so, while waiting out this interminable cloudy/rainy weather (not one clear night since March 9th?!?), I started hacking on a homebrew autoguider.
I acquired a celestron 9x50 straight through finderscope in trade for an old eyepiece I don't use, and I scored a 'golf ball' logitech webcam, which I promptly gutted after determining that it functioned, reducing it to a little 1.5 x 1 inch PCBA with the camera chip on one side, and the USB cable on the other side.
Last episode, I got my hands on this lovely old Celestron-Vixen C80-SP, a nice Made-in-Japan 80mm f/11 achromat on a Super Polaris mount with a heavy duty wood tripod. Right now, I'm mostly using it for piggyback photography with a DSLR.
The SP mount had no polar alignment scope, but I read on a forum that the current Celestron CG-5 / Synta EQ5 polar scopes fit. So I ordered a polar scope off ebay, and it works perfectly. Like it was meant to fit there. I guess Synta really did copy the SP and GP right down to the thread sizes. The mount is much easier to align now, I got polaris in there just so, and I had minimal drift error over 15 minutes on Orion.
Does anyone know if the camping site usually sits on semi-hard or concrete pads? The 2005 photo and comment mentioned campers were on concrete ground. Were bringing pads but maybe cots are better suited for this event.