How to do a Helium Hotspot Placement Assessment



Get­ting the most out of a Heli­um hotspot deploy­ment requires a strat­e­gy to max­i­mize your place­ment, anten­na ele­va­tion, and then phys­i­cal­ly deploy­ing the thing. 

Most of the earn­ings will come from the place­ment. I know it’s usu­al­ly eas­i­est to just put it up in your house, but it’s prob­a­bly worth assess­ing a few spots before you install it in the eas­i­est place pos­si­ble. Here’s a video walk­ing you through how to assess a loca­tion for a Heli­um hotspot deployment.

Now, you prob­a­bly know your local area pret­ty well, but I’ve seen a lot of clients sur­prised by “hid­den” geo­graph­i­cal fea­tures that blocked their RF view­shed and there­fore their earnings.

With assess­ment tools being afford­able (I use Helium.Vision, but there are oth­er tools as well), there’s no excuse not to do your home­work and deter­mine whether or not all the effort that goes into phys­i­cal­ly deploy­ing a hotspot will be worth it at your house or some­where else.

The video walks you through the steps to take that will help you run an assess­ment on your place. This is just a small piece of the Strat­e­gy & Opti­miza­tion con­sult­ing I do, but I thought it would be super use­ful for many of you who want to start on the jour­ney of max­i­miz­ing your hotspot.

Oh, as a hot tip: I now start with tem­po­rary deploy­ments just to test things out. I can put an anten­na up in under an hour, Bea­con using Dis­cov­ery mode just to check on things, then let it run for a week or two before putting in a more per­ma­nent place­ment. Mas­t­werks is what I’m using for an excel­lent tri­pod that’ll get that anten­na up high tem­porar­i­ly. You can find oth­er options, but I want­ed the best out there. 😉 

Best of luck to you, and please, if you do some­thing dif­fer­ent I’d love to hear about it! If you’d like help under­stand­ing more about Heli­um and how to max­i­mize this oppor­tu­ni­ty, take a course or con­sid­er hir­ing me.


36 responses to “How to do a Helium Hotspot Placement Assessment”

  1. One hotspot I deployed was “Unique Blonde Bear,” I used Heli­um RF and it looked like it would not be a good place­ment for the hotspot. I opti­mized the set­up using your guide and placed it on a 22 ft. pole Now I have about 14+ hotspot con­nec­tions. Won­der­ing if there’s any­thing else I can do to opti­mize the cov­er­age. Cheers!

  2. Hi Chris, once you get it at the max height for your loca­tion, that’s about the most you can do. Nice job on the 14!

  3. Hey Nik, quick ques­tion regard­ing — does it know if your hotspot has been updat­ed? Say I change the anten­na and place­ment slight­ly but its still in the same loca­tion — will be able to account for that or is it just a sim­u­la­tion giv­ing rough esti­mates? Is dis­cov­ery mode the only way to tell if a hotspot is wit­ness­ing in “real time”?

  4. Tom, HV will pull data in from what­ev­er you’ve report­ed via the Heli­um App; if you’ve updat­ed your anten­na & ele­va­tion, that’s what will display.

    The sim­u­la­tions *can* change rad­i­cal­ly depend­ing on ele­va­tion, less so with anten­na gain. Dis­cov­ery mode is just a snap­shot in time of what near­by hotspots have wit­nessed your beacon.

  5. Hi Nik, I’m await­ing for my RAK hotspot min­er order, my ques­tion is I live in a rur­al area in the UK my near­est hotspot is 45kilometers away. Does this mean I’ll not be able to have any wit­ness­es and should be look­ing to move it else­where in a built up loca­tion. You’re advise great­ly appreciated.

  6. In gen­er­al, yes, you’ll want to be able to see at least 4 oth­er hotspots in order to begin to earn maximally.

  7. Simon Moreno Avatar
    Simon Moreno

    How did your min­er mined 80+ heli­um token with­in 2 weeks?
    I added your Heli­um and it added up only 5 heli­um tokens?

