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APM 100 bino and Daystar Quark

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#1 RogerF

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 12:12 AM

To prevent purchasing another piece of dedicated equipment, I am thinking of setting up one barrel of my APM 100mm bino with a Daystar Quark Chromosphere filter. As follows:

APM 100 ED bino (f/5.5) – owned (one barrel capped)

1 – Daystar 100 x 130 ERF - $695

1 – Daystar Quark H-Alpha Chromosphere - $1295

1 – Tele Vue 40mm Plossl E.P. - $155

1 – Tele Vue 24mm Panoptic E.P. – owned

1 - Tele Vue Sol-Searcher Finderscope - $45

1 – Daystar Battery Pack, 5V 30Ah $105

 

So, I am looking at about $2500 for a 100mm 0.5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope? Maybe a $4000 savings over a similarly spec’d dedicated 90mm H-Alpha scope?

 

Specs with the Quark and my APM 100 bino (using S&T online calculator):

f/23

0.7 TFOV

24mm Panoptic (68 AFOV) 96X, 1.0mm exit pupil

40mm Plossl (43 AFOV) 58X 1.7mm exit pupil

 

I respectfully ask this forum, is there anything inherently wrong with this setup for visual and outreach usage? Thanks.


Edited by RogerF, 04 June 2023 - 01:14 AM.

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#2 eblanken

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 12:23 AM

Hi RogerF,

 

One question: "100mm 5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope", how do you get to "5" A ???

 

Asking for a friend,

 

Edward A. "Ed" (aka eblanken) Blankenship



#3 RogerF

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 12:33 AM

Hi RogerF,

 

One question: "100mm 5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope", how do you get to "5" A ???

 

Asking for a friend,

 

Edward A. "Ed" (aka eblanken) Blankenship

Sorry. 0.5


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#4 BYoesle

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 08:02 AM

Hi Roger,

 

So, I am looking at about $2500 for a 100mm 0.5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope? Maybe a $4000 savings over a similarly spec’d dedicated 90mm H-Alpha scope?

NO, you are not - not anywhere close. A 0.5 A dedicated telescope will have a "double stacked" etalon system - something even a 0.3 A single etalon system will not come close to.

 

I advise you don't purchase anything until you do some more research and become more familiar with the array of choices and how these filter systems work. Start with the Best of Solar Forums and get a good book like Jamey Jenkins Guidebook. Solar Astronomy will go into much greater detail especially with regard to how narrow band solar filters work.

 

There is NO WAY that your Quark - which will have an unknowable native bandpass for which they are not qualified - will have a resultant bandpass of 0.5 A at f23. But assuming it would have a 0.5 A FWHM in a collimated configuration, at f23 with an optimized telecentric (4.2 x built in the Quark), it would have the performance of about 0.9 A and essentially be a prominence filter only with minimal disc detail:

 

Julia-FWHMres-f-ratio-10-50-mica-spaced.jpg

Resultant bandpass (FWHM) versus focal ratio for various native FWHM mica etalons  Christian Viladrich

 

You don't need a dedicated telescope, all you need is a good f8 to f10 achromatic or better refractor to get to f30+ for a Quark. These can be readily found new or used - and you can easily remove the Quark and add an objective-mounted white light filter (or use a Herschel wedge) for alternating between the photosphere and chromosphere. However, the long f30+ ratio's generally result in long effective focal lengths, and make full disc views (or imaging) more difficult, and a high-quality focal reducer may also need to be employed. I hope you're getting the picture that things are a bit more complex for using mica etalon narrow-band solar filters.

 

Quarks are notorious for having significant quality variation, and the the mica filters are generally the most difficult to learn how to tune, as the tuning varies with the f ratio as well as the individual etalon's particular characteristics. The DayStar Quantums are now so overpriced I can no longer recommend them. The Solar Spectrum Suna or the Baader Sundancer series are higher quality mica etalon alternatives to the Quark.

