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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow

John Raydo (K0IZ) on February 4, 2012
View comments about this article!

Using a crossbow for antenna installation:

A recent windstorm knocked down a tree holding up one end of my wire antenna. I needed an accurate way to get my antenna into another tree. Climbing the tree was not a consideration. My solution might be of interest to others.

Don, WØDEW, is our radio club’s resident expert on shooting antenna lines into trees with a crossbow. He is fast and exceedingly accurate in setting up our Field Day antennas. Following his example I purchased a 150 lb crossbow on eBay. These are readily available in the range of $80 to $100. I also purchased a “stringer string” to make it easier to attach the bow string.

I made up two (one is spare) “bolts” (arrows) using 5/16 stainless steel rod, each 21” long. A small hole was drilled about ¾ inch near end of each bolt to attach string. A concave notch was filed at that same end to fit the bow string. These bolts are heavy enough to carry the line through the tree.

Mason’s Line (string) was purchased at Home Depot. Pick a bright color for visibility. The attached picture shows my 150 lb crossbow, two bolts (painted red), and a spool of mason's line.

When ready to use your crossbow, attach one end to the small hole in the bolt. Carefully unwind about twice the length of string as the desired tree height. Avoid sticks and obstacles that might hang up the string.

Cock the bow and place the safety on. Insert the bolt with the string coming out the front of the bow. Release the safety. Stand behind the unwound string. Don’t stand on the string! Aim bow and shoot.

If the placement is ok, use the string to pull up heavier antenna rope. If you missed your spot, do not try to pull the bolt back. It will get caught in the tree. Fortunately it is probably on the other side of the tree. Cut loose the string from the bolt and then pull back the string.

After several practice shoots to adjust the crossbow sights, I was able to place the bolt within about ½ foot of desired location at a 50 ft height. Maximum height with mason’s line is about 70 ft or so. Need more? Monofilament fishing line on a reel should carry to the next county.

Be advised that a 150 lb crossbow is a hunting weapon and is as dangerous as a gun. Do not point at anyone. Keep the safety on until ready to shoot. Obey local laws.

John Raydo, KØIZ

Member Comments:
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Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K5FH on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"Be advised that a 150 lb crossbow is a hunting weapon and is as dangerous as a gun. Do not point at anyone. Keep the safety on until ready to shoot. Obey local laws."

Very good advice. I would add that most laws against discharging weapons include instruments like crossbows. You might want to check with local authorities before using a crossbow for this purpose.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KW6LA on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good article John and thanks for sharing with us Hams. As a kid, I have launched things using everything from calcium carbide to air cannons.
If you are not experience with these toys, go to some open range to see how things can go wrong. Here in LA lots are 50’ by 150’,so not a lot
of room for error. Point is, know what you are doing with the launchers so you don’t get in trouble. For those that do, blast away !
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WD8OQX on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
How does this compare to the WRIST ROCKET (type of slingshot) method?

I think the WRIST ROCKETS can be used just about anywhere, as far as laws. But still dangerous if not properly used.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K1CJS on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Don't try this method around power lines--especially with a metal projectile. Don't try it around populated areas. Don't try it around any buildings. In short, this is a good method for putting wires in trees in an area where nobody is around and nothing can get distroyed accidently--which is almost nowhere these days. A tennis ball with a sligshot is still one heck of a lot safer and as the previous poster said can be legally used nearly anywhere.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K1CJS on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Whoops! Too early! Meant destroyed. 73!
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KX5JT on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
K1CJS: You know you can edit your message to correct your errors. You just have to use the "edit" function on the top right of the post... so long as you are logged in as the same person who made the post! :)
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KX5JT on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Heck.. maybe you cant anymore.. or only in the forums.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K0IZ on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Additional info re my use of crossbow: My station is located in rural Colorado, no power lines, no neighbors. I completely agree with above comment re not using around power lines (probably also goes for any other method of slinging a wire up into a tree). To prevent the bolt (arrow) from going too far (neighbors, etc), only unwind about twice the height of desired tree location. That will stop the bolt. John.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K2NF on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Highly recommended reasonably safe alternative if you want do shots of messenger lines over 200 foot trees. Works better than you could ever imagine :

See the eHam product reviews :

Reviews Summary for WB6ZQZ Pneumatic Antenna Launcher
Reviews: 9 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $100
Description: Compressed-air tennis ball launcher for
stringing wire antennas into trees
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.qsl.net/wb6zqz/csv19/
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N8XI on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Very good idea.
I use two methods.
1) plastic (kids) bow & arrows from K-mart -
too long ago to remember when.
probably less than 35 lb pull, depending on how
tall the tree is I may add a bolt for extra weight.
A fiberglass fishing pole is taped to a pipe in the ground. Line tied to the end of the arrow.
2) Sling shot with a fishing reel mounted via a homemade adapter. Use various sizes of nuts.

When the fish line reaches the other side of the tree - may take a few tries :)
Then a nylon rope is pulled back with the fish line,
antenna connected and away we go!
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W6ZKH on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
FYI......Crossbows are ILLEGAL in California for both use and possession. (What isnt illegal in CA??) I would rather go with an Air Cannon or fishing pole setup although I keep waiting for the state to make those illegal too.
John W6ZKH
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KC2RGW on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Though it doesn't have the range a crossbow would, the BigShot tree work slingshot that Sherril Tree Products sells is a great alternative for the safety conscious. http://www.sherrilltree.com/Professional-Gear/Throwline-and-Weights_2

The projectiles if you order their throw bags are nylon sacks with shot in them. If they fell on someone's head it would merely just hurt a bit, much safer than a metal rod.

