New astro camera arrived..

I sourced a nice Samsung SCB-4000 video camera through one of the video-astronomy Yahoo groups, and the camera arrived from South Africa recently.

Testing it has been eye opening as to the sentitivity of this camera, and how well it performs under light pollution. It easily pulled about 2 magnitudes deeper than my naked eye could see in moderate moonlight, using a cheap f1.4 zoom lens working at about 8mm. The 1/2″ chip does make it harder to get wide angles without vignetting. I haven’t yet attached it to a scope, partly as the tv that I was using for viewing just gave up the ghost and also I have to figure out the cabling and control. Remote control is possible with an RS485 connection

I’ve also got a connector to attach my camera lenses to the camera, which will give me the capability of having a super-finder.

Now to wait for clear skies that I am free for..


Moved house! (a few months ago..)

I’ve just realised that I hadn’t updated here that I had moved house.

A few months ago I had to move away from Cois Ghruide where I’ve had a presence since late 2006, when the house owner decided to simplify his renting of the house. I moved to an end-of-terrace house in a nearby estate, taking over the rental of the 3 bed house myself. The new place has a few improvements over the old place. There’s a fireplace so I can have an open fire again, that’s something that I have missed when in the Duplex. There’s also a back garden which I am really happy about – no longer do I need to bring my bikes up stairs to keep them safe, and I can easily sit out in the sun or bring out my scopes for a quick stargaze without having to cart them a long distance up and down stairs. There’s also much less parking issues – no more parking outside the estate when I come back from work at 3am. I’ve also no longer any need to worry about waking up anyone in an apartment downstairs!

The kitchen is nowhere as large unfortunately, but it’s more than sufficient. I’ve still got a  king-size bed and an en-suite, an immersion and gas fired central heating. I’ve been able to bring my fiber internet connection with me and that’s been fantastic to have that solid and fast a connection as I have, especially in my line of work. The estate is quiet with no students and no party houses. I can still walk and bike to the college!

I’ve also found out just how much stuff I’ve collected over the past decade – especially with effectively living in two houses for a good proportion of that time! It’s also great fun getting all the documentation updated with bank accounts, car registration documents, magazine subscriptions, and all those fun and games.

Still, it’s really good to get into a place that doesn’t have the set of memories that the previous place had for me, a bit of a fresh start in many things!

Zet Director

So, the other pre-Trip purchase this month was a new and shiny Zet Director, ordered from I-Canoe in Dublin. It’s a big behemoth of a boat, all the better to keep my heavy ass afloat in the Alps. 360l of volume, about 20kg or so of weight, and it’s quite comfortable to sit in. Shakedown paddle will probably be Saturday on the Castleconnell, where I’ll try not to scratch the arse out of it on the ~6 to 8 cumec of water that the ESB are letting down this season. At least I know the boat is easy to roll, it’ll be a lot of fun testing it out on the rivers, getting the outfitting just right for me though the first sitting suggests that it’ll be a nice fit expecially with the size of my thighs.

Many thanks to Colm in I-Canoe, and to Jack in ULKC for helping me add my bits to the ULKC summer order.

New DH bike incoming..

So, I’ve bitten the bullet and decided to get a downhill rig for the upcoming trip to Les Gets. I figured I’d get the benefit to having a bike that has more squish and better geometry for battering down mountainsides at speed. This bike – it’s a Santa Cruz V10.4 – has a carbon fibre frame built to be pretty much bulletproof, and it has 8 inches of suspension on the front and 10(!) inches of suspension on the rear. It’s the same bike as was used to win a few UCI World Cup races over the past few years. Hopefully it’ll give me the confidence to progress my learning and allow me to have a bit more fun a bit more safely than I’ve been able to on the ReignX. The ReignX is a very capable bike, but this should make a big difference.
The bike is carbon and alloy, so black and silver. I may repaint at some stage. Forks are Boxxer coils, with J-Tech damping. Shock is a Fox DHX RC4. Brakes are M820 Saints with 200mm discs so should be immense in stopping power. Zee rear mech. Tubeless wheels and decent DH tyres. Total bike weight about 16kg which is epically low for a 10″ DH rig.
Pics to come when it arrives.

2014 – new year same as the old year?

So it’s 2014. Doesn’t seem to be that different yet.. Hopefully it’ll be a good year ahead, with some Alpine adventures planned, maybe a biking trip to the Canaries, maybe more dating and other fun coming up..

I’ll do up another post shortly covering the past while and any news.



I’m taking part in Movember this year again. More pics to follow the progress of the Mo.
Please donate here at , it’s for a very good cause!