What’s The Best Antenna For Your Helium Hotspot?

by

in

Here is a step by step method for under­stand­ing how to choose the best anten­na for your hotspot place­ment. Each place­ment demands a well matched anten­na in order to pro­vide val­ue to the Heli­um Net­work and con­se­quent­ly earn the most HNT pos­si­ble for that loca­tion. Do NOT, by the way, try to get the giant anten­na in the pic­ture below. While it looks huge and cool and rad, it is the wrong anten­na to use for these deploy­ments. I spent a fair amount of blood and trea­sure to learn that les­son. You don’t need to. 

First: Hotspot place­ment opti­miza­tion is FAR more impor­tant than what anten­na you use, more on that here.

High Mountain antenna placement for Helium in the backcountry of San Diego

Sec­ond, for those of you who just want AN ANSWER: Sim­ple: Pick up one of these if you’re on a bud­get (use code GRISTLEKING to knock off anoth­er 5%), get this if have plen­ty to spend or choose from the McGill selec­tion. They’ll all work well. 

Put it out­doors at least 10′ above all the build­ings around you. Run 40′ or less of LMR400 cable to it from your hotspot. If you have to go more than 40′, use LMR600 if you’re feel­ing extrav­a­gant. That’ll prob­a­bly get you 80% of the results you could get with far more effort and expertise. 

Wait, you want to actu­al­ly learn and match your anten­na to your sit­u­a­tion so you get the max­i­mum rewards possible?

Ok, let’s start with broad strokes: The anten­na you choose for your hotspot place­ment should match your topog­ra­phy, your ele­va­tion, and your lines of sight.

Let’s start with topog­ra­phy. Topog­ra­phy refers to the build­ings, earth, and water that sur­round, chan­nel, and block your radio sig­nals (prop­a­ga­tion.) The top­ic of radio prop­a­ga­tion involves a tremen­dous­ly deep dive all the way down to the fun­da­men­tals of physics, but we’ll keep it pret­ty simple.

BLUF (Bot­tom Line Up Front) — The flat­ter your topog­ra­phy AND the more trees/vegetation you have block­ing your Line of Sight to oth­er hotspots, the high­er gain anten­na you can use, up to 9 dbi.

Remem­ber, topog­ra­phy isn’t just hills and moun­tains, it includes build­ings, trees, and oth­er obstacles. 

Ok, let’s get dirty! In gen­er­al, earth in the form of moun­tains or hills will block radio sig­nals. Even though a hotspot may seem very close to you, if there’s a hill between the two of you, you prob­a­bly won’t wit­ness each other.

You may check out your loca­tion on the Heli­um Explor­er Cov­er­age map and think you’re per­fect­ly posi­tioned in regards to near­by hotspots, like this:

Remem­ber to check Google Earth!

See how that spot is tucked into a bunch of hills? Unless you put up an anten­na that’ll stick over the top of the hills, you’re restrict­ed to wit­ness­ing only oth­er hotspots in your imme­di­ate area, and in this case, that area is small!

One of the best tools to use when assess­ing a new site is Heli­umVi­sion. Remem­ber, loca­tion is FAR more impor­tant than anten­nas. If you’d like to learn more about Heli­umVi­sion (I use it in every one of my con­sults) I’ve built a Mas­ter Class on it, over here.

Ok, so that’s earth. Earth = No Radio Waves Get­ting Through.

What about build­ings? How much will build­ings block or reduce the pow­er of radio propagation? 

Accord­ing to a study done in 2012 on a wide swath of build­ing mate­ri­als and focus­ing on the GSM 900 MHz band, a rein­forced con­crete wall that is 20cm / ~8″ thick will atten­u­ate the sig­nal by 27 dB. An inte­ri­or plas­ter wall will reduce pow­er by any­where from .8 to 3 dB.

What does that mean? Dis­claimer: RF geeks, I’ma get loose with terms here. Relax.

This reduc­tion in pow­er is called “atten­u­a­tion.” In gen­er­al with radio com­mu­ni­ca­tions, you don’t want any atten­u­a­tion. Atten­u­a­tion can hap­pen with earth, build­ings, forests, and even win­dow coat­ings. How much pow­er will you lose? Let’s run some numbers.

