I have experimented with several solutions including the EZ Hang slingshot, pneumatic launchers such as the CV-19 and the Big Shot arborist slingshot. I have even tried a large adjustable wrench or some similarly weighted object tied to the end of a rope, tossed over the desired branch. However the results of the latter method were typically unsatisfactory, frustrating and in some cases downright embarrassing. I prefer the Big Shot to anything I have tried so far. While each one will get a line in the air, I have found the Big Shot to be more reliable over a broad range of antenna hanging scenarios.
I built my own pneumatic launcher from plans on the internet: http://www.antennalaunchers.com/csv19/csv19asm.html
The launcher performed as advertised. Among the pros, the launcher looks impressive if you like that weaponized launcher look. It is capable of launching its payload considerable distances and the unit is reasonably portable. As for the cons, the unit operates on pressurized gas. (I used the term gas rather than air as there are some who choose a CO2 solution rather than the more common bicycle pump or compressor methods to charge the unit.) This requires another piece of equipment whether it is an air compressor of some sort or a bicycle pump. In addition to the extra equipment requirement, there is a time factor to charge the unit and in the case of a bicycle pump a physical one as well. This method relies on the use of lightweight line and a tennis ball or other projectile. When launched into a tree, the branches can and often do provide sufficient resistance to prevent the projectile from reaching the ground, in some instances causing the projectile to become a permanent tree ornament. On solution is to fire the line completely over the tree to a clear area on the other side. This solution is not always practical or desirable. One other fact worth noting is that the material typically used to construct these launchers, PVC is generally not rated for pressurized gas. Over pressurization can result in a structural failure (the pressure vessel explodes producing PVC shrapnel). Operation in colder temperature can increase the potential for this failure.
The EZ Hang and similar launchers employ a slingshot to launch a projectile attached to lightweight line into the air.http://www.ezhang.com/
Another solution that works as advertised. One clear advantage with this unit is size. This is one of the most compact solutions for launching antenna lines available (My adjustable wrench is slightly smaller but we won’t go there). In addition, this method does not require charging or pressurization; it is ready to go out of the box. For the cons, this method employs a lightweight line and an even lighter projectile then the pneumatic method.
The Big Shot is an arborist’s tool and well suited for launching lines.http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=21430
The Big Shot is my favorite method for launching a line into a tree or other support structure. This system employs a robust slingshot head mounted on a fiberglass pole to launch weighted “throw bags” with a strong, lightweight, low friction line attached. This unit is powerful and capable of successfully launching a line farther than the other methods I have tried. I used the phase “successfully launching” referring to a launch that when completed allows an antenna to be pulled into the air. When using other methods that employ the lighter fishing, type line and lightweight projectiles, the more line that deploys the greater the friction or drag often resulting an the projectile hanging somewhere out of reach. Another feature worth noting is the line used in this system. This line is the strongest of all the methods discussed here and is unlikely to fail under most conditions. The fishing line methods can be subject to snags and drag possibly resulting in a broken line. One solution often employed is to pull a slightly heavier line up first followed by the final antenna support line. This is generally not required with the Big Shot method. Throw bags are available in weights that range form 8 ounces to 16 ounces.
Not everything about the Big Shot is perfect as the size of this unit is the largest of those discussed here. The head unit is actually compact however; the fiberglass pole is at a minimum four feet long. There are two options for the fiberglass pole. The pole is available as a single eight foot pole or a version is available that breaks down into two four foot sections. Finally, this solution is a powerful, professional tool and as such has the potential to be dangerous. It would be wise to be aware of the safety issues and use the proper caution when using this tool.