Last updated: 28 January 2004
Subject: some questions about ETX 70 Date: 1/28/04, 13:53 From: David Boynton (email@example.com) I have had my ETX 70 for a while, and decided to go inside to repair some problems. I want to thank you and all of the others who had guides on how to do this. I accomplished my goal, but there are still some problems, ones which i cannot fix, and i think that the solutions would help many ETX 70 users. The first problem that i have identified is that in the base, the main gear, a large plastic thing, bends when the telescope changes direction. I know that autostar compensates for it, but it is still rather annoying. The other problem that has come up is that the left clamp, the one that is not knurled, and which the setting circle is on, will not come off. I actually screwed it off before, and put back on, taking notice to a small rubber band like object that broke of when taken off, but now the clamp will not turn, at all. not will grips and i will not use pliers and ruin the scope. I am in need for this to come off, because if i do not use autostar, and move manually, the telescope jerks and i can not move altitude with any accuracy. You don't have to post this one, but i will not mind if you do. I did not see any parts of your site addressing this. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, David Boynton Orlando, FLMike here: Got me stumped as to why the knob won't turn. Have you tried rubber gloves or a rubber "jar lid opener"?
Thanks for such a quick reply (really, that was fast). I have tried rubber jar openers, in fact thats all i have used. And it still doesn't budge. I'm thinking about possibly freezing it, or somehow getting oil to the screw. However, these methods have their problems. If i freeze it, it could become brittle, and the force of trying to open it could crack it. And if i oil it, and still does not budge, then oil could be on a clamp or something else (is there one on that side?). Once again thanks for such a quick reply. Maybe someone else has had the same problem and fixed it.
Subject: buying a new ETX-70AT Date: 1/27/04, 05:32 From: Daniel james (firstname.lastname@example.org) I would be really greatfull if could give any advice on buying a new ETX-70AT and also should i buy a barlows lens and fillters etc etc. I have done a little homewok about it but i am a total beginer so any info would be great. Many thanks daniel ukMike here: Before buying ANY telescope you should research whether it will meet your expectations as well as your budget. Read through the User Observations for some actual reports. Remember, that the ETX-70 is a short focal length refractor with a limited aperture so magnifications will be limited. As to accessories, yes a Barlow Lens is a good accessory, especially if your purchase doesn't qualify for Meade's $99 Eyepiece Deal (and the ETX-70 does not). A Moon filter is also handy. If you want to view the Sun, a quality solar filter is a must.
Subject: etx70 control Date: 1/25/04, 22:21 From: "Frank V. Acuff" (email@example.com) I am unsure about this. Is it possible to control my etx70 with my laptop? If so what hardware and software additions are needed to accomplish this task? By the way, you have a very informative site. I appreciated it. Frank AcuffMike here: First off you need to purchase a Meade #506 cable for use with the #494 Autostar. Then you need to use one of the several applications that are available to control the Autostar. See the Accessory Reviews - Software page for some and the links on the Astronomy Links page for some others. Some are free, some are shareware, and some are commercial products. If you get a #497 Autostar you can also use the Autostar Suite from Meade, which includes the Lunar Planetary Imager. It comes with the necessary #505 cable.
Subject: motor problem? Date: 1/25/04, 02:50 From: Philippe Gautier (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently bought a second hand ETX60 as a first telescope and overall I'm really happy with it so far. I've got a Scopetronix adapter for my Coolpix990 and I've made reasonably good pictures so far (see www.gogo.me.uk/astro/index.htm). However, since the start, I noticed a problem with the "left/right" movement (is it azimuthal?). Whenever I try to move to the right, very often, nothing happens, then the scope "jump" at once much further than I was hoping for. It was not too much of a problem until I started trying high magnification photography: when it happens, I loose completely my object and have to start again. I was wondering if it would be worth trying to open the scope and see if there is an obvious defect there? I have to say I have no experience doing that and I don't want to ruin my scope doing that. On the other hand, since I haven't paid very much for it, I'm afraid that a Meade repair would cost more than the buying price! Many thanks for any comments/ideas. PhilippeMike here: There are a couple of things you can try without "major surgery". Unlock the azimuth (horizontal) axis and rotate the telescope several revolutions in both directions. This redistributes the lubrication and many times cures this problem. If that doesn't work, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES from the Autostar Setup->Telescope menu.
