My mount talks<g>

Jeffrey D. Gortatowsky

(Some of you will have seen this already on a different egroup. Hit delete

I've been playing with Digital Sky Voice which came with the 400GTO. Very
very high coolness factor. I do not know I'd use all the time at the
telescope yet. I of course will try it at least once<g>. I am not sure that
I or the people around me (if any) would appreciate it. It's surprisingly
good at recognizing 90% or so of the phrases it understands. But boy is it
recalcitrant on the other 10%. I say 'constellation VULPECULA' it in insists
I said "constellation VELA" and nothing I do will convince it otherwise. <g>
(Yes I know I need a better mic, but the desktop one I am using until I get
a better one is doing pretty well as is.) I have only made it through the
beginning of manual. The program itself is pretty intuitive. More so than
the GTO keypad for me. But when it comes to keypads I am "LX200
impaired."<g> So it may be just me.

I packed the entire mount, sans the large wooden tripod which came with it's
own bag, into a Pelican 1650 case. My goodness is that case now heavy! I
think I'll take the counterweights (2.7kg and 4kg) back out of the case and
place them in their own separate gym bag and leave them in the truck
permanently. Ditto with the two G11 counterweights. One less thing to
transport from the living room to the truck when packing and unpacking.
(Someday they have their own 'astroroom'<g>). My goal is to get every piece
of astro whatnot into a pelican case so as to have everything other than
tripods, in a hard shell case when using the EDT. Or in the case of the dob,
down to two cases. One with only eyepieces and one with knobs, flashlights,
1x finder, and DSCs. Right now I am using two soft-sided bags, two satchels,
various small cases, etc. It's no fun loading and unloading.

Actually for the price of a 400GTO it really ought come with case(s) IMO. At
least for the head. That's about my only complaint so far. And a minor gripe
at that. The fit and finish is typical Astro Physics. That is to say,
excellent. I have not been able to test the function of the mount yet other
than to confirm (in the living room<g>) the electronics are not DOA. The
keypad is really quite large with it's rubber protector on. More so than the
LX200 I just sold. The functionality seems fine but I have to try it under
real conditions before I can make any real judgments. The menus seem ok.
Again I am used to the LX200. At first I was surprised that everything is
selected by numbers rather than the LX200's way of pressing the same key to
cycle through choices. But that's just a 'getting used to it' issue. Reading
the manual the use of the <prev, next>, and Menu keys seem inconsistant. But
again that's an impression. Once I start using it regularly I'll see if I
still think that.

In any case, it all seems fine for the moment and I should easily have 4
clear nights over this holiday weekend in the U.S. with which to play!

Clear skies,

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