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Billydee
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Winter Haven, FL
Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6237655 - 12/06/13 03:46 PM

Jack,

There have been small modifications over the years but all of the Qs have the same general outside look. I think that the first 100 to 200 were the same but minor internal changes were made after that (different mirror maker, prisim and base plate). That makes yours a collectors type scope (much fewer in number than later designs). The mirror in your scope was made by one of the best in the business and I think another mirror maker came after the first 100 to 200 so the optics in yours are probably better than later ones. I think yours is probably worth $500 to $1000 more than a Q made after the first 100 (to a true Q collector).

That does not mean you should not use your Q. That is what they are for and you need to really enjoy it. These ladies enjoy being taken on a date.

Bill


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Billydee]
      #6237685 - 12/06/13 04:10 PM

Bill,

I never would have thought that about the mirror and optics being better. I do plan on using it and can't wait. It seems like a good compliment to my 8-inch Dob. It probably could use a cleaning so I will contact Questar ansd send it to them in January. Usually I don't get a chance to do much viewing in January (I live in New Hampshire) due to the cold. Though those clear cold nights are very tempting as long as I dress appropriately. There are also no bugs

Best Regards,
Jack


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6238057 - 12/06/13 08:07 PM

Congratulations on finding that early Q!

The early scopes have been discussed extensively over the years. It is generally thought that the optics for very roughly the first 900-1000 were made by Cave. Since then the optics have been made by Cumberland Optics. It is further generally thought that modern optics are better than earlier Q's, and that is true of modern Q's verses, say, 1960s Q's.

You should be aware that if you send it in for a full cleaning that Questar will replace any parts, including cosmetic parts, that they deem necessary. For example, the Logo disks, especially the one at the center of the RA drum, may be replaced as a general rule since removing them may damage them. Those logo disks have changed over the years, and old disks are very distinctive.

Did you get the old English Leather case? That case is very distinctive, the hinge of the front door being integral to the leather. Original units with good working hinges are rare, just due to the ravages of time and the tendency of leather to crack.

People that buy very old Q's, like yours, often will not have them "routinely serviced" because it starts you down a path of modernization that conflicts with the idea of keeping it truly "unmolested" and true to the era PURELY for collectable reasons. From a functional point of view, the factory will restore the unit to modern performance standards, and that is their objective if you don't specifically talk to them about preserving things.

You may not care at all about collectability, but others may, and that scope has collectable value. It has always seemed to me that it does not make a lot of sense to buy a very early Q purely for functional use, for the reasons I am struggling to explain here

If you were to effectively "swap" it, in some way, with a more modern scope it may cost less in the long run (depending on what happens on the next service of either scope) and you don't have to struggle through the collectable issue.

I am NOT suggesting you sell it and do what I just suggested. I am trying to give you a feel for the choices that seem to be inevitably made when a service is done, and what might make the most sense purely from a functional point of view.

And, no, I don't have the spare bagels to buy your Q, although if I did I would. And never service it unless absolutely necessary, and after careful consultation with the factory as to exactly what they plan to do with it.

The early Q's, the collectable aspects, and "renovation issues" have been discussed extensively over the years in the yahoo group list. You might start there with a search for "Cave" or other search terms. ANd, of course, start here, but I know some interesting stuff has been posted over the years on the Yahoo group.

Edited by NeilR (12/06/13 08:10 PM)


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6238067 - 12/06/13 08:16 PM

I also meant to add to the above that all those collectable issues may be a moot point since the serial number seems to imply it has already been renovated. So your first course of action would be to contact Questar and see what they did.

It is my understanding that if the serial number was changed, then the base plate was replaced, and it would have been replaced with a metal bottom plate. The earliest Q's had a synthane base, and yours probably did too.

The Yahoo group archives includes a spreadsheet file listing a number of differences between units of various eras, according to data and serial numbers provided by members. It is a very good resource in order to start to understand the changes made over the years. For example, which units had that synthane base (and synthane tube too).


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: NeilR]
      #6238590 - 12/07/13 07:33 AM

Neil,

Thank you for the information and PM. I will need to do some additonal checking on this Q. I had been looking for a Q for about 6 months to use as a "grab n go." I really liked the portability aspect and the great ruputation and optics.

I saw an ad and contacted the seller immediately. I was probably very lucky because I was local and they did not want to ship it. Being a novice to Q, I didn't think or know to ask about the serial number. The original owner of the scope was Cyrus Fernald of Wilton, Maine. I think that I will need to do some more research on this Q. This is really fascinating and I think finding out more about this Q is going to be great learning experience. I will also check out the other location that you mentioned.

