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Portable Observatory.

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#1 Cotts

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:18 PM

I now have TWO portable "Observatories".  Well, wind-breaks, really, but I'll call them observatories nonetheless.... I only had one but... well, read on....

 

Many of you know John Love, of Texas - he's a CN'er but I forget his handle (his ham radio calls, I think...)  Anyway, he sells excellent shelter kits where he provides tarps, corner and T-fittings,  bungees, tie-downs etc. for certain sized Wind shelters.  The buyer merely has to go to the hardware store to buy 1" electrical conduit to fit and, voila, a portable wind break/observatory. ( I think he will sell you the conduit, too) I saw his shelters at the Okie-Tex Star Party last fall and negotiated the purchase of a 10'x10'x7'high shelter right away.  I've had quite enough wind at Star Parties ruining otherwise clear nights over the years, Thanks Very Much....

 

When I got home I purchased the conduit which only comes in 10' lengths.  For the eight 7' vertical poles (4 corners and centre of each wall) I had to cut off 3' of "waste" ends and put them aside.  I assembled the shelter in the backyard and, goodness gracious, it is huge!   Beautiful!!!  I'm a tall guy and the 10'x10' floor plan will be very nice for me, tables, chairs, sofa, TV, wet bar, lava lamp etc.  Scope too.....  

 

Now this size will be fine at MOST star Parties like Okie, TSP etc. and at my club's dark sky site but I think it is a bit much for the rather crowded Winter Star Party where space is at a premium.  And the WSP is a windy place!!!  I need a shelter there too.  So I looked again at the 3' long extra 'waste' pieces of conduit.....

 

John sent 'straight-through' joining fittings as part of what I ordered.  I could join 2 of the the 'waste' pieces to make 6' .    Hmmmm,  use the 7' verticals from the big shelter as horizontals....   YESSSSSSS!!  a 7'x7'x6' high 'mini shelter which won't be obtrusive at the WSP!!!  

 

I put the 7'x7'x6' frame together in the living room (why, yes, I am single....) to measure the size of tarps I would need and ordered the tarps.  The tarps, black on the inside and white on the outside, arrived today so I set the whole thing up today, again, in my living room.

 

I sat inside and pictured my scope and me and a table in it.  I see no problem......

 

Pics:  Outside

IMG_7032.jpg

 

InsideIMG_7033.jpg

 

Dave

 

 

 

 



#2 GJJim

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:35 PM

Nicely done! Who is the source for the black/white tarps?



#3 deepwoods1

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:36 PM

I thought about creating something like this! This is a complete square I assume, so how do you get in and out? I've seen zippers you can add. Where did you source B/W tarps? How about Black and Camo!



#4 Alex McConahay

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:37 PM

Looks great, but isn't it hard to move the roll off roof with the fan and all that?

 

Alex



#5 Cotts

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:47 PM

The tarps are from Cover-Tech in New Brunswick....   http://www.cover-tech.com/contact.htm   They are VERY well made, heavy material with extra Nylon strapping material around the edges.  The grommets won't ever tear out, I suspect...  (If the winds get that bad, I just undo all the ball-bungees around the top and lower the sides...)

 

With the Canadian dollar dropping below 80 cents US it would be a good time to order some good Canadian stuff!!!!

 

 

The fan can be dealt with, Alex, but the transparency issues caused by the ceiling are more troublesome.....

 

Dave



#6 Cotts

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:50 PM

I thought about creating something like this! This is a complete square I assume, so how do you get in and out? I've seen zippers you can add. Where did you source B/W tarps? How about Black and Camo!

Getting in and out - I'll just undo the top and bottom at one corner.  The grommets are about 2' apart so a 2' 'door' will result.  I can seal it up behind me or leave it open.  A zipper would be unnecessary, I feel...

 

Dave



#7 MDB

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 10:24 PM

Hello Dave,

 

Do you happen to have John Love's contact info?  I am interested in one of his shelter kits.

 

Thanks

Mike



#8 Cotts

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 11:09 PM

Hello Dave,

 

Do you happen to have John Love's contact info?  I am interested in one of his shelter kits.

 

Thanks

Mike

Mike, i have wracked my brain and cannot come up with his CN 'handle'.  He is a reasonably active member....   I'm pretty sure it's his Ham Radio callsign but I just can't get it.  

 

I'll poke around and see if I can dig him up....

 

Dave



#9 Cotts

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 11:50 PM

I think I've found him.  I've sent him a PM to be sure before giving you his contact info...

 

Dave



#10 Cotts

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 12:19 AM

John Love is CCD-Freak on cloudy Nights.

 

Dave



#11 CCD-Freak

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 11:32 AM

Hi Dave

 

Looks great and I like the dual size idea. 

I think I am going to build myself a 10 x 10 x 7 like the one I made for you since I ended up with an extra set of tarps and I have 2' scraps to go with the 5' poles.

My imaging scope is pretty tall and the extra foot would be helpful in the winds of western star parties.  Which one are you bringing to TSP and Okie-Tex?

 

John

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SkyBox-RMSS-1-sm.JPG



#12 Cotts

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 11:02 PM

I'll be using the larger 10x10x7 at the TSP and Okie due to greater room availability.   The 7x7x6 willbe at the Wsp, a very crowded event....

 

Dave



#13 shadowpdiggity

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 08:01 PM

I had thought of doing something like this but had considered using pcv pipe. is there a reason you went with conduit instead of pcv. I mostly want mine to block light pollution from nieghbors since i mostly view from my backyard. I do have to say your set up looks great though.



#14 CCD-Freak

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 08:47 PM

I chose 3/4" EMT for strength and availability of the corner fittings.  Mine has been through winds gusts of 45 to 50 MPH.  Check out the flags.  (o:

 

SkyBox in the wind.JPG

 

John

CCD-Freak



#15 Balok

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 01:50 PM

Gentlemen these are fantastic solutions for a portable observatory.

To my mind, they are very simple, very effective and very efficient.

I see the  gap at ground level for the air to breathe.

 

The concept is  adaptable to an open plain or a high rise balcony.

 

Thank you for posting these.




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