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Pneumatic Antenna Launchers

Pneumatic Antenna Launchers

2023-06-04 14:58:47

Pneumatic Antenna Launchers

Pneumatic Antenna Launching Methods
Pneumatic Antenna Deployment Methods

My First Pneumatic Antenna Launcher – They’re much smaller now, see under

Information and Updates

What’s Pneumatic Antenna Launching?

Pneumatically Powered (Tennis Ball) Antenna Launching.
Pneumatic Line launching is probably a extra apt description.
First we want a line within the bushes, then we are able to pull up an antenna, which in
most instances is a protracted piece of wire.
Within the launcher pictured above a Tennis Ball is propelled by compressed air,
towing a fishing line over the tree.
Then we pull up nylon mason twine with the fishline, and eventually a wire
or heavier line as wanted.

Why does anybody have to Launch an Antenna?

It’s usually extra handy to make use of present bushes than to erect helps for
wire or beam antennas, particularly when these antennas are required for
short-term or emergency discipline use.
We arrange antennas for disasters and drills, tenting and contests,
apply and enjoyable.
With all of the functions for Homeland Safety there are a lot of potential
makes use of for fast deployment.
When you have a have to shortly arrange antennas in varied discipline conditions,
or you have got some very nice bushes in your yard,
you will have a use for Antenna Launching.

What’s a Pneumatic Antenna Launcher?

It’s a quite simple system that makes use of the power in a pressurized quantity of
fuel (typically air), a valve to launch the fuel, and a projectile (tennis ball)
in a tube that’s accelerated by the increasing fuel giving it the requisite
velocity to tug a light-weight line over the tree.

Why not use a … (Slingshot, Bow, Rock, Stick, Crescent wrench, Blackpowder Cannon, 12 Gauge)?

We have now used many various methods because the 70’s to place strains up into bushes.
Every system has benefits and downsides.
Throwing an object over a limb is the simplest, however is not going to attain very excessive,
and there’s a vital likelihood of getting the article caught.
Slingshots attain increased, and Bows attain increased but.
The primary drawback with all these methods is the projectile.
A lead sinker, arrow or crescent wrench can do a variety of harm if it
lands within the fallacious place.
If you’re placing a line over a tree in your yard, there are sometimes
native ordinances towards utilizing slingshots and bows.
What is required is a extremely secure projectile, and a way for getting it
over the tree exactly for optimum security and effectiveness.
When you have a extremely tall tree, then a Tennis Ball Launcher will permit
you to go increased than most slingshots or bows.
Even a small Pneumatic Tennis Ball launcher can attain up greater than 150 toes,
and it’s attainable to go a lot increased with the simpler fashions.

No, We didn’t attempt the Black Powder Cannon.
I recall seeing an article about that in 73 journal years in the past.
I feel we have discovered a safer answer…
And the 12 gauge – we have heard particulars, however we did not and do not you attempt that one both…

My slingshot/bow works fantastic, why contemplate a Pneumatic Launcher?

You would possibly contemplate a Pneumatic Launcher if you’re considering extra
Efficiency or larger Security. Slingshots and Bows work, however Pneumatics
work higher. Eric’s huge launcher can put a tennis ball up over 600 toes
excessive (with no line). The small CSV19 reaches as much as 200 toes towing line,
and the dimunitive CSV17 goes over 150 toes towing line. These
launchers are 19 and 17 inches lengthy, respectively, and the heights
are measured size of line pulled out. Add about 9 or 10 toes to these
numbers to get the apogee, because the reel is about 10 toes off the bottom
when launching upwards. You may make launchers go increased, and we have now,
however the availability of bushes that tall and feedlines that lengthy makes
it hardly ever helpful. So I scaled the pneumatics again to the smaller sizes.
Even be very cautious with the slingshot and bow, there are a lot of
accidents every year, particularly with the slingshots.

If you’re going to put up an antenna within the yard the tennis ball is
lots safer than a lead sinker, and far simpler to clarify to your neighbor.

Why use a Tennis Ball?

There are three major causes to make use of Tennis Balls.
Security, Security and eventually, Security.
I’ve learn of so many accidents with slingshots every year that I can not
suggest them.
A lead sinker flying by way of the air is probably an accident ready to occur.
They bounce off the tree, the road snags and the sinker returns on the road rebound,
or they get hung up and are available scorching down when the road is pulled, probably at
increased velocity than even the slingshot can impart.
The slingshot isn’t the issue, the projectile is the issue!

