Saturday, August 25, 2007


Gimme Warp Factor Nine: The Denkmeir PowerSwitch

“Kirk to Engineering, I need more power Scotty!”

“Aye Captain, but I don’t know if my poor bairns will take more!”

Scotty, all ahead warp factor six!”

If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Trekkie like Your Old Uncle Rod, I know you’ve dreamed of sitting in that fabled Captain’s Chair on the bridge of the Enterprise and having the whole galaxy at your fingertips. Until recently, that was just a dream. Well, OK, it’s still a dream, but it’s been fulfilled in a small way by the Denkmeier SCT Powerswitch diagonal with Filter Switch. The whatsit with the whosit?

I hope you’ve heard of Denkmeier Optical’s SCT Powerswitch diagonal (aka the "S1"). It’s been around for a few years, and has already done a lot to bring the Federation Starship experience to the SCT. Picture this: you’re sitting at your Meade or Celestron GPS scope set up in alt-az mode. You’re comfortable, you’ve got the HC in one hand and a nice, err, “beverage” in the other. You can send your scope to any object of your desire at the push of a button—better set that brew down, first, though, Skeezix. Thanks to the SCT Powerswitch diagonal you can also place a 2x Barlow or a focal reducer in the light path at the push of a, well, switch. Yeah, you’re really cruising the deep sky now. NO more fumbling around with eyepieces, diagonals and visual backs.

But imagine there’s another pair of switches on the Powerswitch. Not only can you change magnification, you can insert either of two filters with a flick of the wrist. You don't have to get up from your Captain's Chair to do it, either. And you know how it is with filters: when you finally find the dang thing in the accessory box, you manage to drop it into the horse-poop laden dust at Prude ranch before you can get it on an eyepiece (why do filters that are so easy to screw-on in the daylight refuse to thread onto an eyepiece in the dark?). Heck, if you could put an LPR filter (or any other kind of filter) in the light path without all that messing around, you might actually use those little pieces of glass you paid so much money for.

Well, now you can Pards, now you can. The Denkmeier folks have added an integral filter slide/drawer to the Powerswitch diagonals, the “Filter Switch.” As seen in the pic, the P'switch now offers dual filter control in addition to the Barlow, reducer, and high-class diagonal of the original outfit.

How well did she work? How much did she cost? You’ll have to wait a little while until Unk finishes his complete review, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Astronomy Technology Today magazine, but for now suffice to say it's like having your own personal store of dilithium crystals:

“Good work, Scotty. You’ve saved the Enterprise!

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