tents on lower field

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    Tim Mann

    I’m planning to attend my first TSP this year. My typical setup is a 10′ x 9′ tent behind my scope so I can control my scope and cameras from a laptop inside the tent. I will be setting up on the lower field near my RV spot. I read in the rules that tents aren’t allowed in the “middle of the field”. There is also language about not blocking the horizon below 30 degrees for your neighbor, but there is nothing specific about the lower field. Do many people setup tents or canopies near their scopes scopes and run extension cords to the power lines at the center? I just want to make sure I plan for the right field setup and bring the appropriate equipment.

    Thanks in advance for input from TSP veterans.

    Tim Mann

    George Semple

    Tim, my wife and I will be in a tent on the lower field this year as well. Generally, even on the lower field, tents still setup in a general ‘ring’ around the field (for the most part) and from my trips there over the years, unless you have some unusual tent I think you are fine in that regard. Keep in mind that becuase oc the proximity to the road, the lower field isn’t ideal for imaging so if thats your goal, you want to reconsider the location.

    Looking forward to meeting you there next month!

    Tim Mann

    Thank you George. I appreciate the information. I don’t image with a DSLR but use a Mallincam for short exposure (usually < 1 min) video observing. So if a car passes by on the road I don’t worry about it ruining long exposures or my dark adaptation.

    My wife and I will be staying in a RV at the lower field. We are looking forward to star party and the opportunity to make new friends.



    P.S. – How is the cell phone reception on the field. We have AT&T and hope to be able to get internet through the phone.

    George Semple

    Cell phones… hate to say it but not good. ATT has the best coverage and that seems to be VERY spotty and very weak. Every other carrier is essentially nothing. I wouldn’t rely on having much service on the ranch – of course every year is different and new towers get put online. I would not plan on being able to tether or hotspot. You’re at best going to have limited voice service.

    On the bright side, it’s a great chance to disconnect and relax!


    We have set up in the lower field all but one time since 2006 and prefer it since it is close to our RV. If you get lucky and can get a RV site beside the upper field it is nice up there but seems like those spots are very hard to get without knowing the right people.

    But regardless the lower field is fine for even imaging as there are very few cars at night and ample time to see them coming if you want to shield your scope. Plenty of room for tents around the field and usually good electric. Nice to have a short walk to your RV.

    I would like to ask the TSP crew about the possibility of more/longer electric runs this year. The trees are getting larger every year and forcing us to move farther down to avoid them, would be nice to have them longer.

    As for cell coverage, yep hit or miss, mostly miss. But there are a couple spots near the upper and middle field you might be able to get enough to make a call or text. Otherwise a good excuse to drive into Fort Davis.

    Internet has been a question the last year or so since the ranch is providing it, sort of. TSP use to do a great job when they did it, not sure why the ranch thinks they can do better. But you can get it around the main lodge areas.

    Still my favorite star party of the year, and why I am willing to drive 1400 miles to get there.


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