A Tennis ball is inherently a reasonably secure projectile.
They’re huge so that they decelerate shortly, limiting the gap they
will journey and the rate they affect with.
They aren’t arduous, so they have an inclination to do little harm after they land.
It’s one thing acquainted so individuals know what to anticipate.
It’s large enough to see pretty nicely.
They’re out there and cheap.

How Excessive will these Launchers attain?

130 to 200 toes of top is well attained with a Pneumatic Tennis Ball
Antenna Launcher whereas towing a 50 pound check fishing line.
It’s attainable to go a lot increased with the extra environment friendly or bigger launchers,
however we have now not discovered appropriate antenna bushes a lot over 130 toes tall.
So we contemplate 150 toes to be about optimum.

Are there different makes use of for these Launchers?

We have now seen various different functions for these launchers:

  • Reducing excessive tree branches utilizing a pull-chain noticed
  • Deploying Security Strains for roof, tree or tower work
  • Placing climbing strains in place for treetop canopies
  • Coaching canines for fetching after a light report
  • Placing a brief wire antenna half method up a tower with out climbing
  • Placing a line throughout a pond
  • Fishing – Casting far out within the surf or lake

Are these Launchers Harmful?

If you happen to’ve performed or watched tennis you understand that the serve is (often) one
of the tougher hit strokes in tennis.
Properly, a very good serve has extra velocity than is required for launching
a tennis ball over most tall bushes.
The ball slows down shortly, and on the far facet of the tree (towing the
fishing line) it comes down very slowly.

Our launchers use velocities decrease than a quick serve.

The only materials for constructing an Antenna Launcher is Schedule 40
stress rated PVC.
This materials is designed for working pressures in extra of 200 kilos per
sq. inch, and the pressures we use are as much as 60 or 80 psi.
So whereas the pressures are inside design parameters, the producers
of PVC pipe and fittings RECOMMEND AGAINST its use with COMPRESSED AIR.
If PVC containing compressed air is fractured, it might lead to excessive velocity
PVC shrapnel.
So keep away from breaking it whereas it’s pressurized, and put on security glasses
when utilizing launchers or any energy software. High and low temperatures make PVC brittle or
delicate so launchers shouldn’t be utilized in excessive temperatures
Word that in a few years of constructing and utilizing these launchers we have now
seen a number of damaged in varied methods and by no means have wee seen any shrapnel.
The low quantity and stress we use isn’t prone to produce any.

Are these Launchers Regulated? Aren’t they Unlawful??

Right here within the US the Federal BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) has dominated that pneumatic
launchers are NOT firearms.
Some Municipalities have laws which will have an effect on the use or possession of
Launchers. Such guidelines should not frequent, and those that do exist often deal with
combustion sort launchers somewhat than pneumatics.
Verify with the native authorities to make certain.
Word that slingshots and bows are typically unlawful to make use of in residential areas,
parks, campgrounds, and many others.
Right here is the letter from the US BATF on the subject

How a lot does a Pneumatic Antenna Launcher value?

The supplies for a launcher value between wherever from about $60 to $100 or extra,
plus a
fishing reel, some line and some tennis balls. When you have leftover components
from a garden sprinkler mission it might be a lot much less… Launcher Kits
can be found beginning at about $100, see the Online Catalog.

How arduous is it to construct a Launcher?

It depends upon the mannequin, and it ranges from pretty easy to fairly complicated.
If you happen to can reduce and glue PVC and thread pipe fittings collectively you may
construct the straightforward fashions.
Some require drilling and tapping a gap or two within the plastic,
some want a bit of soldering.
Kits can be found for some fashions, so the arduous components are already finished.
The time required varies from a number of hours on up.
The extra complicated designs might require a pal with a lathe to machine some PVC.
Typically talking, as measurement/weight/value go up, so does efficiency.
A low efficiency design would possibly require 80 psi to launch 150 toes
excessive, whereas a better efficiency design would possibly do the identical job at
25 psi.
Select a design that matches your development capacity,
price range, measurement necessities and the bushes you could launch over.

What sort of Pneumatic Antenna Launcher ought to I construct?

