Vixen Porta Mount vs Astro-Tech Voyager Alt Az

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Vixen Porta Mount vs Astro-Tech Voyager Alt Az

Post by ivanong »

Someone had asked me for a comparision, so I am posting some thoughts.

I've had both Alt Az mounts side by side. The Voyager mount (sold from Australia/NZ with a different name) is heavier, and the tripod is much more solid than the Porta's anemic little tripod. The Voyager mount took my A-P Traveler with binoviewers easily. However the rap test showed damping over 5 seconds. The large swing arm and the hollow all metal legs on the Voyager seemed condusive to oscillatory vibrations that took a while to damp out. However, when I added my Celetron vibration suppressor pads on the tripod feet, the improvement was shocking. Rapping the tube showed damping within half a second! That is indeed very impressive and makes the mount very useful. A note about the Voyager is you have option to attach the swing arm straight up or at an angle. The angle attachement lets you have better access to viewing of stars at zenith especially for refractors. With the swing arm attached at an angle, I could not but help worry about the accidental tendency of tipping the tripod. There is a tray that is soon to be sold that will attach on the other side of the mount base, and it would help balance the mount more optimally. It should be shipping in a month, I'll see how well it works. I took apart the base of the Voyager mount and found a well fitted bearing that forms the basis of the azimuth movement. Very nice as this should handle a fair bit of loading of heavier tubes.

The Porta is definitely the weaker of the two due to its dissappointing tripod. The mount head of the Porta is well made, and I think if there was a way to mate the Porta head to the Voyager tripod one would get a far more stable system. My esitmate is the Porta is good for up to 12+ lb of loading while the Voyager will happily take up to 18lb (I beleived the mfg states 20+lb).

One note is the clamp opening of both mounts. The Porta's clamp opening is wider than the Voyager's (I think 4-5mm difference). So if your dovetail plate is wider you might have trouble putting it on the Voyager's. Many manufacturers sell "Vixen-compatible" dovetail plates. I have a selection from 5 different manufacturers. They all vary in width and hence the level of ease of putting it on the Voyager's. One simply would not fit it and had to be slid in from the end.

Finally, the Voyager ships with two nicely machined knobs for slow mo control and a nice flexible handle. These will not interchange with the ones on the Porta. With the Porta, you get two cheap plastic knobs. I preferred the longer flexible Vixen handle knobs as they allowed movement without vibration.

All in all, the Voyager wins in performance and value.

Thanks for reading

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