How To Get The 'Aerial Aerial' Up and Down, With Ease

At the left is a winch specifically designed to get balloons and kites up and down in a hurry.  Weather balloons with radiosondes were launched using this and then locked off at altitude. It has a heavy machined reel that holds about one and a half miles of 300 pound line.  It is motor driven by AC, and the heavy aluminum box it comes in has handles on each side.  One man can lift it, but not carry it too far.  The remote control on a 30 foot cable gives you forward, and reverse.  There is a speed control to adjust the play out/ take up rates, and it is a mil spec beauty!  To make sure it stays put, I use the cork screw type anchors designed for dog chains, screwed into the ground, and heavy bungee straps through the handles to hold it down.  It has never moved, and I am not sure it ever would....even under the most severe winds pulling on the kite or balloon.

An expert on kites and kite making once told me it is very distracting if the trees around you are getting uprooted.....that's the time to forget about flying a kite.  Short of that, this baby will take it.

The reason I got this, a lucky find I might add, is that recovering a kite or balloon in a wind can get tiring using a conventional hand held kite line reel.  In some cases, the pull on the kite line is just so strong you can not get it in.  The winch solves the problem.

Before this box came to my garage, I used a hose reel like the ones you find in gardens.  It was OK, but a beefed up pole, bracket, and a crude bolt for a brake was not as satisfactory nor was it as robust and elegant as this solution.  

I have also managed to get a 12 VDC version for portable operation or for remote contest sites.




I will have pictures of filling, rigging, and launching balloon and kite lifted antennas later, but here is a preview......This is all you need to start your great aerial antenna adventure, except for the kite or balloon of course!  The kit consists of antenna wire, a bungee cord, a dog chain corkscrew, some heavy line, and a reel for the antenna and support line.



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