In 1988 I purchased an 8inch Newtonian from Orion Optics (UK) based in Crewe. In 2000 I had the mirror resilvered and in 2004 resurrected the 'scope with a Meade Equatorial Mount and a Magellan GOTO all in a Childs Play House! I completed the project just in time to move from Worcstershire UK to the Cayman Islands, ( Jan 2005) so then had to take the whole thing apart.....
Buying the scope in 1988 was a pretty basic setup- no tube cap was included, but aging. Computer buffs might recognise the substitute... a magnetic tape case. As for the observatories location I was stuck I had to put the whole thing near a large hedge to avoid lights.
In 1999 I bought a Meade ETX 90 RA Model.. only recently upgraded to the GOTO version in 2006. This scope has been very successfull and has travelled with me extensively. No damage apart from the tripod which always travelled in aircraft holds, the scope is always hand luggage!
Heres a picture of the ETX in action for the Transit Of Venus in 2004. Aslo seen in the background is the "observatory". The background shows the River Severn Valley just North Of Bewdley, Worcestershire
In 2005 due to the move Overseas from eBay I bought a small refractor- short focus but very reasonable it included an EQ1 equatorial mount and RA drive too!
Cameras : An old Olympus OM-1 which worked really well with the ETX RA, less so with the newer model ( better in Polar Mount settings)
For the telescope itself I have also used
Electronic Eyepiece : The "cheap" Meade Monochromatic one.
Webcam Tu U Cam Pro