Amer­i­can based hotspots start off by push­ing out 27 dBm. Euro­pean and oth­er areas start WAY low­er, at 14. Add the gain (dBi) from your anten­na and sub­tract the loss­es from any con­nec­tions to fig­ure out your Effec­tive Isotrop­ic Radi­at­ed Pow­er (EIRP).

That means a 6 dBi anten­na will give you 33 dBm of EIRP with a US hotspot. 27dBm + 6dBi = 33dBm in the direc­tion of anten­na gain. Now you’ve got to cal­cu­late cable and con­nec­tion loss.

As a rough rule of thumb, each con­nec­tion (hotspot to anten­na cable, anten­na cable to anten­na, or going through an enclo­sure wall using a con­nec­tor) will drop your EIRP by .5 dB. Cable loss­es vary by cable, which is why most peo­ple use a “low loss” cable like LMR400. If you want to run your EIRP num­bers, here’s how.

Ok, ok, ok, why does it mat­ter whether or not you know your EIRP

Let’s take a short detour into dBm and pow­er. dBm is based on a log­a­rith­mic scale. For every increase of 3 dBm, there is twice as much pow­er out­put. Every increase of 10 dBm has a ten­fold increase in pow­er. The dif­fer­ence between a 3 dBi anten­na (what most hotspots ship with) and an after­mar­ket 9 dBi anten­na is a fac­tor of 4! 

Of course, that 4x pow­er comes at a cost; the beam is focused; more laser and less light­bulb. That means that unless you aim your anten­na very care­ful­ly, you can blast all that pow­er into places that have no hotspots.

Here is a great exam­ple demon­strat­ing atten­u­a­tion and topog­ra­phy. This hotspot is placed on the north side inside a build­ing. It’s up high with a high­er gain anten­na, and in gen­er­al, inac­cu­rate­ly aimed over most of the near­by hotspots.

Most of the wit­ness­es it’s get­ting are fur­ther north. Some of the sig­nals bounce off to the side, prov­ing that “RF is weird.” 

To the south, the sig­nals are blocked or atten­u­at­ed by inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or walls, but appar­ent­ly there is a small win­dow or open­ing where those weak­ened sig­nals are escap­ing, then going pret­ty far over the water. Pret­ty neat, right? I mean, not for the hotspot own­er, but it’s a neat demon­stra­tion of the concept.

That image is also a great exam­ple of why you should nev­er put a hotspot anten­na inside; you are los­ing a ton of pow­er before the radio waves ever get out­side the building.

Water allows radio sig­nals to trav­el much fur­ther than nor­mal; look at any hotspot next to a body of water and you’ll see it will con­nect with oth­er hotspots at much fur­ther ranges across the water than it will across land. 

Let’s not get too into the weeds here. As I said at the begin­ning, the gen­er­al rule for topog­ra­phy is this: The flat­ter your topog­ra­phy, the high­er gain anten­na you can use, up to 9 dBi for 95% of place­ments. Beyond 9 the pat­tern gen­er­al­ly gets too pre­cise to pro­vide the Wide cov­er­age (the W in WUPU) that we want.

Remem­ber, topog­ra­phy includes not just hills, moun­tains, and water, but all the build­ings, bridges, and oth­er struc­tures that might block your radio sig­nal. Cities in gen­er­al do not have a flat topog­ra­phy, even if they’re built on flat land. All those spiky build­ings stick­ing out will gob­ble up your radio signals.

That brings us to ELEVATION. If you want to bend your mind a lit­tle bit, think about this: The high­er your ele­va­tion, the flat­ter the rel­a­tive topog­ra­phy is, and the LOWER dbi anten­na you can use. Wait, what?

Remem­ber, a high dbi anten­na focus­es the sig­nal of your anten­na. In an omni anten­na (we’ll get to direc­tion­al or sec­tor anten­nas in a minute), that shape becomes a flat­ter and flat­ter plane. If that plane is super flat, it’ll fly right over the tops of all those hotspots you want to hit. Let’s go through 3 examples.