I've tried the manual rotation, calibrate and train drivers (twice for each driver), but no change at all, unfortunately. In fact, I also noticed that sometimes, when I want to go left, I have also some up/down movements...Well, if you want to try some major surgery, see the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: upgrade Date: 1/23/04, 05:34 From: Signal20FHP@aol.com You re so right Mike I guess I will get my feet wet with this model and will know what to expect the nexttime I purchase a scope But thank to your website it has provided a lot of great information being a Ham operator for over 40 years I have learned lots of the ins and outs of radios and have gotten a lot of enjoyment at the same time Keep up the good work Mike and I will stay in touch 73,s george in Miami
Subject: Telescope Eyepieces question Date: 1/21/04, 17:55 From: Jason Stromback (email@example.com) I currently have a ETX-70AT, and i happen to get a great deal on the meade $99 special. And i bought a Celestron Ultima barlow, because i read a lot of good things about it. I had a lot of recommendations for it. Anyways, i tried comparing to the MA eyepieces I got with the scope, and the meade #124 or was it #126, (the one recommeneded for the ETX-70). The problem is, either i am still inexperienced (I have had my ETX for a couple of months now, and that was my first telescope) and can't tell the difference between the 2 sets of eyepieces or else, or else maybe the ETX70 is a small scope, and wont show that big of a change between the two. I even put the 9mm MA eyepiece with the meade barlow, and then compared the 9.7 sp 4000 with the celestron ultima barlow. I still dont see any difference. Maybe I am expecting to much? How much better view should i expect?Mike here: Two and maybe more factors are likely at work here. The small aperture and focal length of the ETX-70, and your inexperience (it takes a LOT of experience to detect visual differences in some eyepieces). Other factors could include optical cleanliness, seeing conditions at the time of the comparisons, and object(s) used. However, under normal circumstances, since you have the complete $99 eyepiece set, you probably should not use the Barlow Lens; adding the extra glass deteriorates the image somewhat over what an eyepiece of the same effective focal length would do.
Thanks for the tips. I'll remember that. I did however buy the barlow for basically the future. And for the extra eye relief. I am also at a point in my life when im gonna be broke. LOL im getting married, I already have a mortgage and probably kids in like 2 years, so i am gonna take advantage while i have the money. Ill be able to get 1 more telescope. I haven't decided which one for sure yet, but the ETX-125 is a possibility (i have to get it before I have kids or I wont have one period!) I am also considering a 8 or 10" dob. I am gonna think it over real hard though, before i make my purchase. By the way, thanks again for the tips.
Subject: Celestron Accessory Kit 94303 UK Date: 1/20/04, 02:48 From: Malcolm Martland (firstname.lastname@example.org) Many thanks to Dave Wilson for the information on UK imports, I'll look into www.optcorp.com. Someone else also recommended www.bhphotovideo.com that has the item for $129.95 but the shipping costs are a little higher at $57.50. Plus UK import tax begins to get more expensive but it still looks a very good price. I'll keep you informed how I get on. Malcolm Also Sun Warning Mike, many thanks for your advice on the fast scrolling. Problem sorted! Bets wishes, Malcolm -- Dr. Malcolm F. Martland, St. Marys, Isles of Scilly, TR21 0YD, U.K. email@example.com
Subject: Astrophoto telescope question for you Date: 1/19/04, 05:16 From: Dylan Banarse (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was looking at your page of astrophotos. You've got some excellent photos. I'm particularly interested in finding out what telescope you were using for the photos on the page http://www.weasner.com/etx/planets97.html. I'm currently trying to find out what sort of quality astrophotos a beginner could expect using an ETX-70AT with either a CCD webcam attachment to the telescope or a digital camera pointed down the eye piece (like the set up demonstrated here: homepage.ntlworld.com/dylankatey/telescope.html). There seem to be few photos on the web taken through the ETX-70AT. I suspect because it does not have the performance required. Thanks for any help, DylanMike here: Back in 1997, the Site was strictly a Meade ETX-90 Site so those were taken with my original ETX (now known as an ETX-90RA). You can find examples of ETX-70 astrophotography on the Guest Astrophotography galleries.
