Here's mine, same as Jeff's.
While the blue tubes may have been cute, they did have shortcomings:
- "meh" focusers
- nose heavy
- a meagre 3 baffles
- screw on dewshields which can give you a heart attack when putting on/taking off
I can't do anything about the baffles (they're welded in) but I have added a backplate from D&G which allowed me to put on a more recent vintage A-P focuser. To address the nose heaviness, I constructed a counterweight using Parallax rings and ScopeStuff screw-on shaft end-weights. I shortened the tube as well for binoviewing. I can now use 35mm Ultrascopics without a teleextender with Mark V binos. I almost never use the screw on dewshield, using a flexible AstroZap one instead.
Excellent Tanveer and nice scope!
I've modified both the 152 F9 and 178 F9 the same basic ways. First I've shortened them to be bino-friendly with my Denks and power switch in place (I can use the barlow side of the swith for ~2X). I replaced the back plates with one from D&G for the 152, the other from Parallax (which allows easy collimation of the focuser). I added AP 2.7" feather touch focusers with the older style AP 1" extensions added in front of the visual backs. Theses allow the drawtubes to retract into the body of the focuser and extra inch. This allows me to go mono vision without the need of a separate extension (but I rarely go mono-vision anymore).
I use an extra ring at the back of the tube as well to mount the finder and a counterpoise weight. This helps to keep the scope well balanced and easy to transport. I typically mount the weight on a shaft that goes through a post mounted on the bottom of the ring. I can mount two weights that way, one smaller one to counterpoise the finder scope and the other I can add if I remove the bino-viewer for what ever reason and still maintain balance. The system works very well.
Yeah the baffles are very robust. I've found the three work just fine and are very effective with no off axis glare. In my ATM work, I've found three well sized and placed baffles are more than enough really.
LOL, the screw on dew shield is indeed a PIA so, like you, I either do (not dew) without one or use an AstroZap one too.
About a month ago, a friend and myself had some just exceptional views of various open and globs with the 179 and a pair of the newer Denk 21 LOAs without the 3D eyepiece. M11 was particularly beautiful!
These early AP scopes are just superb visual instruments. I still find it amazing what Roland did back then with those pre-ED triplets, especially the 179 F9.