AP1600 Down


W Hilmo
 

I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade


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