I received the mount 2 weeks ago on a large pallet. Unpacking everything I was able to transport each of the boxes without any trouble, even though the mount itself needs some care when lifting it to avoid back trouble. I set it all up in my workshop, workmanship looks - as expected - very good. I mounted my 110 mm William Refractor (Manfred himself uses the mount with a 13" Newtonian, so the William Refractor surely is no problem for the mount). I had the mount supplied with three counterweights, 5 kg each. Even one of those counterweights is too heavy for the William... So I have to find another weight in my shop and drill and tap a hole to use it with the MAM-20.
Today was a beautiful albeit cold sunny Sunday, so I took everything outside and connected the electronics. We had half Moon, a perfect test target. Connecting everything was simple, and the user control of the Koch control is straight forward (other than my Pulsar control for the large Cassegrain).
I tried to align the mount to the pole star. For that, Manfred has built an objective lens into the Right Ascension axis, and one has to put in a Meade 'astrometric eyepiece'. This has a fixed set of engravings, and the instruction book says where the pole star plus one other nearby star has to be for proper alignment. I realized that I don't see anything when directly looking through the polar alignment scope, so I use the main scope and the declination setting circle to point the refractor to the North. I use the finder scope to roughly polar-align the instrument. Now I find out that I have to move the Meade astrometric eyepiece outward slightly to be in focus - which I was actually expecting, makes a lot of sense to me.
However, then I give up. I don't have much time left (family calling ;-) and I wanted to see something other than the Moon. So - no detailed testing of the polar alignment or the GoTo capabilities of the Koch today. I manually move the scope to M57 using the motors. For some reason when moving towards the East in Right Ascension, the tracking wobbles a lot - possibly because I use a rather light-weight counterweight at the very edge of the counterweight rod. In all other directions the mount slews smoothly.
M57 is a delight - even though the half Moon is up in the sky, it's
surprisingly bright, it seems that the sky is very transparent tonight.
The contrast of the William keeps amazing me. Below I show some photographs
of the evening. The Moon image was taken by simply holding my digital snapshot
camera to the eyepiece (a 15 mm TS eyepiece). I took about 10 images, 3
of which turned out well. These are raw images, no stacking or any of the
In the afternoon - I set everything up in front of my telescope hut (site code B12) while it is still daylight.
A close-up view of the 110 mm William Refractor on the MAM-20 mount.
I did not get used to the angle finder, I will have to replace it with
a straight-through finder one of these days. Just a matter of what you're
used to... I find my objects while looking through the finder with both
eyes open, so I know where I am in the real sky.
The Moon is nicely visible - of course that's the first test target.
The Moon on 07 Dec 2008, around 17h UT. This is a raw image as taken with my little digital snapshot camera.
While the image on the left was taken with a 15 mm eyepiece, this one is taken with an 8 mm eyepiece. It was more difficult to find the exit pupil, but after 5 images I caught this one. It nicely shows the straight wall and all the little craters in Clavius.