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Author Topic: Having trouble lofting a line over my tree.  (Read 1534 times)
KC8HQX
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Posts: 177




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« on: June 07, 2008, 01:14:21 PM »

I'm trying to loft a line up into a tall tree in my back yard to support a wire vertical antenna. My first attempts were to slingshot a pulley attached to mason's twin over the tree, but I could only get it stuck in the top, not over and back down. I narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital when the stuck pulley broke loose, rocketed past my head and left a huge dent in our canoe.

  I switched to slingshotting a  1 oz. sinker attached to a cheap reel with 10 lb. line, but after multiple tries complete with jiggling and swearing, I haven't been able to get the sinker back down through the foliage and branches to any place I can grab it; even if I could, I'd likely snap it pulling the main line back up.

I seem to be an expert getting lines stuck in the very top of my tree. If I could figure out a way to ascend my copper up into the tree on masons twin stuck into the top, I'd be good to go. I've thought about tying line to my son's 20lb. pull (kid's) compound bow, but I don't want to take a chance killing the neighbor's dog or poking a hole in my slate roof.

The tree in question is largely unclimbable and waiting until foliage drops to get my antenna going sounds tortuous; any suggestions will be *greatly* appreciated.

Thanks,

Doug
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W3ULS
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2008, 01:33:56 PM »

Well, Doug, I have a different solution.

Rig a pulley out of some marine hardware parts and have a tree man climb as high as he dares to drill an eye bolt holding the assembly into the tree. Then have him string some 3/8" dacron rope through the pulley. Tie off one end at the base of the tree with a cleat, and use the other end to tie on your antenna. Do the same at the other end. I also use trucker's heavy rubber tie-downs, to provide some "give" in the assembly, at one end or the other.

I don't think many hams do all this, but when it's done right the assembly lasts for years and it's an easy matter to lower the antenna to work on it or to ease off the tension in a blow. I've set up several tree combinations so that I could vary the directionality of the antenna in my backyard.

One caution, a good marine pulley and the dacron rope are a combination with a very lkow coeeficient of friction. If you're not careful, you will be watching the loose end of the rope race up the tree, go right through the pulley, and drop to the ground leaving you with nada.
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INIGOMONTOYA
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2008, 01:43:25 PM »

You need one of these!

http://www.antennalaunchers.com/antlaunching.html
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W9OY
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2008, 02:06:02 PM »

The tree climber eyebolt is a good solution.  I use a 70lb crossbow.  I drill a small hole through the end of the bolt and use 35lb dacron gorilla line which I wrap around a bucket.  The line comes off so fast, a fishing reel can't keep up with it, but the bucket does fine and only takes a couple of minutes to wrap with the line.  I add a piece of #12 wire inside the bolt to give it a little more mass.  

Make sure you have a clear idea where the arrow can fly if it gets away from you, in other words make sure your dog or children or your roof is not in the line of fire on the other side of the tree.  If you shoot basically strait up  (maybe 10deg off vertical).  The arrow usually lands within 75ft on the other side of the tree.  I can get well over 100ft with this rig.

I found the sling shot to be a total waste of time.  If I really wanted some height I'd look into one of those spud launchers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpAJOPzKK-M

73  W9OY
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WV4L
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2008, 02:11:10 PM »

Switch to some 30lb line with a 12 to 16 oz weight on it. The 30lb line is strong enough to pull the dacron rope up into the tree. You can then attach the pulley with more dacron line in it and send it up to where you want it. Once you get the pulley up and statically tied off you can pull your antenna wire up via the line already in the pulley.
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W9OY
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2008, 02:19:12 PM »

Also for hanging a wire vertical I found it best to string a rope between 2 trees and have the vertical wire hanging off somewhere between the 2.  You can make this into an inverted L or T if its not quite high enough and you can hang a bunch of different length wires off the same rope in something like a fan and have them all come down to the same area.  I fed each wire off its own tuner/matching device and used a common radial field and and an antenna switch to change bands.  It is extremely efficient and quite stealthy if you use black or dark green wire.  I had up inv-L on 160, a full size 80M 1/4 wave vert, a 1/2 wave end fed with its own parallel tuner on 40 and a 5/8 wave with its own L network on 20, and I used the 1/4 wave to load up on 30M so 4 wires and a couple of caps and coils and a hank of rope did the trick.  I strung out a few thousand feet of wire for radials and had a ball.  

73  W9OY
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KC8HQX
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2008, 02:24:24 PM »

I think the main problems I'm having is that the tree (an old Catalpa, or Cigar Tree) is very vertical, the leaves are *huge* and the intersections of branches are perfect for snagging the line or objects attached to it.  

I do have a 7.5 ft. long potato canon, but it's barrel is 2 in. inner diameter; I'd need to find a ball this size. Plus, there's a good chance the ball would get stuck as it was being pulled back over.

I wonder how much it'd cost to have someone climb this tree? For as much of a pain this endeavor is turning out to be, this tree is *at least* 60 ft tall; perfect for a vertical.

Doug
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KC8HQX
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2008, 02:34:38 PM »

Also, this tree is on my back property line, so an overshoot of say, an arrow, is not an option, lest I skewer a small dog or child.

