The Sky Hook*

NOTICE: The information about the Sky Hook device was originally posted on the LX200GPS Yahoo group
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LX200GPS/
The text and photos have been posted here with permission from author. Rights to all info and images
below are retained by John Shwope.

Sky Hook description;

Notice: As there are many different quality and strength specifications of the
components used in this system, I cannot be responsible for any damage or injury
that might occur due to its use. Many people emailed me for directions and
dozens of people all over the world told how they're now easily moving their
telescopes. Several mentioned they can single handedly carry a LX200GPS 12"
down multiple flights of stairs, now able to hold on the a rail. Personally I
debated getting a 10" vs. an 8" scope for ease of movement. I now often wish I
had gotten the 12"! This was my little contribution to the groups, who have
given me so much information and support.

While descending stairs this system allows you to have a hand free to hold a
railing, rather than both hands on the scope. This also helps balance. The
negative is that you have the scope connected to your body, so be sure to
maintain correct upright posture. Practice your technique in daylight. A
table/desk to put the scope down helps eliminate having to put it on the ground.
Also I advise all to lift with your legs and not your back, keeping as upright
as possible. Try not to put the scope down on the ground, as you just have to
pick it back up again. I also object to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar using the name for
his inferior product, or the other 207,000 hits that Yahoo search listed for
"Sky Hook".

This is a simple system using nylon dog collars and a strap. I chose the
sliding adjustable collar, with the quick connect snap to close. I realize
that the "Pin through the grommet" type might be stronger, but might not fit as
snug. A number of people tell me they use this type successfully. I tried
several straps/ "D" rings / snaps etc. from the hardware store, but the dog
collars were perfect for what I wanted.



I measured the circumference of the horizontal part of the arm as just less
than 14". A number of collars were listed as 14" to 18", or 12" to 14". I
searched until I found one that was 12" to 16", which put the 14" in the middle.
I got two that were about 3/4" wide, and black to match the arm. I got mine at
K-mart, and paid $3.49 each. (No blue light special either).

I adjusted the length so I had to stretch it slightly to get it to snap, and
there is very little play when locked. The buckles luckily do not occur at any
right angle corner of the arm, but all are on one of the flat sides. The collar
came with a "D" ring attached between the webbing, so it will not scratch. I
tried it with the "D" ring on the front and on the back. I opted to place the
rings on the back of the control panel, to avoid the finder scope. I also "piggy
back" a TeleVue 85, and sometimes keep it attached. I looked for straps at golf
shops, but they all seem to have the wrong snaps. I ended up using a strap from
an old suitcase that is padded at my neck. I recently saw some nice padded
straps at a camera shop.



Usage.
8" and 10". These have a shorter tripod, and depending on your height, could
easily be used without a step. Put the strap around your neck, with the two
ends hanging down in the front. I adjusted mine a little shorter than waist
level, so when I hook up to the collars, I have to STOOP. BEND AT YOUR KNEES,
NOT FROM YOUR BACK. At this point, with a straight back, straighten your legs
and stand straight, holding the handles or other convenient place. If you are
picking it up from the back, the handles are away from you, which seems best for
me. When you stand the scope comes up with you. I store my scope on the
tripod, and when I first take it off, I usually put it back down on my desk, and
then move the tripod outside first, position it and do an initial level. I then
go back and get the scope and move it out to the tripod and approach from the
rear and set it on the tripod. I then unhook the strap and leave the collars in
place. Being black, they are hardly visible, so I never take them off. I tried
this several times with a wedge, and using a single step stool helps give you
the height necessary.

12". This is a little different because of the height of the tripod. Some
people say they just manhandle it off and on. Others have told me, and Iíve
seen it done, that they have a single, or double step stool, preferably one with
a wide an stable base. They then can climb up, bend at the knees, and lift with
the knees to get the scope up. You might consider a wider/stronger collar. Now
many people have shortened the height of their tripod, and seem very pleased
with the lower set up and viewing level.



Good luck and dark skies;
John Shwope
kruzmisl@adelphia.net

* Neither the JAT Observatory nor John Shwope assume any liability for any injury or damage that may
arise from the use or misuse of the Sky Hook device. The information contained here is presented for
informational use. The end user assumes all responsibility for the construction and use of the Sky Hook.

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Updated 10/10/2006 - Please report broken links to brokenlink@jatobservatory.org