How To Estimate Your HNT Earnings With HotspotRF



The con­stant ques­tion with Heli­um is, “How much will my hotspot earn?” While I’ve cov­ered the strat­e­gy for max­i­miz­ing that in oth­er posts, it sure is nice when you have a tool that helps dial in your accu­ra­cy. HotspotRF aims to be one of those tools, and when it first came out I sat down with the own­er, Aidan Cur­ry, to walk through how to use it. That inter­view is at the bot­tom of this post, but I thought I’d check in on the tool and see what’s new. As it turns out, a TON!

Like Helium.Vision (walk­through here), HotspotR­F’s main offer­ing is RF (for Radio Fre­quen­cy) simulation. 

Let’s say you just moved to Vegas, up in the nice part of town just north west of Sum­mer­lin. You want to know if putting a 21′ pole on top of your two sto­ry house will help pay the mort­gage, right?

One of the best ways to see if your loca­tion *might* work is to run an RF sim­u­la­tion to see how far those lit­tle LoRa pack­ets will fly. You plug in some details, like your spe­cif­ic fre­quen­cy (915 for us North Amer­i­can types), anten­na gain, cable loss, height of anten­na, and type of ter­rain, and HotspotRF will spit out an image of what your radio cov­er­age should look like.

Now, you’ve got to sign up first, so even though you get free cred­its, you’ll need to pay for a plan in order to get full val­ue. For a test run, I picked a place just south of the US bor­der. The greater Tijua­na area has been rock­ing late­ly, and I’ve been eye­ing some of those moun­tain place­ments. So, I picked a promis­ing look­ing spot, dropped a pin, and hit the “Sim­u­late Loca­tion” button.

Sims take a while to run on any plat­form, whether it’s Heli­umVi­sion, Hotspot­ty, or HotspotRF. You’re ask­ing for an extra­or­di­nary amount of infor­ma­tion to be crunched.

If this is your first time using it and you haven’t signed up yet, you’ll get the “Active Sub­scrip­tion Required” prompt. 

I chose a Hob­by­ist plan. I don’t have a huge need for ETL stats (I get those from anoth­er project I’m part of), but if you’re get­ting deep into the weeds those start to become useful. 

After run­ning the sim, HotspotRF pre­dicts that this will earn 21% above local aver­age, woohoo!

As with all sim­u­la­tions, it’s not a guar­an­tee. For off grid hotspots (which is what I enjoy the most), these esti­ma­tions will be fur­ther off; in the view of the pre­dic­tion algo­rithm, off grids are outliers.

HotspotRF makes it pret­ty easy to get a good idea of the cov­er­age you have. In this case, the spot I (with­out much map study) picked looks like it has a sig­nif­i­cant block direct­ly to the west all the way up to the NNW sec­tor. It’s pos­si­ble I dropped the pin in a small local val­ley or dip, but I had­n’t seen the Ter­rain lay­er in Set­tings, so was­n’t able to zoom in and get a feel for terrain.

I thought I’d do a quick check on the earn­ing esti­mates and drop anoth­er place­ment near a known high per­form­ing Hotspot. I’d expect this place­ment to more or less match Ama­teur Jade Hare, one of the high­est local earn­ers here in San Diego (and prob­a­bly the install I’ve had the most fun with). 

To be VERY clear here, the loca­tion I’m sim­u­lat­ing is on pub­lic land and is NOT one you should con­sid­er actu­al­ly deploy­ing a Hotspot to. 

This time I turned the Ter­rain lay­er on. You’ll notice it’s “sharp­er” than the real ter­rain (they do this on pur­pose). I fly my paraglid­er in this area all the time, so the dif­fer­ence was notice­able to me. Here’s a quick clip from a flight in Feb 2022 to show what it actu­al­ly looks like. As I turn right here, about 4 sec­onds in, you can see the length of the El Cajon moun­tain. That beep­ing, by the way, is an instru­ment called a “vario”, and beep­ing means we’re going up (in a ther­mal). This was a love­ly day to fly.

In con­trast, here’s the Ter­rain on HotspotRF, from a per­spec­tive fur­ther to the south and prob­a­bly a few thou­sand feet higher.

