The TeleVue Walnut Gibraltar Mount is a stable altazimuth mount designed primarily for no-fuss observing with the 4” aperture TeleVue refractors – the TeleVue TV-102, TV-101, NP-101, etc. It can also be used with the smaller TeleVue TV-85, but it is probably a case of overkill with this smaller scope (which would be better served by a TeleVue Panoramic mount). In addition to its good looks, the Gibraltar mount’s wood tripod is highly effective at damping vibrations, for sharper images at high magnifications and faster image stabilization after moving the telescope from one target to another.
The 16.3 lb. American-made Walnut Gibraltar mount consists of a adjustable-height furniture grade solid ash tripod with black trim, an accessory tray for eyepiece storage and added tripod rigidity, and a separate yoke & cradle type black finish Tele-Pod manual altazimuth mount head. The altitude bearings are brass, while the azimuth bearing is aluminum and Teflon.
The Tele-Pod head is totally manual in operation. You move your scope from object to object by pushing on the star diagonal or focus knobs. There are no slow motion controls, but the motion of the mount is so smooth that most observers will not need them at low powers. For more precise control at high magnifications, an optional camera tripod-like pan handle is available. The handle attaches to the underside of the Tele-Pod mount’s scope cradle. The pan handle can be set up for either right hand or left hand use.
The Tele-Pod’s yoke & cradle design balances scopes at their approximate center of gravity, so that your scope will not swing unexpectedly when you release the focus knob or optional pan handle. Both altitude and azimuth motions have tension adjustments to set the friction to accommodate differing telescope weights to reduce the possibility of unexpected scope motion.
TeleVue scopes attach to the head by means of two supplied studs that thread into the base of the telescope’s ring mount. These studs project down through holes in the Tele-Pod cradle and are held securely in place with supplied wing nuts.
The tripod legs have rubber-tipped metal ground spikes for use on wooden decks and other hard surfaces. The rubber tips can be removed from the ground spikes for a more firm footing on grass or dirt. By varying the length of the legs, the telescope height can be set anywhere from about 36” to 60”.
The Tele-Pod head is usable at any latitude. It moves right/left 360° in azimuth, and over an up/down altitude range of +85° to -10°. That means you will not be able to aim your scope at the zenith, but any object located directly overhead will soon drift past the zenith down to an altitude that can be reached by the mount.
The Tele-Pod head is pre-drilled to be fitted with an optional TeleVue Sky Tour computer-aiming system for easier location of deep sky objects. An optional soft carry case (#BAG120P) is available for transporting the tripod with mount head attached (the accessory tray must be carried separately and any attached eyepiece caddy plates must be removed and stored in the carry case separately). An optional #TVHANDLE photo tripod pan-head type handle (aluminum arm/soft rubber grip) is available to attach to the Tele-Pod head for moving the scope from place to place across the sky without touching the scope body itself.