Topband: tennis ball launcher for antennas

Charles Moizeau w2sh at
Wed Nov 28 22:24:48 EST 2018


Ditch the idea of using the tennis ball launcher.  Neither it nor the Zebco spinning reel will solve your problem which is basically to get your projectile to reach the target but not go much further beyond it, either into a danger zone or into some other tree.

Here's my technique.  Get yourself a plastic tarp (Harbor Freight has lots of these).  I wanted some extra thickness and weight so I got a silver one that is 10' x 20'.  Folded  down twice it makes a 5' x 10' surface.  I lay it on the ground with the 10' length pointing toward the target.

Estimating the distance to the target, I lay out about 15 percent more of the light weight line in an S shape back and forth on the tarp.  In my case I have about 300 yards of light weight line stored on a 9" plastic reel used by kite flyers.  This has enough weight so that when the weighted arrow has been shot and all the line on the tarp is used the reel jumps about 2' up in the air and brakes the the arrow before it can get into unwanted stuff.

I then lower the arrow to the ground, detach it and pull a heavier rope back to where I'm standing.

The tarp provides a friction-free surface for the light weight line.  The arrow won't seriously overshoot because there's a limited amount of line on the tarp before the gentle braking of the plastic reel.

There are some other tricks, but this should get you started in the right direction.

Charles, W2SH

From: Topband <topband-bounces at> on behalf of Wayne Kline <w3ea at>
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 6:34 PM
To: terry burge; topband at
Subject: Re: Topband: tennis ball launcher for antennas


I never used one of those pneumatic air launchers….. following your link  looks  like a great option.

In the past I have used a bow and arrow wit the bow having a Zebco spin cat real  attached. But was limited because  I have a 1000 ft road frontage tree line and arrows  descending can be a problem.

I  ran across a wrist rocket which uses a tennis ball … I  got a few hand balls  seemed to work better falling through the tree branches and have been using  it in that configuration for a while.

My trees are not in the 100ft range but more in the 50/60 ft


Wayne W3EA

Sent from Mail<> for Windows 10

From: Topband <topband-bounces at> on behalf of terry burge <ki7m at>
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 6:04:10 PM
To: topband at; terry burge
Subject: Topband: tennis ball launcher for antennas

Sometime back I bought one of those cheaper launchers that shot a 1-1.5 oz. fishing weight with fishing line attached. It was scary because if that fishing weight hit something other that the ground or the fish line broke you never knew where that thing was going to land.

I now have a CSV19 Pneumatic Antenna Launching System like you can see at<<<>>. I have used it with a lot of success and have seen it send a tennis ball over a 105' fir tree about half again as high. I think with the max 80# of pressure (think that is what the max is labeled)  can get a woven fish line over a tree at least 160' tall. 100+ feet for sure. The big thing is to have a lot of fish line on the fishing real and don't forget to open the bail. If you start breaking lines and try splicing them together that can be a problem catching on the reel spool. The new woven fish lines are even smaller and I think lighter than monofilament. Can't remember how many times I've had to search for the tennis ball because the 30-40# fishing line broke. Even have one on my third guy line up on my tower.

Wind can sometimes be a problem of course. Was really a problem with the first launcher using that in Keizer (in town). Hitting right above the top of a tall fir tree as a target you would be surprised just how far off one can go.



Searchable Archives: - Topband Reflector
Searchable Archives: - Topband Reflector

More information about the Topband mailing list