We inten­tion­al­ly exag­ger­ate the ter­rain by 150% to make it eas­i­er for users to see the con­tours of the land and bet­ter place hotspots. A lot of users were say­ing it’s hard to see the ter­rain before we updat­ed this.

-HotspotRF team

That’s pret­ty cool in my book; they saw that users were hav­ing a prob­lem and came up with a fric­tion-reduc­ing fix unno­tice­able to most that solved the prob­lem. That’s the sign of a team ded­i­cat­ed to user expe­ri­ence — very cool!

Ok, so how did the pre­dic­tion line up with real life? Well, let’s start with a caveat: This is an off grid, and off grids are much hard­er to pre­dict for a vari­ety of rea­sons. In this case, the pre­dic­tion came in at low­er than the actu­al earn­ings, 19 HNT vs the approx 25 HNT the near­by Hotspot has actu­al­ly earned over the past 30 days. That’s a good thing; you prob­a­bly don’t want to over-pre­dict what you’ll make. Here’s the esti­mate and pre­dict­ed coverage:

The HRF team dove in to why this hap­pens for off grids, which I thought was pret­ty cool. It demon­strates to me they have a deep under­stand­ing of the field of play, who their main cus­tomers are, and how the whole sys­tem gen­er­al­ly works. That is exact­ly what you want in a tool like this. I’ll let ’em take it from here:

For crazy off-grid setups like the ones you do, our tool is always going to under­es­ti­mate the earn­ings. Off-grid setups are fair­ly uncom­mon and more of an edge case com­pared to the aver­age deploy­ment. Why? 

Our algo­rithm fil­ters out and dis­counts rewards from hotspots with very few wit­ness­es com­pared to how many hotspots are in the area. 

For exam­ple, if you run a sim­u­la­tion and should be able to reach 200 hotspots, but some of those hotspots only have a cou­ple wit­ness­es, we assume those hotspots are “un-reach­able” due to poor placement/setup so we ignore them in the calculation. 

This is the only way to give the major­i­ty accu­rate esti­mates, but for off-grid setups, the real­i­ty is you can prob­a­bly wit­ness those hotspots, which is why for those “edge case” deploy­ments our tool tends to underestimate.

-HotspotRF team

For “nor­mal” setups, the esti­mates are much clos­er. Keep in mind that for ALL deploy­ments, the amount of HNT you earn per Hotspot will only decrease as the amount of Hotspots on the net­work grows.

On the rest of the tool, the col­or cod­ing of hotspots is super sim­ple to under­stand, and there are a bunch of lay­ers you can use to see Heli­um cov­er­age and oppor­tu­ni­ties in dif­fer­ent ways. You can hov­er over a hotspot to see its earn­ings, which saves you from open­ing up a win­dow over in Explor­er to do the same thing.

HotspotRF also allows you to click on a Hotspot and get quick stats on it; this is a fast way to see if a port is open, how much it’s earn­ing, who its wit­ness­ing, etc.

In gen­er­al, HotspotRF appears pret­ty darn use­ful for folks pressed for time and who aren’t look­ing to man­age a fleet, just make assessments. 

Here’s the walk­through with Aidan from back in April of 2021. We had some tech dif­fi­cul­ties right in the mid­dle of it, so you’ll see a jump from a day to a night call. Enjoy this new tool!

Want to try HotspotRF out for your­self? Use code gristleking for a lit­tle dis­count, and take HotspotRF for a spin!

If you’d like to join up with a crew of like-mind­ed folks pas­sion­ate about Heli­um and dis­cuss HotspotRF (or any­thing else Heli­um-relat­ed), take a look at the Gris­tle Crüe, my com­mu­ni­ty of rad folks in pur­suit of Heli­um excellence!


11 responses to “How To Estimate Your HNT Earnings With HotspotRF”

  1. Best expla­na­tion till now and still a lot of ques­tions in my mind 🙂 ‚but you clar­i­fied most of them,one thing i need you to ask,i live in a very small coun­try where till now there is no heli­um hotspot,it means that there is a small num­ber of Iot devices,does it mean that my hotspots in case i have 2–3 will mine few coins,will i gen­er­ate less then if i were in a big country??thank you

  2. Thanks Eri! It’s not the size of the coun­try, it’s the num­ber of hotspots that con­nect to each oth­er while pro­vid­ing the best/most cov­er­age. 2–3 should do well. In the long term the pro­cess­ing of data will start to mat­ter more, but for now, most of the rewards are relat­ed to proof of coverage.

