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Posts Made By: Mark Jordan

December 6, 2011 02:16 AM Forum: Mounts

Is anyone using the Vixen GPD2

Posted By Mark Jordan

Hello Nicholas,

Yes I have a Vixen GPD2 mount, purchased new. I managed to catch mine on sale for $750.00 head only no drives or tripod a few years ago. I had some initial problems with what turned out to be an assembly error from the factory. After some "misunderstanding" evolved out of an initial phone conversation with Mike Fowler I managed to correct the problem with a little bit of minor machining, milling on some damaged threads & shaft of the R.A. Axis shaft.

The mount has performed well indeed since that time, & is really at this point overloaded as I have it setup. I performed a "roboscope" conversion of the mount to as Autostar 497 drive system from my LXD75. The PE on the mount remains at around 12" to 15" peak to peak uncorrected, guided has never been measured as the performance is really quite good for DSLR work through either a F4.95 8" Newtonian or through the Meade 5000 F6 80mm.

The mount itself gets an A- from me for its' performance & the U.S. distributor gets a D- for the handling of the problem. Part my fault for misunderstanding what I was told via phone line & part theirs for not backing what Mike told me during that conversation & Mike's delayed & rather smartalic responses to my email communications.

For your application the mount should perform very well, however, I totally agree with Rod here. For the money a GPD2 would now cost you you would be better of with the Losmandy G8. Far better upgrade-ability & support as well the the price difference between the 2 is negligible last time I looked at such a thing. The Vixen to me is an ECONOMY GEM at the top of the heap, but in the same class as the CG-5, LXD75, Skyview Pro yada, yada, yada. Same design, same design flaws & draw backs. The Losmandy is in a better class of mounts IMHO! A better choice of upgrades available to make the mount step up to the performance levels of mounts costing much more. Losmandy will also retain a better resale value when and if you decide to move up in size of class.

From a voice of experience with the GPD2, I'd go for the Losmandy if I had it all to do over again.

Mark Jordan

December 29, 2011 02:59 AM Forum: Guns and Hunting Optics

Semi or Revolver for Concealed Carry?

Posted By Mark Jordan

Hi Lee,

I picked up a Ruger LCP .380 ACP, it's an amazingly small yet potent little side arm. I have had the opportunity to fire a number of different side arms over the years, .45 acp, .40. 10mm, .357, .38 spl, 9mm, in other words a bunch of different calibers & ballistic characteristics. In a word when I had the opportunity to take my new LCP to the range I was 'impressed'! @ 10M single hand controlled aim & shoot - a 3" group with ease. Same distance rapid fire the grouping was still with in 8". 20M was pretty close to the same, not much point in going out any further as the LCP is not really a choice for longer distance defensive fire.

Light weight, fits pretty much concealed in the palm of my hand, drops in my back pocket like a wallet, jacket pocket hardly noticeable. I carry 1 in the chamber with the 6 shot magazine, total of 7. Long double action trigger pull on the first shot, concealed hammer, no safety.... pretty much the same as most DA revolvers. Over all out of different side arms I have carried over the years the LCP is the most comfortable & easy to access. As far as ballistics is concerned for an immediate close range life or death type encounter it will get the job done. In this day and age your not very likely to need much more to ward off an attacker or assailant. Most criminals are on the look out for someone present a weak or frightened persona when they approach, or attack. Getting hot lead thrown in their direction hit or miss will cause a reaction of immediate retreat & flee. Criminals are looking for defenseless soft targets, not armed hard targets. If the first shots don't send them retreating hit or not you'd better make the follow up shots 1 hit lethal shots because the assailant is high, crazy, or both and extremely dangerous. At close range the .380 ACP round will get the job done about as well as a 9mm. For one shot stopping power both rounds are lacking without precision accuracy.

Actually had an encounter with 2 thugs this past summer while getting ready to mow an abandon commercial property in the city. The usual approach running the mouth about can you spare me some cash, I need a job man, hey just give us some money @&^%$#! All the while trying to close distance after I stood my ground & clearly stated back off. Didn't go for the side arm, I have an extendable stun baton (out to 24" with 750,000 volts) under in easy reach. Use if for the occasional aggressive stray that seem to think I'm a chew toy............ worked real good on thugs too! Dropped him like a sack of wet cement, the other one turned & quickly ran away.

