How do you mount your classics? I myself, prefer a mix of modern and classic options for mounts, a mix of equatorial and alt-azimuth options, and also a mix of driven, geared or otherwise slow-motion enabled, as well as simple non-geared push-to, glide and sweep friction-clutched mounts. Just like I've been going through my telescopes, moving out and trading up and generally thinning the herd down to my dozen keepers, I've been doing the same with my mounts. Over the past year a number of mounts have gone bye-bye and I have acquired some new ones. This is what I now have and plan on keeping for the foreseeable future.
GERMAN EQ MOUNTS:
- Meade LX85 go-to (my newest) on 1.75" stainless steel tripod
- Meade LX70 (GP-grade) with dual drives on 1.75" stainless steel tripod
- Celestron Omni (P-grade) single RA drive on 1.75" stainless steel tripod
- Jaegers Heavy Duty 1" steel shaft re-built mount on heavy duty surveyors tripod
- Edmund Medium Duty 5/8" steel shaft re-built mount on 3’ pier
- Zeiss T1 mount matching Zeiss wood tripod
- TeleVue Gibralter on heavy-weight TV ashwood tripod
- TeleVue Panoramic on light-weight TV ashwood tripod
- Vixen Paramount II on Vixen HAL130 aluminum tripod
- Universal Astronomics Dwarfstar mount on Orion Paragon XHD tripod
- Unitron model 114 vintage mount and folding wooden tripod
- Celestron Wedge with custom Questar adapter mounting plate UA steel reinforced wooden surveyors tripod (I also have a lightweight wooden tripod with a flat hub, machined to fit the Questar's fork mount base for when I want to use the Q as an alt-az grab and go.
- Stellarvue M1V with a binocular side-saddle on Benro TMA47AXL Extra Long Series 4 Mach3 tripod for my classic 20x80 binoculars
Only two of my mounts, the Zeiss and the Unitron 114 alt-az are matched with their original OTA and are used solely with those OTAs (although my 60mm Unitron can also be mounted on my other mounts as it fits in my Takahashi FC60 clamshell perfectly). Besides the Unitron and Zeiss mounts, all other GEMs (including the re-built Jaegers and Edmund mounts) have been outfitted with Vixen-type clamping jaws, (even my two TeleVue alt-az mounts). This makes for maximum usability and adaptability. Another important factor in being able to use a mount (particularly with a variety of OTAs) is to have an assortment of counterweights including some light-weight ones. Finally, all but my Zeiss have (either standard or as an option) been fitted with Vixen rails. Just as it's nice to have a choice in what particular telescope you are going to use for a particular session at home or away, it's nice to be able to choose from a variety of mounts. Modern mounts, especially go-to mounts offer a particularly attractive option for the urban observer who has to contend with light pollution. Moreover, the three contemporary Chinese mounts that I have (I've been using the Celestron Omni CG-4 for ten years) are smooth and stable, rugged and reliable mounts. The Meade LX70 is every bit as good as my former Vixen GP mount and it's on a much more stable tripod. I think the Omni CG-4 is actually a much better mount that the Vixen Polaris I used to have. In fact, I had them both at the same time and chose to keep the CG-4 and sell the Polaris. It really is that good! The mount is built around the old Polaris design but has undergone a number of improvements. As a trouble free, grab-and-go/travel GEM, it's still my favorite. With regard to modern alt-az options, I've been using my Vixen Porta II now for ten years with no complaints. It has replaced my former Vixen Custom-D and I like it much better.
So how do you mount your classics?