What is an Antenna Launcher?
An Antenna Launcher is a line launcher optimized for placing antenna support lines. Compressed air or CO2 is used to propel a (safe) projectile towing a lightweight line over or across an obstacle like a tree, brush, structure, tank, aqueduct or expanse of water and this light line is then used to pull across heavier lines to eventually support antennas, safety lines, etc. Occasionally an antenna conductor is towed directly but this is hazardous if there are any exposed power conductors in the area.
If you want to learn more about the development of Antenna Launching and Pneumatic Antenna Launchers, please visit our Antenna Launching pages. If you are interested in our available Launchers, read on.
Which Launcher to Order?
We offer two sizes of launcher. The CSV19 is about 19 inches in length, uses 4″ diameter pipe in the chamber and is designed to fit in a 10 gallon Rubbermaid(tm) tote. It can reach about 180 feet in height in good conditions (height depends on conditions that may vary). The smaller CSV17 (example shown above) is about 17 inches long, and uses 3″ diameter pipe in the pressure chamber. It is designed to fit in an 18 inch tool case. The CSV17 reaches about 130 feet in height. The CSV17 is a bit ‘more efficient’ and will make a good launch on a single 12 gram CO2 charge (use a bicycle tire filler adapter). The CSV19 is more of a magnum launcher with slightly greater capability to but it weighs more and requires more air volume.
Launchers are available in several configurations:
- Basic Kit
- Super Kit
- Super-MCR Kit
- PADS Super Kit (CSV17 Only)
- Assembled versions of the Super (and PADS) Kits.
The Basic Kits include the parts for the launcher. This includes the special and hard to find SDR21 barrel and the precision machined parts, the pressure gauge, the fill valve, the trigger and the modified main valve. The full parts list detail is on the ordering web pages. You will need PVC Primer and Cement, and a few tools to assemble the launcher as listed below. You will also need to prepare Tennis Balls, and you will need some accessories to Launch for Antennas.
The Super Kits go one step further. They include the Basic parts for the launcher, a launch ball loop kit for five tennis balls including a safety ball holder, a ramrod, a pressure safety relief valve, a tap for the holes, and either a reel mount for a fishing reel (fishing reel not supplied) or the Mini Coaxial Reel with the special High Visibility 50 pound test Spectra type Launching Line, depending on the kit model (MCR reels in MCR sets only). (Note that the previously available ZIP reels (by Saunders) are no longer available.
The Deluxe PADS Super Kit (Pneumatic Antenna Deployment System, shown at the top of this page with optional accessories) goes one step further yet (beyond the Super Kits) and includes a special Mini-Coaxial reel with Spectra-type Launch Line, a pair of plastic reels of nylon twine and a Hard Case for the CSV17 launcher and accessories.
To build a Kit you need (some kits include some of this):
- PVC primer and cement
- Q tips and paper towels
- 1/8 NPT tap, drill and bit
- phillips screwdriver
- brillo type scrubbing pad and running water
- fine sandpaper or sanding block
- pencil and tape measure
- a few index cards and scotch tape
- masking tape
- tennis balls
- utility knife
- leather sewing needle
- clean sand
- postal scale (to weigh 2 ounces)
- hot melt glue gun and glue
- source of air pressure
- ability to follow instructions
- a place to work that is not too cold and has good ventilation, away from small children
- a little patience
The Pre-Assembled Version can be selected on the Super or PADS Kits, and we will build the launcher for you. This takes a bit longer, of course. These come with 3 Pre-Prepared Launch Balls but do not include the tap, loop kit or safety ball holding tool. Add air and launch!
Selecting a Reel
You could just lay the line on the ground, and some do, but it is more convenient to use a reel. If you already have a moderate size spinning reel (or closed face spin-cast reel) they work fine. They can be mounted on a PVC slip-collar with some hose clamps, such as provided in the Super Kit (this is called the Fishing Reel Mount). You can even hose-clamp a fishing reel directly on the barrel of a launcher, though it is a bit less convenient to hold the whole launcher when retrieving the line instead of removing the coupler and holding only the reel and coupler. Instead of a fishing reel you can mount a medium size spool of monofilament on the coupler using an L bracket from the hardware store, a long bolt, some washers and a hose clamp. It is a bit more effort to wind up, but it works!
The best feeding reel is the Zip Reel. This reel is nearly 2 feet in circumference and feeds line freely without snags, producing the greatest height launches. It is preassembled and loaded with 125 yards of quality 50 lb test Teflon-impregnated Spectra line by Eric WD6CMU. This is included with the Super-Zip kits. The Zip reel can hold a great deal more line if you are careful to avoid tensioning it too tightly on the spool. (No longer available, see Mini Coaxial Reel below.
The Custom Mini-Coaxial reel is provided in the PADS kit (photo at the top of this page). This is essentially a scaled down version of the Zip Reel designed to fit in the space available in the PADS Hard Case. It works well and feeds about 15 inches of line per turn. This reel holds 125 yards of Launch Line. It is available for use with all launchers, and replaces the no longer available ZIP reel.
For more information or ordering please visit:
- CSV17 Launcher Page
- CSV19 Launcher Page
- PADS Launcher Page
- Parts and Accessories Page
- Launcher User Manual
- Online Catalog
NOTE – details subject to change without notice. These launchers are built from available parts and materials and availability controls what we can use (and it changes slightly with time).