 

The DayStar ERF's are greatly overpriced colored glass filters and have no IR blocking. For the same money you listed for the DayStar ERF can get a much better Baader 110 mm DERF.

 

All these filter systems can have outliers. Take your time and don't rush. If you don't want a dedicated H alpha telescope, frankly for a beginner I would consider a much simpler Lunt 60 mm front etalon and blocking filter combination (less than $3k total) for use on a standard refractor, or even mounted to your bino, instead of the Quark. Coronado filters are more variable in quality than Lunt's, so I would put them in the same basket with the Quarks. Put a Baader AstroSolar film white light filter on the other half of the 100 bino, and you'd be set for photosphere continuum and chromosphere H alpha views for outreach...

 

Once you get your training wheels off with that simpler H alpha filter system, you can sell it and get something larger and/or more sophisticated.


Edited by BYoesle, 04 June 2023 - 09:00 AM.

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#5 Spikey131

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 11:06 AM

05CC4502-5055-4CD1-A0AF-CD8FDA920672.jpeg I have a Daystar Quark Chromosphere Filter that is frequently used in a TV NP101 and TV 76 (f/5.4 and f/6.3).  It shows good details on prominences and surface details.  Most of the surface details that I see in the photos on this forum are visible to me with the Quark.  Of course it is not as sharp or contrasty as the photos, but filaments, flares, and active regions with magnetic field swirls are all clearly visible.  With all respect to Bob, whose experience and knowledge is far greater than mine, I cannot agree that the Quark will be “essentially be a prominence filter only with minimal disc detail”.  The theory and the math might suggest it, but that is not my experience.


Edited by Spikey131, 04 June 2023 - 11:17 AM.

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#6 BYoesle

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 01:08 PM

Hi Spiky,

 

You're probably right - and it sounds like you have around a 0.5 A or better etalon that with your f26 set up is at about 0.7 A or better. So if Roger gets his 0.5 A Quark etalon, he too will likely get about an effective 0.7 A filter system. That's what DayStar promises for Quarks. And looking more closely at Christian's curves above, you are right, and this would be about a 0.7 A filter bandpass, not 0.9 A as I stated - mea culpa.

 

If you ever get around to using your Quark at f35 or better, I think you'll see what it can really deliver as far as contrast and uniformity. But remember, Quarks do have a range of variability, and none are qualified or quantified after the binning process into broad chromosphere and prominence categories. Nothing short of a quantifiable spectroscopic analysis will tell you what the filter's actual specifications are.

 

This is a basic problem for purchase for almost any etalon from any company - except the DayStar PE filters for which you do get a test report:

 

DayStar QPE050216 Test Report sm.jpg

Test report for a 0.6 A Quantum PE

 

Then again, if you actually have a 0.4 A etalon, you will have better disc detail at f23-26.

 

Disc detail is of course subjective, and I'm now also used to superb double stacked David Lunt era Coronado filter systems with pretty incredible contrast and uniformity, and this likely makes me a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to these things. However, even DayStar states that at a 0.7 A effective bandpass it will be a pretty much a prominence filter with "occasional" disc detail:

 

DayStar PE Bandpass specs.jpg

DayStar Filters LLC

 

Hopefully everyone who gets a Quark Chromosphere will get at least a 0.5 A filter - but from what I've seen, that isn't always the case. Christian Viladrich has tested two Chromosphere Quarks, and one was <0.45 A, and the other was 1.0 A.

 

Quark test table.jpg

 

Additionally, the filter uniformity may leave much to be desired. But that's why they are so relatively inexpensive. If you want better or guaranteed bandpasses and uniformity, it generally will cost you much more.

 

BTW - beautiful scope, mount, and back yard to observe from! waytogo.gif


Edited by BYoesle, 04 June 2023 - 06:31 PM.

