Two sources of pneumatic antenna launchers

akbioccaI saw my first pneumatic antenna launcher in use years ago in Stamford, Connecticut. Preparations were being made for Field Day and someone there had a contraption that I later would realize was of the same design as those now available from AKBiocca.

The thing worked great, easily getting a line over very tall pine trees. I vowed to someday have one, but life got in the way and the need disappeared. For a while…

AKBiocca launchers have been available for years now and can be bought in kit form with various options or fully built. I started to order two years ago but wanted mine to be built and ready to go when it arrived but learned that there was a 2-3 month lead time. Too late for me to put the planned antenna into use for CQWW that year, so I cancelled the order.

These launchers clearly are the Cadillacs of such specialized devices and those who have them rave about them.

There is now a new source for a pneumatic launcher that, while more plain and simplifiedairboss, seems to perform just as well in getting a line over 100+ foot trees.

The Air Boss from KR4LO shoots a 2-oz lead weight as opposed to AKBiocca’s tennis ball. Much simplified, the Air Boss is only about 15-20% the price of launchers from AKBiocca.

Check out the video of the $50 Air Boss in action:



  4 comments for “Two sources of pneumatic antenna launchers

  1. Larry W2LJ
    January 30, 2014 at 9:56 pm


    My launcher is very similar to the Air Boss. I bought the kit from the Joplin MO ARC. It was $50 and was very easy to build. It has already served well, helping me get my EDZ back in commission when my support line broke.

    73 de Larry W2LJ

    • January 31, 2014 at 6:35 am

      I used a crossbow to get one end of my dipole up to the 75′ level in a 100-foot tree but couldn’t use it on the other end due to where the arrow could have landed. One of these would make the whole thing safer and may even allow me to get it further up in the trees.

      On a side note – that dipole has been up for 5 years now in all weather, including heavy winds, and has not broken or come down once. I attribute that to the springs on each end of the securing ropes.

  2. Alan Dove
    January 31, 2014 at 7:07 am

    I’m a happy AKBiocca Antenna Launcher owner. I built the kit in a couple of easy evenings. One of the best things about this device is exactly what distinguishes it from the AirBoss: tennis balls. Having slung and shot lead weights over tree branches many times, I’m painfully aware of what a couple ounces of solid metal can do when it hits something less solid. Sinkers are also difficult to impossible to see. Tennis balls are nicely cushioned and highly visible. They also ensure that the whole operation looks completely non-threatening, even whimsical, which is important if you have nearby neighbors who don’t share your enthusiasm for backyard ballistics.

    • January 31, 2014 at 7:17 am

      One other advantage I think would be the fact that the AKBiocca’s trigger release is more rapid, allowing all of the air pressure to be released at once. With the ball valve on the AirBoss, I would think that instantaneous pressure would be less due to the slower (manual) release of air as the user turns the valve.

      Still, it’s tough to justify the price of a $250 item that would get used once a year, if that. It would be fun to build though…

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