Subject: Celestron Accessory Kit 94303 UK Date: 1/19/04, 05:12 From: David Wilson (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org With reference to the message posted by Malcolm Martland (1/8/04). The Celestron Accessory Kit 94303 can be bought and shipped to the UK by www.optcorp.com . They quoted me $50.50 shipping to Glasgow on top of their unit price of $150. (total £114.32 ish) The shipping price does not include the relevant import taxes which I think will add a further £20 -30. Contact Optcorp by email prior to ordering and they will give you an individual shipping quote. Hope this helps. David Wilson (ETX70 newbie)
Subject: ETX 60AT Viewing Question Date: 1/17/04, 17:47 From: M H Wilson (email@example.com) I am very pleased with my ETX 60AT; luckily, I haven't experienced some of the problems I've heard about. But my question deals with what you can actually see with the ETX 60AT. I viewed Mars when it was close and was able to see the snow caps and a little surface features. The orion nebula looks fantastic, I can see the whispy effect of the nebula around the stars. It's awesome. But now, I am concemtrating on Saturn. I can see the rings fine, and the planet itself is white, but I see nothing else. Will the ETX 60AT show any more detail than that? I don't expect to see alot, but I would like to at least see a little more planet detail. Now, the last few nights I've been out have not been the most pristine nights, that may be the problem. I have not had the chance to few Jupiter yet. Will I be able to see at least a few cloud bands on Jupiter? Thank you.Mike here: If you have the 25mm and 9mm eyepieces, you can just make out cloud bands on Jupiter. You might want to read through the Helpful Information - User Observations articles.
Subject: tripod stability Date: 1/16/04, 05:31 From: Signal20FHP@aol.com I noticed in your review of the 70etx that there was no tripod spreader I also found that to be of concern but if you move the tray up the leg as far as it will go and it still lets you remove it you will reduce the problem of the the tripod legs folding in. george in Miami Fl
Subject: EXT 70at Motor Problems -Everything is A-Okay Date: 1/14/04, 13:59 From: Roy Claverie (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was the one who had the possessed etx-70at back in October 2003. I finally got a telescope back. It looks like they gave me another one they had repaired. I believe this is the case because my new telescope is more of a black-blue color than the old one which was navy-bright blue. They did send me all my original eye pieces and other stuff I sent back to them with the telescope. However without the Discovery Store store manager intervention with Meade I would not have been able to get the return authorization to get them to pick up the tab for shipping it there and back. Even though my telescope was only a month old. Also Meade says it's a 3 week turn around for repairs but you have to add a week for shipping it there and back. My turn around door to door was 5 weeks. I just thought I would let you know what happened. Thanks for responding to my initial emails. Roy Roy E. Claverie, Jr. CPA Director of Client Services The Dominican Campus - Aquinas College St. Cecilia Academy Overbrook School
Subject: T Mount Date: 1/14/04, 10:30 From: Signal20FHP@aol.com I laso bought the 64T mount and thought I Had the wrong Item because the one for the 70ext is shorter I found that you can take part of the mount apart and it the become the shorter 64st it looks to be the right size also am using a minolta camera I think this will wor I need the pin out for the cable for the70ext to be run from my computer George in Miami FlMike here: Regarding the cable, see the "How do I a make a #506 cable for the Autostar #494?" item on the FAQ page.
Subject: RE: Focus Meade etx60at Date: 1/9/04, 01:03 From: Adrian Appleyard (email@example.com) Thank you for the quick response It looks like I will have to send it away, I cant even get the focus knob to move, the only way I can do this is with a pair of grips. Regards, Adrian
Subject: Autostar #494 Sun Warning. Date: 1/8/04, 07:20 From: Malcolm Martland (firstname.lastname@example.org) My original ETX-70AT was faulty and the dealer replaced just the telescope unit but not the Autostar #494 controller. Now all works fine but the scrolling messages (sun warning etc.) scroll too quickly to read. Easy alignment works well and therefore I am reluctant to mess about too much. Should I worry? Any ideas would be appreciated. Best wishes, Malcolm -- Dr. Malcolm F. Martland, St. Marys, Isles of Scilly, U.K.Mike here: See the FAQ page for text scrolling fix (simple). You might want to do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES with the new telescope.
