›RTMC Astronomy Expo
Big Bear City, California
Originally called the Telescope Makers Conference, the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference (RTMC) was founded in 1969 by Clifford W. Holmes as a way for amateur telescope makers to share their craft. In 1975, the RTMC moved to its current home at Camp Oakes, a YMCA camp near Big Bear City. Located 50 miles northeast of Riverside in the San Bernardino mountains, the site offers space for camping, several dormitories and 18 three-sided shelters, a meeting/dining hall, and the Charles Walker Observatory. The camp is located at an elevation of 7,600 feet.
Since its inception, the RTMC has expanded to encompass all aspects of amateur astronomy from beginning to advanced topics and from telescope making to "armchair" astronomy. Recently, the RTMC has included events for the whole family with horseback riding, hikes, activities for spouses and activities for the young kids. In 2000, the official name of the conference was changed to the "RTMC Astronomy Expo."
During the RTMC the camp has more people than a typical recreational campground of its size, but the primary reason for attending is precisely because it offers a chance to rub shoulders with a large number of people who know telescopes and like to talk about them. What we offer is a chance to see and look through a large variety of telescopes (with relatively dark skies and high altitude), attend talks by professional and amateur astronomers on different aspects of telescope construction and use, see some astronomical equipment and software in use, and buy astronomical equipment and software (often at reduced prices).