Lee, if you decide to get a permit & carry make yourself very familiar with the operations of your side arm, know the laws & never feel over confidence because you are carrying. You need to still use some situational awareness and posture to keep yourself from being in a situation in the first place. Learn your weapon & proper defensive posture so you are less like to ever have to use it. Never plan on just brandishing it to detour a thug, if you feel the necessity to present it, then plan on using it. Good luck in your choice & be safe!



March 31, 2012 01:30 AM Forum: Reflectors

Collimation issue:

Posted By Mark Jordan

Thanks all for the suggestions. Problem was solved with a complete recheck of the moolite focuser in relation to collimation to the secondary. The focuser was slightly off center to the side of the secondary. I caught this after rechecking the focuser against the mark on the opposite side of the tube after re-marking the spot directly across from the center of the focuser tube. the original mark was placed based on the old original focuer which must have mounted into the hole slightly off ctnr. At any rate after re-marking the tube, collimating the focuser to the mark, putting the secondary back in place with a small ctr. mark as well the problem was solved. I used the Cheshire eye for all of the collimation procedures then after making sure the Orion lasermate was true found evrything to be as it should be. Red dot center of the donut, reflecter laser center back through the lasermate laser opening.

Now with the busy season of my PT summer business coming into full swing all I have to do is find some time to use everything!

April 20, 2012 03:10 PM Forum: Politics

Obama vs. Romney on Dogs

Posted By Mark Jordan

EEEEEEE Gadddsssss!!!! :S Yet another political smoke grenade! Can we please just stick to the real issues at hand? Oh never mind reality just isn't near as much fun nor does it sell much news! So long ago, so irrelevant, yet so able to distract the distractable public from the real issues at hand.

When the real issues get tough & your on the spot find some silly, stupid non-relivent issue to throw a political smoke grenade in the middle of the crowd to quickly distract & disperse them from putting your canidate in a bad spot! There now baffled em again with a little smoke & mirrors! 8O

July 13, 2012 10:07 PM Forum: Reflectors

Collimating a F/4 AT reflector

Posted By Mark Jordan


Maybe someone else can confirm or deny this, but I think what you are seeing with the cross hairs could be the offset of the secondary via the spider. Is it the X of the spider in the OTA that is not lining up perfectly centered with the X of the Cheshire. If everything else appears to be centering up right but the spider X this would be my guess, having to tip the secondary up so far it throws the primary reflection high enough to cause the mirror "clamps" to disappear from the bottom of the picture tends to confirm my suspicion of this.

If it is in fact the offset showing, collimate it as normal & just ignore the spider X not lining up perfectly with the Chesire X.

Mark J.

July 29, 2012 02:50 AM Forum: Guns and Hunting Optics

Why you don't want criminals to be the only gun...

Posted By Mark Jordan

Good argument for better gun control! The old guy did alright, but with a little better gun control there would have only been the cost of of a couple of burials! Now we'll have to patch up, feed, cloth, & house these little thugs for the next few years while they attend a good criminal collage somewhere & learn better how to carry out their choosen vocation. & heaven forbid they have the wrong peanut butter served to them while in crook school, that would be a violation of their civil rights & merit a major lawsuit settlement!

Good on the old fella anyhow though for standing up to these punks & ruining their day! Cool!!! 8)

November 9, 2012 04:17 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Consumer Reports Most Reliable Cars

Posted By Mark Jordan

I've had 5 Ford trucks since 1988:

1989 Ext cab ranger - Son totaled it when hit by a short bus, son was uninjured:

1988 " " 4 x 4, Traded it on 1994 Ford F150 Ext cab XLT 4 X 4, needed a heavier truck:

1994 Ford Ranger Ext cab 4 x 4 bought for daughter 2003: totaled in 45mph collision with a tree while dodging a drunken fool who clipped the back as she veered off the road to avoid him: daughter had concussion from DS window hit, bruised but fine later that day. Truck actually saved her life that day as it protected her very well.

1999 Ford Ranger ext cab 4 x 4 insurance settlement bought for daughter in 2003; She traded it on a 2007 Ford Fusion in 2007, as she wanted a car.