Eric (WD6CMU) and I (Alan WB6ZQZ) have been experimenting with Tennis Ball Launchers
since 2002.
We have now constructed almost a dozen totally different fashions, and I’ve written software program that
analyzes and predicts efficiency.
A pair had inadequate efficiency, and a few others had
extra efficiency.
(Extra efficiency isn’t all the time an issue because it does permit
working at decrease pressures, however it might imply that the Launcher
is bigger and heavier than it must be.)
We appear to be deciding on about sixteen inches of barrel size,
a 1″ sprinkler or 3/4″ pneumatic valve,
and roughly 60 to 100 cubic inches of air storage.
This produces a launcher that weighs within the neighborhood of
5 to seven kilos,
and produces enough efficiency at about 40 to 60 psi for many launches.
The barrel materials is 2.5″ schedule 40 PVC, into which a tennis ball
suits very snugly, or 2.5″ SDR21 PVC into they match almost completely.

To get particular I’ll point out a few of our fashions,

  • The CSV19 and its smaller sibling
    the CSV17 are pretty easy to construct,
    and can be found in equipment type. This may occasionally
    be one of the best compromise and we offer essentially the most detailed info on constructing
    this unit, in addition to partial and full kits of ready components
    on our Online Order Page.

  • The U37 and DU36 U valve fashions are easy to construct however
    are a bit bigger than among the newer designs. The unique QRP Quarterly
    article describes constructing the primary (electrical) model of this mannequin (U37)
    in some element and the pdf is out there right here. It was designed to suit between
    the wheel wells of a Toyota 4Runner and is 37″ lengthy. I later modified this to
    pneumatic triggering and it turned the DU36.
    It is not going to match within the Rubbermaid(tm) tote packing containers that we use for our newer designs.

  • The Discipline Day 2003 particular isn’t arduous to construct and doesn’t require
    unique instruments. It’s a bit bigger and heavier and dearer
    than the newer smaller fashions.
    There are some footage and data here for
    the Discipline Day 2003 Particular.
    It additionally is not going to match within the Rubbermaid tote because of the total size.

  • The QE19 Fast Exhaust Valve design is the only to
    construct and is pretty
    light-weight and small however requires a bit extra air stress to function.
    The three/4″ Fast Exhaust valve limits the airflow considerably, however it does attain
    as much as about 150 toes of top at 70 psi, and it may possibly safely take 100 psi.
    Because of all of the brass components the price is considerably increased as nicely, however there is no such thing as a
    have to bore, drill or faucet PVC so development is easy and few instruments
    are required.

  • Eric’s Trident design using the soda bottle stress chamber is the lightest
    however has some troublesome to make threads, and the stress must be stored low to
    shield the chamber.

  • The DV19 Twin Valve is difficult to construct however doesn’t require unique instruments.
    It has very excessive efficiency. As a result of excessive components rely the price is on the excessive facet
    and the load is excessive additionally. It nonetheless suits within the Rubbermaid tote, however
    almost fills it up. The excessive efficiency permits reaching tall heights at low air
    pressures. I don’t present detailed directions on constructing it, however there are
    a number of images within the Tale of
    Two Launchers
    web page.

  • The DFTV19 Turbo Valve requires a
    lathe to make the components.
    It additionally offers very excessive efficiency. As a result of customized made components the load is
    fairly low and the price is low however the effort required is excessive.

    A drawing and a few images can be found there for individuals who have entry to a lathe..

  • The Spud Tech TB500LP is commercially out there. It’s a bit bigger and
    heavier than our present fashions however ought to do the job.

The PADS Pneumatic Antenna Deployment System with Equipment

What’s a Pneumatic Antenna Deployment System?

That is the title for the Launcher-in-a-Toolcase proven above.
The CSV17 launcher suits properly into this difficult case.
It could be small however has been capable of attain over 150 toes
in top.
The PADS launcher and arduous case can be found on the order web page.
Additionally proven are a pair of Twine Reels containing 500 toes of
nylon twine. They’re out there in 270 foot lengths as nicely.
The gray cylinder close to the underside heart of the picture is a
bicycle sort CO2 tire inflator. It may be used
with various totally different capability CO2 cylinders.
Utilizing the low-cost 12 gram cylinders produces sufficient stress
for one good launch per cylinder. Additionally on this case, however not
seen is a 12 oz Paintball CO2 cylinder saved
contained in the barrel, together with two tennis balls. The CO2
stress regulator is behind the suitable finish of the ramrod.
There are a complete of six tennis balls on this picture, two hidden
within the barrel and one hidden contained in the reel on the decrease left.
The Mini-Coaxial reel on the decrease left is a particular reel made for this launcher
to slot in the case. It’s a scaled-down Zip-type reel with about
a one foot circumference.
Simply behind the launcher’s set off is a bag of 12 gram CO2
cylinders for the bicycle inflator.
See the PADS Web Page.