Doug
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W4VR
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2008, 02:59:42 PM »

I use 17-lb. line and a 1.5 oz teardrop sinker.  works every time.  I strap a Zebco casting reel onto a Walmart wrist rocket slingshot.
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KB1IIX
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2008, 03:08:01 PM »

I've been using a slingshot, successfully, for many years. I rigged a flyfishing reel to the slingshot. I use a 3/4 ounce weight. You're right, the problem is getting the weight to come down after you've got it over the tree. You just need to keep trying. Once I've got my hands on the weight, I tye on some mason's twine (home depot) and pull that up and down. I then attach this to the parachute cord that will hold the pulley. It works!
Let me know if you want more info...capvan@comcast.net
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KC9HOZ
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2008, 03:11:51 PM »

Perhaps I misunderstood, but it sounded to me like your were trying to shoot your line "through" the foliage.  Have you tried shooting the line over the entire tree?

This way, you don't have the tree getting in the way of your pulley or sinker.

Might get your line higher in the tree too!

Scott kc9hoz
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KC8HQX
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2008, 03:34:55 PM »

I am shooting the line over the tree, but inevitably it snags on the way down. I can't aim for a large overshoot because I have the worry about hitting the neighbor's house, dog, window, etc.

Know any "cost effective" tree climbers in Cincinnati?

Thanks,

Doug
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2008, 04:10:55 PM »

I've put a weight up that high by hand, but also use a sling shot for
Field Day and other occasions.

There are two problems to consider with getting the weight down: the
momentum of the weight and the drag of the string.  Mason's twine is
good for holding  up antennas made from light wire, but being twisted
instead of braided it tends to have more resistance sliding over a
branch.  I have some braided line used by the power company in a
line throwing gun and some braided crap pot line from a commercial
fishing store that have lower resistance that I tend to use when I have
problems.

Next, consider the momentum of the weight.  At the peak of travel the
vertical velocity is zero.  If it just clears a branch at this height it has
little momentum with which to pull a rope over a branch.  But if the
tree is 10 feet below the peak of the trajectory it is moving downwards
faster and therefore can overcome more friction.  (But if the trajectory
goes TOO far over the top of the tree the trailing rope can blow sideways
in the breeze before it has a chance to settle back down on the tree.)
Also, the heavier the weight the easier it is to get it back down.  Most
people who have problems getting a rope over a tree aren't using enough
weight to pull it down the back side.  For throwing by hand around a
pound seems to work well.  For a slingshot I'd consider a couple of
ounces.  With a bow and arrow I've taped nails to the head for added
weight, but it is safer to use a 30-06 bullet shell filled with sand over
the point to keep it from sticking into something.

My technique for throwing is actually more of an underhanded fling.
If you are concerned about safety, an old sock filled with sand will
probably do less damage than a rock or other solid item of the same
weight.  The rope has to be able to pay out without tangling: laying it
back and forth on a tarp or feeding it gently into a bucket usually works.
I hold the rope a couple feet above the weight and get it swinging
fore and aft to set my azimuth.  Once I'm comfortable with the aim I
let it swing far back and flip it upward on the forward swing.  (You have
to practice this to understand what I mean.)  If you try spinning it around
it goes too fast and you can't judge the release time accurately enough
(though it might work if it is slow enough that it almost stalls out at the
top of the circle.)

You might talk to your neighbor and see if you can throw it from the
other side INTO your yard:  at least then the likely damage due to
overshoot is probably on your property rather than his.

If you already have a spud gun, try a sock full of sand for a load and
try to set it to go about 10' over the top of the tree at an angle greater
than 60 degrees.  Heavy and slow is better than light and fast since it
will limit the possible range should the rope come loose.

Once you get a weight up in the tree that won't come down, there is a
whole science to how to jerk and wiggle the rope to coax it to the ground.
Sometimes a short pull will bounce it upwards enough to give it more
downwards momentum.  And sometimes it takes me an hour to get the
weight down to where I can reach it, especially if I haven't used a heavy
enough one.

good luck!
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NU0R
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2008, 04:55:11 PM »

The best results that I have ever had is by enlisting my favorite fishing rod and reel. I simply tie enough steel washers onto the fishing line to easily cast the washers up over the tree just as I would cast a lure. I have gotten pretty good at it and now can pick out a certain limb and put a line over it. After you get the washers over the limb or tree and back to the ground then tie a spool of heavy fishing line to the first line that you put up. I like the stuff called "trot line" available at Wal Mart etc. Once you pull up the second line then attach the heavy line that you will be using and pull it up next. This is the method of choice for me. Your milage may vary!    Bruce/NU0R
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WA7IRY
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2008, 08:20:39 PM »

Hi Doug,

I ran into the same problem as you when slingshotting a line through trees. The 10-lb or heavier line usually had too much drag for the sinker to reach the ground on the other side.

The solution for me was to start out with a very lightweight line, i.e. 5-lb or so. Then, with a 3/4 or 1 oz. sinker, it's not hard to launch it and get the sinker back down to ground level. If the sinker hangs up on the way down, you just pull the slingshot end of the line back up a few feet and release. The sinker's downward momentum will eventually bring it down to ground level.

Then, I'd cut off the sinker on the far end of the 5-lb line and tie a 50-lb line to it. (Use a good square knot, otherwise it'll come loose on the way back up.) With the fishing reel at the launch end, I reel in the 5-lb line back up through the tree, pulling the the 50-lb line up, over, and down the otherside to ground level.  Then I cut off the 5-lb line and secure the 50-lb line at both ends by tieing(sp?) them to a nail or hook.

This give you a 50-lb line all the way up, down, and through the tree. This is strong enough to haul up pretty much any guage of wire or rope you want from either direction.

Yep, it's more work, but the result is worth it. Hopefully, once your wires/ropes are up,you don't have to do this very often... ;-)

Hope this helps.

73, Rod WA7IRY
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