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#7 eblanken

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Posted 05 June 2023 - 01:09 AM

Hello RogerF,

 

Here are some thoughts now that I have some more time:

 

To prevent purchasing another piece of dedicated equipment, I am thinking of setting up one barrel of my APM 100mm bino with a Daystar Quark Chromosphere filter. As follows:

APM 100 ED bino (f/5.5) – owned (one barrel capped)

1 – Daystar 100 x 130 ERF - $695

1 – Daystar Quark H-Alpha Chromosphere - $1295

1 – Tele Vue 40mm Plossl E.P. - $155

1 – Tele Vue 24mm Panoptic E.P. – owned

1 - Tele Vue Sol-Searcher Finderscope - $45

1 – Daystar Battery Pack, 5V 30Ah $105

 

So, I am looking at about $2500 for a 100mm 0.5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope? Maybe a $4000 savings over a similarly spec’d dedicated 90mm H-Alpha scope?

 

Specs with the Quark and my APM 100 bino (using S&T online calculator):

f/23

0.7 TFOV

24mm Panoptic (68 AFOV) 96X, 1.0mm exit pupil

40mm Plossl (43 AFOV) 58X 1.7mm exit pupil

 

I respectfully ask this forum, is there anything inherently wrong with this setup for visual and outreach usage? Thanks.

 

I like the concept you presented: I was in a hurry when I posted soon after you. I hope my attempt at humor and my attempt at "helping you catch your error" was well placed and not out of line. 

 

Hi RogerF,

 

One question: "100mm 5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope", how do you get to "5" A ???

 

Asking for a friend,

 

Edward A. "Ed" (aka eblanken) Blankenship

 

 

Sorry. 0.5

 

Some about me: I am an Engineering Scientist by profession with 45+ years of experience dealing with specifications and laws and norms and numbers and spreadsheets. I currently work 40 to 70 hours a week in a 4.3 Million $$$ (in 1994 $$$) Lloyd's Mirror Interferometer (This is a Physicists name, not an Engineering Name) also known as a Semi-Anechoic Chamber (SAC with a "huge VHF/UHF/Microwave" mirror on the floor, but tile that "spoils the mirror for visible light") or an Absorber Lined Chamber (ALC) or a Ten Meter Chamber (Product to Antenna spacing in meters to get down to 30 MHz) that simulates an Open Area Test (OATS) facility like we used to use in the early to mid 1980s to measure (outside with weather and other peoples' transmitters "to look around") Radio Interference (RFI or EMI) of things like Cesium Beam Clocks and Rubidium Time Standards and Frequency Counters and Time Interval Counters and Vector Network Analyzers and Spectrum Analyzers and other high precision test equipment.

 

I am, however, by avocation, a visual observer who likes to set that professional affiliation aside in my hobby and enjoy astronomy through eyepieces and less expensive scopes and equipment than some others here on this forum. I will repeat, I LIKE THE CONCEPT THAT YOU FLOATED in this thread. Your basic premise is sound: Use what you already have in hand.

 

If it were me owning such a nice "PAIR OF 100mm x 550mm (f/5.5)  ED REFRACTORS" and desiring to supplement that with some reasonable purchase (as far as $$$), I would start with TWO Baader ASTF or ASDF film filters (Neutral Density filters ND5.0 for visual). I would advise you invest in some DERF like Bob Y. recommends, not the Daystar brand (although I don't have much personal experience with these). Furthermore, I would buy some colored filters: Red, Orange, Yellow & Green. For outreach, I find that seeing the Sun in different colors is a "teaching moment" for the lay persons. You might also consider some aperture masks to "teach yourself" about the influence of DAYTIME SEEING (ask Marty Wise or check out his many posts here on this forum).