Subject: Celestron Accessory Kit 94303 and ETX-70 compatibility Date: 1/8/04, 07:11 From: Malcolm Martland (email@example.com) The Celestron Eyepiece/Barlow/Filter Accessory Kit 94303 and ETX-60 compatibility was discussed last month. I assume there would also be compatability with the ETX-70? Does anyone know how to obtain this in the UK without buying a Celestron Telescope? I have not yet found a US supplier that will ship this to the UK. Best wishes for 2004, Malcolm -- Dr. Malcolm F. Martland, St. Marys, Isles of Scilly, U.K.Mike here: Yes, they will work with the ETX-70.
Subject: Focus Meade etx60at Date: 1/8/04, 03:55 From: Adrian Appleyard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Am having a problem with the focus knob on my meade etx60. I Baught this from someone and everything is working as far as I can see, However the focus knob doesnt seem to move. Have baught one of them extension cable focus knobs in the hope that this would aid in the use of the focusing, however still no joy. Does this mean that the focus is broken, and if so can I get it fixed. Regards, AdrianMike here: When you turn the focus knob, it should rotate the focus shaft, which in turn move the objective lens cell forward or backward along the length of the telescope tube. If the shaft is turning but the lens cell is not moving then the shaft has become disconnected. Unfortunately, this repair really needs to be done by Meade.
Subject: question about mirror alignment Date: 1/5/04, 08:10 From: David Belanger (email@example.com) I have an ETX70 that I bought used a year or so ago and haven't used much since. While the "go-to" feature always works perfectly, I do not have the image quality that everyone seems to rave about on these scopes. Even at low magnification, everything is still slightly blurry and the edge of image abberation is horrible. Even daytime viewing is bad, unless the object is less than 50 ft away. What I have noticed is if I look into the eyepiece holder with a small flashlight, with the objective lense cap on, the dot in the middle of the cap is WAY off center. Would this suggest a mirror alignment problem? I can center the dot by lifting the mirror slightly. How much would this degrade the image? How do you re-align the mirror? My $49 60mm refractor beats my ETX hands down for image quality. Anything you could suggest would be much appreciated. Thanks -Dave Lincoln, VTMike here: See the message from Carl Daniels on the December 2003 ETX-60, ETX-70 Feedback page (in the Feedback Archives). It sounds like you may have the same problem. There are two "flip mirror" articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page that might help.
Subject: ETX-70AT feedback: 12V adaptor Date: 1/5/04, 06:28 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org be CAREFULL with a 12V adapter; the ETX-60/70AT runs with 6*1.5V=9V. 12V, especially with unstabilized power supplies, MAY be too much. 8*1.5V=12V is used in the ETX-90/105/125 series of telescopes. Dieter Wolf (Munich, Germany)
Subject: re: 70-AT scope Date: 1/4/04, 22:20 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org The "check stars" message happens after an alignment procedure -fails-. The Autostar thinks that you centered on the wrong star(s). It gets that idea by measuring the distance between the two [enter] points based upon its encoder feedback. Many things can cause this: failure to CALIBRATE (causes bad encoder readings), slipping gears or clamps, actually centering the wrong stars (ask me WHY i know this message oh, so well...) good luck --dickAnd more:
> If the gears were to be slipping(Im not saying the > ones on mine are), How would you correct that? (a) call Meade (b) it depends upon which gear: main motor drive pinion?? i donno.. maybe epoxy pinion on worm shaft? i think there's a set-screw. all other gears are free-wheeling, but may have damaged teeth. (see (a)). I've never disassembled an ETX70, so i cannot speak from direct experience on that model. good luck --dick
Subject: Re: etx 70 Date: 1/4/04, 18:06 From: "jay.richard" (email@example.com) I'm having a bunch of trouble geting the etx70 to calibarate. I'll try it and get one star, not the other. Then try again from the same starting point and the scope will go some place way different, but trying to calibrate to the same first star. Can cold weather impact the scope/motor?Mike here: It sounds like you mean "align" and not "calibrate". Those are two different things to the Autostar. Please describe the steps you are taking to do the alignment. Cold weather likely won't affect the motor but it will affect the efficiency of the batteries. It can also affect the lubrication, which can "stiffen up" at low temps.
