After enjoying the nice terrestrial views provided by my Tele Vue TV-60 telescope, I realized that I wanted a larger, dedicated scope for terrestrial viewing, so I recently made the leap and purchased a moderately priced Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope that I plan to take on trips to mountains, active volcanoes, tropical rain forests, beaches, etc., places where waterproofing is an important feature. While touring, I would also like to be able to use the scope at night for casual observing.
Aiming an angled spotting scope at terrestrial objects in broad daylight is not a problem, but star hopping with it at night without any kind of finder was tough for me, so I had to device a way to add a finder real soon. Luckily, I was inspired by the mounting solution that Tele Vue designed for their TV-60 scope, where a finder (the Qwik Point RDF) rides on the sliding dew shield.
Unlike the TV-60, the dew shield of the Pentax PF-80ED Spotting Scope is not pre-drilled to accept a finder base and I was not about to start making holes in mine, so I made the choice of using plastic cable ties to attach the mounting base that comes included with the Tele Vue Qwik Point Finder as the least invasive but still sufficiently rigid mounting solution to install a lightweight, plastic RDF: A TV Qwik Point for daylight use and a Stellarvue F1 finder for astronomy.
After gathering and properly assembling all the parts, the finder installation on my Pentax spotting scope went ahead smoothly and I was able to successfully align both RDFs (TeleVue and Stellarvue) to aim the scope accurately on terrestrial and astronomical objects –I already tested it on both types of applications. From now on, I can easily point my spotting scope to any object, including fast moving ones like birds, airplanes, artificial satellites, etc. and I can also share with other viewers the position of the object being observed!
If any of you have considered adding a finder to your spotting scope and have no objection about the impact on the scope aesthetics, here is a series of pictures that will show you what is needed (a dew shield parallel to the scope optical axis is a must) and how it goes together. I have read about other spotting scope owners using plastic ties to add a finder to their scopes, but unfortunately pictures are rarely posted, I hope that you find these useful!
List of Parts required:
- Tele Vue (QBT-1006) Qwik Point Red Dot Reflex Finder with mounting base (QPA-1004) included.
- 15 inch long, black plastic (Nylon) cable ties. The ones that I used were from a pack of 3M (CT15BK50-C) 15in, 50lb that I found at my local hardware store. Here is a link:
- Self-Adhesive Cork Pads to protect the scope from scratches and to prevent the finder base from slipping. Same as before, I went for what was available at my local hardware store and just cut to the needed size: ProsSource 1-inch diameter, round Cork Pads, pack of 12. Here is a link: