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.
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.
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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
491 thoughts on “What’s The Best Antenna For Your Helium Hotspot?”
Hi Nik, thanks for the previous, reply. If I read up a little more… which I did, I would have found out the answer. One thing worth mentioning to others is that if you want to run 2 hotspots in the same area, try at least different squares, or have 2 isps, since using 1 isp will cause troubles and can become invalidated.
Now, in the UK it seems my choices are limited. What do you and anyone else from the UK recommend?
1) mcgill microwave 4dbi
2) mcgill microwave 6dbi
3) paradar 4.5dbi
4) paradar 6.5dbi
My location is London Suburbs towards Essex (Brentwood). One one hand I have London, on the other the countryside. I realise that in London my signal is going to stop the moment it reaches any flats or high buildings, which now you get everywhere.
Hi Drei, any of those will be fine. If you want to support the GK blog you can use this link for the McGills; they give me a referral fee for that at no cost to you. No big deal if you don’t, it’s just an option.
I haven’t seen the paradars but as long as they’re not knock-off cheapies they’ll do a good job as well. There WILL be slight differences in all of ’em, but you’ll have to test to figure it out, and from what you’ve described, any of those gains is a great place to start.
Hey I got a pretty stupid question, but I want to make sure. I want to buy LMR – 600 with my Panther X2. On their site it says this “LoRa Antenna – RP-SMA-K”. Which connector should I have on my LMR in order to connect it to that miner.
Hi Nik, of course I will use the referral link:)
I almost follow and read all your articles tried to apply most of the scenario could quite my location. But still in a very bad rewards..
I’m in 70 meter high building behind me the mountains in front of me the hall city.
I used 5 dbi I’m no 8 and 12. All of them did nothing.
I tried to use the filter. Then directional 8 dbi antenna still my rewards are very bad.
Around me lot of p2p internet providers and many higher tower for gsm and tv satellites..
I’m so confused .tried so many ways but nothing helps my sensecap miners or votes miners.
However in my cou try it’s not easy to get the McGill it rak antenna we are only using the Chinese made antennas.
But what to do. 8 months of searching trying and experiments.
That’s one of my miner try to check and tell me if there’s some issues I didn’t noticed
(Brave carmine donkey) now hooked the 8 dbi directional. Lmr400 4 meters. Open port real up and stable power as well.
Many that is in advance.
You’re one of the highest earning Hotspots in the area, there’s probably not much more you can do. Great job so far!
I WOULD LIKE YOUR HELP IN CHOOSING THE BEST ANTENNA FOR MY NEW SENSECAP M1 THAT ARRIVES ON WEDNESDAY. I LIVE IN MIAMI, SOUTHWEST, WHERE MOST OF THE BUILDINGS ARE BETWEEN 1 AND 2 STORIES HIGH, BUT THERE ARE LOTS OF BIG, LEAFY TREES. SO MY QUESTION IS THE FOLLOWING, KNOWING THAT I WILL PUT MY ANTENNA AT A HEIGHT OF 4 METERS, I CAN’T PUT IT HIGHER THAN THAT:
1- PLACE AN 8 DBI OMNIDIRECTIONAL RAK ANTENNA.
2- PLACE A 3 DBI MULTIPOLARIZED OMNIDIRECTIONAL ANTENNA LIKE THE ONES SOLD BY HN ANTENNA.
I THOUGHT ABOUT THE FIRST OPTION BECAUSE WITH THE 8 DBI ANTENNA AND MY LOW HEIGHT I CAN REACH EVERYWHERE AND PASS ANY OBSTACLE LIKE TREES AND HOUSES HIGHER THAN THE HEIGHT OF MY ANTENNA.
I THOUGHT ABOUT THE SECOND OPTION BECAUSE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MULTIPOLARITY BUT I THINK THAT THE 3 DBI INTENSITY WOULD BE LIMITING MY POSSIBILITIES TO REACH MORE HOTSPOTS DUE TO MY LOW HEIGHT.
SO I APPEAL TO YOUR HELP AND EXPERT OPINION ON THE SUBJECT HELIUM, FEEL FREE TO RECOMMEND ME WHAT IN MY CASE YOU WOULD DO. AND IF YOU HAVE PURCHASE LINKS FOR THE TWO VARIANTS IT WOULD ALSO BE OF GREAT HELP.
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR VALUABLE HELP AND COOPERATION WITH THE HELIUM COMMUNITY AND HAVE A HAPPY SUNDAY.
Hi Carlos, if you’re that low and have to punch through trees, a 6 dBi from McGill will get you the best of both worlds. Link here: https://grstl.ink/mcgill-6dbi
THANKS A LOT GRISTLE KING YOU ARE THE BEST
Very helpful article. What would you recommend for me? I live on a hill with lots of trees and 2-3 story buildings. Basically New England. The hotspot is nice vanilla jaguar. The back of the house is pretty much blocked by the hill. However, I plan on putting my miner up on a tree, probably 50-75′ up in the air. Hopefully, that can help with the hill. What would you recommend for antenna?
