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Using a motorized telescope mount for working satellites?

I have an Orion Sirius EQ-G motorized 'GoTo' mount collecting dust in my storage unit. I was wondering if it could be used as an entry level positioning and tracking device for antennas. Just curious if it would be more trouble than it's worth, or if someone has lots of experience. Thanks in advance. 




  • Neil D Friedman N3DF
    Neil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭✭

    I think it’s unlikely that a motorized equatorial mount could move fast enough to track a satellite. Could be wrong.

  • KI5RLR
    KI5RLR Member ✭✭

    Good point, I had not thought about that. Here are the specs for this mount. I don't know exactly how fast it would need to move, you may be able to determine from the 'Motor Speeds' listed below.

    • Tracking rates
    • Sidereal, Solar and Lunar
    • Motor speeds
    • 3.4°/sec(800x), 600x, 500x, 400x, 64x, 32x, 16x, 8x, 2x, 1.75x, 1.5x, 1.25x
    • Motor type
    • Microstep driven stepper motors
    • Bearing material
    • Sealed ball bearings
    • Power requirement
    • 12-volt DC - 2A (tip positive)
    • PEC
    • Yes
    • GPS
    • Sold separately
    • Backlash compensation
    • Yes
    • Latitude range
    • 14-70
    • Setting circles
    • Yes
    • Counterweights
    • Two 11 lb.
    • Available ports
    • RS-232, autoguider
    • Tripod leg diameter
    • 1.75 in.
    • Counterweight bar length
    • 11 in.
    • Diameter of counterweight shaft
    • 18mm
    • Height range of mount
    • 40.00 in. - 61.50 in.
    • Weight, mount/tripod
    • 32.0 lbs.
    • Weight, fully assembled
    • 43.0 lbs.
    • Additional included accessories
    • Two 11-lb. counterweights
    • Other features
    • Dual-width saddle accommodates **** and Losmandy, Adjustable polar scope illumination

  • Pierre_VE3KTB
    Pierre_VE3KTB Member ✭✭

    If I read the listed specs correctly, and it will do 3.4 degrees per second, it will be fast enough. In my experience, most LEO overpasses are in the 8 to 12 minute range from horizon to horizon, and that in round numbers is going to be 10-20 degrees per minute, or something like 0.3 degrees per second at worst.

    Does it understand TLEs or can it be driven by software that does?


    Pierre VE3KTB

  • KI5RLR
    KI5RLR Member ✭✭

    I have found software to control it. https://www.heavenscape.com/

    Something I did not think about, which someone on another forum pointed out:

    "...one mechanical issue you will have with using an equitorial mount (at least what is known as a German equitorial) for satellite tracking: on this style of mount there is a counterweight used to balance the telescope. That weight needs to stay lower than the telescope. When a German equitorial tracks past the meridian you have to do a maneuver known as "flipping" the counterweight to move the weight to the other side. This is not normally much of an issue if you are tracking something slow (like a star or the Moon), but will be a pain if you are tracking a satellite.

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