  8. Hi Simon, not sure I under­stand the ques­tion. Would you re-phrase?

  9. Hey Nik,

    I’ve had my rak v2 min­er for a month, it con­nect­ed to the net­work day one with no issues, there are rough­ly 7 min­ers near me with­in a 10km radius, and hun­dreds with­in 100km. I’m the only min­er in my area through lvl 6 on heli­um vision.

    I’m at one of the high­est points in the coun­ty so it would seem it’s a per­fect spot.

    I’m bea­con­ing and wit­ness­ing oth­er min­ers, but I haven’t had a sin­gle wit­ness yet. I did­n’t even earn 1 from hnt in 30 days. 

    I have the min­er inside on the sec­ond floor right next to the win­dow, rough­ly 30ft in the air, not near any met­al or obstruc­tions I can see or am aware of. 

    I just found your blog, both the hnt help desk abs the dis­cord have giv­en me mixed answers, no one seems to know what’s wrong. 

    Could my min­er be defective? 

    If I build a 20ft tow­er and put the min­er out­side all that any dif­fer­ence or is there any­way I can trou­bleshoot that? 

    It does­n’t seem to make sense that I can wit­ness oth­er hotspots around the world, but no one can see me? No one has any answers and a few oth­er ppl are com­plain­ing that their rak v2s can’t be seen — do weak just have bad place­ments or are you aware of any issues with the v2s? I know they had tremen­dous issues get­ting them. I ordered in Feb­ru­ary and did­n’t get mine until this month. 

    I can’t quite afford your full assess­ment, but would $50 get me anywhere?

    I’d real­ly appre­ci­ate any help you can give me.

  10. Stock anten­na? If you’re wit­ness­ing oth­er min­ers that’s good.
    Trou­bleshoot­ing steps:
    1) Is there any way to get the anten­na out­side, even tem­porar­i­ly, just to test if that’s a good fix? That might run you $30–70 for the cable, depend­ing how long a run you need.
    2) Does Dis­cov­ery mode work?
    3) With only 7 HS in a 10 km radius, that might be the issue, espe­cial­ly if they’re not well placed.
    4) For $50 you could build a map­per and test your cov­er­age as well as run­ning data through your device. If that works, then it’ll prob­a­bly be an issue with the oth­er hotspots.

  11. Yes it’s the spock anten­na — if I took it out­side tem­porar­i­ly I’d have to drop it about 8ft from where it’s at. Opposed to drilling through the roof or brick id prob­a­bly have to build a lit­tle tow­er and could prob­a­bly get it 20–30ft in the air but it would still be low­er than where it is now.

    Do you think with an upgrad­ed anten­na I might reach some of the fur­ther hotspots or will that not make a dif­fer­ence if they are too far away? 

    When you say issue with the oth­er hotspots — Do you mean they are too far or they aren’t work­ing properly? 

    I under­stand a lit­tle bit about RF fre­quen­cy, I just don’t see the brick mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence. It’s just been a bit frus­trat­ing with the mas­sive delay.

    Is there a YouTube tuto­r­i­al for the map­per, that seems a lit­tle over my head with the cod­ing, I don’t want to acci­den­tal­ly break any­thing and the quick start guide is a dead link?

  12. Hi David, I’d start with get­ting the anten­na out­side for a day or two, just to see if that’s the issue. If it is, then you can build a tower.
    The oth­er hotspots may be poor­ly deployed; some­times they see you, some­times they don’t.
    You’ll have to Google around for a tuto­r­i­al, or head to the Dis­cord and check the #map­pers thread.

  13. Hey Nik,

    I think I see what the prob­lem is — I’m north of Pitts­burgh and even though I’m at one of the high­est points in the state, the ter­rain of the whole state is “the rolling hills of Penn­syl­va­nia” out side build­ing a 100ft tow­er — it looks like I’m not going to reach any­thing because one way or anoth­er there’s a hill in the way — and a few of the close min­ers do have poor setups — 2 are relayed, and 3 of them are using 8dbi anten­na’s — I can’t imag­ine that’s a good idea for the terrain. 

