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Getting Antennas into Trees

I have been experimenting with getting antennas into trees. I’m no expert but my technique is improving. May be of use for SOTA. How do you do it?


I tried several different approaches to launching antennas in the trees, including buying both the arborist bag and line. I’ve never tried the reverse toss, but am pretty sure my results would have been the same as with other methods – one epic failure after another!

I found myself spending more time trying to get a good toss than operating. Sometimes the only trees available were at the edge of a downslope, sometimes making a miss an interesting challenge to retrieve the line. Other times the line would get tangled in heavy underbrush, requiring time to extract before the next attempt. My goal was to find a reliable repeatable process, and I simply couldn’t make that happen with a weight and line. I salute those of you that can do this!

I’m now using a telescoping fishing pole with some lightweight options to secure it as needed. I can reliable and consistently deploy that everywhere I’ve activated so far, so the time between summit arrival and QRV is more consistent (and short!).

73 Paula k9ir


I use my tame squirrel. I gave him a choice - die or carry my antennae. He chose life :chipmunk:


Dog ball thrower works a treat !


The hills around here are a bit short on trees at the summit. Would it count if I carried my own tree up to the top? :slight_smile:


I had exactly the same experience, and came to exactly the same solution. Now I don’t bother trying to get a line over a tree branch.The set-up is much faster, and I have one less hassle.


Most of the summits in my neck of the woods have trees on them, so I frequently do similar to get my doublet as high as possible, with a couple of exceptions:

  1. I use an arborist’s throw bag but I use 150 pound halibut fishing line which is almost as slick and strong as arborist’s throw line, and a lot cheaper
  2. instead of a bulky arborist’s throw bag I have my throw line spooled on a very cheap 8" fisherman’s plastic spool. It whips off that very easily and never gets tangled
  3. I only rarely use that difficult pendulum swing. It takes a lot of practise to get it right but it does work for a higher lift. Most of the time I just use a one armed side throw. That can get me to about 40-50’ which is good enough for me.

That threat only works if he thinks you’re nuts


Perhaps the “arm extender” type works. The “bazooka” type being marketed on Ebay are utterly worthless. If you don’t point it downwards so the ball can dribble out, your toes are about maximum range.

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Phew! I hope that’s 150lb strain not 150lb weight or even £150 cost. You’ve obviously mastered a skill that eludes most of us. Like others, I’ve spent ages missing even the lower branches or narrowly avoiding being hit by the falling weight, or untangling the line wrapped round a branch or caught in tree foliage or ground plants.

Also, here in the UK, most SOTA summits seem to lack trees or not be in suitable locations or don’t have nice foliage-free branches sticking out clear from the mass.

I tried for years and occasionally [forgetting my past failures] try again but quickly give up. I’ve found a telescoping pole is pretty reliable if the ground is not too rocky for my guying pegs.


Hi Richard and all on the frequ… sorry, thread. :wink:
I’m a fairly un-experienced SOTA op - so far all the summits I’ve activated have had eucalypts on top. There’s loads of different species, some have very useful near-horizontal branches, while some don’t! My usual approach to get a link dipole or endfed up in the air has been light rope (or bailer twine - surprisingly good) with a weight on the end. I haven’t really settled on the best sort of throw but find that whirling the weight at the end of about 1m of string before releasing it at just the right moment gets the best height.
But it is erratic, and this obviously can’t be used with any possibility of other people in the area. OK on most of my summits so far - nearest people about 20km? for a guess. I also have unfortunately left have about 5m of rope up a tree… after the weight got stuck and I had to cut the rope. I think a bushfire has been through the area since though so it’s probably not there now. A friend of mine here tells me that fishing line is the best thing to use for the initial throw.
Anyway, just a few thoughts.
73, Steven
P.S. This photo is on VK2/SM-090. You can just see the yellow centre insulator of the dipole if you zoom in.


Yes I meant the long-arm type and yes the others are useless

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No one has mentioned the sling shot. Mine is a competition Magnum, with an arm brace that folds. The ammo is a 3 ounce egg-shaped sinker, and the line is 11 pound. Set the spool flat on the ground, and it streams off easily. Hold the sling horizontally, and surprise yourself with the accuracy. I routinely go over a tree 125 feet up, as I demonstrated to G6WRW & Helen back in 2013.

Elliott, K6EL


That’s how it’s done in overengineered mode:


I tried slingshot but was finnicky and the rubber tube was prone to breaking.
Ultimately find a child size compound bow and arrow set is by far the best, easiest, most reliable method.
I used a blunt tipped arrow and taped a slender metal file to the shaft a bit forward of center. Worked great. Can be had for $30 or so even at a local Big5 or similar shop. Wish I had made a video like I did w the slingshot…

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I have gone in the opposite direction, from masts to throw bags and lines. I was a diehard fan of using masts for ease of use and repeatability of setup, but when we started doing multi-day trips the mast was the first thing to get dropped because of its extra weight in the pack. We have to hang our food bags at night to prevent bears and other animals from getting to them, so we need to have a throw bag and line for that in any case. I use a rock sack, a very small stuff sack that weighs nothing and you add rocks on-site for weight. I actually use my multitool for weight in the rock sack. We are already on top of a mountain so I am usually not trying to get my antenna up 40 feet or higher and a branch 20-25 feet up works for me.

73, pat - ki4svm


I have been using the same idea with my multitool for a few years now. Instead of a small stuff sack, I drilled a hole into the screwdriver blade and use a S clip to connect to the line. At first it was a cheap S clip until last winter when I threw it, the multitool launched right off the top of the mountain while the antenna dropped at my feet. S clip came unclipped. Now just a cheap Cabelas multitool with a lockable S clip.



So what happens to your multi-tool if [when] the line gets tightly wrapped around a branch or otherwise snagged and can’t be pulled down? Don’t you risk losing your multi-tool?

When this happened to me I had to leave a length of cord and the throw weight in the tree until I came the next time. Ironically, it was my telescoping pole that came to the rescue; I tied a pointy object to the top end of my 5m pole and managed to dislodge the throw weight with it. So, the moral is, your telescoping pole can double as an antenna support and as a tree-trapped throw weight/cord remover.

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Now I have a proper throw bag I suspect that many problems people have are due to throwing something that is far too light to reliably overcome the friction. The throw bags are surprisingly heavy at 10 - 16 ounces (approximately 250-450 grams).

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THAT was also my problem

I threw the lead weight over a branch and it made a nice arc and then a double wave around the branch.
At a athletics event there would be a good score… but I was screwed. The lead weight is probably still hanging today on FL/VO-024.
Since then I take my telescopic pole and if I want to throw something over a tree, I tie a stick to a string, throw this and am satisfied with lower height.

73 Armin