They are nylon bags and don't snag on branches.

I'm good to about 80 feet with a 10oz or heavier bag towing up 3mm slick line with it. The added weight of the throw bags is great for ensuring it drops through the canopy of the trees, particularly nice when leaves are on the branches.

Just be careful using bows, cross bows or the pneumatic launchers. Ever see what 100psi will do when it lets go and plastic containment fractures? It scares me but good.

With the bright yellow sectional utility pole that it is mounted on, it's less likely to draw attention as something nefarious as well as you would hardly be hiding from anyone with an 8 foot yellow pole. I got the one that breaks down to two four foot sections, much more handy for transporting.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KE7FD on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I never cease to be amazed at how many times articles, you tube videos and the like come out with how to hang wires in trees, but none of these ever mention the one thing that has been proven to work: A Grappling Hook. Over the course of history grappling hooks have been been used in ancient warfare, modern military actions, rescue situations, and probably Chuck Norris (hi hi) with great success. I launched one over the tree tops in such a way that it snagged onto limbs and vines that has held it aloft for quite some time. It's made of PVC tubing with elbows, launched using an air canon to place it (but a cross bow would work too I suppose). I thought I'd try it as a proof of concept thinking I'd have to rebuild it at some point of better materials but heck, it's still up there. Working with PVC is so easy that I didn't think to take any pictures at the time and assuming that other folks would have tried using these too. They can be built heavy enough not to end up in the next county, broad enough to snag anything they come in contact with and grab a whole bunch of it. The hook need not be some fancy military surplus item but it does need to be strong enough to hold what you're using it for. The hook can be metal too and smaller by using coat hooks from Home Depot. Unlike lead weights and who knows what else, one shot is all it takes if you aim for over the tree tops. Make sure that your line length is not too long but you do want it to fall behind the tree tops so it'll snag as much as it can. This way too, it'll have enough around it to last year round and become more or less permanent. I used a small but solid pulley attached to mine to raise and lower the corner of the 80m loop it's on. For years I've had to spend lots of time with trial and error shots to place lead weights in such a way hoping they would fall to the ground so I could tie the end off. Not with the grappling hook. One shot, it snagged in place and I pulled the corner of the loop up in a few minutes.

Maybe it's my interest in the History Channel that sparked this idea. The old notion still applies, "If it works, don't fix it".

Adding to what's already been said, and from the old TV show, Hill Street Blues, "Let's be careful out there."

Glen - KE7FD
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W4VR on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The main problems I see with using a cross bow is 1)they are hard to cock and 2)they are too powerful and tend to way overshoot the targeted limb. A conventional bow is easier to use. I've been using a Walmart wrist-type slingshot for decades and have a Zebco casting reel mounted right on the slingshot frame using a 6-inch bolt and small hose clamps. With 15 pound monofilament and a 1-1.5 oz sinker I rarely have a problem getting the sinker over a tree limb or crotch. I find this setup easy to use, inexpensive, and very accurate.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WB4TJH on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'll stick with my trusty slingshot, Zebco 33 reel and 3/4 ounce fishing weights. I can shoot a weight up INTO the tree, not just over a lone limb, and the weight will pull thru the tree, not hang up like an arrow. It's safer, easier, and cheaper my way.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W4HLN on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow Reply
by KW6LA on February 4, 2012
Good article John and thanks for sharing with us Hams. As a kid, I have launched things using everything from calcium carbide to air cannons.

**********************************************************

Hmmm! Another old Miner or Miners son??!!

I to have wasted a lot of Calcium Carbide shooting stuff HI HI!

Wound up with no eyebrows once! HAR!

Ernie / W4HLN
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K8QV on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Rather than over-engineer and reinvent the wheel (the Ham way!) every Field Day or radio outing, my friend used the slingshot he already had, and I use a fishing pole. Cheap (free) and accurate. A crossbow seems like overkill and an unnecessary hazard to me, but as long as you're having fun.....

 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N4DSP on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Overkill and extremely dangerous using a crossbow. I use one for deer and I know first hand how powerful these are. They travel 100 yds in half a second and most important of all there is no way to control the distance and where it is going to come down.The bolt could travel 1/4 mile into the air before coming back down and who knows where.

Been using the EZ-Hang for 8 years. Much less expensive than purchasing a dangerous crossbow. Crossbows are dangerous and are not toys like the EZ-Hang is. The EZ-Hand is SAFE. You can see the weight flying over the trees and coming down on the other side of the tree but a crossbow you will not see it's trajectory. It's that quick.

Please do not use a crossbow.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W3HKK on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A couple of friends are very good with spinning rod/reels and an ounce or two lead sinker. They get it up 60 ft and then coax the line down....patiently.

For 15 yrs ive been using an inexpensive starter bow with arrow. I beef up the tip with a small u-bolt to give it enough wt to drop down thru the branches, and tie pp string to the back side. It will clear 50 ft. A lighter string would improve its range by providing less drag. Still, it works.

