and close by if I was
imaging. I think the only thing that disappeared at a star party was a cheap green laser that I Had adapted to be powered by my power tank.Never really cared for it anyway over rated and quite unneeded bit of kit,unless maybe suiting an outreach events with novices.
Be well
Grey


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berobertsmd
super member


Reged: 09/28/09

Loc: Brandon, Mississippi
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Greyhaven]
      #5819210 - 04/24/13 06:45 AM

Sean,
For your consideration. There is a "Gun Sitter" type system available on Amazon that may fit your needs for $27.96. Go to Amazon and search for Dakota Alert Cable Alarm DK-CA-01. If you chose a cable system, any of your equipment that did not have a opening to thread the cable thru,(like a DSLR camera)could probably be temporarily attached to the cable with a zip tie. Take care-
Bruce


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rookie
Good Night Nurse
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Reged: 01/14/06

Loc: St. Petersburg, FL
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: berobertsmd]
      #5819232 - 04/24/13 07:16 AM

I set up my CPC8 at a city science festival for solar observing. Late afternoon we started putting equipment away. I had put the caps on the OTA and diagonal and put the accessories in my gear box. I had my back turned for less than 1 minute. When I returned to the scope all caps had been remove and were missing. I looked around at the milling crowd and saw a young teenager with my 8" OTA cover in his hand. He was already 100 ft away. I rescued all my gear and am thankful I spotted the kid.

I've heard of people losing gear in the dark too. I have nice ep's and put out of sight those not in use particularly at public viewings.


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Pharquart
sage
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Reged: 11/11/09

Loc: Southwest Minneapolis Metro
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: rookie]
      #5819267 - 04/24/13 08:02 AM

Quote:

When I returned to the scope all caps had been remove and were missing. I looked around at the milling crowd and saw a young teenager with my 8" OTA cover in his hand.




Those OTA caps have a really high street value, after all.

I've always figured that some venues or activities lend themselves to more honorable behavior. I've done tons of tent camping my whole life. If there was ever a place with tons of gear, some very expensive, left out in the open, unsecured, that would be it. I rarely worry about it, and I've (fortunately) never had anything stolen. When I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin, deer hunting was a big thing in November. You park the car along side the road where you walk into the woods. Lock it, sure. But you don't want to carry jangly keys with you in the woods, so what do you do with them? Put them on top of the right front tire. I'll bet I could walk up to 20 cars along side the road during deer season, and 19 of them would have the car keys on the right front tire. Not only could you steal whatever was in the car, you could steal the car! Maybe it's changed since then. If there's a sudden rash of car thefts during deer season now, I'll alert the cops to start browsing the astronomy forums!

Brian


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: rookie]
      #5819462 - 04/24/13 10:35 AM

Quote:

I set up my CPC8 at a city science festival for solar observing. Late afternoon we started putting equipment away. I had put the caps on the OTA and diagonal and put the accessories in my gear box. I had my back turned for less than 1 minute. When I returned to the scope all caps had been remove and were missing. I looked around at the milling crowd and saw a young teenager with my 8" OTA cover in his hand. He was already 100 ft away. I rescued all my gear and am thankful I spotted the kid.

I've heard of people losing gear in the dark too. I have nice ep's and put out of sight those not in use particularly at public viewings.




This is the mentality of many of people I that I feel live around this area. Doesn't matter if its worth $1 or $10k, they will steal it just to steal it. I own a small business here in town and have nailed shoplifters for stealing products less then $1. I just can't understand what is going thru their heads to make them do this, it scares me that someone could be so stupid, and yet I see it happen daily. I just don't get it...


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5819697 - 04/24/13 12:35 PM

Quote:


This is the mentality of many of people I that I feel live around this area. Doesn't matter if its worth $1 or $10k, they will steal it just to steal it. I own a small business here in town and have nailed shoplifters for stealing products less then $1. I just can't understand what is going thru their heads to make them do this, it scares me that someone could be so stupid, and yet I see it happen daily. I just don't get it...




Respectfully, I think that you may be mistaking evil for stupidity.

No one likes to think that there are individuals in our midst who are evil, which tends to blind us to its presence. We mark it down to stupidity, or some other lesser affliction. No, we are surrounded by evil on all sides, it's just that we have given it other names; to do otherwise would disturb our equanimity. However, once evil reaches a certain festering level, the masks we have placed upon it cannot but fall away, revealing its true form in all its wicked glory. Considering the depraved downward death-spiral which society appears to be in, it would be the part of wisdom to drop any illusions regarding the virtue of others, unless proven otherwise to our satisfaction.

----------------

As for the OP, my opinions on securing one's telescope and equipment when out observing revolve around a layered defense. Firstly, resign one's self to the fact that one cannot be watching the equipment every moment, and that even if one could, criminals are expert at employing distraction to gain attention elsewhere. What is needed is a system that will be on guard at all times.

I feel that the first order of business is to secure the instrument. A plastic-coated steel cable threaded through the telescope base, and secured to a ground anchor is a start, and has worked well for me. I feel that equipment cases should also employ a similar measure, and should remain locked when not in use; at a public gathering, such a case should not be out in the open for any reason, IMO. Under such circumstances, I'd refrain from using a thumbscrew to secure eyepieces in the focuser, employing instead a headless slotted screw that is nearly flush to the focusing tube... while slowing down eyepiece changes considerably, and necessitating use of a tool and red light to do so, remember this: if one can remove their eyepieces quickly and easily, so can a thief.

Next, capacitive alarms are excellent, in my opinion, especially if one is observing alone and doesn't wish to pack the scope away upon retiring, or is doing tedious work such as astrophotography, where one's attention might wander.

With the aforemention measures in place, if someone attempts to make off with equipment they will be hindered in doing so by the cables, and the alarm will alert one to the attempted theft. Any false alarms encountered are a small price to pay for the continuous security such a system offers.

The third layer of defense is to be aware of one's surroundings. If observing in public, one can be comfortably certain that a not-inconsiderable number of the people nearby have criminal proclivities; these range from possible hardened felons down to members of the public who have lived their entire lives receiving handouts, and whose respect for the property of others is minimal at best. Use one's instincts: if one is uncomfortable, and feel that something is "off", it's likely a good idea to pack up and leave ASAP. Distancing one's self from potential thieves is an excellent defense, and there will be other nights to observe in.

Basically it comes down to this: I believe that one can live their life as a "mark", ready to be fleeced at any time, or one can be wise and proactive; taking even minimal steps to secure one's property will put one miles ahead of most others, and make for a considerably less attractive target.


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WesC
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Reged: 02/06/13

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Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5819784 - 04/24/13 01:18 PM

I think he means stupid to take the risk of being caught stealing for something of so little value.

And honestly I find that evil and stupidity often go hand in hand. Otherwise there would be a lot more criminals getting away with things. The only reason any of them do is out of sheer lack of resources to catch and deal with them. I've had more than one police officer tell me that I'd be better off shooting a thief caught on my property than calling the police to have them arrested.

The only real way to stop the casual thief is to make your property so much of a hassle to steal that they will move on to an easier target.

I agree with layering of defenses.


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kfiscus
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Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5819785 - 04/24/13 01:18 PM

The PDF from the NE Star Party encourages people with larger scopes to think about using ground screws for wind security. This could give you some piece of mind on two fronts.

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MikeBOKC
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Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5819884 - 04/24/13 02:08 PM

If there is one saving grace in this hobby concerning theft, it is that thieves would have a very hard time disposing of the goods. It's not like TVs or stereos or guns, which are always in demand on the underground market. Very few pawn shop owners (read: fences) have any idea how to price telescopes. Luckily a lot of thieves might look at a case of eyepieces and think "no way I can move this . . . let's go bust into the guy's car and rip off his sound system."

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John Kuraoka
sage
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Reged: 12/12/12

Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5819894 - 04/24/13 02:14 PM

OK, how about this, just as another layer in the defense: find some brightly colored, easily removable tape in some horrid, clashing colors - happy neon pink and toxic waste green, perhaps, and neatly cover the scope and other large components in it. They'll be harder to hide in a crowd of standard-colored tubes and accessories, plus the sheer ugliness/distinctiveness may make your stuff less of a target. Even if would-be thieves realize it's just tape, it would still add a step to the thieving process, encouraging them to give your stuff a miss. And, the tape may protect your scope's finish from dust and multiple grimy hands.

