My "Shelter Dome" survived last winters' two-foot snow fall without damage. Most recently, it survived hurricane Isabel with no more than a little water on the floor.
I am located about 13 miles due north of Baltimore, Maryland. We had our share of wind, downed trees and flooding. The shelter Dome has been up in my backyard for almost three years as a "temporary" observatory. I would probably not be able to observe in my heavily urbanized backyard without it. Its ability to survive severe weather has made it an old friend, ready to go to work when I am.
Well Montana Starwatch 2001 has ended! What an experience. I arrived on
Wednesday (July 18th) afternoon, got my Observer tent and all my gear set up
just in time for it to start raining, but it was only light and ended before
dark. It then cleared off for a beautiful night of viewing.
Thursday was a different story... It was a clear sunny day, though a little
breezy at times, till about 9:00 pm when it clouded over. With no chance of
viewing I closed up the tent and went to bed around midnight. I was awaken
around 3:00 am to the sound of a giant crack of thunder, lightning, and
heavy winds. The winds kept increasing! I mean it was 70-80 MPH gale forced
winds with heavy rains! My Observer tent was being pounded with winds so
strong that the tent was almost completely flattened out from the force! I
was terrified! Lightning was striking all around me and the rain so heavy
you could hardly hear anything else.
The campers next to me started
screaming as their camp was completely destroyed, shredding their tent to
pieces. All I could do was cover my head with my sleeping bag and wait for
my tent to come apart. But the Observer held together! Finally around 6:00
am the weather broke, cleared off and the sun started to shine. To my
amazement the tent was still in one piece, and not one drop of water
penetrated the interior. Everyone there was impressed with the way the
Observer had handled the extreme weather conditions. In fact one couple from
Arizona had asked me the night before how the tent did in the wind because
they were thinking about getting one. After this demonstration I think
they'll be ordering one!
Saturday night it rained all night long as well, but the wind was only
moderate. I was worried that because of the severe beating the tent took on
that early Friday morning, that the Observer might start to leak in this
long drizzling night, but again not a drop entered the interior. I and all
my equipment stayed dry. The next morning the sun came out and I packed up
my equipment. As I disassembled the tent I noticed that the tent poles did
indeed suffer some damage from the extreme wind conditions. The aluminum
extension slots on the fiberglass poles elongated and bent slightly from the
force. This is amazing this is all that happened due to the extreme
I am wondering if I can purchase a new set of poles? These are still usable
but I'd like to have an extra set just incase I go through another Montana
One of the best things I like about this tent is, that you set your
equipment up once. If the weather turns bad you can quickly and easily get
it covered up and protected till it stops. Then just un-zip the top and
you're ready to go. None of this set your scope up then hurry up and take it
down before the rain comes then have to set it up again after it clears up.
Yap! I really like my Observer and highly recommend the tent to anyone that
is thinking about purchasing one.
Thanks for keeping me and my equipment safe and dry!
Jim & Joe
I just want to let you know how totally pleased I am with your Shelter
Dome, as well as your patience and the way your company does business.This
astronomy tent is so easy to set up, a joy to use, and very easy to break
down and store with the carrying case.I am the hit of my astronomy club.
This product is perfect for blocking all that light pollution from those
street lights, as well as blocking out all the wind. It is made of material
that is suited for outer space. This tent can take a pounding. The privacy
is also a plus when CCD Imaging. I really can't say enough about the quality
and construction of this tent. Jim, a job well done. Rest assured I will
be purchasing many more astronomy related items from your company in the
Jim,I would be happy to discuss this product with any of your future
customers,and tell them what a wonderful experience I've had with the
Shelter Dome & the Kendrick Astro Instruments Co. :)
I just want to tell you how impressed I and other star party attenders are of the observer tent we
used at the Northwoods Starfest Star party in Northern Wisconsin this past weekend. My son
and I arrived late (after dark) in spite of our efforts to get an early start. Many were already
observing with their scopes, so we set up the observer tent for the first time in total darkness.
After realizing that the center pole was reasonably longer than the side poles, the tent went up
quite easily, just by feel! The following day (saturday) in preparation for another crystal clear night
of observing, I set up my 12" LX200 SCT in the observing section and opened the tent up.
Enough room for the scope, the giant field tripod, a small equipment table, and 2 chairs with
room to walk around. It didn't take minutes before most of the 131 in attendance from over 3
states and 2 continents) toured the tent and had lots of questions about where I got it and if I was
selling them. I have no doubt that you are and will be getting orders for the observing tent as a
result of positive response toward this fine observing tool. Its easy to tell that it was designed by
someone who is an avid astronomer themselves.
The only thing I would suggest as an
improvement is to make the door ways more rectangular than circular which would prevent those
unfamiliar with the tent from tripping in the dark due to not stepping to the side when they enter.
The zippered observing roof is pure genius . Just to mention, I bought it used on Astromart from a
gentleman that says he never used it. I know if he did, he would never have sold it. Due to our
setting up for the first time in the dark, I failed to notice that we set the tent up over the folded
rain fly. When we were packing up Sunday A.M. I found it and had to inspect its design. Its as
fine a piece of work as the tent! Zippered doors and windows!! And your logo is first class. I plan
to buy your battery pack for my LX200 , your laser collimator, and dew removers. I know from
what I've seen - quality is what Jim Kendrick Studio is about. Thanks for a great products!
Michael and Jordan Dziak
After using a number of your products over the past few months, I thought I'd drop you a
note about their performance.
