What’s The Best Antenna For Your Helium Hotspot?

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

489 thoughts on “What’s The Best Antenna For Your Helium Hotspot?”

  1. Not an option but appreciate your feed back. Austin Tx is a bit too dense with miners to find a “better” location . Were in the outskirts of town now so the goal is just to reach further distances. What antenna does best for that ?

  2. Thanks Nik, I can’t believe how many replies you’ve got on here! Do you have any material on understanding the need, if any, to ground these antennas outside on poles or in our case, a roof?
    Like, am I going to get hit by lightning and get the house burnt down?

  3. Well, technically you should ground every antenna, though it’s usually more to protect your device from static discharge and less about preventing/stopping a lightning strike. If you look at most antennas on buildings (not just Helium ones) you’ll see that plenty of them aren’t grounded. If your antenna is easily the highest thing around and you have lightning storms regularly I’d be more worried about it. Again, technically you should, in practice many don’t.

  4. Thanks Nik for the great article! I was brought here by youtuber Anonymous Miner.
    I live in a city called Ocala, Florida. The city itself is pretty small considering Orlando, Florida is about 1 hour away. I used https://www.scadacore.com/ to help find elevations and line of sight. (Again thank you for all the information you placed above) I have 2 questions…
    1) The goal is get to the highest elevation possible with no obstruction around?
    2) There’s probably a total of 10 hotspots in my area (compared to over 200+ in Orlando) Does the number of hotspots of witnesses reflect the amount of coins earned?

  5. Yes to 1. For 2, less than 40 hotspots makes it harder to reliably witness enough beacons to earn consistently at higher rates. You earn more per witnessed beacon with less miners, but there are less opportunities to witness beacons.

  6. Hey gristle! I finally got my antenna up with 21 foot of lmr 400 and the HNTenna. 3dbi you recommended. I reported the dbi in the app accounting for the loss for the cable but not the arrester( another .4? I assume ). Is it detrimental if I don’t change it. I was always curious if what will happen if you report in the app incorrectly. Thank you !

  7. Hi Nik,
    great summary. Thanks a lot for that.
    I wanna buy your recommended Antenna for outdoor on top of buildings (number 1 on your list). But this one is only for USA and Canada. Do you have by instance a recommendation for Europe?

    Greetings from Germany, Mate.

  8. Hi Nik,
    My country is operating at AS923_1, zone3. Will the “USA/CAN (915) 902-928MHz White Outdoor Helium Antenna” work in my area?
    Thanks, appreciate your help.

  9. Hello Nik,

    Thank you very much for publishing this. It is very good to understand better what we are supposed to achieve, i never had contact with info about radio waves and antennas and they are fascinating!
    I was looking the other day at some cellular towers, and they look like to use many directional antennas to achieve the 360 degree coverage. I’m on the highest floor of a 350′ building with access to the roof, do you think I would benefit from this kind of setup? Is it possible to use multiple antennas on the helium network?

    Thank you very much for your time!

  10. Hi Ivan,
    Happy to help! I haven’t yet seen a working Helium setup with multiple antennas. Lots of folks have tried it, but it’s generally far more complicated and a PITA than just setting up an omnidirectional and getting the thing high.

  11. Thank you for your reply Nik!

    Sure, they indeed look very complicated. I bought the RisingHF RHF2S308 hotspot with 8dbi antenna, I will try to use it stock, do you think i would benefit from using the Omnidirectional https://hntenna.com?

    Thanks again and have a great day!

  12. Depends on where you are. In the EU and other lower-power-radio zones, a higher gain can really help. In the US, in general, the lower gain antennas like the HNTenna will do really well.

  13. Hey Gris! I got decent miners around me. Some right next to me. And others 3-4 miner block spaces away. I live in an apartment on the bottom floor. Do you have any recommendation of where to put the antenna ? And what dbi to run. Im the US. Semi populated area. I was thinking of putting it right outside, hanging it right above my porch. Thank you

  14. Thanks for the great article. Is the goal to get as many witnesses as possible? If two miners are both earning the 1.00 reward scale would 100 witnesses do worst than one that witnesses 190? Would a higher witness count mean that the antenna is correctly being utilized for the typography that we are in. We are currently testing 8dbi, 12dbi and 16dbi, all outside about 10m off the ground.

