The distance to the TUVA observatory from my home is about a sixty mile trip. This caused me to drive about thirty minutes, set up the equipment, and put the equipment away and drive home. Many nights I would meet the sun coming up, not to mention drunk drivers on the wrong side of the road. I finally decided it was time to try something different so I could spend more time imaging, and less time traveling.
The solution: A steel pier mounted on a concrete base. After securing permission from the landowner, who graciously gave me permission to build the concrete pad, I selected a site about 225' from my house, since this was the closet location that was not blocked by trees, but not too far away that I would not be able to run an electrical cord.
I then ordered my pier from LeSueur Manufacturing, and after a few weeks, it arrived together with LeSueur's Polaris Mount. Even though I have a Milburn Wedge, which is quite stable, it's design limits imaging to much beyond the Zenith. LeSueur's allows much further nothern limits, as the wedge is located off center, allowing a greater degree of movement.
I then began the process of digging the hole for the concrete base. LeSueur recommends an 18" x 48" deep hole. Suspecting that the area was probably rocky, I hired a drilling rig who promised they could drill into anything. They gave up after about 20" down, hitting limestone/sandstone. I then rented a concrete pavement breaker also know as a "jackhammer"which pretty much hammered me. I gave up, but gained another 18". I then used an air chisel to chip away at the rock, and got down to 42". That's as far as I could reach.
Since the hole was solid rock from a point 24" on down, I elected to stop there, figuring six more inches wouldn't make that much difference.
LeSueur sent a wooden template that is used to line up the bolts. After forming the base with plywood, the concrete was poured, and the template was placed on top, carefully aligning the northern bolt to north and leveling the template.
The beast conquered:
I then waited one week for the concrete to cure before mounting the steel pier.
The completed pier with LX200 attached:
A closer look of the Polaris Equatorial Mount.
Another shot showing how the scope is mounted on the wedge.
How the base is mounted on the pad.