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    Re: Bubble sextants on eBay
    From: Paul Hirose
    Date: 2006 Dec 31, 14:11 -0800

    I've bought only one sextant on eBay. It was a Kollsman periscopic
    bubble sextant. The price was rather high (about $100), but the sextant
    was in excellent condition in every respect. The seller even included a
    photocopy of the manual.
    The only way to be sure about the bubble is to walk the seller through
    the process of forming the bubble. Ask if the averager works too.
    Be careful about batteries -- my A-12 sextant is not usable at night
    because modern C cells don't fit the bubble light assembly. I guess
    1940s cells were slightly smaller in diameter. I remember one of the
    guys on this list saying he had a friend modify his A-12 with a lathe to
    fix that problem.
    AN5851 sextants are common on eBay. I almost bought one a few years ago.
    The seller checked the bubble and averager for me, and verified the
    radioactive paint (to illuminate the bubble at night) was still in good
    condition. The deal never went through, though. I can't remember the
    reason. I still want to get one of those someday.
    The AN5851s have electric illumination for reading the altitude scales,
    but somewhere I read that a small red flashlight is less bother than
    connecting the battery power pack and cable, so it's not a big deal if
    those pieces are missing.
    A few years ago I reported my results with the A-12 and Kollsman:
    My online bubble sextant manual may help:
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