Of course, then your gear might end up being confiscated by the camp host for being too loud after curfew ...


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caheaton
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 05/26/09

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5819899 - 04/24/13 02:17 PM

At Cherry Springs I've had no qualms about leaving my equipment out (scopes under covers), but I would pack up the smaller bits and stow them under a tarp and under a table in the screen house (not so much for theft protection, however as for protection from the elements...didn't want to store in the car due to heat).

While camping in "regular" state campgrounds, what I've done is pack my gear back into their cases and then store it in a small screen house located next to my tent (one could also just use a small "supply" tent). In the morning I would unpack it all to be sure it had had a chance to thoroughly dry out and then repack and store in the screen house, again inside their cases. Other equipment was also stored in there (extra lawn chairs and such) which may or may not have helped to conceal the more expensive gear. I never had any problems with this arrangement.

If you absolutely must secure your gear for peace of mind, why not make a "raccoon proof" pantry box from plywood and use it to store your high dollar value gear. Said box could then be padlocked shut (and even chained to a tree if you prefer). You could also store some dry foodstuffs in there with it and to the casual onlooker it would simply be where you store your provisions. (Not to mention it really would be a handy way to store food and keep it safe from the little 4 legged thieves!)


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steveward53
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Reged: 05/14/12

Loc: Newmarket,UK
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5819906 - 04/24/13 02:20 PM

How about rigging an 'angling bite alarm' ... ?

They can be fitted with remote sounders that can be next to you in the tent .


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5819924 - 04/24/13 02:28 PM

At home, my telescope is stored inside my house. When viewing at a star party, I know the members of my club and leave the telescope unattended for short periods of time. If out alone, I am sleeping near the telescope, or it is stored inside my vehicle. If out in the boonies, I would never leave it alone unattended. I would at least store it in my vehicle until I returned. Lastly, I don't view in my front yard because I don't know the people driving by. I don't want to advertise that I have an expensive telescope. The trees in the back yard are too high to view. Therefore, I have to travel away from home to view.

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csrlice12
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Reged: 05/22/12

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Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5819949 - 04/24/13 02:41 PM

"Lastly, I don't view in my front yard because I don't know the people driving by. I don't want to advertise that I have an expensive telescope. The trees in the back yard are too high to view. Therefore, I have to travel away from home to view."

Same here. Although I can still view in my back yard for stuff above 45*, especially lunar, just not good viewing due to all the heat rising off the houses. But yea, that's why I don't view out front either.


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Spaced
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Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5820120 - 04/24/13 04:00 PM

I strongly suggest you contact your insurance broker and ask about all-risk coverage for equipment. Your homeowner's or renter's policy probably covers some of it (possibly under "photographic equipment"), but additional coverage probably costs a lot less than you'd think. "All risk" means that it's covered whether you back over it with a truck, lose it to theft, or any other casualty your imagination might concoct. My policy covers specific items I list in a schedule, down to each eyepiece, and I estimate their value; the total comes to about 20K.

I'd much rather not have stuff stolen than having to make an insurance claim. On the other hand, knowing it's well insured releases me from constantly worrying about it, and that release is very valuable to me.

I have a call in to my broker. I'll edit this when she tells me the annual premium.

One last thing -- I think the best insurance against theft at star parties is simply to develop and maintain a good relationship with your neighbors and keep an eye on each other's stuff.

Edit: My $20K worth of coverage costs me $213/year, or $17.75/month.

Edited by Spaced (04/24/13 04:48 PM)


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Sean13
sage


Reged: 11/17/12

Loc: North Platte, Nebraska
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Spaced]
      #5820272 - 04/24/13 05:09 PM

Now does your insurance cover the scope and equipment no matter where it is, or only if it is stolen/damaged on your own property? I'm very interested in adding this to my insurance if possible. Thanks a ton for that idea!