  3. Just won­der­ing if I have 4 min­ers in prox­im­i­ty to each oth­er with none around so far will I still be earn­ing enough or should I get more?

  4. Depends how you set them up. 4 is the min­i­mum for start­ing to earn well, but no guar­an­tee. 25 is the top end. You’d want to pro­vide WUPU cov­er­age for max earn­ings. Wide, Unique, Prove­able, Useful.

  5. Devan Sohni Avatar
    Devan Sohni

    Nik i was going through few exam­ples. Came across this Glam­orous Chif­fon Trout
    He is based out of GA USA. His wit­ness are from Den­ver, Chica­go, NJ, even Lon­don where we have dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cy. I am won­der­ing how is this pos­si­ble. Also he mined 1071 rewards in just 2 days. Thats amaz­ing. What is this guy doing.

  6. Devan Sohni Avatar
    Devan Sohni

    Got the answer The Heli­um Con­sen­sus Protocol

  7. Sounds like you found out. Con­sen­sus Group (CG) rewards are pret­ty excit­ing, but ran­dom and rare. They’ll go away once the Val­ida­tors come online, but for now it’s like win­ning the lot­to; nice, but not reliable. 😉

  8. shawn l reuland Avatar
    shawn l reuland

    Hel­lo Nik, do you use any LoraWan field test devices? I.e for mea­sur­ing sig­nal strengths either against a deployed Heli­um min­er post-instal­la­tion or a pre-deploy­ment sim­u­la­tion? Or are these sites like HotSpotRF and Heli­umVi­sion basi­cal­ly good enough to replace? 

    Would be great to hear any insights on either approach. I see the Ade­u­nis field tester men­tioned, looks pricey. I’m assum­ing any type of site sur­vey for pre-min­er instal­la­tion, would just be done with a reg­u­lar LoraWan GW on the pole and then you use one of these field test mobile tools and wan­der around, mea­sur­ing the RSSI’s perhaps?

  9. Hi Shawn, I’ve bought and used the Ade­u­nis. If you’re in San Diego hit me up and you can bor­row it. It’s fun to map things out, but I did­n’t find it ultra use­ful. LoRa goes such a long way that cov­er­age is usu­al­ly amaz­ing from any giv­en anten­na. You can build your own map­per for much cheap­er, which is a cool way to get into some code and sup­port Helium.

  10. shawn Avatar

    Hel­lo Nik, I’m in SD, thanks for offer on that. I’m grokking the Heli­um Map­pers on that project, def­i­nite­ly cool, I like the Dragi­no track­er as option for hav­ing a live Heli­um node to ver­i­fy net­work traf­fic also. I think the cloud map­per usage requires hav­ing the Gate­way already joined to Heli­um net­work via the Con­sole? I was think­ing ini­tial­ly of options for field test­ing just the LoraWan cov­er­age on a deploy­ment pri­or to being on Heli­um net­work, as relo­cat­ing Heli­um gate­way to each poten­tial place I’d wan­na check is not trivial.

    I see the Wis­Gate­way D0, is rel­a­tive­ly cheap Lora GW dev board and If I pair that with the cheap­est hand held field ana­lyz­er seen on ebay, am look­ing at about $300 for some nice toys. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, no U.S. dis­trib­u­tors car­ry the Wis­Gate­way D0, so, to get that would require order­ing from, which is hits you with like a $50 ship­ping fee at min. 

    I’m blown away by the Heli­um eco-sys­tem going on here, try­ing to catch-up to be rel­e­vant. I’m sw engi­neer in iot field, have worked on a few plat­forms, most­ly pat­tern of prox­i­mal sensors(wired or 802.15.4) and then always a sep­a­rate gw which does wan back­haul over wifi/lte, so can see where the Heli­um net­work becomes com­pelling enabler for iot apps as it removes the need for gate­ways, which is a huge cost/consideration for any iot prod­uct. once this nation-wide net­work of heli­um min­ers real­ly gets rolling..

  11. Cool, I’ll email you to coor­di­nate a pick­up of the Adeunis.

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