I also have a much heavier bow but if the arrow comes off the string, it will reach much higher altitudes than you want. I lost an arrow once and thought for sure it was going to come down and stick on a neighbors roof. My heart skipped a few beats but I never heard or saw a thing. Whew.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K3AN on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I made something similar to the Sherill Big Shot that cost me about $30 in materials. It fires a golf ball trailing 12# monofilament line. I have gotten the line over a limb on a pine tree that is 78 feet off the ground (by actual measurement) and cleared the top of a 65-foot oak while standing about 75 feet away from the trunk (to get past the lower limbs). That's not the limit of my device by any means.

A slingshot or long bow is far safer than a crossbow or a pressurized air "spud gun" because there is less danger of prematurely firing it into an unintended something or somebody.

http://www.sherrilltree.com/Professional-Gear/BIGshot?utm_source=WTSite&utm_medium=WTSherrill&utm_campaign=WTReferrals
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K7EDL on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use a water bottle with about 1.5 cups of water in it tied to paracord. I sling the bottle around beside me two or three times when it almost reaches top of the arc let it go. I settled on this after shooting a large nut across the road into my neighbors yard when the string broke and having the string tied up in the tree with smaller weights while using a sling shot. when I get more money I may build my self an air cannon but for a small lot this works great.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KA4ETV on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
This is a good idea. It just assumes that the person attempting it is not a complete idiot and can tell when he should stay away from this application due to power lines, bystanders, etc. Sad to say that's assuming a lot these days.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N7BUI on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't use this method in any residential neighborhood! While you might get the fantastic height, the danger is just to great.

My pneumatic tennis ball launcher easily gets 80 to 100 feet on each launch and it can be built for less than the cost of the crossbow. Plus if the tennis ball hits something damage is pretty minimal.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N2GVO on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
GOOD ARTICLE. UNFORTUNATELY I LIVE IN NEW YORK AND EVEN SLING SHOTS ARE ILLEGAL SO I HAVE TO CLIMB A LADDER AND THEN TIE A ROCK LIKE A CAVEMAN TO A PIECE OF STRING AND THROW IT UP ON THE CLOSEST LIMB WHICH IS ABOUT 20FT. LESS THAN I WOULD LIKE.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WA7KGX on February 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been using a $20 used compound bow.
Archery outfits sell white fiberglass arrows with holes near the rear. These are used for bow-fishing. I put some lead on the front of the arrow.

The choice of line is important. Monofilament fishing line tends to get stuck in the crotches of tree branches.
I use light woven fishing line called "squidding line" or similar. If the tree isn't that tall I can start out with a heavier string.

This works best on a calm day with dry trees.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KD8NGE on February 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The right tool for the right job ...
A crossbow can indeed put a line where you want it.
The all-steel bolt would have a good ballistic coefficient; as long as it remains point forward, it'll work.
A bow and arrow is also good for shooting the line through a particular hole in the network of branches.
Preceding caveats need not be repeated;
preceding alternate methods of putting a
line over a branch, through a network of
branches or over the crown of a tree,
need not be repeated here.
If I were intent on putting a line through,
or over, a rather tall tree, and the
surrounding terrain did not preclude the
choice, either a bow or a crossbow would
be perfectly viable as a launcher!
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WB4M on February 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Has anyone used an "Air Boss"? I bought one last year at the Charlotte hamefest. It uses a 1-oz, bell-shaped weight. You pump it up with air and it has a gauge to show how many lbs. of pressure you have. You hold it like rifle, and open the valve and it shoots the weight and string out of the barrel. Quite accurate, light-weight, safe, and easy to use. A bicycle tire pump works great for the air pressure. I cannot imagine using a crossbow for this purpose.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KX0R on February 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
This is an interesting posting, with great comments from all of you who use clever tools to get lines up.

I like portable work, and the main challenge is to get a line or lines up in a tree or trees quickly. For years I used a cheap fishing pole, a Zebco reel, monofilament line, and fishing weights. The fishing pole system is good if you can cast accurately - however, all four components of my system have changed and here's why:

1) When you hike in public parks and dry areas, you don't want people asking you why you're carrying a fishing pole. So I got a telescoping backpack rod, the Eagle Claw Packit PK555SP - widely available on the Internet. It collapses to 16" and expands to 5'6"; it fits inside a daypack. It's sturdy, inexpensive, and bright yellow so you don't lose it in the forest. The slingshot is similarly stealthy.

2) My Zebco reel had a lot of drag on the line, and it tangled up too many times - I lost valuable operating time. I now use an old open-face Mitchell 300 reel. The Mitchell has large interchangeable spools and can handle larger lines than miniature reels. Large spools have fewer tangles and cast large lines further than little spools.

3) I found that monofilament line was hard to see in the trees, especially with low light. Under certain conditions I spent more time finding the line than putting up the antenna. In mountain forests, the usual problem was that the line went too high and too far, over several trees; either I couldn't find it, or I had a problem getting it back because the weight was not on the ground or it became stuck somewhere in a tree when I tried to retrieve it. Monofilament line also tangles easily.

