Last updated: 10 April 2003
Subject:	love my new 105
Sent:	Thursday, April 10, 2003 13:51:57
From: (C. Nolan Huizenga)
Thanks for providing a tremendous set of resources for ETX users! Here's
a short report of my initial experiences with an ETX-105 with UHTC.

I briefly owned an ETX-90 earlier this year, then returned it in favor
of an ETX-105/UHTC when Meade announced their bundle offer. After
waiting two months(!) for my scope to arrive, I finally got to try it
out last night. First impression? The 105 is mechanically sound and
optically excellent.

Mechanically it feels far more substantial than the ETX-90. Both axes
have less play than my 90 did, the clutches work smoothly, the motors
show little backlash, and like other users have reported, the 105 is
truly silent when tracking an object. Focus was a little stiff at first,
but after following your recommendation to work focus travel all the way
in and out a few times, it's a lot smoother now. Image shift during
focusing is minor and not disturbing. I also installed a flexible focus
cable, which lessens but doesn't eliminate vibration during focusing.

I took the scope up to the roof of my Portland apartment building, then
waited for a few large windows in last night's high broken cloud cover.
The bundled 884 tripod feels solid and damps vibrations quickly, but I
don't like futzing with all the little parts to attach the leg
spreader/eyepiece holder. It makes deploying and collapsing the tripod
much more of a pain than it needs to be. And the imprecision of its
equatorial tilt mechanism leaves a lot to be desired. I set it at
(around) 45 degrees and polar aligned the scope on the first try, much
to my surprise.

Even between the clouds, seeing conditions were pretty lousy, and of
course there's the constant big city light pollution. So I was even more
impressed with what I could see through the 105! Autostar worked
perfectly (yes, I trained the motors first) for all objects. I have the
SP eyepiece set but just stuck with the 26mm for this testing. First the
Moon: razor-sharp definition of features along the terminator, and even
the flatly illuminated areas away from the terminator showed a lot of
contrast. Can't wait to try the Moon with higher power eyepieces. Next
Jupiter: even through the atmospheric haze I could see a sharp disc, two
red bands, and four moons including Io right next to Jupiter. Saturn was
behind clouds much of the time, but I did get a glimpse of its rings. I
used Castor and Betelgeuse for star tests, which showed the scope is
apparently in perfect collimation. And Mizar's double was cleanly split.
There were no deep sky objects visible because of the haze. So for a
kick I slewed the 105 halfway across the sky, centered it on a star, and
asked Autostar to Identify. Took several seconds of thinking, but it
correctly identified Arcturus. Nice feature!

Now I can't wait to get out on a truly clear night, and especially to
take the 105 to a dark sky site. Already I can tell that this little
machine should provide many nights of excellent observing.



C. Nolan Huizenga

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