  15. Hi Jackson, no, a beacon can only be witnessed by 10 other hotspots. If more than 10 hotspots witness that beacon, 10 are randomly selected.

  16. Hi Gristle, I live in a very rural area with very few hotspots, my miner should be here any day now
    I am in the UK with the closest big group of hotspots within line of site are about 90km away across the sea. I’m 150m above sea-level with the antenna location 10m above that. Would a directional antenna be better for me

  17. Hi Phil, whew, those are big distances for the EU. Yep, I’d probably go directional, at least until PoCv11 comes online.

  18. Hey gristle, hope you been well. Setting up another hotspot next week at another buddies house. Its up on a hill, pretty decent view underneath not super high up though, but I would want to reach miners to the next city over about 35-38km (kent wa to seattle wa). (fat cluster of miners) going to mount it up on his chimey with lmr400 cable prob 25-30ft. Box will be wifi but in the same room as the router probably 15ft away. I got a 8-9 dbi antenna( cant remember) as part of a bundle with my purchase. Is that too powerful of an antenna since im a bit up hill with elevation. or should i get something like a 5.8 rak wireless.
    Also, is there a way im suppose to be facing the antenna, like which part of the antenna is forward lol thank you! keep up the good work, you are the light of the helium community XD haha

  19. 5.8 will prolly be fine, but you should def test that (blog post here on how to test antennas).

    Dude, put in the effort to get that thing wired via ethernet, NOT WiFi. WiFi will cause you heartache.

    If the antenna is directional (usually a square or blocky shape) it’ll matter which way you face it. Otherwise, it won’t.

  20. You are right gristle, ima whip my butt into shape. Im just gonna run 30ft of lmr400 instead of 28ft and run it down the chipney so i can get my miner next to my modem to be connected via ethernet!!! lol. If 5.8 is good enough, i guess il set my 8dbi aside and buy a 5.8! is rak a good one or do you have recommendation between 5.8-7dbi to buy. thx

  21. Hey mate. I am reading again and again to take everything in! May I ask? You mention that “our antennas won´t blast through much more than 2 buildings”. Is this true for the european miners too that work in different frequencies? I am a bit new into this, so excuse me if this totally off. If it’s right though, it would explain why my 2 isolated miners do not witness each other, while they are in a distance of approx 300-400 meters. Thanks again! *(Large Lavender Wasp, if you fancy taking a look 🙂

  22. Yep, though it’s less the frequency difference and more the power output; much lower in EU868.

  23. Hi Aaron, the product you linked to says ” 32.8FT RG58 SMA cable ,include 1pcs RP-SMA adapter”.

    Best case you’re looking at a loss of 4.482 dB from the cable and a gain of 10 from the antenna.

    There are def better options. 🙂

  24. Hi Nik,

    with a lot of enthusiasm I read your posts. You impart an incredible amount of knowledge about helium and everything that goes with it. Many thanks for it!
    I live in Berlin and in the near future I will install a helium miner on the roof of one of the highest buildings in the city (125m).
    I expect a bit of a coverage shadow, because the antenna has to be placed on one side of the buildings roof and the length of the mast is limited by the maximum allowed total height.
    The plan is to use a ground plane antenna with 5.15dbi.
    After reading your post I am a bit unsure if the antenna gain might be too high.
    What is your opinion about this?

    With best regards from Berlin.


  25. Wie gehts Hans! You’ve reached the limits of my high school German. 😉

    I think the 5.15 dBi is fine. Test it and see, but I wouldn’t worry too much about antennas.

  26. Hello friend first of all I wanted to congratulate you for all the valuable information that is here! I wanted to ask you which antenna do you recommend? I live in an area where there are many hills and houses around it, I am like in a hole, the closest hotspots are after 10km and the furthest 40, all of them are at a higher altitude … I can put an 8dbi antenna at a great height ??