Currently I use a braided line called Ripcord - sold by Cabela's - it is made from incredibly strong Dyneema fiber, is silicone coated for easier flow, is very flexible, and it doesn't tangle easily. It's bright yellow so you can see it, both in the air and in the woods. I settled on the 15 pound test material for antenna work. I tried 30 pound test, and it didn't cast easily enough to go over the higher trees. The 15 pound test casts nicely, yet is strong enough to handle situations where the weight gets stuck, or where you pull a larger line over the tree, and a knot gets stuck in a crotch or pine cone.

The 15 pound Dyneema line has very low stetch, so it doesn't snap back and hurt you if it breaks while under tension. It is very hard to break if something gets stuck - to break it you have to wrap it around your self or use leather gloves to hold it. It could cut your skin if you don't respect it. Often a small branch in the tree will break before the line parts. If the line does break, usually you can still use it by tying it back together - not so easy with monofilament.

Dyneema is worth trying, whether you use a fishing pole, slingshot, bow, etc., with a fishing reel. Use a large-diameter open face spinning reel - forget the Zebco.

Currently I use large steel nuts for projectiles. My favorite size has a 5/8-11 center hole and measures .932", about 15/16", across the flats. These weigh just over one ounce. They're widely available and are economical. It's easy to tie the casting line through the hole in the nut. The rounded corners of the hex nuts tend to get stuck in branches less than some other shapes. Zinc-plated nuts are shiny and easy to find, either on the ground or when stuck up in a tree. This is not true for lead weights. Lead is a poison to the environment, and inevitably you will leave lead weights in the woods if you use them.

The projectile weight is a compromise. If too heavy, it may be awkward to cast accurately with a light pole, and it will go too high or too far. If too light, it may not go high enough, and the weight may not be sufficient to fall to the ground on the far side of the tree(s).

When operating portable, it's possible to erect somewhat complex antennas like horizontal loops, vees, yagis, etc., or multiple antennas. These systems often need multiple tree supports, requiring many casts to put the required lines in place. Anything you can do to make this process easier will determine what you can put up in the field before you run out of patience, time, or both! Every tree is different, and when you throw in wind and maybe snow on the ground, you've got a challenge. Every time I go out portable I learn a little more, sometimes the hard way.

I encourage use of trees for antennas. Not only are they often available, they are less offensive than steel towers. Someone could write a book on the subject. Whatever system you choose for your messanger line, be careful, and always evaluate the risks before you shoot projectiles into the air.



 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K6AER on February 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Crossbows are not illiegle in California. They are handeled the same as any firearm.

There are specific requlations regarding hunting with a cross bow.

Think about it. Why would a cross bow with limited range be illagle and a 338 Lupia with 1500 yard range not be illeagle?
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N4JTE on February 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Stick with a 2 oz weight on a casting rod, always good to 70 ft here, arrows are no good when somebody lives nearby.
Bob
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W0AEW on February 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

--Longfellow
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by NX1T on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A zebco 202 reel ($8), taped to a slingshot ($9) and a 3/4 ounce fishing weight works just as well if not better and does not have the "footprint" of a crossbow.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WA2GO on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Everyone has their own techniques.
Crossbows are illegal in my state.
I use a Zebco 202 reel, attached with electrical tape to a 4-foot ground rod. I use a Bear child's bow, which has a very light pull. It has no trouble whatsoever getting over my trees, which are 100' or taller. I drilled a hole through the arrow just behind the feathers, and attached a small loop of wire (I used 14 gauge insulated wire, with the ends twisted together and soldered, but anything will do. I use the heaviest good quality arrows I can find, with a blunt target tip further filed down slightly if necessary to remove any hint of a sharp point on it.
Having the reel attached to the ground rod is extremely handy, because you just have to stick it in the ground wherever you want it (I keep it a foot or two to the right of my shooting position), with the ground rod pointing directly at the target notch up in the tree for smoothest possible let-out of the fishing line. If you can find heavy-duty enough swivels, you can use them to attach the arrow to the line. But it's not that hard to just tie the line directly to the loop in the arrow, and it's a lot more robust. The only down side is that it takes a little longer, and you lose 2 or 3 inches of line with every bad shot you make. After using this technique for over 30 years, I usually don't need more than 3 or 4 shots at most to get the line exactly where I want it. When the arrow comes down, remove the arrow, and attach some string to it and pull it back over. I really like to use the fluorescent colored stuff that comes on the yellow plastic handle with a built in crank for rapid winding. It releases with no snags, and can be wound up very quickly as well. Once that is over the tree, then you can use it to pull up your dacron line, which hopefully you are using to support your antenna or pulley, since it's the only thing that will really last a long time.
Good luck, and happy shooting...
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N9PSE on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There are no US states where crossbows are illegal to own or use, though hunting regulations vary. In NJ, however, crossbows are completely legal and may be used for hunting when/where conventional archery methods are used.

Yes, there are safety concerns (as with all of the discussed methods), but I can certainly see the benefit of being able to accurately place your line as well as you could with a crossbow. I've used methods ranging from slinging a weight on a string, the wrist rocket, and a fiberglass recurve bow. All have the pluses and minuses.

Using the heavier steel rod would limit the range (compared to a conventional bolt) and provide the weight needed to pull the string down through the trees. I just might have to invest in a new toy... thanks for the idea!