    I can’t build a mas­sive tow­er, but if I was able to get it up about 20–30ft and got one of those hnten­nas do you think it would make any dif­fer­ence? There are rough­ly 9 min­ers between 7–10km from me. I don’t know how much the hills are block­ing the fre­quen­cy from where they are. I was nev­er able to fig­ure out how to add cred­its or get the fre­quen­cy thing to work on heli­um vision.

    I did get one response from anoth­er hotspot while run­ning dis­cov­ery mode with the min­er out­side on the ground, but still no wit­ness­es — it real­ly seems like it’s the hills and the only real way around hilly ter­rain is be more min­ers clos­er together.

  14. The HNTen­na (or any anten­na) won’t make a dif­fer­ence when it comes to punch­ing through hills; they just won’t do it. See if you can use the Line of Sight tool on Helium.Vision, that’ll quick­ly tell you if you’re like­ly to be able to witness/beacon with oth­er hotspots. Rock on!

  15. Nik,

    Just look­ing at quick line of site sce­nar­ios — it seems I need to get it to almost 120 Ft to get over any­thing — I actu­al­ly might be able to hide in a tree in my yard — do you have any sug­ges­tions for an inter­net con­nec­tion though wifi won’t reach it there. I have some out­door light­ing so pow­er­ing it isn’t a major issue the line is already there. 

    I might be eas­i­er to mount on a tree and there’s no way I can put any­thing that large on the roof — if I got to that height — would a 5dbi anten­na make sense — in the­o­ry it should be clear for a good 15miles since I’m on such a high point to start with — or would it be bet­ter to go with 3dbi so it has bet­ter reach into val­leys — I’m hope­ful that a few more will pop up in my area, I’m a bit shocked to see how many are actu­al­ly in the city and I’m see­ing new ones pop up more and more as min­ers are final­ly being shipped out. 

    Thanks for all your help btw — not a sin­gle per­son on dis­cord sug­gest­ed check­ing line of sight — every just kept say­ing just wait for it to load on the the blockchain and I was pret­ty sure that was just BS. I can’t believe there aren’t bet­ter how to guides from the com­pa­nies sell­ing these. I’m real­ly glad I found your site.

  16. I’d use PoE if you can; you’ve got 300′ to work with on that and it solves your inter­net problem.
    Either anten­na should be fine. I’m not a fan of tree mounts, though I do have at least one client who’s had suc­cess with ’em. Charge!

  17. If I extend my anten­na from my chim­ney say 10 — 20 feet. the chim­ney is about 25 30 feet already, should I wor­ry about light­ing hit­ting my anten­na, there is not much light­ing though. There may be some oth­er trees a lit­tle high­er in the 3 arc property. 

    Also, is the anten­na that comes with the syn­chro bit I believe 3.8 be the best to use if I want to reach a 5‑mile radius with oth­er machines in the area? 

    does the 3.8 anten­nae reach out in a cir­cle com­pared to the oth­ers out there? 

    Thank you

  18. Hi Ray, with a light­ning arrestor added you’ll be doing all you can to pre­vent dam­age to your equip­ment. Sounds like a pret­ty low risk (from a light­ning per­spec­tive) install to me. A 3.8 dBi anten­na will be fine, just make sure it’s rat­ed for out­door use. If not, the upgrade to an out­door rat­ed anten­na will run you from $35-$150, depend­ing on what you get.