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Spaced
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Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5820290 - 04/24/13 05:19 PM

As I understand it, anywhere. Ask your broker . . . and you're very welcome.

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rookie
Good Night Nurse
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Reged: 01/14/06

Loc: St. Petersburg, FL
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5820349 - 04/24/13 05:49 PM

Quote:

Quote:

When I returned to the scope all caps had been remove and were missing. I looked around at the milling crowd and saw a young teenager with my 8" OTA cover in his hand.




Those OTA caps have a really high street value, after all.

I've always figured that some venues or activities lend themselves to more honorable behavior. I've done tons of tent camping my whole life. If there was ever a place with tons of gear, some very expensive, left out in the open, unsecured, that would be it. I rarely worry about it, and I've (fortunately) never had anything stolen. When I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin, deer hunting was a big thing in November. You park the car along side the road where you walk into the woods. Lock it, sure. But you don't want to carry jangly keys with you in the woods, so what do you do with them? Put them on top of the right front tire. I'll bet I could walk up to 20 cars along side the road during deer season, and 19 of them would have the car keys on the right front tire. Not only could you steal whatever was in the car, you could steal the car! Maybe it's changed since then. If there's a sudden rash of car thefts during deer season now, I'll alert the cops to start browsing the astronomy forums!

Brian




LOL! This issue with my OTA cap is that my CPC was one of the first designed and put on the market in 2005-2006. They changed the configuration of the cover a bit. I don't think I could even get a replacement that would fit. Maybe Celestron would have one in the back of their storeroom.


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5820561 - 04/24/13 07:15 PM

+1

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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
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Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5820765 - 04/24/13 08:33 PM

Quote:

If there is one saving grace in this hobby concerning theft, it is that thieves would have a very hard time disposing of the goods. It's not like TVs or stereos or guns, which are always in demand on the underground market. Very few pawn shop owners (read: fences) have any idea how to price telescopes.




Unfortunately, one piece of astro-related gear that pawn shops (and thieves) are able to readily understand the sellable value of are binoculars. If you have a nice set, that's probably the most theft-attractive piece of astro equipment you have, vulnerable because it's so easily and quickly carried off.

Edited by FirstSight (04/24/13 08:40 PM)


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Sean Cunneen
Let Me Think
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Reged: 08/01/07

Loc: Blue Island Illinois
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5821960 - 04/25/13 12:28 PM

I have been to a dozen star parties and I have never had issues with theft. I do put my eyepieces away when I am wandering about as I am more concerned with accidents rather than theft.

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Achernar
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5822664 - 04/25/13 05:23 PM

True, but apparently large telescopes are being stolen too. I have heard of observatories being broken into and everything taken, and we are talking about thousands of bucks worth of property being stolen. I agree with you, I know pawn shops are legally sanctioned fences, because I know where the police go to start tracking down stolen property and thieves.

Taras


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Mr. Bill
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5822708 - 04/25/13 05:50 PM

Had a Nagler ep "walk off" many years ago at Fremont Peak (Ca)SP. I had stepped away from my scope to visit another observer and had charts and eps on the tailgate of my truck.

After that, I prominately engraved my eps with my name on the barrel and never had a problem after that.

OBTW, sold many of those to friends or others at swap meets. They didn't care as I discounted the price and it also gave them the same benefits of discouraging theft.



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rockethead26
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Reged: 10/21/09

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5823226 - 04/25/13 09:50 PM

Does anybody stealing eyepieces in the dark stop to check and see if they are engraved before pocketing the EP? That would amaze me.

Glad it's worked for you.


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bunyon
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Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5823428 - 04/26/13 12:18 AM

It's like Braille, Jim.


I heartily endorse the personal articles insurance. Covers everything. My big fear isn't theft or vandalism, though, sure one should be careful, but the result of an auto accident while travelling tonorvfrom a dark site. I've seen plenty if accidents from which a person would walk away that would finish your gear.

The insurance can, if you write it to, also protect from "stupidity" on your part. Say you drop an Ethos on that pretty 20" Zambuto mirror, shattering them both? Covered. You may not ever get another such policy but it would give one do over.