73
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by AB1LT on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Note that in New York, WristRocket and other slingshots with a wrist brace are illegal(talking about legal minutiae). http://www.slingshots.com/html/new-york-state-gun-laws.html
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K8CXM on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use an old hunting bow with small game rubber tipped arrows. A little 20 pound monofilament tied to the feather end of the arrow, and just enough pull on the bow string to lob the arrow over a tree limb and the job is almost done.
Monofilamant line slides over tree limbs easier, but it sure will tangle! If I have more tree limbs involved than I want to, I tie a 3 ounce bullet fishing sinker on the line and carefully pull it up to clear those limbs. When it's where I want it, I just let go of the line, tie on the antenna rope and pull the rope up and over.
Works pretty well. Did a lot of wire antennas this way, up to around 50' high, which is as high as my trees are.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K0IZ on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A little more info re my crossbow use: I initially tried using a 80lb crossbow with the steel bolt. It went about ten feet. Not good. With the 150lb bow and mason's line my max tree height is about 70ft.

When I purchased the bow it came with two aluminum 14" arrows. To practice, I shot one of the arrows up in the air into a big open space on my property. That was the last I saw of that arrow.

Fortunately the steel bolt won't go nearly as far with the 150lb bow. And to limit how far past the tree the bolt will go, I only unwind string of about twice the tree location height. Thus the bolt is stopped barely past the tree.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KB9UWU on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've had good luck tying a socket to some small rope/twine and chucking over 50' trees underhanded :)
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KE4DRN on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
hi,

When I lived in NY I used a trebuchet, no not really!

This slingshot design looks interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rILwFBVuPrk&feature=related

73 james
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KC3JV on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hi: I've tried a 50lb hand crossbow pistol with a spin type reel and monofiliment line. Then you use a stronger line to pull the antenna through. Inexpensive and it works for lower trees.

Mark KC3JV
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W8JI on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The format of this article goes off page in some browsers.

I use a simple bow with blunt tip lead filled metal arrows. I can get a line over 100 foot tall trees easily.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W5DQ on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A 105mm 'howie' will easily lay a REALLY LONG long wire across an entire forest :)
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by NK6Q on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've tried throwing lines up over the trees on my property with a homebrew slingshot, but my aim and ability to judge the correct amount of force made me abandon this method.

I have resorted to throwing a fluorescent yellow-green golf ball, with an eyelet I screwed into it and some equally fluorescent yellow-green fly-casting line up into the trees. Out here, the California Oaks are super snaggy and pretty dense, so I need all the help I can get lobbing something substantial and visible into the canopy. One of my favorite antenna-trees borders my neighbor's yard, so I have to be careful about launching any projectiles that might land on his property.

I've also considered an R/C model airplane that could drop a weighted line at the precise spot above the tree, but had a couple of beers until I forget about it.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by NK6Q on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've tried throwing lines up over the trees on my property with a homebrew slingshot, but my aim and ability to judge the correct amount of force made me abandon this method.

I have resorted to throwing a fluorescent yellow-green golf ball, with an eyelet I screwed into it and some equally fluorescent yellow-green fly-casting line up into the trees. Out here, the California Oaks are super snaggy and pretty dense, so I need all the help I can get lobbing something substantial and visible into the canopy. One of my favorite antenna-trees borders my neighbor's yard, so I have to be careful about launching any projectiles that might land on his property.

I've also considered an R/C model airplane that could drop a weighted line at the precise spot above the tree, but had a couple of beers until I forget about it.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by AE5QB on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'm thinking do we really need an article on how to get a wire up a tree? I'm also thinking that if one can't get a wire antenna safely up a tree then maybe a wire antenna is not the correct solution. Maybe it is time to go with a vertical -- no that requires getting wires on the ground, hmmm maybe a rocket powered shovel. Oh the heck with it, I am going with a mag mount on the truck. Now how creative can I get putting it in the center of the cab?

 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K8QV on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
<<<Oh the heck with it, I am going with a mag mount on the truck. Now how creative can I get putting it in the center of the cab?>>>

Did you know you can build your own mag mount? Recycle some old loudspeakers and install the magnets in an old toaster chassis. Cut a template from a discarded rubber boot and..... I guess I need a full article with illustrations for this.

 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by AE1S on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am using DIY "Pneumatic Antenna Launcher" equipped with my little add-on - an "Augmented Reality Digital Scope". I must say - the results are extremly good. It gives me better control over crossbow as one can fire a couple of test shots and adjust the air pressure for the perfect trajectory. The digital scope indicates on screen the precise shooting angle and direction for great repeatability.
I've tried pretty much everything out there (slingshots, crossbows etc) and IMHO this is the best way to get the line where you want it.
Here is more info on the antenna launcher and my little "invention" ;-) - the scope itself.