2004 Ford F 250 Super Duty Ext Cab XL traded 1994 XLT for it, needed heavier truck. Still have the F250 & it has worked it's fanny off since purchase. Pushed gobs of snow with a Western 8' blade, & has usually has a 20' trailer with 4500 lbs of lawn equipment on it from April 1st to October 31st every year of it's life with me. It has paid for it's self many times over............ Not a lick of complaint or problem really from any of them, been good reliable, dependable trucks. Most I worked past their rated capacities.

AS for Toyota??! Only experience I've ever had with them has been working next to a couple of the "full sized" versions trying to keep up with the F250 while plowing snow.
Both were worthless at it & got hung up frequently, enough so both were fired from the jobs by the Contractor's area super. Couldn't push a load of snow 1/2 the size of the Fords or Chevies & had to be "rescued" from being hung in small spoil piles frequently. Had to pull them out as they were usually stuck right square in the way of getting the lots done. The Toyotas just plain didn't have enough guts to be attempting such heavy work from what I saw in both cases. Likely why I just don't see any more of them attempting such work or hauling well loaded tandem equipment trailers around. Likely the Toyota "full sized" trucks do an excellent job for their owners as long as they don't ask too much of them and keep them within or under their load rated capacities. As for the Fords I've owned they have all done very well even when constantly asked to perform well outside of their "capacity" envelope.

Just one man's experience & opinions, but I'd take a Ford over a Toad (Toyota) any day of the week...But then I use my trucks as a truck, not a shiny symbol of my manliness! wink


December 18, 2012 09:49 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

narrowband imaging questions

Posted By Mark Jordan

Russ, Richard,

Thanks for your input, after doing a bit more research & reading I am seriously looking into downloading the PixInsight trial & giving it a run. I have & have used Iris in the past for some image processing along with Stark Lab's Nebulosity. Primarily use the Nebulosity for capture, calibrations & alignment purposes, then do most of the LP gradient reductions & such on the finished Color or separated color channels out of Nebulosity & into Iris. Most of my AP in the last 4 years has been with a Canon Hutech Modified 350D other than the Solar System stuff.

I usually go with the command line interface in Iris as it has more functional power than the GUI, so I think shifting to something like PixInsight may not be too bad of a learning shift. I'm sure there is a way to do the Narrowband blending of different filter data into a simulated color channel in Iris, just haven't ever explored it or researched it. Maybe not! Just never need to go there until beginning to study on doing some narrowband imaging with the new Atik 314L I just bought last month.

I really purchased the Atik with I deal of having a middle ground imaging scale for the smaller scale objects such as a lot of planetary nebulae, galaxies, clusters & other such objects. Along with having the ability to do some narrowband imaging. Seems like the only time I ever get any time & clear sky for AP is when the moon is shining bright. During the Spring, Summer & Fall seasons I am usually too busy between my regular 24hr duty shifts & my lawn & landscape P.T. business to have much time or energy for AP & astronomy, so in the winter I like to take advantage of every clear sky I have an opportunity to get out..... Moon or no. The neighbors' MVLs actually seem to cause more skyward LP during the winter as well. Due likely to the leaves on the trees that kind of shade over the light poles being gone in the winter, meaning more of the unshielded light from those pesky lights scatters upwards into my skies.

Sorry to get long winded, just venting some frustration at my skies getting brighter at night. about 6-7 years ago the local power co-op came out with a heck of a deal........ for just $12.95 a month on a 2 year contract they would come out & put up a nice bright unshielded "dusk to dawn" MVL on a 20" pole for "ANYBODY". I watched my skies go from being able to walk out on my back patio & see a good gray fuzzy of the track of the Milky Way to now just barely being able to make out anything of it on even the clearest nights. 14 MVLs within 1000' of me in 5 years........... sucks, but life goes on & everything else is pretty good!


Mark Jordan
Greenfield, IN

February 6, 2013 04:46 AM Forum: No Holds Barred

Another Species Endangered By Habitat Destruction

Posted By Mark Jordan

Not to worry dave, They said the same thing about bed bugs here in the U.S. They've made a massive & successful come back!!! Wonder how that happened!??

May 9, 2013 11:02 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

My new Scorpion FS Trike

Posted By Mark Jordan

Looks like a sweet smooth ride Floyd! Lots of good mile of fun in it I'm sure. Unfortunately my new Sprint 25 seems to be on perpetual back order... so now I have to say I'm a bit envious!! wink