Best Regards,
Jack


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: NeilR]
      #6245128 - 12/10/13 04:07 PM

Alright, so now I own an early Q. I still haven't had a chance to use it due to the weather...figures. I now feel torn about getting it cleaned and serviced versus keeping it in its current condition. When I was trying to purchase the scope I wasn't even thinking about it as being a collectable; my sole purpose was to use it.

Any words of advice?


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munirocks
member


Reged: 10/21/13

Loc: Bourne End, UK
Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6245268 - 12/10/13 05:08 PM

What if you upgrade the components that YOU think increase the useability for the way YOU want to use it, but keep the old parts? Not that all parts are user-replaceable, but I think this would keep more options open for yourself and for future owners.

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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6245273 - 12/10/13 05:10 PM

Use it. Get educated. First do no harm. No rush unless you have compelling issues. You can always send it in "next week" but you can never undo a service/renovation/update.

The most common reason to send the scope in is slipping dec or RA clutches. If you scope responds to the controls without slipping then you are good to go. Next would be dirty optics. Unless they are grossly dirty it isn't a problem and they really should not be cleaned more than absolutely necessary.

You should call the Mother Ship and see what was done to warrant that "8" in the serial#. If it was already modernized then your decision was already made by a prior owner. Find out the date it was serviced. If it was in the last 10 years, then there may not be much reason to send it in just for the sake of sprucing it up.

And also post images here! The scope, accessories and case. Close ups are helpful. Everyone likes to see pix of older scopes.

It is interesting that you fell into this by accident. A mixed blessing, eh? Probably rare.

Edited by NeilR (12/10/13 05:31 PM)


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: munirocks]
      #6245288 - 12/10/13 05:18 PM

@minirocks... two problems, one is that you might not get them back, for whatever reason.

The second, and more likely, that some very important parts, from a collectability point of view, are more or less destroyed (or damaged) in the process. I am thinking about those logo'd disks on the DEC arms. They are glued on and they may bend or crease on removal. I am not positive about that but it would be the first question I asked.


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munirocks
member


Reged: 10/21/13

Loc: Bourne End, UK
Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6245458 - 12/10/13 06:35 PM

Quote:

I will be picking up the scope this weekend. It does not have a manual. Is there a manual that I can download or is it best to contact Questar once I get the scope?




Most of the controls are obvious when you use them, but you might not be familiar with setting circles.
Questars have nice big (and therefore accurate and useable) setting circles. If you haven't used used these before then you should learn. With practice they can be astonishingly accurate.
Are they Retro? You bet, but utterly useful. Learning to use them is like finding a treasure of ancient wisdom.
It's like finding out what the aperture ring on a camera does to the depth-of-field in the photo.
It's like finding out that an old slide rule with a BI scale is a parallel processor that can, with a single setting, simultaneously calculate the magnification of every possible eyepiece with your scope.
You, too, can become part of the elite priesthood, my young grasshopper.


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: NeilR]
      #6245566 - 12/10/13 07:27 PM

I will not send the scope out until I get a chance to try it out first. There seems to be a lot to learn about the Q. I contacted the "Mother Ship" to see what was reworked/revised and they said that the records for that scope was archived off-site.

In talking with the seller, she said that the scope belonged to her great uncle Cyrus. Unfortunately he died in 1979 and the scope was in storage until now. So any modifications had to have taken place prior to 1979. I will take some pictures and try and post them tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I can make them small enough. The case appears to be leather and looked to be hand-stitched. The case is not in very good condition. There are also other pieces that I have no idea what to do with them or what they are. Any information onthem would be a big help. I can take other pictures if these aren't detailed enough.

Thanks to all of you for your help!


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: munirocks]
      #6245593 - 12/10/13 07:39 PM

Munirocks,

Looking forward to learning how to use the setting circles. Are there any good books or information on how to use them? I will also check the different threads in this forum.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6245670 - 12/10/13 08:18 PM

You could buy a modern manual from the factory. That manual has good instructions for doing polar alignments and using the circles.

Basically you need to get the polar axis aimed at the North Celestial Pole. Then acquire a known bright star reasonably close to the celestial equator (at least well away from the pole) in the eyepiece and set the RA dial to match the known RA of the star. Now you can find an object by dialing in RA and Dec.

The simplest (but less accurate) way to get the polar axis aligned is to set Dec to 90 degrees and then, without changing Dec, get the North Star centered in the eyepiece.

The North Star is actually 3/4 degree away from the true pole. The manual has a nifty way to adjust for that.

Here is an old thread about "painless polar alignment".