http://blog.kotarak.net/2011/04/say-hello-to-my-little-friend.html

http://blog.kotarak.net/2011/04/digital-scope-for-antenna-launcher.html
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N1DZ on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Bad advise. If the arrow gets stuck in the tree you have a dangerous projectile stuck at 50 feet ready to drop down at any moment.
Use a sling shot with a small fishing weight. Much safer.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by MAGNUM257 on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I used a roll of 8# test fishing line and a medium sized bottle rocket. Oh how my friends mocked me until they saw it work flawlessly. Since then I have launched 3 more without incident.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K3CLT on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I would also recommend the air launcher. I built one like the one in QST. I made up the projectiles and bought an open face ocean real and got some 40 lb test line that is the thickness of 12 lb line. I also have a safety switch on mine and can adjust the output based on the size of the trees. I see that as a big problem with the crossbow.When its loaded it is at full power. Not so good. 70 lbs of air and mine will put the projectile easily over a 110 foot tree.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K3CLT on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I would also recommend the air launcher. I built one like the one in QST. I made up the projectiles and bought an open face ocean real and got some 40 lb test line that is the thickness of 12 lb line. I also have a safety switch on mine and can adjust the output based on the size of the trees. I see that as a big problem with the crossbow.When its loaded it is at full power. Not so good. 70 lbs of air and mine will put the projectile easily over a 110 foot tree.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K6SDW on February 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A much much much better solution, build yourself a spud gun using compressed air and shoot a PVC slug in the air....the one RVR build easily shoots 150' in the air which we've used very successfully for many Field Days!!!

You can find plans to make one on the Internet and other than getting bonked on the head with a PCV slug, nobody dies!!

Cheers All........
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KC8VWM on February 8, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah shooting up antennas is illegal.... whatever...


 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KC8VWM on February 8, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Why are half of you guys even involved in ham radio if all you seem to ever advocate is ways to further restict antenna's from going up in the air.

You're good at being internet lawyers, but yet no good at all in terms of providing solutions to help people get an antenna off the ground.

It's weird you call yourself hams... You should be the police or lawyers instead.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K5MO on February 8, 2012 Mail this to a friend!

The heck with laws, lob the thing up there with whatever works. Be safe, don't get caught, have fun, enjoy the antennas.

The world was a better place before safety nazis.

John

 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KI4SYE on February 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'm working on what may be the ultimate method.

I've been feeding a squirrel peanuts for some time now and he's gotten very comfortable round me to the point he has allowed me to put a collar on him. But he goes absolutely berzerk when I attach a line to him.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KE2IV on February 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"The heck with laws, lob the thing up there with whatever works. Be safe, don't get caught, have fun, enjoy the antennas.

The world was a better place before safety nazis.

John"

As sure as night follows day there's always bound to be someone here who feels above the law -- at least as concerns his own behavior. You know, these are the guys who never use their turn signal themselves but rant about other drivers not doing so and cutting them off.

Anyway, as some have commented here -- a crossbow seems far too overkill to the task of getting a line over a tree limb. The fact that it is doable doesn't make it wise or advisable -- particularly if it encourages someone to do so who has no experience with such weaponry.

I have both the EZ launcher and also (more often in fact) rely on a simple rod and reel to regularly put lines 75-feet or more up over a tree.

Since this is a much safer way to accomplish the task -- why use a crossbow?

My guess is that the original poster had a solution in mind and desired only the task to convince him of the need. It would have been far more honest if he'd just gone out and gotten a crossbow because he wanted one -- rather than inventing a "need" to put up wire to justify doing so.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K0IZ on February 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Re above post: The only reason I purchased a crossbow was specifically to get a rope up into a tree. I do not hunt, and don't even plan to use it for target practice. I have had previous experience in helping another ham do the same with his crossbow, and was VERY impressed with how accurate and quick he could do the job.

I did look at the various other methods that have been described in some of the above posts. There are certainly alternate methods to do the job, and I would not presume to tell others which method they must use. To each his own. If my little article helps someone use a crossbow for this application, so be it.

To further expand on a few points: I live in rural Colorado with some acreage. Nearest neighbor is about 800 feet away. Do I recommend using a crossbow on a California postage stamp lot: NO. Besides, I understand most things are illegal in California.

Presumably anyone putting up an antenna will use some common sense with whatever method is used (a fishing weight can put out an eye, etc, etc). I didn't add pages of warnings to my article about power lines, children, windows, tripping over rope, etc.

The stainless steel bolt (arrow) is specifically designed to do three things: carry the string accurately to the tree, have enough weight to go through the tree, and not carry too far. A 150lb crossbow with a typical aluminum arrow will go several hundred yards. The stainless bolt goes about 70 ft up and down, and less than 100 feet max on the flat.

In addition I recommended only unwinding enough string so that the bolt will reach the tree and back down. That nicely stops the bolt just on the other side of the tree, near the ground. So worries about hitting neighbors (or the moon) can be minimized.

Anyway, I am very pleased with use of my crossbow. Those that are fearful should stay off my property!
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WD8OQX on February 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, for me, whatever works & doesn't cost me a "days wages" is what I'LL uses, regardless!
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K5MO on February 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"As sure as night follows day there's always bound to be someone here who feels above the law"

Stated more accurately "there's always someone who doesn't need some bureaucrat to tell him what is safe to do on his own property and who can think for himself".

Freedom can be dangerous. I'd recommend you stay inside where it's safe!
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by G3RZP on February 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I find a longbow works well. For line, I use some nylon lacing cord - it's very light and very strong and a 500 yard roll cost me a $1 at Dayton.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KB9MIE on February 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've built the pneumatic cannon described in QST but find in trees on my property the friction of the line on various twigs and branches usually hangs the weight in the tree and mostly it can't be teased down. I use the polypropylene string available at Walmart. It is strong enough to be able to pull the weight back.
For getting lines up about 30 feet I use a spare Hexbeam spreader (11 feet) taped to the end of an extensible pole saw. I have a steel ring at the end of the spreader through which passes a line terminated with, in my case, a 1 5/8 inch socket. The socket is held close to the ring to prevent the line wrapping around the pole, and from the ground I place the socket just above and over the chosen branch. Usually the socket falls to the ground when the line is released. Otherwise the pole can be used to force the socket down.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W3TTT on February 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Let Joe W3TTT add a few cents worth.