 

After you "cut your teeth" on White Light (aka WL and color filters), you may want to jump in like I have with the Quarks: I own several H-Alpha ones and a Sodium one and a Magnesium one. This lets me feed eyepieces with Monocrome light of three colors: Deep Crimson Red (Level 3 to Level 2 Hydrogen Alpha light at 656.28nm), and Sodium D Yellow (589.59nm) and Magnesium Green (517.28nm). Your PAIR OF REFRACTORS might be very educational at any two of these colors at a time. Now notice that you could pair up WL on one side and a Quark of your choosing on the other. I have purchased ALL MY QUARKS on the used market. I like to take other peoples' REJECTS and turn them into a cost savings for me BECAUSE I'M ONLY DOING VISUAL AND THEY ARE TRYING UNSUCESSFULLY TO DO IMAGING WITH THE QUARKS. Some people keep their Quarks for a number of reasons: Better than average (luck of draw) or Don't know any better and are satisfied with "not the best" bulb in the pack

 

Bob Y. makes a strong case, but comes at this topic very seriously and critically like you have seen. Others are less so from their perspective. I hope my input is helpful to you. I sometimes can be "swimming up stream" in this forum as a "cheapskate" and a "contrarian" to the "heavy hitters" here. I respect Bob Y. and Christian V. and Marty Wise and others who are regulars here. No disrespect intended by me, but I often recommend the Metalized (ND5.0) "Yellow" Glass filters that are not very highly (or at all) THOUGHT OF OR REGARDED HERE for "new" people. What I have found is that for outreach, a Green Baader Solar Continuum Filter "is disorienting" for people new to looking at the sun, but Yellow/Orange is "what they expect to see" and so there is my Glass Filter bias. I also have a Herschel Wedge (2 inch) but frankly I don't do imaging and am considering selling it.

 

Finally, keep asking good questions and don't get discouraged,

 

Edward A. "Ed" (aka eblanken) Blankenship


Edited by eblanken, 05 June 2023 - 02:19 AM.

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#8 eblanken

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Posted 05 June 2023 - 01:59 AM

Hi Bob Y.,

 

I hope we are good ? 

 

I do respect you and all the charts and graphs you share here on this forum. It seems that you like to give the "tough love, scare the newbie straight" perspective (which can be discouraging to some of them).

 

Best Regards,

 

Ed (aka eblanken)


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#9 eblanken

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Posted 05 June 2023 - 02:09 AM

Hi Spikey131,

 

attachicon.gif 05CC4502-5055-4CD1-A0AF-CD8FDA920672.jpegI have a Daystar Quark Chromosphere Filter that is frequently used in a TV NP101 and TV 76 (f/5.4 and f/6.3).  It shows good details on prominences and surface details.  Most of the surface details that I see in the photos on this forum are visible to me with the Quark.  Of course it is not as sharp or contrasty as the photos, but filaments, flares, and active regions with magnetic field swirls are all clearly visible.  With all respect to Bob, whose experience and knowledge is far greater than mine, I cannot agree that the Quark will be “essentially be a prominence filter only with minimal disc detail”.  The theory and the math might suggest it, but that is not my experience.

 

Thanks for your experience. I agree with Bob Y. that you have a nice yard and nice equipment. I am very glad you have a "better than average" Quark. Visually, you may be enjoying some of the Photosphere "leaking" into your Chromosphere, such that you get better SunSpots than the "Tripple Stack Purists" like some of our imaging guys & gals. For visual, the double limb doesn't seem to be much of a problem, but I am a tolerant guy and some are not.

 

Ed (aka eblanken)

 

P.S. I like the rug, carpet or whatever you call it. Nice touch !!!


Edited by eblanken, 05 June 2023 - 02:14 AM.

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#10 MalVeauX

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Posted 05 June 2023 - 09:56 AM

To prevent purchasing another piece of dedicated equipment, I am thinking of setting up one barrel of my APM 100mm bino with a Daystar Quark Chromosphere filter. As follows:

APM 100 ED bino (f/5.5) – owned (one barrel capped)

1 – Daystar 100 x 130 ERF - $695

1 – Daystar Quark H-Alpha Chromosphere - $1295

1 – Tele Vue 40mm Plossl E.P. - $155

1 – Tele Vue 24mm Panoptic E.P. – owned

1 - Tele Vue Sol-Searcher Finderscope - $45

1 – Daystar Battery Pack, 5V 30Ah $105

 

So, I am looking at about $2500 for a 100mm 0.5 Angstrom H-Alpha telescope? Maybe a $4000 savings over a similarly spec’d dedicated 90mm H-Alpha scope?

