Some of you may remember a topic I started last February, when I put in a quick n dirty permanent pier...
After 10 months of use, during which the block pier served me very well, I started construction on something bigger and better...a flip-top observatory (still small, 6 feet by 6 feet WL) with a full concrete pier. Someplace I can keep all the equipment set up (instead of just the mount under a cover), and when the weather's good after a long work day, just go out, flip open the roof, turn on the power, and start imaging.
First off, thanks to my pal TomK, whose "motel-o-scope" setup was a big part of the inspiration for this. I didn't want to go full-on with a big full-sized ROR (been there, done that!), and his constant bragging about being able to just pop-open-and-go prodded me to come up with a reasonable alternative.
So first, the site: I moved to the other side of my home on a hill, from the south-east corner to the north-west corner. This gets me away from the driveway (which was a bigger bother than I anticipated, especially with a teenager in the house!), gives me a lot more open sky, and has the house only occlude the very far south-east. First pic below is the rough site outline, with a rock showing where I anticipated putting the pier. I began planning this out months ago, but work/family/travel all conspired to keep me from doing much until recently. My hill overlooks most of the valley, with Palomar Mountain to the north-east...but otherwise it's pretty clear horizons.
Second image shows the beginning of the foundation hole -- at this point it was just 2 feet deep, but I was testing the top slab form location and size. The hole wound up 3 feet deep, wider at the bottom than the top, compacted and with a layer of gravel at the bottom. I wired up 3 rebar rods, all within the diameter of the to-come-later 8" concrete pier, and staked them to the bottom of the hole.
Third image is just after pouring the foundation -- this actually happened during the summer, and went well. 6 60-lb bags of Quikcrete, all hand-mixed, filled up to the top of the form. And there it sat for several months -- at least it was good and cured!
More in part 2 below...