Now, those aren’t how it *actu­al­ly* works. The gain pat­terns are nowhere near as dif­fer­ent, and a high gain anten­na will STILL hit the ground with­in 1,000′ of even a 100′ build­ing. Still, you can see why in *most* cas­es, you want a low or medi­um gain anten­na up high.

You can also run that idea back­wards; if you’re in a real­ly flat area where you don’t have a lot of obsta­cles, a high gain anten­na might be your best bet. Still, most peo­ple don’t live in the desert, and the flat­test state in Amer­i­ca has a ton of trees on it. If that’s your sce­nario, get a high gain (6–9 dBi) anten­na up over the tops of those trees for max­i­mum coverage. 

That brings us in a round­about way to Lines of Sight. Remem­ber that $39 paper I quot­ed ear­li­er regard­ing how much RF ener­gy a giv­en build­ing mate­r­i­al would absorb? The gen­er­al take­away for us Heli­um Hotspot own­ers is this: Our anten­nas won’t blast through much more than 2 build­ings.

That means if you’re INSIDE the build­ing, you’ve burned most of the ener­gy of the anten­na just get­ting out­side the walls. If it hits just one more “thing”, whether it’s a build­ing, a tree, or a bill­board, that’s prob­a­bly the end of the line.

This “Lines of Sight” idea has an impor­tant impli­ca­tion in under­stand­ing how some of the top earn­ing hotspot/antenna com­bos are doing so well. The hotspot Docile Bone Pony* (when this was writ­ten, one of the high­est earn­ers in the world) is on top of a 16 sto­ry build­ing in a major city with a medium/high gain anten­na (8 dbi from eBay on 60′ of LMR400.) It has Lines of Sight to a lot of oth­er hotspots, BUT those oth­er hotspots don’t have great lines of sight to oth­er hotspots around ’em.

That means that DBP is see­ing a lot of hotspots that AREN’T see­ing a lot of hotspots. I’m going to anthro­po­mor­phize this a bit, but their only option is to com­mu­ni­cate with DBP. So they do. And DBP earns like crazy. It’s an exam­ple of the incred­i­ble earn­ing poten­tial that exists when pro­vid­ing asym­met­ric val­ue to the network.

While we’re on Lines of Sight, let’s talk about the range of a stan­dard hotspot. Accord­ing to some excel­lent work done by the inim­itable @para1 on Dis­cord, most hotspots do most of their wit­ness­ing with­in a 10km range. Now, an in depth dis­cus­sion of the impli­ca­tions and restric­tions of this table is beyond the scope of this arti­cle, but your gen­er­al take­away should be “Opti­mize your anten­na for hot­pots with­in 10 km” aka most peo­ple don’t need a high gain antenna.

@para1’s table, post­ed in Discord

I’ll dou­ble tap this range thing with an exam­ple of a hotspot I run, which has a 3 dBi HNTen­na on top of a 20′ pole on top of a ~30′ build­ing. It *rou­tine­ly* gets wit­ness­es over 200km away. While it seems that a high gain anten­na will get you bet­ter range, it does­n’t real­ly mat­ter. It’s Line of Sight that is the secret here.

Final­ly, Lines of Sight can be blocked by forests. Depend­ing on who you lis­ten to, LoRa does­n’t go through much more than 60 meters of dense for­est. I’m sor­ry rur­al Flori­da, you’ve just got a tough row to hoe on that one. Dense for­est in between you and oth­er anten­nas is about the only time a high­er gain (up to 9 dBi) makes sense, and even then it may not make a giant dif­fer­ence. Forests are RF sinks.

There is one more thing to think about with Lines of Sight. The 900 MHz fre­quen­cy needs some run­way, ide­al­ly 50′/15m to fan out enough to dif­fract around obsta­cles. Read that again and you’ll have an advan­tage over every­one who does­n’t get that concept.