At my first qth, i would attach a weight (like a padlock) to a string, and swing it around in a vertical circle, faster and faster, and let it fly. Honestly, it had the height but not the accuracy.

Then, I had the "bright" idea to climb a step ladder. Now the radius of the swing circle was larger, and I could get the same height but the "frequency" was lower so the accuracy was better.

Now, I am rather good at it. I climb a painter's ladder and can put the padlock up 80 feet.

The secret is the ladder. Oh, and if you try it, have someone hold the ladder while you are swinging the string. I don't and haven't had any accidents "yet". But it would be safer if someone would hold the ladder.

My antenna is an 80 meter vertical, with raised radicals. I only use three radicals and have excellent performance. Why bury 20 wires, when three will work just as well, if not better? Just need to run the raised verticals and radicals up high enough so people do not walk into them!

In my first QTH I had two trees to work with, so I used a dipole. But here at this QTH I have only one good tall tree, so that says vertical antenna to me.

Thanks for reading this and I hope you try the ladder/swing method.

Joe W3TTT

 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W7KO on February 15, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
OK I have tried everything. Tree is 110 feet antenna is at 55 feet. My age combined with lack of ability to even get arrow in the correct direction let alone the right place is hopeless. A good friend bought me a Weather Balloon which says it can be launched in to the outer Galactic! It should get to 110 feet! Has anyone ever tried this?
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by WA1SEO on February 16, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've tried this before and have been unsuccessful when shooting into pine trees. The weight of the arrow is not sufficient to overcome the friction between the string (I've even tried fishing line) and the pine needles. I resorted to using a wrist rocket since I can change the weights to suit the environment.

Good luck.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W3HKK on February 17, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Balloons tend to go horizontal when the wind blows, dragging your wire over all sorts of unexpected places, like power lines, neighbors houses, trees, etc. Smaller wx balloons have limited payload. Our club tried but couldnt get the wire very far up for an extended period of time. (one Field Day) So much for our dreams of an 80m qtr wave vertical.

Arrows do get hung up, part way down, if you dont get the weigh of the arrow high enough, and the weight of ths string low enough. Its not hard, but involves trial and error. Im a pretty good shot up to 75 ft with my current beginners bow/arrow/string. I have a heavier bow that took me over 100 ft. My arrow has a small guy wire u bolt on the nose which brings it down to the ground dragging common pp string from a hardware store.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by NC4TB on February 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Funny how all these laws in Kalifornia doesn't seem to reduce the crime rate there. [Or, maybe it's the other way around. The crime rate there is so high because they have so many laws to violate.] I wouldn't be suprised to find out they had banned ham radio because it might be misused to overthrow the government there.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KO7I on February 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
This is a reckless and stupid stunt. I do not care if you are using rubber blunts or any other "non-lethal" arrow/bolt tip.

Don KO7I
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N1DVJ on February 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Reckless and stupid doesn't begin to cut it!!

First off, as mentioned, check local laws. In some states it requires a permit for 'mechanically released' bows. PA requires a handicap certification for hunting, other states may have other restrictions. And then shooting it your neighborhood... Just realize what could happen when a neighbor calls the police because an arrow landed in his yard...

And 'wrist rockets'... Here in MASS until the rewrite of '180' (the gun laws) they were a 'prohibited weapon' and could get you a MANDATED 1 year in jail and a criminal record. Currently there is some confusion about 180 and whether it removed the restriction against sling shots or not. And yes, I know you can cross the border into NH and buy one with surgical tubing for $5.95 at WalMart...

But, the REALLY stupid part is how do you feed the line? Ever see what happens when ANY projectile pulling a line jams? It stretches, then comes RIGHT BACK at the force pulling it back! That is, RIGHT AT YOUR EYES!! It is MORONIC AND STUPID to not take that into consideration.

But... There IS a way. At better equipped sporting shops you can get a reel of cord SPECIFICALLY designed for bow fishing. This is a conical reel that will not jam the way a regular reel could with a high speed feed. It's used by bow fishermen. If you insist on playing with this, GET THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT!! And wear eye protection!! I'd hate to have someone I knew put their eye out from a stupid stunt that was easily preventable! (I've seen one of the local scouts put his eye out, not a pretty site. And absolutely no pun intended.)
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N1DVJ on February 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Oh, just for more extreme comments...

Mossberg actually sells a 'line launcher'. It's basically a 12ga shotgun for marine use. You use special line-launcher ammo, and it fires what looks like a football and trails a line. It's designed to launch a line between ships.

We bought one at the ski area I work at with the idea of using it to get rescue lines over the lift. Put a low power cartridge in it and test fired... We never found the football...