  27. Hello, thanks for the info. I have 2 questions.
    1.Is it a huge problem if I install a 3dbi antenna slightly tilted on a high building ?
    2. What is the best dbi antenna for a bay area (seaside with low elevation like 3 – 4 m near sea – across coasts are around 10 to 20 km away)?

  28. Thanks Erick! Getting the antenna up high is way more important than the type of antenna. Any of the good ones will do; HNTenna, Mcgill, L-com, etc.

  29. Hi Erdi, I’d work pretty hard to make the the antenna is correctly oriented and not tilted, although at 3 dBi the gain pattern will probably allow for a little error of vertical.

    “Best dBi” is a red herring. Any decent quality antenna will work well, getting it high is the important part. 10-20km over water is easy for LoRa.

  30. Hello, I just ordered 2 miners. I live in a very rural area I have two other miners 13 miles away then the closest ones are 30 to 50 km away. Terrain is mostly flat. I plan to mount the antenna outside about 30 ft high maybe a little higher. What antenna and other equipment should I be looking at.

  31. That’s not very close; I’d set your expectations low for earnings until you have more hotspots within, say, 5 km. A higher gain antenna might help, although getting the antenna itself higher is what will make far more difference.

  32. Hi Nik,
    Only just got into Mining a few days ago, and have a 3 month wait like others for my Linxdot.

    Live in the UK, and live in a normal 2 story house. Got a few hotspots around where I live, but then others are like 10 miles away.
    Been reading that UK have max 16dBm, but wanting to go with outdoor Antenna instead of the 3dBi indoor it comes with to increase chances of earnings. So, going by that and the new PoCV11, I assume I want to go a max 4.5dBi (looking at Paradar 868 one)?

    Or should I just get a max 3dBi outdoor one?

  33. Hi Duane, getting the antenna outdoors and up high will be way more important than type of antenna. Either of those (3 or the 4.5) look fine. Enjoy getting it all set up!

  34. Hi Nik, Dig the content. I am a complete newbee. Have my first miner in hand. I am going to try to get it all up and running in January. I live in South Jordan Ut. The topography is rather flat except for the other houses going up in the area. I have a Direct TV antenna on the house that is no longer used. I was thinking of putting an extension on it of 5 feet or so. And getting an antenna that is 48″. Not sure what to buy? 5.6 dBI? Will run cable on outside of house. Will need 30 ft or so. Will the LMR 400 work? Can I add additional miners?
    Thanks and have a great Christmas.

  35. Hey Tony, welcome to GK-land! 5.8 dBi is fine for your antenna. Getting it up high and outside will give you the best performance. Read this to help you understand the density requirements. Rock on.

  36. Hello, i appreciate all this info here, I’m interested in buying this miner and antenna, would you think I’d be able to mine anything or connect with someone else if I live in small city approx 500ppl, got 2 hotspots like 15km away in little more populated city 4000ppl it’s at the same sea level as me but there’s forests starting after like 2km from my location. In Europe, Latvia main city is Riga ,there are many miners There it’s about 60km away But the sea level there Is about 200ft less than at my location but also there’s forests between, I live in 3rd story and I could get antenna on roof which would be like +10metres. Just wondering if there would be any antenna that could get me a connection that far or is it profitable with no connections. I find it hard to find information on this. Any help thanks!

  37. Hi Jurgis, you probably won’t connect with the situation you described, but I’m betting new Hotspots will pop up in your city soon.

  38. Hey Nik,
    Thank you for the great article. I’m on the 5th floor of a 8th floor condo. Would I need to ground an antenna mounted on my condo balcony door window? If so, would a lightning arrestor suffice?

  39. Technically you should ground all outdoor antennas. Lightning arrestor is part of that chain for sure. In practice you’ll find many antennas ungrounded, even by pros. Your mileage may vary.