The con­cept of Fres­nel zones and dif­frac­tion in radio wave com­mu­ni­ca­tion is one of the fun­da­men­tal dri­vers of the “RF is weird” refrain you’ll hear when­ev­er you see a pat­tern that does­n’t imme­di­ate­ly make sense. Basi­cal­ly, the fur­ther out your radio waves go, the more they can spread out along their radi­a­tion pat­tern, the less like­ly that all of the waves get blocked, and the more like­ly that at least some of ’em will get to anoth­er hotspot. 

At some dis­tance they’re so spread out that you’re basi­cal­ly not going to make a con­nec­tion, so the effec­tive “win­dow” shrinks back down. Like this:

Check out RadioMo­bile to get deep on Fres­nel zones.

If you set up your anten­na so that you’ve got lots of clear space around it before it hits obsta­cles, those radios waves have enough spread to start “bend­ing around” those obsta­cles. This is yet anoth­er rea­son not to set up inside. 

Here’s anoth­er “I def­i­nite­ly did­n’t go to art school” draw­ing to demon­strate the idea of run­way and diffraction.

If you give those radio waves some room to spread out, they can get around obsta­cles. Let ’em breathe!

Ok, we’ve got one more thing to con­sid­er before wrap­ping up. Many of you will have been scour­ing ham radio sites to fig­ure out how to improve the range of your anten­na. Keep in mind that the goal of many ham radio oper­a­tors is incred­i­ble range, but that can come at the cost of broad cov­er­age. Doing exact­ly what a ham oper­a­tor does may give you the results they want, not what you want.

YOU want to hit as many high scale hotspots as pos­si­ble. You’ll usu­al­ly do that by using a low gain anten­na up high, with clear lines of sight all around.

Remem­ber, you’ll earn the most by deliv­er­ing the most valu­able & prov­able cov­er­age to the net­work. The con­cept is sim­ple. The exe­cu­tion can be com­pli­cat­ed. If you want help with get­ting the max­i­mum val­ue out of your place­ments or strat­e­gy, I’m avail­able for hire.

For those of you who skipped all that and just want to know what anten­na to get, here are 4 gen­er­al­ly good options for the 3 most com­mon scenarios.

  1. In a build­ing in the city? Get an out­door HNTen­na or a McGill in the 3–6 dBi range, put it out­side up as high as you can.
  2. In a build­ing where you just can’t get up high? Use the stock anten­na that came with your hotspot. Also, find a bet­ter place­ment loca­tion. You did read about that, right?
  3. In a sub­ur­ban house? Get either the HNTen­na or a McGill in the 3–6 dBi range and put it on a pole out­side and up high.
  4. On a moun­tain where you can’t pos­si­ble trans­mit behind you (because the moun­tain will block your sig­nal) and you have an enor­mous view of civ­i­liza­tion and your near­est hotspot is more than 5 miles away? Try a 8–9 dBi patch anten­na, like these.

I’ll round this out with what to def­i­nite­ly NOT do. Don’t just look at the gain of an anten­na and think high­er is bet­ter. Don’t both­er with Yagi anten­nas. Final­ly, don’t wor­ry too much about your anten­na. In the big pic­ture of earn­ings, it is FAR more impor­tant to have good place­ment and ele­va­tion. The fan­ci­est, coolest, most high tech anten­na in the world won’t get you much if you’re in a crap­py loca­tion down low.

Best of luck with your place­ment and earn­ings, I’m stoked to be a part of this amaz­ing com­mu­ni­ty! If you’re look­ing for work in the Heli­um ecosys­tem, check out  Heli­um Jobs. You can post and find jobs there, help sup­port the ecosys­tem by mak­ing it eas­i­er to con­nect pro­fes­sion­al­ly, and let the world know that YOU exist and want to help con­tribute with­in the Net­work. Rock on!

Resources and Further Reading

A deep­er dive into under­stand­ing how RF works.

Cal­cu­lat­ing RF Pow­er Val­ues (explains why a 6 dBi anten­na dou­bles your power)

900 MHz: The Wire­less Work­horse. (Prob­a­bly why Heli­um chose LoRa)


List of Helium Hotspots & Their Antennas

Before you read this and assume that you must have a high gain anten­na in order to get great earn­ings, please keep in mind that these hotspot own­ers are gen­er­al­ly tin­ker­ers and often have some exper­tise in RF the­o­ry. The results are a lit­tle skewed because of that.

UPDATE: Heli­umVi­sion now reports this for all hotspot own­ers who have entered this on Heli­um app. I’ve closed sub­mis­sions on this page. 

Docile Bone Pony — Ele­va­tion: 16 sto­ries, Area: Greater Boston, MA. Anten­na: 8 dbi omni from eBay, Cables: 60′ of LMR400

Sweet Sage Pike — Ele­va­tion: 43′ above ground, Area: San Diego, CA. Anten­na: Near­son 9, Cables: 5′ of LMR400

Chilly Blood Mon­goose — Ele­va­tion: 41′ above ground, Area: San Diego, CA. Anten­na: Laird FG9026 (6 dbi), Cables: 5′ of LMR400

Lucky Men­thol Wasp — Ele­va­tion: 60′ above ground, Area: San Diego, CA. Anten­na: RAK 5.8 dbi, Cables: 11′ LMR400

Nice Lip­stick Chim­panzee — Ele­va­tion: 25′ above ground, Area: San Fran­cis­co, CA. Anten­na: RFMAX | ROSA-900-SNF, Cables: 5′ LMR240

Inter­est­ing Pearl Star­ling — Ele­va­tion: 35′ above ground, Area: North Shore, MA. Anten­na: RAK 5.8 dbi, Cables: RAK pig­tail inter­face con­vert­er bun­dled with antenna

Jumpy Iron Fer­ret — Ele­va­tion: 34th sto­ry, Area: Chica­go, IL. Anten­na: Stock, Cables: N/A. Indoor setup.

Kind Infrared Lynx — Ele­va­tion: 15′ above ground, Area: Den­ver, CO. Anten­na: Tao­glas 8 dbi. Cables: 15′ LMR400

Lucky Dijon Scal­lop — Ele­va­tion: 33′ above ground. Area: Engle­wood, CO. Anten­na: RAK 8 dbi. Cables: RAK pig­tail cable

Sticky Pear Dol­phin — Ele­va­tion: 311′ above ground (moun­tain). Area: San Fran­cis­co, CA. Anten­na: Oukeione 3 dbi. Cables: Bingfu

Petite Men­thol Leop­ard — Ele­va­tion 25′. Area: Napa, CA. Anten­na: 5.8 RAK. Cables: Bingfu

Best Tan­ger­ine Racoon — Ele­va­tion: Sec­ond Floor Win­dow. Area: Bay­onne, NJ Anten­na: Stock 3 dBi Cables: 1m pigtail

Warm Juniper Pan­ther — Ele­va­tion: 4th floor rooftop. Area: Bay­onne, NJ Anten­na: Near­son 9 dBi. Cables: 4′ LMR400

Scrawny Egg­plant Pan­da — Ele­va­tion: 35′ Area: Lake­wood, OH Anten­na 4 dBi Mul­ti­pole Cables: N/A

Ancient Cider Grasshop­per — Ele­va­tion: 40′ Area: Kansas City, MO Anten­na: RAK Wire­less 8 dBi Cables: 30′ LMR400

Oblong Slate Platy­pus — Ele­va­tion: 400′ Area: New York City, NY Anten­na: Prox­i­cast 10 dBi Cables: LMR400

Ripe Banana Gob­lin — Ele­va­tion: 2nd floor win­dow Area: Van­cou­ver, BC Anten­na: Stock 3 dBi Cables: N/A

Trendy Rain­bow Lizard — Ele­va­tion: 1st floor win­dow Area: Van­cou­ver, BC Anten­na: Stock 3 dBi Cables: N/A

Striped Pewter Osprey — Ele­va­tion: 20′ Area: Los Ange­les, CA Anten­na: RAk 5.8 Cables: LMR400



Comments

491 responses to “What’s The Best Antenna For Your Helium Hotspot?”

  1. Nik,
    Thank you so much for your hard work and sup­port to the community, 

    I’m look­ing for the Sense­CAP M1 hotspot EU868
    I’m in France, it work on oth­er fre­quen­cy and I’m a bit con­fused about the best set­up to choose in my case,
    I’m in a small build­ing at the first floor so not so high, oth­er build­ings are higher
    the build­ing is locat­ed around a cir­cle place with oth­er build­ings around the cir­cle and some trees
    in the mid­dle of the cir­cle place there is two streets cross­ing each oth­er with car traf­fic and a sub­way sta­tion underneath
    In the back of the build­ing it is enclosed space with oth­er buildings
    Also there is already 2 hotspot already vis­i­ble on the map around about 150 meters (500 feet) away each 

    - should i use the 2.8 dBi because of the round cir­cle space at short distance ?
    — or the 5.8 dBi to go through the few threes and many cars ?
    — or the 8 dBi to go through all build­ings through the place ? 

    Thank you in advance for your time,

  2. Hi Yoann, 5.8 will will prob­a­bly be fine for ya. Rock on!

  3. Good morn­ing, I have a 9dbi mcgill anten­na on the roof at 20 meters height + or — I leave a hospot link but it gives me invalids in sev­er­al hospots at 30km… https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/112gw67DtWkv9oK6kGi3EX2LnKZPAU4D5AeYR1EtF8P42sfamUsW help please sim­u­la­tion , Would a 6dbi mcgill one be better?

  4. I’d look at how many invalids vs valids you’re get­ting, and which are high and low val­ue. Does that make sense?

  5. Richard S. Avatar
    Richard S.

    Nik, you are a great help to the com­mu­ni­ty, much appreciated.

    I’ve spent a con­sid­er­able amount of time try­ing to find a straight answer to this, but apol­o­gize if you’ve addressed it before.

    Cur­rent­ly, What hap­pens if you don’t update your after­mar­ket anten­na specs on the Heli­um app? Will it affect the per­for­mance on the anten­na if the info is not updat­ed cor­rect­ly to reflect prop­er DBis? 

    Would the update be need­ed for each antenna/gain option to actu­al­ly reap the benefits? 

    As a rule how long would you run each gain option as a test to have an appro­pri­ate data sources to pick a win­ner? Then once you pick a win­ner update the specs on the Heli­um app?

    Cheers
    Richard

  6. It’ll decrease sig­nal strength if you assert a gain that puts you over the legal lim­it. More over here.

    7 day min­i­mum to get good num­bers. Check the YouTube inter­view with Matthew Patrick for more on col­lect­ing good stats for Heli­um relat­ed decisions.

  7. The Crawfords Avatar
    The Crawfords

    Hey Nik,
    I live out in the coun­try with hills and trees, my near­est fel­low hotspot is over a mile away. s it still worth it to set up a hot spot?

    Gun­ny

  8. Hey Gun­ny, if you’ve got a clear line of sight to that oth­er hotspot you’re like­ly to con­nect with it. LoRa can eas­i­ly do a mile. Ide­al­ly you’d want a few oth­er hotspots AND have a use in mind for the cov­er­age Heli­um provides.

  9. Hi Nik- I bought the Peo­ples Anten­na based off your rec­om­men­da­tion above. They charged my card but nev­er received any order con­fir­ma­tion and they won’t return sup­port emails. Have you found them to be a gen­er­al­ly good com­pa­ny? Do you have a back­up bud­get selection?

    Thanks for the great content!

  10. Any sug­ges­tions to max­i­mize my earnings 

    Sense­cap M1 with 5.4db anten­na placed on the sec­ond floor in my house next to the win­dow cur­rent­ly get­ting around 3$ worth of HNT

    If I buy a high­er DB anten­na my earn­ing would increase? whats the best one ? saw fil­ters? Ampli­fiers? See­ing many things online and get­ting con­fused as I dont want to spend too much so what would be my best options 

    https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/11ADQM15ioZM4KnQoTG7sUAfFe73mox61fdSpZmzUFQcFXKjxyy

  11. High­er gain anten­na prob­a­bly won’t do as much as get­ting your anten­na out­side and up higher. 🙂

  12. Hi Josh, they’re a gen­er­al­ly good com­pa­ny, though grow­ing fast and will have stuff like this slip through the cracks. I’d re-ping them on email one more time, and check through your spam for con­fir­ma­tion. McGill are also good antennas.

  13. Hi.
    I want to get Sen­scap M1 with anten­na but I don’t know which anten­na shoud i get…
    This is my loca­tion https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/hex/881ec152b7fffff
    Behind me It is sub­urb area with 1/2 hous­es every­where and in front of me it is pret­ty much wood­ed area.
    What anten­na shoud i get 5.8 , 8 , 10 . Which one should be the best in my case?

  14. Hi Geor­gi, I think you’d be fine with a McGill 6 or maybe high­er. Remem­ber, it’s more a fac­tor of how high you get your anten­na and how much line of sight it has to oth­er anten­nas than it is which anten­na you buy.

  15. I would prob­a­bly put it on 10 meters (+- 1–2 meters). I don’t know which one should I choose. I would real­ly appre­ci­ate it if you tell me which one in par­tic­u­lar is the best. This is a reply to your com­ment APRIL 27, 2022 AT 7:38 AM.
    Thank you in advance,
    Georgi

  16. Hi Gero­gi, click this link to go to the McGill 6 dBi, which should be fine for you. Remem­ber, the anten­na does­n’t mat­ter as much as the elevation.

  17. The ele­va­tion in my city is around 390 meters. Will the 6 dbi anten­na be the best choise for me?

  18. Hi Geor­gi, city­wide ele­va­tion has very lit­tle to do with what anten­na you should use. It’s the spe­cif­ic ele­va­tion at the point of install, and how much clear line of sight (to oth­er Hotspots) that gives you. The 6 dBi should be fine.

  19. Hi nik this my loca­tion and i want your advice which anten­na you rec­om­mend­ed to use
    https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/11e9gtZYsxr1EE42SdipydLU6Ti3PJVXpdNRqAZv3W8XFRwBqgZ

  20. I just want to know where to get the equip­ment your using

  21. Any­thing in par­tic­u­lar? McGill’s got a wide range.

  22. Jeff S. Avatar
    Jeff S.

    Hey Nick, quick ques­tion. My bud­dy says to pur­chase a ‘sig­nal boost­er’ which attach­es to the Min­er (Bob­cat 300 — in my case) to boost sig­nal ex: FBP-915S. Not near any cell tow­er and anten­na is high above the roof lines in a sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hood. My first thought is overkill and sig­nal loose out of the gate. Should I con­sid­er this boost­er add-on or chalk it up as BS?
    Thanks for your time, Nik!

  23. I would­n’t wor­ry about it, but only test­ing will tell. I haven’t used a sig­nal boost­er on any of my setups so far, and some of them are miles from the near­est Hotspot. All per­form­ing fine.

  24. Rusty Ruch Avatar
    Rusty Ruch

    Is there info on here about how to get my Bob­cat out of relay mode?

  25. Yep, go here. Light Hotspots should make this a thing of the past.

  26. Allen Avatar
    Allen

    how many km will the 5 dbi — 9 dbi anten­na’s reach in ide­al loca­tion? what do they max out at?

  27. Oh, 200 km with clear line of sight is not unheard of, and that’s for a 3 dBi antenna.

  28. Lyubo Avatar
    Lyubo

    Hey Nik, great job with the infor­ma­tion above. You are a mas­ter at this and a fan­tas­tic mem­ber of the com­mu­ni­ty. I recent­ly got my Bob­cat 300 and was won­der­ing if it would be safe to put the stock anten­na out­doors on the roof for exam­ple for bet­ter cov­er­age. I real­ly feel that it would improve my earn­ings as cur­rent­ly, I have it set up inside next to a win­dow. Also, and sor­ry if you had already addressed this, but would the con­nec­tion from a wi-fi sig­nal (the sig­nal is com­ing from an extreme­ly sta­ble 4G con­nec­tion from a router) be much worse than eth­er­net? Thank you in advance and keep up the great content!

  29. Hi Lyubo, fine to set up the stock Bob­cat anten­na out­side, I believe it’s out­door rat­ed. Almost always bet­ter to get the anten­na out­side & up high if pos­si­ble. As far as WiFi vs eth­er­net, I always fig­ure out how to con­nect to eth­er­net cables as that avoids any issues with WiFi, but if WiFi is your only option that’s fine.