I am getting ready to put a hotspot @ a friends house. Hotspotty & HV mark it as a GREAT spot & simulation. Due to his HOA, he cannot have an antenna on the house. That being said we can get it up to the attic. Which antenna would we use? The Hntenna indoor or outdoor?
Prolly a higher gain if you have to put it inside.
I had posted a question earlier today. Would you be able to give an antenna recommendation?
The McGill 6 should be fine: https://grstl.ink/mcgill-6dbi
Hi Nik, thanks for the continued quality content!
HNTenna doesn’t have a 915MHz option for AUS/NZ, will the US/CAN one work with my 915MHz hotspot here in AUS? If not, do you have any ideas on suppliers that manufacture multi-polarized antennas for the AUS/NZ 915MHz network?
Cheers mate, appreciate all the great work you do. 🙂
Yep, the US915 will work just fine over there. I checked with David de Haaij on this, you’ve got an “expert” go ahead from him. 🙂
Do you known Laird Antenna? I would your knowledge in Multi Polarized Laird Multi https://www.digikey.ca/en/products/detail/laird-connectivity-inc./TRAB9023NP/3521732 vs HnTenna ANT-NH900. Did you known if this antenna is similar? The Antenna is cheaper like hntenna and no custom and duty to Canada.
Looks like a 3 dBi antenna, I don’t see anything about multi-polarization. Another 3 dBi option is the McGill.
Im still a bit confused about cable loss.
I’m looking to put an antenna on a roof in a small city in uk (no high buldings around but a bit of a hill on one side)
was going to get a mcgill 3dbi. i have to run nearly 40ft of lmr-400 cable which would give me a loss of 1.7db
does that mean my antenna then becomes 1.3dbi ? if i am running a lot of cable should i choose a 4dbi or 6dbi because of cable loss?
It won’t change the radiation pattern, but it will bring the signal strength down to 1.3 as you’ve calculated. A 4 or 6 dbi antenna might be a better option there. I’d test your stock antenna first, you might be surprised by performance.
Hi Nik, great info. Seriously, good advice for noobs.
However, I disagree with some points. Firstly, high gain antennas should always be first choice. All the sites I designed for the first UK national IoT network had procom 9dBi antennas, be the sites 10m or 70m high. So many people make this mistake.
Secondly, higher gain antennas do not fly over the top due to being laser like. The diagrams are just the 3dB beamwidth (area where power is half of maximum). Coverage is still provided outside this area. Added to high elevation and you’re still good. For example, the sites we had in London provided good coverage even down the thin narrow streets with high buildings either side.
Thirdly, correct about indoor propagation loss.. with the sigfox network i worked on 5m inside was OK, but much more than that was a problem.
Quite happy to provide more info on cellular network radio planning, performance and optimisation.
Hi Richard, great points on the overshoot; I’ve got to update that graphic. 🙂
Keep in mind that with Helium, people are deploying to maximize earnings, not provide sensor coverage. In the early growth of the network, high gain antennas were penalized. At this point (March 2022) the gain doesn’t matter much, so a high gain is fine.
Interesting to hear from a real world expert, thanks so much for chiming in!
Thanks so much for the information!
I just got a SenseCap M1 and set it up (Brave Cornflower Rattlesnake). I live in an area that is a bit congested with other miners at resolution 10 there is 1 too many and at resolution 4 there are 455 too many so, the transmit scale all around me hovers around .50 – .65.
There are nearby cities that have really sparse network density (all resolutions are wide open) and when I witness units there they have full transmit scales. There is probably room for improvement with my setup – maybe trying to optimize for reaching out to the less populous networks using an 8 or 9dBi antenna?
I rent a townhome with thin roofs (no insulation and asphalt shingles) and currently have my miner set up, indoors, in a window sill on the 3rd floor and am using the included 2.6dBi antenna. I might be able to mount an exterior antenna to the outside wall of my unit (though the HOA might not like that). Today I found that I have access to the attic and can mount the antenna about 15-20 feet higher than I would be able to mount it on the outside of my unit.
What would you suggest as the best setup?
1. Get an aftermarket antenna and park it in the window sill (25-28 feet high).
2. Get an aftermarket antenna and mount it to the outside wall of my unit (25 – 32 feet high, maybe).
3. Get an aftermarket antenna and mount it in the attic (35-40 feet high).
After a few hours of googling I can’t find a good resource on how much power I may lose putting it in the attic (some people say as much as 50%).
Higher is usually better, at those distances you can manage the cable loss with thicker cable (LMR400 or 600).