  40. After reading your article, I’m confused by your statement about just forgetting yagi antennas. Why?

    I’ve just ordered my Bobcat 300 and outdoor kit with sun shade from RAK.

    I’ll be monitoring the internal component temps closely and am planning to possibly buy a bigger box, crack open the miner to install some heat syncs and cooling fan arrangement to keep it running at optimal temps while adding a thermostat that will monitor the temp inside the box, triggering a cooling fan for the box when it gets too hot inside.

    Either way, I plan to mount it about 4-5 feet oof the ground onto a pole that will likely be about 30 feet tall.

    For an aerial, I was thinking of connecting two antennas.

    The first would be a whip like this one:
    Signalplus Lora 868/915MHz 900-930MHZ 15dBi Fiberglass Antenna 86inch for Helium Bobcat HNT Hotspot Lora IoT Bobcat Miner Miner Longfi LoRaWAN Blockchain https://www.amazon.com/dp/B092RVG7JZ/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_CTWF3Q215J9Y2RXSQ07R?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

    The second would be this yagi, which I would be properly pointed at an area about 15 miles away with many more miners than I have in my immediate area:

    My plan, as I’ve imagined it so far, is to use a coax splitter at the top, which I am guessing might cost me 3-5dbi and figure I will have the best possible chance of really helping form a bridge for the helium network into my area by using that particular yagi in conjunction with that particular whip 30 feet up, so as to not be blocked by trees and 2 story houses.

    But, you’re saying the Bobcat will absolutely not allow this??? Based on what?

    I know the dbi actual total dbi will be slightly diminished based on running on 915mhz, by the splitter and furthermore by the 30 feet of coax to the bottom of the mast.

    But you say this won’t work with the Bobcat 300 because the Helium network won’t allow for it?

    Where do you get that information from? I haven’t read that anywhere yet.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I just haven’t read it anywhere yet.

    I have a long background in military communications and had given quite a bit of thought to it based on my geography here in central Florida, just north of New Port Richey, and my familiarly with wavelength propagation.

    Thanks for posting this article and I hope to hear back from you here or by email at [email redacted] thanks ?

  41. Hi Elton, it’s definitely not that the Bobcat or Helium won’t “allow” it. There is a long and thorough conversation about the whole thing over here.

    You’re thinking in terms of normal radio communications, where it’s Ok if a signal is too strong, or you can still pull useful info out of a signal that’s slightly too weak. With Helium, the signal has to fall within a much narrower range in order to “prove” it’s where/what it “says” it is.

    IF you’re going to use a splitter (which I generally don’t recommend as it adds complexity and decreases signal strength to both antennas), both antennas will need to have the same gain. That’s because you can only report one gain to the app, so if your whip is 15 dBi the yagi will also have to be 15 dBi. In the specific model you linked, it’s not, it’s 23 dBi. So you’d have to use an attenuator to bring it down, which will complicate things and negate the whole purpose of using a yagi.

    You could, if you like playing with radios and math, futz around with an amplifier for the whip, although that’s also not recommended.

    Because 915 and specifically LoRa is such a robust carrier of small packets of data, you don’t need to do anything fancy. With clear line of sight (which you’d need anyway for the yagi) you can easily go 30km, and I’ve seen up to 200km over water.

    I mean, I get it. When I first found Helium I thought I could apply a previous career’s understanding of RF to make “the ultimate antenna setup.” I understand the intent to apply past experience to this in order to increase value/coverage etc. I’m not saying it won’t work, it’s just generally not worth the effort. Helium is built to keep things ultra simple.

    Just get a low gain antenna up high, report loss accurately to reflect EIRP, and you’ll be doing the best you can do for a given location. Remember, *location* is critical to earnings. Antennas & cables & connectors and loss are what give you the last 10% or so of your earnings.

  42. Hi Nick, I live in Clinton wa. 98236. I would think I could order number 4 on your list and roof mount it and point it at Everett. But I do have one close to me and that and one more within 5 miles of me. Thank you, Nash

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