The "Observer" tent: What a luxurious way to observe the sky in remote locations (or a
backyard)! I had the tent assembled in under 15 minutes and my LX200 12" with its
attendant gear fit perfectly. I cannot say enough about the convenience of the two-room
design. Placing my cases, charts, sleeping bag, etc., in one room and having an uncluttered
environment in the 'scope room makes observing not only convenient but pleasant. The tent
has been a godsend on windy nights or when the idiot next door turns on that annoying porch
light. When I took it to Vermont a couple of months ago, it felt like the equivalent of staying
at the Ritz. Well done! All it needs now is the Kendricks Inflatable Jacuzzi.
Dew Remover: Quick to install and quick to respond, the Dew Remover has made all-night
observing possible here in humid New Jersey. My first experience with the system occurred
on a very moist night. My LX200 12" was beginning to show signs of condensation so I
attached the Dew Remover. After less than two minutes, I had the 12", 2", Telrad, and
Keypad (which I used on the oculars not in use) heaters in place and the dew that had begun
to collect was vanquished a minute later. The Dew Remover system saved the day (night)!
I've also used the 2" heater to keep my coffee cup warm on chilly, dew-free nights. It works!
Kwik Focus: The Kwik Focus has become an integral part of my nightly observing. The
simplicity of the design makes it easy to use. And, does it work? You bet! During the recent
occultation of Aldebaran (9/12/98), I used the Kwik Focus on a fifth magnitude star to get
what I thought would be a rough focus. I was observing with my LX200 and an Astrovid
2000 video camera. When I slewed back to the Moon, it was in perfect focus! I have never
seen a video image of the lunar surface with such detail! I also use the Kwik Focus in
conjunction with an SBIG ST-7 CCD camera. On several occasions, I was able to use the
Kwik Focus without further adjustments to achieve tack-sharp images. I have also made a
10mm hole in one of the three plugs to use during planetary and lunar CCD work, to stop
down the light. There are only two drawbacks to the Kwik Focus that I need to mention.
First, it does not fit over the Meade dew shield (you must remove this to use the Kwik
Focus). And, secondly, stray cats will find the three removable plugs a necessity to play with
while you're observing on your front porch. Take precautions.
Off-axis solar filter: The 82mm off-axis solar filter is incredible! My first use involved
videotaping sunspots and a couple of bright limb flares. The detail was phenomenal. Using the
filter for visual observations was also incredible and I was pleased with the detail and color
afforded by the filter, even at extremely high magnifications. Since it is affixed to the Kwik
Focus and used during the daytime, the issue of the Kwik Focus not fitting over the Meade
dew shield becomes mute. I have also removed the solar filter (quickly unscrews from the
mount which is very convenient) and used it with my Swift 20x.80 wide-field binoculars, well,
MONocular, in this case. All in all, a superb product for solar observations.
12v 33AH battery: I cannot say enough about this superior power source. When it first
arrived, I thought I should field test it (essentially, beat it up). I had the LX200 12", all four of
my dew heaters (on maximum), a laptop, a SCSI/parallel adapter, the Astrovid 2000 video
camera, a Toshiba video monitor, an SBIG ST-7 CCD camera, and a CD player all
connected to the battery and the 110v inverter. Even with all that current being pulled, I was
able to observe for nearly three hours! On subsequent nights, I've been a tad more
conservative and have had the 'scope and heaters last all week long before needing a
recharge. The charge indicator is a great convenience, as well. I have not used the high output
connections yet, however, I am considering using it to charge an electrical fence to keep
those stray cats off the front porch.
All in all, Jim, I am very impressed with the quality of the workmanship and the functionality
of all the products I've received from you. If they ever bestow a Nobel Prize for astronomical
products, you would be a most worthy recipient.
If any of your potential customers would like to contact me regarding the abovementioned
gear, please don't hesitate to give them my e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, as I'd
be happy to share what I've learned about the Jimi Kendricks Experience.
George E. Mahlberg....Princeton, NJ
Just wanted to let you know that the tent arrived in good shapeand we FINALLY got a
chance to set it up tonight in the field across the street from our house.
IT WORKS GREAT and it only took us about 15 minutes to set it up! Wow, are we
impressed. We took your advice, bought a stool and lowered our tripod. It was a new
experience for us.
If anyone has any questions regarding this tent, tell them to e-mail me (email@example.com)
- I'll be glad to recommend it. Also, will give people your 800 number if they are interested in
The thing is really big - great for all our gear and the two of us to get around in.
Thanks for getting it here so quick.
Carl & Kippy Lindsey, Livingston, TX
This is a very well made product. The ease of assembly is marvelous. I have a very bad back
and the ease with which it went went up was great.
I found it to be spectacular in its roominess, very adequate space, with good radial viewing of
the sky. There was lots of room for my 8" SCT and all my gear. It was great to be able to
sleep in the tent too.
I love using the tent!
My only complaint is that the pegs need upgrading as they tend to break in hard soil.*
Hank Biegalski, Sicklerville, NJ
*We have heard this a number of times and we have replaced the pegs with 8" steel spikes (They do the job very nicely).
I love using the "Observer" tent. I had doubts that my 12" LX200 on a super tripod would
actually fit but it does. There is lots of room! I got my scope and my roll up observing table in
there no problem. Being able to sleep in the tent is great! I do some long exposure
astrophotography and it is just great to be able to go lay down and sleep between exposures.
Anyone with questions can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Minaya, Lansing MI
Take a look at a customers web site showing our tent in use by him: