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Re-purposed HyperDawg as Antenna Launcher

Ran across the hyper dog ball launcher a couple of years ago, and the potential for re-purposed applications for hanging antenna supports seemed obvious.  It is not as much fun as a pneumatic launcher, but it sure is easily understood by any boy of 8.  No air pump required.

The modified hyper dog 
The hyper dog ball launcer modified to launc lines for antennas Photo of tennis ball modified for use as line launcher

The normal slingshot type Wrist-Rocket/Crossman slingshot launcher has served the purpose for years, but not always without problems.  A 1-oz(28g) lead weight works, but not without a relatively high rate of mis-fires, line tangles, and “Oh S**t!” moments.  The hyper dog is a lot less likely to draw whining complaints from those inclined to wring their hands and moan about things that don’t really concern them..”See, its just a tennis ball.  Now p**s off!”

The hyper dog has a much larger pouch designed for use with tennis balls.  A slight bit of hacking to the hardware gives a nice re-purposed tool for lofting lines into all of those beautiful deciduous biological antenna supports lining the back yard.  So far it has been a lot more reliable in actual usage than the ole trusty Crossman, although Field Day proved its not impossible to Dork Up.  [You Know Who You Are….lol]

The reel deal:

Here the body was altered by adding a cheap spin-cast zebco reel picked up for $2 at a yard sale.  A spinning reel or open faced casting reel might be better, but I have used the zebco’s since I was 6yo.   Being more familiar with the Zebco quirks and limitations is useful. For most, a spinning reel is probably the best option.  10 or 12lb test line has proven the best choice over the years – light enough to fly, strong enough to pull, and not impossible to break if it becomes hopelessly snarled at altitude.

The reel is simply attached below the ball carrier with a couple of hose clamps.  That was later wrapped with an ugly mess of electrical tape just to reduce the number of exposed sharp edges.

Yes, the tennis balls work FB.

To modify the tennis balls, they were  just drilled with a 9/64 bit.  A loop of 1/8th braided nylon cord is secured to a small hardware store drywall toggle bolt/spring bolt. Then just cram the bolt/cord through the hole, reaming the hole out slightly if needed[leaving most of the loop of cord hanging out!].    The base of the cord is sealed at the hole with a goop of liquid nails or hot glue or some-such.  The loop of cord is about 6 inches long(~150mm), and the spring bolt serves the same purpose it normally does by providing a large area preventing pull-out.  After drying completely – good to go.

The tennis balls seem to be a good compromise between weight and a non-destructive & non-threatening projectile. [Just don’t try to pull them back up through the tree-too fast!].   The ‘trick’ to success with it seems to be making sure the cord on the tennis balls clear the end of the slingshot.  It seems to work best when the corded end of the ball is facing  up(i.e., at the top of the pouch when pulled back for a shot).

What’s the catch?

The only genuine problem I have with it is that it has a “long draw”.  Being impishly short my arms are not long enough to get the maximum performance out of the rig.  But despite that it works much better than the regular slingshot with fewer snags and mis-fires. It easily sends the tennis balls up to about 90 feet(~30m).  The canopy here prevents anything higher, so no real top-end found yet.

I suspect golf balls would be the ultimate high-flying projectile for rural locations.  Too much window glass and nervous-Nelly neighbors around the home QTH for me to try golf balls here.   A day-break early morning experiment for the future…. 😉

There is somebody here on the east coast marketing these re-branded as antenna launchers, and asking $80.  See Radiowavz Hyper Hanger, now $90USD….

Too easy to homebrew from the $22 Amazon original to peel out 80 samolies 90 GreenStamps, but it is there as an option. (!~yikes~!)

4 comments to Re-purposed HyperDawg as Antenna Launcher

  • Steve N9KX

    Good article! When I saw this item at the local Menards store about 6 months ago, my first thought was to use it for an antenna launcher. It was located in the pet section and I paid less than 20 bucks for it. Four tennis balls were included.

    I have 75 foot oak trees and this nify device shoots over the top of them with ease. Makes hanging wire antennas a breeze!

  • Joe

    One trick I found with slingshots is to keep the reel away from the slingshot. Don’t mount it out front or below as you will end up pulling a loop of line through the forks of the slingshot. You can have someone else hold it but I figured out something else because I am usually alone. I took a hunk of seat belt webbing long enough to go around the meaty part of my forearm and sewed some velcro on it so I could wrap it and keep it in place. I melted a small slit in the center so I could work the mounting part of a fishing reel through the webbing. Now I can mount the reel near the elbow of my drawing arm. That keeps the reel behind and the line from fouling in the slingsot. Just lower the slingshot after release and keep the draw arm up in the firing position as the line pays out. Works like a charm. Never fouled the line this way.

    Thanks for the info. I’m going to get one of these dog toys and put my wrist rocket and lead sinkers away!


  • Joe, that is a GREAT tip about placement of the reel. Your solution certainly never occurred to me. Thanks!

    I can see how keeping the reel above and in line with the shot will help. That has been the biggest problem with using this type of thing as a line launcher. Going to experiment with your idea as soon as the rain goes away, I have some line maintenance that needs work.

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