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My ScopeGuard Page

ScopeGuard Telescope Transport Cases is a business owned and operated by Don Holcombe in Magnolia, Texas, located in the proximity of Houston. I've been using Don's cases since I got into imaging in 2000 and my ScopeGuard cases, along with my imaging equipment, have traveled to various parts of the United States from Florida to New Mexico seeking dark sky sites without incident. These days the number of items and instruments that I store requires organization and forethought to be able to find things quickly. Besides being an all around good man and able business associate to work with, Don's cases are really an attribute to my efforts and serves my safety, ease in transport and storage requirements splendidly. Quality cases are not inexpensive; however ScopeGuard cases are a bargain considering the equipment they protect at a fraction of replacement cost. I recommend ScopeGuard cases to all my astronomy friends and to you as well. If you're in the market for a case specifically constructed for your equipment as opposed to a stock case modified to make do, then I urge you to email Don at ScopeGuard. Feel free to indicate I referred you.

MI-250 Dec case

The photographs below and to the left are of the first cases I had ScopeGuard construct. I sold these along with the mount; actually I was told by the purchaser later that inclusion of the case set in the sale was a major selling point, so I no longer have them. They were specifically constructed for the MI-250 and you can see both the declination and polar base case interiors. As these were the first MI-250 cases Don constructed, I supplied him with detailed dimensional information to aid the effort. Note the storage areas in each case. This allowed me to store and transport everything related to the mount (except for the pier of course), electronics, counterweight shaft, weights, polar scope, etc., together for ease of set up.

MI-250 polar base case
ScopeGuard Cases stacked & latched Here's the MI-250 case pair nested and latched together in a stackable system. When transporting in my trailer this system was terrific. Because I'm more likely to use my pick up now I prefer to use seperate cases with an extendable handle and casters on each. When nested both cases could be rolled together using the handle viewed in this photograph.
ScopeGuard FSQ case

This image depicts my Takahashi FSQ-106N case, the only telescope case I'd had Don construct at the time. Eventually I'll replace the standard cases with ScopeGuard versions, but for now everything is in some type of case and protected.This is ScopeGuard's standard yellow; although I never thought I'd appreciate the color it really looks nice. The case storage area can be viewed here with a few FSQ items although the OTA is mounted.

Interior View FSQ case
ScopeGuard Dec case

The photographs below and to the left are my A-P 1200 GTO cases. I'd imagine these are fairly standard, but they may be larger than average because I always add storage room to my cases similar to the MI-250 version. This allows me to store and transport everything related to the mount although I have too many weights to transport them in a case now; you wouldn't be able to move it easily. The extra foam pieces Don provides to wedge the mount sections can be seen in these shots. They work well and prevent vibration.

ScopeGuard RA case
ScopeGuard A-P 1200 cases Here is the pair of 1200 cases. Each has an extendable handle and casters. These photographs provide a good idea of the construction details and quality level ScopeGuard uses as a standard. I've never had any problems with my cases and recommend them highly. George has a pair of green cases for his 1200 identical to these.

I don't have photograph of George's cases or our 900 GTO case Don built but plan to get one soon to display. The 900 case is a single with the handle and casters in gray like the Monolith case color. The 900 doesn't weigh nearly as much as the 1200 mount and this case, although heavy when loaded, isn't too bad to transport.
The photograph at right is of my ScopeGuard Monolith case. There's no storage in this case because the pier is a one piece assembly and at 10 inches in diameter and 42 inches height when set up, this case was large enough already. However, there's not one scratch or ding on this expensive pier and the case has worked out exceptionally well. This was another prototype case for Don and again I emailed extensive dimensional information and photos to have this constructed. Afterwards I realized it would have been best to ship the pier directly to ScopeGuard to be dimensioned and Don could have shipped it to me in the completed case. Next time I'll know... You can see that the Monolith fits well in the case and when in transit there's no movement whatsoever. The color is the standard ScopeGuard gray. ScopeGuard Monolith case open
ScopeGuard Monolith case This shot is of the Monolith case closed up and indicates the scratches that most likely would have been on my pier if not cased. Due to the case length no extendable handle was added to this one. It has casters and I use the end handle to pick up and roll the case along. This works great and most of the weight is shifted to the back wheels so it's not difficult to transport. Another advantage of the casters on the larger cases is that once you dead-lift them onto a truck tailgate wheels in, you can roll the case to the desired position in the vehicle. I don't have much trouble moving equipment around quite yet, but when these cases are freighted for an imaging trip they are heavy. With the ScopeGuard options installed lifting on and off the truck or into the trailer is about the only time the casters can't help out.
The sketch at right is the start of my newest case received from ScopeGuard. It's a plan view of the interior section of a case for my FRC-300 telescope. This construction as designed will be a split case where the top can be completely removed for ease in pulling the instrument out and it will have a telescoping pull handle and casters so it can be rolled when transporting. You may note that a four inch storage area by the case width has been planned. This will accommodate adapters and accessories related specifically to the FRC so when I transport the telescope components related to this system will be available. I requested this case to be black in color as I believe this will look nice and will differ from the others I own. FRC case field entry sketch
ScopeGuard FRC Case The shot at left is the FRC bottom case interior Don constructed from my sketch. The design appears to work well and as the OTA is heavy, the top lid removal feature should work out well; pulling this instrument out of the case isn't an easy task at 66 pounds. There's two pairs of lockable latches on either side to secure the top. This is a large and fairly heavy case; overall it's 4'-8" long with the handle stowed.
ScopeGuard FRC Case Frontview

Here are several views of the FRC case with the top section installed. Having been through the measurement dilemma previously, I was smart enough to have Don measure the optical tube before it left Texas Nautical Repair in Houston. This didn't prevent all the double checking, but went far in clarifying what would be required. With the possible exception of any conflict with ScopeGuard's production schedule, I may have been able to have them construct the case and ship it with the telescope together.

ScopeGuard FRC Case 3/4 View
ScopeGuard cases in storage This is a view of my trailer where much of my astronomy equipment is stored when not in use. Except for the Monolith, these cases are empty as the equipment is set up at the observatory. The other gear is astronomy related, some to astro-touring camping stored in bins like desert storm covers, tarps, transport blankets for gear protection, etc., and my accessory cases are sometimes stored in here. ScopeGuard cases in the trailer are really easy to deal with as they create a modular storage system and placing accessory gear on or around the cases isn't an issue.

I'd like to thank Don Holcombe and ScopeGuard for the quality work and great service in which I've been provided. In business one can find many shortcomings and astronomy is certainly no different. I can relate horror stories from my personal experiences with some vendors, so it's a true pleasure to deal with a forthright business like Don's. Not only is he a great case builder, he's also an astronomer and clearly understands the requirements. His dedication to the task and helpful attitude aren't always the norm these days and I appreciate his efforts - you should contact ScopeGuard because you will as well. Thanks Don...

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