  30. hangman131st Avatar
    hangman131st

    look­ing to get­ting into min­ing is a 15dbi over kill looked online and seen one that is com­pat­i­ble with a bob­cat 300, I live in an area that is most­ly flat and lots of trees. I would like to get as much range as I can or is there a lim­it on what I can use. I live in Michigan

  31. Hi Hang­man, yes, 15 dBi is overkill. You’ll prob­a­bly be best served with a 9 dBi, just get it up as high as you pos­si­bly can. Loca­tion is far more impor­tant than anten­na (or ele­va­tion, for that matter).

  32. Martin Avatar
    Martin

    Hi Nik.I hope you can help with this.
    I live in Gilling­ham dorset in UK at alti­tude 70m.there are a few hotspots in my town but they all seem to be inac­tive. in town 4 miles away from me there are hotspots which are work­ing fine but the town is at alti­tude 200–220m, there is a chance to con­nect with them but what anten­na should I buy? 6dbi, 6.5dbi or even big­ger ?I would say my town is between the hills.
    sec­ond issue is place­ment of hotspot. In attic is usu­al­ly 33C. is that too hot for miner?i can place it on sec­ond floor of my house but will have to run a 5m cable. what would be the best?
    hope you can help.
    regards

  33. Hi Mar­tin,
    No anten­na will blast through hills. There’s a chance the sig­nal will bounce off some­thing and get to the far side, but that’s unre­li­able. In gen­er­al, 6–9 dBi is going to be your range, and any­thing in there should work well.

    The best place for an anten­na is up high, the best place for the min­er is usu­al­ly some­where in a temp range humans can tol­er­ate. Spe­cif­ic min­ers have spe­cif­ic temp para­me­ters, dou­ble check yours. I’d run the 5m of cable to keep the anten­na high and the min­er out of the heat.

  34. bonusik Avatar
    bonusik

    hi.
    Thank you for your response. the stronger anten­na, less beamwidth it has, for exam­ple 6,5dbi has 30degrees ver­ti­cal, but 8.5dbi has only 10degree ver­ti­cal. would that mat­ter around hills?so can 6.5dbi reach high­er over the hill then 8.5dbi?Am i under­stand­ing right? I am think­ing about 6dbi but if 7 or 8dbi will work bet­ter then I will go for it.
    regards

  35. Don’t wor­ry so much about the “right” anten­na. Loca­tion is far more impor­tant. Anten­nas don’t real­ly mat­ter. Any decent brand from 6–9 dBi will do as well as any­thing else in the loca­tion you’re describing.

  36. Xavier Avatar
    Xavier

    Hel­lo,

    We are hav­ing Mile­sight heli­um hotspot, model:UG65-868M-EA-H32.
    Please can you rec­om­mend the suit­able anten­na mod­els for this hotspot to improve cov­er­age and earnings.

    https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/1121aRSBSxheung9eFVStXmcV3hsyjU6wcWYkhUNeVGBD8H1qPKh

    Thanks,

  37. bonusik Avatar
    bonusik

    hi.
    Thank you for help. 6dbi anten­na bought and instaled. I had 4dbi anten­na for 2 days and then swapped on 6dbi 2 days ago but I can not see any dif­fer­ence in wit­ness­es, rewards etc. is that normal?or should I wait a few more days? regards

  38. Pret­ty nor­mal. Switch­ing anten­nas typ­i­cal­ly does­n’t do a ton to change things; loca­tion & ele­va­tion are what real­ly mat­ter. I’d wait a few more days to make sure. 7 day min­i­mum for assess­ing, some­times more depend­ing on local density.

  39. jeremy west Avatar
    jeremy west

    i live 7 miles and have a 50 feet or so place­ment what dbi anten­na should i get im so confused

  40. Hi Jere­my, don’t wor­ry too much about the dBi. It won’t make a huge dif­fer­ence. If you need “buy this anten­na” advice, I’d just pick up a Par­ley Labs 5.8.

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