 

Specs with the Quark and my APM 100 bino (using S&T online calculator):

f/23

0.7 TFOV

24mm Panoptic (68 AFOV) 96X, 1.0mm exit pupil

40mm Plossl (43 AFOV) 58X 1.7mm exit pupil

 

I respectfully ask this forum, is there anything inherently wrong with this setup for visual and outreach usage? Thanks.

Hi Roger,

 

While your approach to getting an idea of value for money relative to what you already have here makes sense, there's a few key elements that are not accounted for that were already mentioned above, but I'll reiterate so that you can really take a moment.

 

The FWHM of these filters is largely meaningless, the only assumption that can sort of be trusted is that the more narrow the bandpass, the more contrast there should be on the CWL, but it's just not always true and single stacks will always have photosphere leaking through reducing contrast (you will always see it in the form of a double limb even at 0.3A with a single etalon); it's important to simply look more at the transmission profile and the wings around the CWL as that's where all the work is being done to remove them from the system. A single stack 0.5A etalon compared to a 0.7A double stack etalon will be strikingly different visually and when imaging, the 0.5A rating has nothing to do with it, the key thing to focus on here is to ignore these two numbers at least at this stage of things and instead focus on there being 1 or 2 etalons as this is far more meaningful to what you will get as an end result without knowing any numbers (and those two numbers are entirely arbitrary in my example).

 

Again that number is largely just not meaningful, but it's easier for marketing and people to talk when there's a number and it has a linear relationship with some context. In this case, its mostly marketing (I say that loosely, it has meaning, but not much at the end user side of things). You may buy a filter that is rated for 0.5 or 0.7 A and then put it in a F20 telecentric light cone (referring to any of these mica spaced system from Daystar or Solar Spectrum) and not realize that the filters were rated based on their F50+ performance and not F20, F30, etc, and so they will perform poorly for that rated value in that context.

 

Uniformity and finesse are two major properties of these filter systems (etalons) that ultimately matter way more than the FWHM bandpass value. These are not going to be given to you. They are the things you find out about after the purchase and only after some experience. I'm going to go out on a limb and imagine you care a lot about quality and not just quantity and value. A Quark is a high value filter with pretty commonly low quality uniformity and finesse. A lot of people will claim their Quarks are great and that's fine, but almost all of them have poor uniformity and this is so much more important than a FWHM rating. There are a few cited Quarks out there that are referred to as being very good, but what's not talked about is how they were lucky and cherry picked, and that they are not the expectation of a Quark at all and like many entry class filter systems, they cycled through several of them to find one that was even remotely good. The end user experience is highly effected, it's the difference of seeing an entire in-band FOV of your subject compared to seeing a partial in-band FOV where one area or several areas are brighter with lower contrast than others and it has a patchy look for a dark to light gradient look. This is hallmark of low quality uniformity and if you care about quality this is the biggest quality property you would probably eventually come to focus on, after the initial honey moon period seeing h-alpha for the first time. This was not a cheeky statement nor a negative thing towards anyone if they felt targeted, this side of the filter system is just rarely talked about because there's absolutely no standard and there's no reports with practically any of the filters except research grade stuff to even begin to have any sort of basis for the discussion on this subject other than what essentially is experienced anecdotal user feedback and experience. But it's a profound thing in terms of quality. Many people think they have awesome filter systems because they're seeing h-alpha features, but then show an image and it's half on-band, huge gradients, patchy uniformity or straight up looks tilted, because most of them are poor uniformity. And uniformity is a difficult thing to achieve, you pay dearly to get close to having a high degree of uniformity and it's even more difficult and costly to have two etalons that are both equally uniform and have high finesse. It's largely a gamble at the entry price level that most people start at.