The best thing we found, although this is very application specific (getting a line up between multiple parallel cables) is a piece of dowel, almost about the size of a hammer handle but a bit longer, maybe 1-1/4" x 16". At one end is a ring with a light duty cord attached. The other end has a softball placed on it and then duct tape over the ball and down the shaft to hold it into position. Then a 'wrap' of duct tape around the shaft to make sure the first duct tape doesn't come off. It's amazingly easy to use with only a couple practice throws. MUCH easier than the sling rods (basically overgrown fly rods) and you don't have to go looking for the darn football.
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by W0BTU on February 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
> by KX0R on February 5, 2012
" ... Currently I use a braided line called Ripcord - sold by Cabela's - it is made from incredibly strong Dyneema fiber, is silicone coated. ... I settled on the 15 pound test material for antenna work. ... "

You talked me into getting some. Too bad it's no longer available on cabelas.com :-(

73 Mike
www.w0btu.com
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by G8WWD on February 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I can think of other ways to get antennas into a tree with simiar weapons. E.g. tie a string to a rifle bullet.

Seriously though. I can think of a lot safer methods of doing this in built up areas, which let's face is is where most of us live. I know my neighbours would most likely call the police if they saw me shooting a crossbow in my garden, but pointing towards their property and I think I'd do the same if I saw one of them doing the same!!!

I'll stick to using ladders, climbing the tree or using a tennis ball and a sling shot. All of which is far safer than shooting a crossbow in my back garden with neighbours houses, cars, pets, wildlife, etc. around!

73

Gordon G8WWD

 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K5MO on February 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Remember to check with The Government before you attempt putting a wire (that you own) in a tree (that you own).

Furthermore:

Ladders=Dangerous
Climbing=Dangerous
Towers=Dangerous
Slingshot=Dangerous
Crossbow=Dangerous

Better to lay your wire on the lawn and play it safe. Make sure the EPA and your HOA approves too!

John K5MO
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N8XI on March 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
James,
Putting my index finger in harms way would not make my day :(

73, Rick - N8XI

"by KE4DRN on February 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
hi,

When I lived in NY I used a trebuchet, no not really!

This slingshot design looks interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rILwFBVuPrk&feature=related

73 james"
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N8XI on March 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Bill, NK6Q

"I've also considered an R/C model airplane that could drop a weighted line at the precise spot above the tree, but had a couple of beers until I forget about it."

I think this is a good idea, beer or not.
You have to be pretty accurate dropping a line from an R/C model airplane though.
But, what about an R/C Helicopter.

OK, I'll go dump the beer :)

73, Rick - N8XI
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N1DVJ on March 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Supposedly versions of the HexaKopter can lift a 2L bottle of soda, so it should have no problem with a lift line...
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N1DVJ on March 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, the slingshot looks interesting.

But my issue with slingshots are not with the device (ok, they might be illegal where you live) as I love the things. Back when I was a kid my uncle gave me a 'ShurShot' slingshot. It fired 1/4" ball bearings and would easily kill small animals. And was accurate! It did it without a wrist brace too. The thing was a pretty standard wishbone or 'Y' configuration but it was contoured to place it in your hand a very specific way, and once you got used to it was incredibly accurate.

My issue with slingshots is people who try to hook up a standard fishing reel to the things. Ever cast a heavy lure and have your line bind as it feeds? Imagine that happening at the speeds a sling shot would produce. What would happen is whatever you were sending out would suddenly bind the line. The line stretches. The line pulls the object STRAIGHT BACK. Uh, right where you face, and your eyes are!

Ok, what can you do. Well, first off, DON'T use a fishing reel with line that's been wound and taken a set. And secondly, don't use a 'generic' fishing reel. They make special reels for bow and arrow fishing. Yep, a real sport that exist! These reels are DESIGNED to feed line at high speed without kinking or binding and causing a kickback. The first thing you would notice is that the reel is somewhat conical, not cylindrical.

If you're going to feed loose line, lay it out in looping 'S' pattern, and fire from the back edge so that the line can feed from the ground without tangling.

Just remember, it's not the line coming back at you that you have to worry about, it's the missle on the end!
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by ND6P on March 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Just thinking out loud here, thinking about how to get lines over trees when camping. How about using a 22 rifle? Use an aluminum cleaning rod for an arrow. Remove the bullet from the cartridge so when firing, the gun powder explosion pressures the cleaning-rod arrow forward. Have the arrow attached to a fishing reel with light line and an open bail. The fishing reel could be hose-clamped to the barrel.

For the arrow, maybe fasten a half ounce fishing sinker on the end of the cleaning rod, upside down so the fishing line can be attached to the top of the sinker as when fishing.

Or am I going to blow myself up? My hunch is that this might work.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by KC4YT on March 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use a rod & reel with 2 oz salt water weight.
Ha, my neighbors think its funny when I go "fishing" in the trees!
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N2UDW on March 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use a fishing rod and monofiliment line With a little practice and a decent pole you will get over almost any tree you encounter
 
RE: Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by N2UDW on March 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use a fishing rod and monofiliment line With a little practice and a decent pole you will get over almost any tree you encounter
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K1PJR on March 15, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I bought a Marksman slingshot and Zebco reel with 10lb line. Added a 1 oz. weight and I never looked back. I've cleared 60-70 foot trees with ease. Safer too.
 
Wire Antenna in Trees with Crossbow  
by K4TIN on March 15, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good idea, perhaps for those of us who need a bit more power than a slingshot. (called a "flip" here in Alabama)
Neighbors are hundreds of yards away; lawyers even farther. so I ought be good to go.
 
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