The 'Stellar Artois'

Or: Using a Meade ETX125 and Autostar with an Arrow Antenna for Automatic Satellite Tracking. Oh, and three or four cans of beer.

Some Pictures of the beast in my kitchen - click to enlarge.

This is _not_ my idea. Doug WA7IGV is the instigator. He came up with it in June 2000 whilst we discussed other serious issues over a pint in a pub in Kensington, London. Blame him for this, apart from the counter weight solution which I proudly admit was all my idea!

Using string and reusable cable ties, the Arrow Antenna is strapped to the ETX. A counter weight of three or four cans of beer is attached to the hand piece of a separable boom of a spare Arrow Antenna.

I used four rather than three Stella Artois 440ml cans in the 'final' version. An alternative is to use a six pack and drink two of the cans prior to installation. For our Aussie friends, you can purchase a slab of beer and invite your mates round to help you dispose of the 20 spares.

Getting the counter balance right (assuming you can still stand up) is essential as the plastic gears in the ETX will grind their teeth without it.

Can't comment on whether the ETX-90 will work with this setup.

Disclaimer: You're on your own if you bust your telescope performing this mod.

The Autostar attachment supports satellite tracking, as well as the moon, stars, planets etc. Upload your 2 line keps to the Autostar from your PC using the Autostar Update program. Select the Sat to track and away you go.
The unit doesn't have to be connected to a PC to track. The PC's only there when you upload the keps.
So, the idea is to get a list of sat AOS times from Nova, take the telescope, radio, tripod, battery, antenna and kitchen sink and you're all set to run portable.

Mail Howard, G6LVB