Subject: etx 70 adaptor question Date: 1/4/04, 11:10 From: "jay.richard" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've read where a 12V adaptor will run my scope. What is the correct milliamps ( mA) ? I have an adaptor and want to make sure I won't damage the scope. JayMike here: The Meade one is 1000mA.
Subject: observing nebulas with ETX-70. Date: 1/4/04, 00:07 From: Hisham Al-Dhukair (email@example.com) I have an ETX-70 telescope and I observed orion nebula with it.. but it shows no color and it is hard to find (i can't see the nebula very well...) so what can I do? is there a filter i cloud use for obseving nebulas and planets? thank you very much.... Regards, Hisham al-ThukairMike here: Most deep sky objects will not show color, especially in smaller telescopes. All you can expect to see is a faint greenish color in some. There are filters that can you see a faint nebula (depending upon light pollution in your area) and there are filters that can help bring out details on the planets. See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for more info.
Subject: auto star etx 70 set up ??? Date: 1/3/04, 19:52 From: walt peifer (firstname.lastname@example.org) My etx 70 is new out of the box. I have followed the manual faithfully several times. I used the web got the exact deviation for my area. Im using the tripod sold with the etx kit (Ritz camera, Dillards other large chain stores).My experience to date has been disappointing. Tonight I had the best luck so far but still have a problem. After set up I skipped past the usual alignment procedures and used the object/solarsytem/moon then hit GOTO the scope travels directly to the correct east/west (az?) setting then rotates upwards (al?) then stops and beeps the scope seems to be off about 25 degrees or so in this orientation. I correct using the up arrow on the controller, the object eventually appears exactly where it is supposed to be, no need to track left or right. Goto/object/solarstem/mars enter then goto same scenario. When scrolling through the various menus on the auto star controller I believe I saw a reference to alt as 26.5 is this a preset due to my location and could it be the problem. Any help would be appreciated Walt Saint Petersburg FLMike here: > After set up I skipped past the usual alignment procedures
Sorry mike I should have read more of the post before I sent the first email. Ive seen several references to stops on the travel of the scope(s). My scope doesnt seem to have them, the scope will slew continuously in a circle several times (let go of button after second revolution). The Declination(?) read out on the side of the fork is set to zero when the tube and tripod is level. But the numbers seem to have no reference to the output on the display of the controller i.e. (then moon is at 36.5 degrees on the controller but the dec circle says 55). Here's the specs on the scope hope it help solve my problem. Model etx-70at Tripod is Meade 882 Auto star is #494 Copyright on box and manual is 2003 so I assume this is a fairly new unit.Mike here: The ETX-70 does not have hard stops. The display you are seeing may be displaying Declination instead of Altitude.
I'm sorry for the stupid (my term) problem. The meade manual is unclear on this point, so I assumed. The set up asks for daylight savings, yes/no, because I live in an area that uses this stupid convention I answered yes. However daylight savings is not in effect during January (duh) did one last set up answering no , guess what ? tracking fine.Mike here: Glad you solved it. I also dislike the time change. I wish the USA would drop it.
Subject: Recommendation for a finderscope for ETX 70 ? Date: 1/2/04, 13:19 From: Raphael Moore (email@example.com) What finderscope would you recommend for a new ETX 70 ? I've looked at the reviews on the site, but can't figure out what would be best for the ETX 70. With thanks, Raphael (a brand new ETX user)Mike here: There are a couple of good options: one the red-dot 1X finderscopes (like the Scopetronix LightSight) or the Meade #827 8x25 right angle finderscope.
Thanks ! I guess all those posts are really right about how quickly you reply ! Thanks, and I'm sure I'll have more questions in time... Raphael
Subject: T-adapter problems Date: 1/1/04, 14:29 From: "W.P.Beckman" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was given a ETX 70 for christmas. I purchased the #64 T adapter and a T-mount adapter for my Minolta camera. Today I mounted the whole works to see how it works. No luck. I could not focus on anything farther away than about 20 feet. So what am I doing wrong?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, BillMike here: Since you have the #64 T-Adapter you have the wrong one. Exchange it for the #64ST adapter (designed for the ETX-70AT). HOWEVER, it is possible that the camera still won't focus; I can't speak about the Minolta but some cameras may have their focal plane too far away from where it needs to be to reach a focus.