  19. Great infor­ma­tion Nik, and super help­ful. Ques­tion about opti­mal val­ue from place­ment of mul­ti­ple min­ers — There are 0 min­ers in my town, but I have 7 min­ers arriv­ing with the first batch com­ing in 3 days. Main street in my town is rough­ly 1 mile long and extends 1/4 mile on each side of main street. I am on one end of town with­in 300 feet of the high­way between 2 of the biggest cities here in Texas. In regards to the place­ment of 7 min­ers, and out­side of the dis­cus­sion regard­ing ter­rain and build­ings etc would it A — be bet­ter to have a tight hexa­gon clus­ter at one end of town where my house is to lever­age HIP17_res_8, or B — would it be bet­ter to try to zigzag cross­ing main street to deliv­er more cov­er­age. Anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion I strug­gle with is the thought around a tight place­ment grid that would best make it look like there is no room at the Inn for new hotspots with­in “my” grid. The dri­ve to head in that direc­tion is to aim to have the most pos­si­ble con­trol over each of the hotspots in that grid in regards to any nec­es­sary upgrades to anten­nas, out­door enclo­sures or mast height. Thank you for tak­ing ques­tions here.

  20. Hey Ger­ry, I’d focus on pro­vid­ing excel­lent wide cov­er­age with the HS youhave. You just won’t have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to wit­ness bea­cons as much with only 7 hotspots, no mat­ter if you deploy them tight­ly or spread out. As the net­work grows, we all bea­con less fre­quent­ly. Plus, you can’t real­ly *own* or pre­vent any­one from doing any­thing. I guar­an­tee you’ll have some jack­wag­on put a hotspot up right next to yours. Has hap­pened to me. The best thing to do is to make sure every place­ment is the best it can pos­si­bly be, and that it has clear line of sight to as many oth­er min­ers as possible.

  21. My son has a house with a Direct TV anten­na on the roof they are not using. Can he use that to con­nect his SP hotspot min­ing machine?

    Also, Would a 5.8 ANTENNA reach the same radius dis­tance or more as the 3.8 that comes with our min­ing machine.?

    Thank you,


  22. Hi Ray, the Direct TV anten­na won’t work; not the same freq. Either the 5.8 or the stock will be fine; they’ll both reach plen­ty far.

  23. Hey nik, 3 questions

    1. Is the stock anten­na usu­al­ly water proof i have the 4dbi bob­cat­min­er one.
    2. When first set­ting up my hotspot, in the assert loca­tion step, where you drag the lit­tle tri­an­gle to the oth­er lit­tle tri­an­gle, my actu­al loca­tion is a few meters off(30maybe) from where it placed it, is this a big deal?

    3. And last­ly ‚when set­ting up the hotspot how impor­tant is it to accu­rate­ly type in your ele­va­tion on the anten­na details, because most of the hostspot with real­ly high earn­ings are at 0m of ele­va­tion in my area so i can only assume its not relevant? 

    Thanks for your hard work and time to help us all out.

  24. Hi Bob,
    1. Bob­cat has told me their anten­na is out­door rat­ed; I don’t know about water­proof (like under­wa­ter), but out­side should be fine.
    2. A few meters isn’t a big deal. It’ll always snap to the mid­dle of the res 12 anyway.
    3. Unim­por­tant for now to enter anten­na details, but it will even­tu­al­ly be impor­tant once we go to PoCv11, espe­cial­ly if you’re using a high­er gain after­mar­ket anten­na. The default ele­va­tion is 0, that’s what a lot of peo­ple just leave it at.

  25. […] the main­te­nance guy over at the Empire State Build­ing, etc. If you need help, I’ve got a blog post over here about how to do an […]

  26. michael walsh Avatar
    michael walsh

    Hey, Nik I live in the NJ/NY area and I have var­i­ous places that I can place my min­er such as 60 sto­ry build­ings to areas to huge ware­hous­es. I cur­rent­ly have it in my house as con­nect­ed via eth­er­net but I am run­ning into the issue of port for­ward­ing to resolve the relay­ing issue. If you can reach back out to me with some advice on an anten­na, best loca­tion, and how to remove this thing out of relay mode it would be much appre­ci­at­ed. Also any­one see­ing this thread can reach out to me and can pos­si­bly utilise the var­i­ous loca­tions I have to mine.