What a few Ball-valve sort launcher?

The only pneumatic launcher is a stress storage chamber, a barrel, and a
ball valve in between.
These should not significantly appropriate for antenna launching as a result of the
efficiency depends on how shortly the valve is opened.
Moreover, opening the valve manually disturbs the purpose, so it
might be troublesome to make it go the place desired.

What a few Combustion powered launcher?

Combustion sort launchers use lighter fluid,
spray deoderant, propane or another gasoline
in a closed pipe chamber behind a projectile with an ignition supply to gentle it off.
Along with some security considerations, combusion launchers might produce considerably
inconsistent shot-to-shot efficiency, which makes them troublesome to
use as a critical Antenna Launching software.
Additionally they misfire often, require cleansing and upkeep and are extra usually regulated than pneumatic
Let’s not use them for Antenna work!

How Small and Mild can an Efficient Pneumatic Antenna Launcher be?

First, I am going to outline ‘efficient’ as any launcher that may toss a 4 ounce
tennis ball to a top of not less than 150 toes towing a fishing line.
That’s fairly satisfactory for our functions.

The smallest launcher that meets this criterion that we have now constructed is the
CSV17 proven above within the PADS equipment. This can be a 17 inch lengthy mannequin.
The favored
CSV19 Compact Low Cost Sprinkler Valve Antenna Launcher
and the Quick Exhaust Valve Launcher
are solely a bit of bigger.
At about six kilos, these are sufficiently small to suit right into a Rubbermaid
tote field, or lower than 19 inches in size.
There may be loads of room left within the tote field for line, antennas, feedline,
and different gear.

The CSV19 Compact Low Cost Sprinkler Valve Antenna Launcher
is assembled from plumbing components most of which can be found from native
plumbing or dwelling enchancment shops for beneath $100. Some machining is required to make them
match collectively as proven above. The darkish gray barrel is SDR21. Schedule 40
additionally works, however the ball could be very tight. SDR21 suits higher however is tougher to search out.
That is the bottom value easy to assemble launcher I’ve designed (the CSV17 variant is a bit of simpler and even more cost effective).
The hyperlink above has pretty full development directions.
The gathering proven above is proven full with
Saunders Zip Reel with yellow Spectra sort artificial line, and a few ready
Tennis Balls sitting on a Rubbermaid 10 gallon tote. The gear suits into the tote
with room to spare.

QE19 Photo

The QE19 Quick Exhaust Valve Launcher
is the smallest and lightest of my launchers.
It’s primarily based on an industrial quick-exhaust air valve (the silver merchandise within the picture, linked above).
That is a simple launcher to homebrew,
however because of the industrial and brass components prices considerably
greater than the mannequin above, about $100.
The hyperlink above has development info.
This launcher is sitting on prime of one of many Rubbermaid ™ 10 gallon tote
packing containers that I exploit to hold gear to discipline.
There may be room for many gear in there along with the launcher.

The lightest launcher we have finished up to now for Tennis Ball Antenna Line Launching
is Eric’s Trident which makes use of soda bottles for the
air stress reservoir and weighs a litte lower than 5 kilos.
Eric additionally got here up with a pleasant mount for an archery fishing line reel that matches round
the barrel and feeds line very easily.
Take a look at Eric’s web site at for his Saunder’s Zip-reel mount and Trident Launcher.

See Also

The Launcher on the left is the Fast Exhaust mannequin, right here proven within the 28 inch configuration with a spinning reel mounted just under the ahead finish of the barrel
(arduous to see towards the foliage on this picture).
This picture was taken earlier than it was shortened to the 19″ model proven above.
The 2 launchers within the picture have been used on Discipline Day 2003 to place up quite a few antennas.
Discipline Day is an Beginner Radio ‘Emergency Drill’ primarily, establishing and working in discipline circumstances for a few days.
It’s a variety of enjoyable and a very good check of our gear and method, each radio and Antenna Launching.