Thanks for the feedback. I will exchange the adapter. I think the camera will focus as I was able to get a small area in focus, but only about 15 feet away. Looking forward to trying this kind of photography. Bill
Subject: 70-AT scope Date: 1/1/04, 13:31 From: "Charles, Charles Nixon, Nixon" (email@example.com) Close, but no cake. I took it out to see Saturn, I tried a GOTO to Rigel, and it came up to between Rigel and Saiph. Its closer than before, though. Ill try a couple more train drives. Ill let you know what happens. CJMike here: Are you using a compass for the North pointing in the HOME position, or are you using Polaris to indicate True North? Also, you might want to read through the Alignment Tips on the Autostar Information page.
I am using Polaris. When it says "check stars", does it mean to move the scope to where the star is, or check the information on the star contained in the autostar?Mike here: After you position the telescope in the Alt/Az HOME position (using Polaris to indicate where on the horizon True North is located), you then do the Easy Two Star alignment. The ETX then slews to the first alignment star, beeps, and asks you to center it. Using the handcontroller slew the telescope to place this star in the 25mm eyepiece and press ENTER when done. The telescope then slews to the next star, beeps, and asks you to center that star. Press ENTER when done. When are you getting the "check stars" message?
The "check stars" comes up right after it finishes slewing. Does it come up shor like that on purpose for you to center it??Mike here: Until the alignment process is complete, yes, you need to center the alignment stars. Once you've done that the Autostar should show "Alignment Successful".
Ok, Ill try it next clear night. Thanks.
Subject: re: Meade ETX 60-AT Date: 1/1/04, 12:09 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Oh, where to start? Mike covered the City item. I also have to ask that you check that your Telescope Model is correct, and that you do a Setup > Telescope > Calibrate [enter] (perhaps even a full RESET). When it's sitting pointing north, after setting time/date but before aligning, press [mode] for 3 seconds. Release. That's the status display. Scroll down to Alt/Az readout. Point the scope at a landmark. Note the Az readout. Now slew the base in a full circle... all the way around, 360 degrees. Question: Did the Az readout reflect that 360 degrees? (i.e. return to fairly close to where you started) If it went -more- than 360 degrees, you have slipping gears. If it went -less- than 360 degrees (350 is common) you have a dirty encoder disk. You can do a similar test in Altitude using a bubble level. Start with the barrel level, then slew up to 90 degrees. Check the Alt portion of the Alt/Az readout. If that test yields 360 degrees, let's look at the Vega slew... "horribly wrong" does not tell me -where- it went, only that it didn't go to Vega. Please quantify "horribly wrong". Such as: Vega was about 30 degrees above the western horizon, the scope pointed 60 degrees up in the southeast. (a clenched fist's width at arm's length is about ten degrees) Test and report... good luck --dick
Subject: viewing saturn through my ETX70 Date: 1/1/04, 08:46 From: Xxxluckystarsxxx@cs.com i just got my ETX-70AT telescope for christmas with autostar 494, and ive been out every night trying to align it, but it wont work, so i tried viewing Saturn manually last night, i went to my grandmas house (she lives in the country away from lights).. and i tried to view Saturn.. all i could see was a gray circle, but it wasn't a full circle. it was a little cut off at the bottom, as if rings were there, but i couldnt see the rings. i haven't had the chance to buy any new lenses so all i have are the ones that came with it - 9mm and 25mm.. can you see Saturn's rings with these lenses?? ahh help me!! ~katieMike here: Yes, you can see Saturn and its Rings. I suspect you are making a common new user mistake in using the focus knob to make the image as large as possible. Turn the focus know to make the image "as small as possible", which will bring the planet into focus. It will be small but you should definitely be able to see the Rings, especially with the 9mm eyepiece. As to aligning, see the various alignment tips on the Autostar Information page.
thanks so much
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