  27. Hi Mike, I’d post your prop­er­ties over in the Real Estate sec­tion of Heli­umJobs. I offer paid con­sult­ing that cov­ers your ques­tions, check out your options here.

  28. Hey Nik,

    I am all new to Heli­um min­ing and recent­ly pur­chased 2 RAK Min­ers (Gold 8GB edi­tions). I set them both up cur­rent­ly inside for now. 1 is con­nect­ed and see­ing lit­tle reward, prob­a­bly due to stock anten­na and inside, the oth­er is in anoth­er room and is relayed with no wit­ness­es which i assume as it con­nect­ed to the first min­er. I set up port for­ward­ing, i changed it to anoth­er net­work (oth­er router but con­nect­ed to main net­work router) and still it shows as relayed. 

    Maybe this is nor­mal, i do not know but before i start to change anten­nas and look to set up out­side, any advise you can offer?

    Also i am in an apart­ment, is there an easy way to install a new out­side anten­na on a bal­cony set up where i have lim­it­ed ele­va­tion options?

    Thanks a bunch,

  29. Hi Alan, I’d sug­gest get­ting them at least 1 km apart, get­ting the anten­nas out­side, and up high. 2 min­ers on one net­work usu­al­ly force a relay on one of ’em.

  30. Thanks Nik, I will ask a friend to place 1 of the units in his apart­ment and use an out­side antenna 🙂

  31. Hi Nik,

    Sor­ry for anoth­er mes­sage. I switched off one of the min­ers and will relo­cate it next week, how­ev­er it still shows as online through the app? Also how do i get the main one (the one that is still con­nect­ed to net­work and shows a 0.37 trans­mit scale which i assumed it would go back to 0.77 before i set up a 2nd miner?

    Maybe it takes more time to revert back to 0.77 or does it depend on the set up of the 2nd min­er at a new location?

    Thanks a bunch

  32. No wor­ries. The app can be delayed by days, don’t wor­ry about it show­ing as online still. Should be 2 and a half days (approx) for the scale to update once the min­ers are moved.

  33. Great thanks,

    You were right, moved back up to 0.72 trans­mit scale, how­ev­er i am unable to remove it from relayed even after port for­ward, restart etc. Even checked with Port Check­er and every­thing looks good there, port is Open, looked in the diag­nos­tics from the app, every­thing looks good, Outbound/Inbound = Green, BlockChain Sync = 100% green, so every­thing looks all good, just the relayed part i need to fig­ure out now. 

    Thanks a bunch as always

  34. Hi Allan, try this post, and use for check­ing your status.

  35. Hey Nik,

    Mov­ing the anten­na out­side is not an option for every­one specif­i­cal­ly the one’s liv­ing in apart­ments with no bal­conies and build­ings around.

    I was think­ing to move the anten­na to build­ing roof but in sum­mer its too much hot here.

    Now the solu­tion I am thinkjng of is: there is a room at the roof in my build­ing for lifts motor and AC is always on there.
    If i can move my min­er in that room with POE and connnect a 5.8 dbi anten­na with it which will be placed on the roof of the same room. But before doing it I have few questions:

    1. Will the mag­nets and motors in the lift room
    interefete with the lorawan signals?

    2. If I place the bob­cat min­er on the roof top under some shade, in sum­mers weath­er can dam­age the hard­ware? I am talkjng about 8th floor ad region is mid­dleeast( Bahrain). If I can go with this approach i can place the min­er a bit far from this lift room.

    3) If I place min­er in the lift room and anten­na lets say 7 ‚8 meters away , will this work fine?

    Appre­ci­ate if you can help here.

  36. Good ques­tion, you’ll have to try it out. Bahrain is pret­ty darn hot, I’d keep the ‘cat cool if you can. 7–8m run for cable is no prob­lem, just use some­thing like LMR400.

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