Extra Pneumatic Antenna Launcher Examples

Excessive Efficiency in a compact bundle: DV19

This mannequin packs a pair of 1 inch sprinkler valves in to a Rubbermaid sized tote bundle.
It does not take a lot stress for this unit to achieve 150 toes of top!
Constructing that is fairly a problem with all of the plumbing components packed in tight.
There are the 2 1″ sprinkler valves, a fast exhaust valve set off, two test valves, a paddle set off valve,
and a few specifically tailored (shortened) PVC fittings. It was made with pretty minimal instruments – a drill press and a belt sander, plus a radial arm noticed. None of those instruments are
completely required – this design will be made with hand instruments.
It’s a bit heavy, round 10 kilos. As proven under it consists of the Saunders Zip Reel
and a detachable barrel extension that improves the effectivity of the launcher.
For more information on this launcher see
A Tale of Two (Compact) Launchers.

DV19 Photo

Extremely Efficiency in a Compact Package deal: DFTV19

This six pound mannequin packs an amazing functionality in a really light-weight bundle.
It suits within the Rubbermaid containers as nicely. The Darn Quick Turbo Valve is a 1.2″ ported
home made piston valve with a self-venting and turbo actuation options that
make it low value, gentle weight, and extremely efficient. The one drawback
to this design is the requirement for precision machined components within the valve.
I bought a small lathe ( and made them with no prior machine
store expertise, so it is not all that tough.
Extra data is out there within the The DFTV Story.

DFTV19 Photo

Extra Examples will be discovered by way of hyperlinks within the “Extra Data” part under.

How is Launch Strain developed?

The pressures and volumes concerned are just like a bicycle
tire, so automotive or bicycle air pumps are nearly proper.
The moveable 12 volt electrical ones are nice.
They run from a automotive battery or are much more moveable with a Gel Cell.
Hand or foot pumps work nicely additionally, and benefit from a very good
cardio exercise.
Some people use CO2 methods that are very handy at larger value.
I just lately have been testing two CO2 methods – a Paintball cylinder
and regulator, and a Bicycle tire filler utilizing 12 gram cylinders.
CO2 methods value a bit extra to personal and function, however they’re fairly
amazingly efficient and quick.

I examined a 6 gallon compressed air tank just lately and beginning with 100 to 110 psi
was capable of get about 15 pictures at 50 psi from it with the CSV19 launcher.
The smaller chambers on the CSV17 and QE19 would get much more launches per fill.

Here’s a moveable battery powered filling station just like the one I’ve.
This has develop into a favourite for charging the launcher. It takes about one minute.
Mine has a 12 volt 17 amp gel battery and a compressor and was beneath 50 bucks
at Harbor Freight instruments.
After you launch the antenna you may hook as much as the 12 volt gel battery and
run the station!

Jumpstart Box Photo

Detailed Antenna Launcher Building Articles

Compact Sprinkler Valve and
Quick Exhaust Valve models
have pretty development particulars on their internet pages.

I wrote a whole development article on the TBL-U37
pictured above (lead-in picture and electrical actuated above).
It was printed within the QRP Quarterly journal, Spring 2003.
A pdf version is available here.
Word that altering to pneumatic actuation makes a big
efficiency enchancment on this launcher. An analogous
launcher that has good efficiency is the Discipline Day Particular.
Data on this mannequin is out there on the
Modelling web page.

Can I purchase an Antenna Launcher already constructed?

We provide plans and kits and in addition construct launchers, see for particulars.

SpudGun Expertise builds launchers:
The SpudGun Technology Center.
They promote elements and full models (with out reels or launch balls).
Look beneath the “Launchers, Low Energy Pneumatic” hyperlinks.
UPDATE – the SpudTech enterprise is open once more.
The TBL500LP with a 24″ barrel and 12″ by 3″ chamber is about the suitable
efficiency degree.
(Disclaimer – I’ve not used any of SpudTech’s launchers.)

The place can I get Extra Details about Pneumatic Antenna Launchers?

There may be much more data on the internet.
Most of it’s not instantly Antenna Launching associated, however a lot will be realized there that’s relevant.
If you happen to discover the knowledge on this web site helpful and have an internet site of your personal,
please embody a hyperlink to this web page to assist others discover it.
When you have associated info and need a hyperlink right here on my web page drop me an electronic mail!

Different Launcher Building Web sites (Not essentially Antenna oriented)

Or Search the Net:

The next hyperlinks carry out Google internet searches with varied arguments that produce a lot of hits for this matter.

(We have now no management over the outcomes of those searches).

Production News and Ordering Pages
Online Catalog Pages
Antenna Launching Home Page

Ship e mail concerning this web page to Alan by way of AKBiocca at AKBeng dot com

Up to date 9/2016

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