Antenna Launcher: How to be Successful Operating Portable

Buy a good antenna launcher for portable operation. If you operate portable, having a good antenna is important. It only takes a random wire antenna and getting the wire up as high as you can. To do that get the “Best Dog Gone Antenna Launcher.” As a friend would say, “It’s the antenna!” See the two videos below.

Most Important The Antenna Launcher

Hang’em high! I saw Bob Heil talk about this antenna launcher in a Youtube video and it peaked my interest, so I broke down and bought one. I am happy I did. It is a dog trainer with a weight added to the top. I call it the “Best Dog Gone Antenna Launcher.” See my videos below.

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This is the best antenna launcher I have ever used, hands down, and I’ve tried a lot of different ways to get a line up into a tree. This one is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around. You can even take this one backpacking.

It’s so simple to use, just aim and shoot. It takes .22 caliber blanks. The height it shoots can be adjusted using a different powerload 22cal. or by changing the weight on the end.

Your friends will want to borrow it!

The Antenna

“It’s all about the antenna.” One of the easiest antennas to hang high is a random wire. One end high in a tree and the other connected to your radio. No hassles and you’ll make plenty of contacts.

When operating QRP, there’s no need for fancy coils at the base or expensive tripods with verticals or horizontals, unless you don’t have any trees and in that case I’d choose an inexpensive flag pole or the longest fiberglass fishing pole I could find.

Random Wire Antenna Lengths

When I first started operating QRP with my KX2 I talked to a few hams at the Hamvention in Ohio. They recommended an end fed random length of wire and using a BNC binding post adapter or a 9:1 unun.

I did a little research and found a well referenced and popular page. This Ham figured out some lengths of wire that we should stay away from.

Another webpage by Jack, VE3EED (SK) was also very helpful. He eventually gets down to the basics and lists the lengths to use. Visit it here.

Update: Recently I tried a 51ft. wire with a smaller 9:1 unun and it worked well.

The Radio

I have an Elecraft KX2 for operating outside when I am camping and an Icom 7300 for inside the camper. Both of these rigs have their strong points. The Icom 7300 is great for SSB and digital modes. It’s a 100 watt rig and doesn’t use a lot of power. I can operate almost all day on a charged 12v car battery.

The Elecraft KX2 is great outdoors and has an internal antenna tuner. It’s a QRP rig, very small and lightweight for backpacking. It works extremely well off the internal battery. It is one of the best backpacking rigs of all time and will stay at the top for the foreseeable future.

Whether it’s a 100 watt rig or a QRP rig, get the antenna high. I will be trying different antennas while I camp. More to come on that.

The Location

The further out in the boonies you get, the better. There is less man made electrical noise out there, but you’ll still have to deal with static crashes from storms. When it’s calm, it’s unbelievably quiet!

However, I don’t recommend camping next to the tallest pine tree in the forest! 😉

I prefer camping in dispersed camping areas especially because of COVID-19, but it also gets me away from noise generated by RVs.

This is a site I’ve been using to find free dispersed camping sites. It’s call

Antenna Launcher Video

In the video below I’ll show you how the antenna launcher works and a random wire I put up while camping. This wire was between 90ft and 100ft long, and I used a 13ft counterpoise. The wire is approx. 50ft. high and it took one try to get it there. It was only a short time before I made numerous contacts.

Photo Gallery

Coming Soon

I will be doing more with Log4OM and a companion program to WSJT-X. Also, more portable operation in the near future and different antennas too.

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Have you found the perfect antenna launcher? Please post your comments below.

Best 73, stay safe and good DX! – Rich, K0PIR


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I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

2 Responses

  1. James Wascisin says:

    How much weight did you add to the “Dummy” and how did you attach the string? I assume you opened the top up to add the extra weight. It looks like you store the string wrapped around the dummy, then lay the string out on the ground when you are ready to fire it.
    By the way, your videos are great! N7RDG

  2. K0PIR says:

    Hi James,

    It’s nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting on my post. I have tried a few different weights. What I have right now is a 7/8” x 2” Hex Cap Screw in it. I am not sure of the weight. There are some pictures on this page that sho how I’ve cut the end off of the dummy and inserted the screw.
    I do keep the string wrapped around the dummy and then when I’m ready to launch it I just uncoil it from the dummy and lay it out on the ground so it doesn’t hang on anything.
    Thanks again and stay safe! 73, Rich K0PIR

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