Antenna Launcher Revisited

One of my favorite QRP groups is the 4 States QRP Group that sponsors Ozarkcon. Today we had an interesting thread going on their email list concerning slingshot antenna launcher and visibility of the line and sinker.

I’ve been working on that issue for a bit and offered my current solution. Still not 100% perfected, but it is working well now. Here in Florida, the tallest trees are mostly pines and the bark is pretty sticky with sap and lots of crooks and crannies that don’t allow monofilament fishing line to slide as freely as I’d like. I’ve tried the archery reel and slick braided line and although it does slide nicely through the trees, it is much slower and challenging to reel in and also is very prone to tangles and wind knotting which wastes time to untangle. In low wind or super sticky pine trees it is still the best solution.

Below are some photos of my cheapo solution to the slingshot line launcher. A $4 slingshot from Harbor Freight and a 99 cent shelf bracket from Lowe’s are the basic components. One challenge is being able to see where the sinker and line end up after the shot. I tried painting the sinkers, but in tall grass or lots of leafy trees, it did not show up as easily as I would like. The simple solution I found was to use fluorescent plastic surveyor’s tape (also from Lowe’s) to add both vivid color and some motion to help me locate the sinker whether in the trees, air or ground. I’ve also recently switched to red colored monofilament line called Cajun Red Lightning that offers a bit more visibility than clear monofilament.

Components

Here are the basic elements… slingshot, Shelf bracket, spincast reel

If you are looking for an inexpensive simple solution, this might be the answer! Give it a try and let us know how it works for you. Leave a comment or better yet, join the 4 States QRP Group and join the conversation.

Reel mount

Closeup of the mounting of the reel

complete

The assembled launcher — slingshot taped to bracket

Kelly McClelland, K4UPG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Florida, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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