 

So this mainly comes down to your expectation for quality. If you want the highest value bang-for-buck single stack h-alpha experience with largest aperture potential that will work on gear you already have, you're already looking at the right things. But if you're more about high quality but still want to be conservative with value there are other things to consider. But instead of just throwing out products, it really should start with discussion as mentioned throughout this thread, because knowing what you're even buying is quite steep with these filter systems and none of the important information is actually shared by the distributor/seller on these crucial concepts (they're way too difficult to market for the cost). There's always gamble with these filter systems, again, because there's no standard at all on uniformity and the FWHM rating is largely meaningless. The most important two things you should focus on if you care about high quality results and experiences are uniformity of the filter system and the support for the filter system.

 

And then finally:

 

 

 

1 – Daystar 100 x 130 ERF - $695

1 – Daystar Battery Pack, 5V 30Ah $105

 

The Daystar ERF is not worth buying, it's also not needed at all here at 100mm. Daystar ERF are just colored glass, they're not optically flat and they don't even block much heat, they let through tons of IR. Think about what happens when you put a non-optically flat thick piece of colored glass in front of your high quality optics? The overall system will have the wavefront potential of whatever the worst component is. Also it absorbs heat, it's not dielectically coated, so you also have a hot piece of non-flat glass in front of your optics. Don't buy this Daystar ERF.

 

A simple dielectrically coated UV/IR cut filter or red imaging-class filter will handle all your ERF needs here for pennies.

 

Also, the battery pack is not special, you can get any lithium based battery pack with USB online for half this price or less and do the exact same thing. No special numbers to know. Just USB, a power bank for phones or tablets handle this.

 

As for eyepieces, keep them very simple. Plossls are good. Very wide AFOV eyepiece designs will not be ideal (usually). There's nothing to see beyond the limb in these filters systems other than some prominences, so you don't need wide FOV. Focus instead on highest contrast designs, simple optics. Also a 40mm plossl is ok, but I would suggest a 32mm instead for the typical reasons you'll find anywhere else with respect to the 1.25" barrel and its parameters.

 

Binoviewers are the #1 visual accessory to consider. Very much a game changer and a much more relaxed squint free experience. But, binos are less friendly to outreach so maybe single eyepiece for outreach use.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

You mentioned outreach and using what you have. Using a 550mm focal length with a Quark will not give you a full disc FOV with room to spare for prominences for an outreach visual setup, it will only show higher magnification partial disc FOV. I will say that your current scopes are fine for this use but I would suggest a different route. I would instead suggest a front mounted full aperture etalon (such as a Lunt 60, this can be double stacked later if you wish) with a mounting cap for one of your refractors, and a 12mm blocking filter where the diagonal would go. That will give you a very good more uniform disc image and can still take as much magnification as your seeing can handle and has no electronics to tune or operate it (unlike a Quark that needs electronics and takes minutes to tune between values and parts that fail over time; doing outreach you know how fussy this gets). The other refractor in your bino setup, I would put a 2" Herschel Wedge with a Continuum filter or similar so you have the two most common views of the chromosphere and photosphere side by side for visual study (or imaging). You'll get two equal disc image size discs in chromosphere (that can be double stacked for best contrast eventually if you want) and photosphere so you can see and study the primary visual structures and your guests can see both discs at the same time from one setup to learn more about what they're seeing and why.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 05 June 2023 - 12:47 PM.

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#11 eblanken

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Posted 06 June 2023 - 01:07 AM

Hi Marty (aka MalVeauX) Wise,

 

Thank you for weighing in on this thread from RogerF. As usual, your wisdom and insight are valuable for Roger and for me AND for others who find their way here to this thread. Roger, you should carefully read and re-read all that Marty has said here. This is experience and wisdom speaking.

 

Very Best Regards to All,

 

Ed (aka eblanken)




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