It is usually best to get very familiar with the Q during daytime before you try things like polar alignment at night. Try birding


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: NeilR]
      #6246549 - 12/11/13 08:51 AM Attachment (36 downloads)

Here are some pictures of my Q.

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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6246553 - 12/11/13 08:53 AM

Quote:

Here are some pictures of my Q.




Only one pic?


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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6246563 - 12/11/13 09:00 AM Attachment (36 downloads)

Another one. I am not very good at this.

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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6246571 - 12/11/13 09:05 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

Picture 3

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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6246586 - 12/11/13 09:11 AM Attachment (30 downloads)

One more

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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: NeilR]
      #6246627 - 12/11/13 09:36 AM

I do have more and will post them later. Any pictures that you would like to see?

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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: Question and Advice new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #6246810 - 12/11/13 11:14 AM

Did you get a dew shield with the star map? If you did, a nice clear photo would be nice.

Photo of the rear control box, and the underside diagonal mirror. Photo of the bottom of the mount. Photo of any other accessories, such as additional eyepieces (should be two EPs).

A couple notes on differences with modern versions...

1. The eyepiece appears to be one of two "Japanese" eyepieces supplied, a Konig and an Erfle. That was later changed to the current Brandon EPs, with threaded barrels. I think it is possible to mod (replace) the EP adapter to work with the new screw in types, as well as standard EP's.

2. The diagonal that diverts the image to the top EP port is an Amici prism, thought to be WW2 surplus. Some people upgrade to modern because it is said to be a little better. If your top port view shows a correct image, left to right, then it is an original Amici. If the view is reversed left to right, then you already have a modern replacement.

3. No solar filter on your finder view. That tiny solar filter covers the port on the bottom of the OTA, and fully protects the Q. Be very careful using the solar filter you posted! If you are looking through the EP and flip the wrong lever you will get a nasty surprise. Supposedly Johnny Carson (of the old Tonight Show) owned a Q and got a brief blast, and complained. Thus the finder EP was invented and installed on all newer Q's.

I would think it could be much more difficult to find the sun without a protected finder view, but I never had to try.

This is such a huge eye safety issue that if you intend to do a lot of solar viewing you should maybe consider it, even if it means "devaluing" the collectable value. And one reason I previously suggested the old scopes are not ideal for use as a primary scope, but better as a secondary collectable kind of thing. Where it gets taken out for a ride every now and then like a classic car, but not used as a sole "daily driver". I have an original owner and still very stock '85 Mazda RX-7 GLS-SE, so I understand and think about that concept a lot

4. Your legs are push fit. Around 1982 they went to screw in. The old push fits are said to be more elegant, but supposedly they required hand matching to the mount because the tolerances are very tight. As a result, they might be very difficult to replace. Aside from the fact that replacements may not be onhand at the factory???

5. The cases now have real hinges, avoiding the problem you likely have that the "hinge" is brittle and weak, and may not take a lot of use now before it splits completely (??).

6. Your solar filter does not appear to be an off-axis design, but nor does it seem to be a full solar filter. I don't recall anything about that- just noticed yours looks different than mine and don't recall "almost full filters".

7. Contrary to what I said, checking some notes from the Yahoo group, your tube might be aluminum or synthane. Synthane may have been used from 1957-58 on some, not all of those years- one of those things that is unsettled due to lack of data on specific samples. Not sure from the pics you posted but I think aluminum??

8. Your dew shield is, or was, hand etched with the stars. Moderns dew shields have the star map silk screened on, with no etching.

9. There are a total of 4 different logo disks known, plus the 50th anniversary model disk. You appear to have the 3rd disk, which was generally put into use around 1962-3. Various 1955 models have been reported with disk #1 and 2, but I think there could be some uncertainty about possible replacements at some point in time?? (that was why these things were studied quite a while back on the yahoo group). But it suggests your unit is not fully pristine, as best I understand those things. You could spend a few evenings searching the yahoo group for discussions about all these differences, and the relative confidence anyone has in deciphering them.

10. Your OTA is a bit shorter than modern OTAs because the central silvered spot is on the outside of the corrector, where modern optics have the spot on the inside. The change resulted in a longer tube, which creates issues with dew shields and the case in the rare event that the optics are replaced. Also requires a new tube, of course. It is thought that the original spot location had to do with avoiding patent infringement, which later expired, allowing the supposedly slightly more optimum inside location.

There may be other differences, but the one resource I have handy lists the above.

I do not ever recall anyone having trouble getting their repair history... being told it is "archived offsite". Interesting. You might want to press them to retrieve it because I think it is important to know before you even start planning to service it.


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