Im considering to start my mining journey and I would really appreciate your help.
I live in the countryside in the UK (near Ripponden) where around here there are only 5 hotspots about 1.6-2.4km away from me. There are not a lot of houses in the village and there are mostly fields and hills.
I was thinking of my putting the antenna at the top of the house (outside) through my attic room so roughly around 7-8m elevation.
Could you please advise what would be the best antenna for my use and whether you think there would be any decent rewards?
Thank you in advance for your time
Hi Terry, a 6 dBi from McGill should be fine if you can get it outside. Rock on!
Am looking to order a 3dBi antenna, is there any significant difference between say the ANT-NH900-OUT-WHITE and a standard fiberglass pole 3dBi (860-960MHz)?
Performance-wise, yes. Earnings-wise, probably not huge. Really depends on where you’re deploying. In an urban environment with lots of reflective surfaces a multi-polarized antenna can make a big difference. In suburban and rural environments it may not make as big of a difference.
I have a two way splitter, go with one Omni and one directional?
I live at a condo and unlikely to be able to get my miner outside on the roof. Area around is fairly flat with a few hills, suburban. My options are outside, 2nd floor balcony or inside 3rd floor window, there’s a tree about 20-30feet in front of the window. Balcony is also near said tree and would also be somewhat blocked by the neighbor 15 feet away. Trying to figure out which of those is best.
Considering rak vs higher DBI hntantenna, or if I can ever find a multipolarized 8dbi.
Love your hard work and support to the community.
I got a bit of confusion on best setup, Lower vs higher Dbi, thinking of going higher gain directional tilted down slightly.
I currently got a 5.8Dbi omni antenna at a height of 12m off the ground, 75m up a hill, 87m total, looking onto the city with flat topology.
There is nothing behind me, thinking of going for a 8dbi directional antenna tilted to focus on the city below, as there is nothing behind except mountains.
Due to some tall buildings lower down the hill, part of the signal gets blocked im thinking as the witnesses have dropped from 45 odd to 13 recently. and i know there are at least 70 plus hotspots in the vicinity.
Hi Hamazz, I’d probably leave the setup you have, although you’re welcome to experiment. Did witnesses drop after you changed antennas, or was there nothing on your end that you did?
Any thoughts on mine above about the 2nd or 3rd floor condo / what antenna to use?
Any recommendations for my placement/antenna? (The one above with the 2nd floor balcony and 3rd floor window)
Did not change the antenna yet, i think changes in the network and OTA firmware upgrade could be the reason for reduced witnesses.
I also got a 3dbi Mcgill Omni which i have not used yet, was trying to decide between going for that or a directional, as there will be no hotspots behind me, so half the signal going out by the omni will not achieve anything, focusing the Dbi on just the forward facing would result in more witnesses?
Would fitting a cavity filter to a 6Dbi omni antenna improve the signal quality and cut out the noise of the other frequencies resulting in better rewards?
Great article! Thank you so much. Once thing is unclear for me. I understand the higher the dbi the more laser beam, does that mean that higher dbi are NOT omni-directional? Do I need to rotate my antenna 20 degrees at a time for a week to see if my results will improve?
The whole laser beam idea is a little over exaggerated. Higher dBi will focus your signal more, but it’s typically not enough to really worry about. In general, it squashes it from the top and bottom, just like if you pushed on a balloon from the top and bottom. No need to rotate.
Hi John, I’d just try both for 10 days each. There’s no clear/definite answer without gathering data.
You *might* see better results with a directional antenna, but unless there’s anything blocking your current signal path you probably won’t notice a difference.
Only if there’s current high interference from other radio signals; if you’re on a cell tower or near a cell site.
Is there a difference between the McGill 6or 8 DBI and one you get from Amazon?
There certainly can be. McGill tunes & tests theirs, so you know what you’re getting. The Amazon ones can sometimes be smoking hot deals and sometimes be…smoking hot piles of garbage.
What do you think is better; antenna in an attic at 35 feet AGL or outside 15 feet on the top of a back porch?
Hi Pete, you’ll have to test that. I’d start with the 35′ AGL option.
I have 10 miners and use rfareas magnetic field antennas. the best for me. from the center of my town (Sofia) I have links up to 40 km. and there are very many interferencies near the antennas. good result for me.
I live in Hornsby, Australia, my house is surrounded by hills, mountains(lots of trees), only 5% of surround area lower than my house. I mean my house is located under valley.
I recently bought HNTenna and installed to replace normal 3dbi antenna(before 6dbi) but it looks very similar performance so far.
Do you recommend any other antenna? or HNTenna is better than other? in my house conditions.
Hi Sebastian; no antenna will blast through earth. Not much you can do in the bottom of a valley. See if you can find a better location for it.