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Mr. Bill
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Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5824094 - 04/26/13 10:54 AM

Quote:

Does anybody stealing eyepieces in the dark stop to check and see if they are engraved before pocketing the EP? That would amaze me.

Glad it's worked for you.




It's not dark...I have a red light in the shell for reading charts and the eps and engravings are easily seen.

The other advantage to engraving your eps is when you are trading eps around with other observers...it's easy to get confused at 3AM. This has happened a couple of times in the past. For some reason TV (or anyone else AFAIK) doesn't have serial numbers on their eps to identify one from other.


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5832050 - 04/30/13 11:31 AM

I use a childs door alarm. put one half on a stake that is driven in the ground. and the other half mounted on the dolly the tripod sits on, move the tripod 1" and the alarm sounds... and they are LOUD!! runs off batterys!

Edited by droid (05/04/13 11:52 PM)


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bluesteel
sage


Reged: 03/24/13

Loc: ILM
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: orion61]
      #5834647 - 05/01/13 03:23 PM

Really big mouse traps?
Observing in my backyard a couple of weeks ago, I was wondering why one of the many stray cats was being so nice and hanging out, not fearful of me at all...
20 minutes later, the fox family ran by!

What alerted me to something slightly off were the birds. Learn the alarm calls of them at night. They are all high pitch quick chirps. Birds have been the best indicator for me of something amiss when out in the wilderness. They WILL NOT chirp if somebody saunters into your camp sight lost, without motivation for malice or ill intent. If the person is sneaking and/or has ill intent, the alarms will sound.
Also works in the daytime, but differently. They will shut up completely if something with malice approaches.

Edited by droid (05/05/13 12:07 AM)


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azure1961p
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: bluesteel]
      #5834733 - 05/01/13 04:21 PM

Meet one text book sociopath in your life and you'll never look at trust and security the same way again. They charm, emote (pretend) schmooze and knock elbows with social deft and they'll rob you without so much as a pulse leap. There is no guilt no pangs of remorse, its damn near robotic. U til you've shaken hands and laughed with these charmers and seen the path of wreckage in their wake, you just won't truly believe it. Oh and through it all? They were letdown by society and everyone owes them.

Odds are not great that you will meet one and know it. But odds are high you've unknowingly knocked elbows and enjoyed their company. Really high. That they do t attend star parties is a little sanguine. And I can't see behaving like there's a socio under everyone's bed but some minor care with lock and key is a prudent measure - and I haven't even touched on kleptomania.

Prudence solves all here and its simple enough to take measures.

Pete

University Optics GEM. Stolen by a text book sociopath .


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shawnhar
Post Laureate
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Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5835854 - 05/02/13 09:22 AM

Quote:


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.



Then pack it up and put it in your car.
The last star party I went to was at a state park with thousands of folks walking around, the second night it was cloud city and the few of us that imbibe, did, all night.
2:00p the next day I drove back over to the observing site to get my scope and gear....it was the only thing around!
Everyone else had packed up and left. My scope and gear was visible from the main road, alone, unprotected.
You will have something stolen at some point, and you will die, worth the worry?


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5836007 - 05/02/13 10:52 AM

Quote:

my 6" SCT that can be disassembled and thrown in the back of a car in less then 2 minutes.






I believe this answers your question on how to protect your equipment, if you are concerned that someone might steal or damage it.


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SeattleStarGazer
member


Reged: 10/19/07

Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5838823 - 05/03/13 05:51 PM

When I first started attending star parties, I always put my scope away each night, but I noticed that most people didn't. I talked with people and none of them had theft problems. Now I just put away my eyepieces and cover the scope and no problems for 7-8 years. Now I did hear that one of the vendors at a Star Party a couple years ago had an expensive eyepiece 'walk away', which is very disappointing.

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sgtcombs
member


Reged: 11/18/12

Loc: Portland Oregon
Re: Unattended Telescope Security? new [Re: Sean13]
      #5851003 - 05/09/13 09:55 PM

AMEN BROTHER! Man, you said it all right there.

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