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 thoughts on “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 Helium.vision – 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 helium.vision 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.
    Ady

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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,

    Ray

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. Pingback: Hotspotty Improved: Deep Research For A Better Way - Gristle King - A Guide to Helium

  25. 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.

  26. 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,

  27. 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.

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

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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.

  33. 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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