What Does A Great Helium Hotspot Look Like?



See­ing oth­er deploy­ments is one of the fastest ways to get great ideas (and avoid cost­ly mistakes!) 

I thought it’d be use­ful to the com­mu­ni­ty to share a lit­tle more detail about our Heli­um Hotspot deploy­ments. Here’s your chance to shine!

What hotspot are you using? What anten­na? Are you hap­py with this deploy­ment? What will you change next time? Any rec­om­men­da­tions for oth­ers? The more info you can share, the more we’ll all learn and the bet­ter the net­work will get. 

Hotspot Mfr: RAK
Anten­na Mfr: eBay sup­pli­er
Anten­na Gain: 8 dBi
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 11
Cable type used: LMR400, 20’
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: On top of com­mer­cial build­ing, rou­tine­ly goes offline & back on. Hotspot relayed but wit­ness­ing well. Local­ly over­crowd­ed, need to move this one! 

Hotspot: RAK
Anten­na Mfr: Near­son
Anten­na Gain: 9 dBi with an atten­u­a­tor to remain with­in accept­able RSSI/SNR lim­its
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 10
Cable type used: LMR400
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: mount­ed on res­i­den­tial roof, in a now over­crowd­ed area. First deploy­ment, so used both a pow­er cable (green) & and eth­er­net cable.

Hotspot Mfr: Heli­um Hotspot (The OG!)
Anten­na Mfr: Nebra
Anten­na Gain: 5.8 dBi
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 7
Cable type used: LMR400 UF
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: Light­ing arrestor on anten­na end, ground­ed to a water pipe. Home Depot 10.5 foot steel top rail attached to an old tv anten­na pole with hose clamps and indus­tri­al zip ties(found on Ama­zon). If uti­liz­ing an old install, make sure to rein­force the old brack­ets or put new ones. The LMR400 I ran through the wall where the old coax cord went through into the liv­ing room. The white plas­tic coax cable cov­er I just made the hole a lit­tle big­ger, put that put­ty dry­wall stuff in the wall and sealed the out­side with a white all pur­pose sealant for roofs. Eas­i­est install I’ve done.

Hotspot Mfr: RAK
Anten­na Mfr: RAK Wire­less
Anten­na Gain: 8 dBi
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 21
Cable type used: direct con­nec­tion
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: RAK min­er installed in out­door enclo­sure on 68ft self-sup­port­ing tow­er. I built this tow­er for my client last Decem­ber in order to improve his wire­less inter­net con­nec­tion speed. I arranged to use his tow­er to test the loca­tion. Used 75ft pre­made CAT5 cable drop from min­er to surge sup­pres­sor with mes­sen­ger cable for ground­ing. Surge sup­pres­sor installed at the base of the tow­er and ground­ed to a cop­per ground­ing rod. 50ft CAT5 cable drop from surge sup­pres­sor to POE adapter. Installed on Sept 4th. Still under test­ing.
Hotspot Name: Quaint Ceram­ic Porcupine

Hotspot Mfr: Bob­cat
Anten­na Mfr: RAK Wire­less
Anten­na Gain: 5.8
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 21
Cable type used: 30′ RG-214 sil­ver plat­ed wire
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: I used 30ft of RG-214 sil­ver plat­ed wire and I went ahead and got all the strip­ping and crimp­ing tools along with con­nec­tors. I’m still being relayed. [The host] is wor­ried about open­ing up port for­ward­ing, so we are going to get our min­er its own router to set up port for­ward­ing. 
Hotspot Name: Old Zinc Elk

Hotspot Mfr: Bob­cat Min­er 300
Anten­na Mfr: RAK Wire­less
Anten­na Gain: 5.8
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 7
Cable type used: 20′ LMR400
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: I used the Rak­wire­less bob­cat out­door enclo­sure kit. I spoke with my neigh­bor upstairs and asked for his per­mis­sion to use the rail­ing of his bal­cony for mount­ing. I drilled a hole through the exte­ri­or wall into my apart­ment for the CAT6 cable and mount­ed it neat­ly to the under­side of the bal­cony, down the beam, and into the exte­ri­or enclosure.

Hotspot Mfr: Bob­cat Min­er 300
Anten­na Mfr: Rok­land
Anten­na Gain: 10
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 11
Cable type used: 30′ LMR400
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: Bob­cat is inside, the anten­na is mount­ed to my chim­ney. It is 35 feet above my dri­ve­way sur­face. I used hotspotrf to deter­mine the height and anten­na gain so my set­up should be get­ting about 19 wit­ness­es, but I’m hav­ing ZERO luck and only earn .01 HNT most days (from ini­ti­at­ing chal­lenges only, I have 0 wit­ness­es). I do have a 5.8 dBi and a 8 dBi anten­na on the way from RAK right now. I’m hop­ing that I am just miss­ing the wit­ness­es with too much anten­na gain and a dif­fer­ent anten­na will fix the issue.
Hotspot Name: Rich Cerulean Sparrow

Hotspot Mfr: Sense­CAP M1
Anten­na Mfr: HNTen­na
Anten­na Gain: 3
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 24
Cable type used: LMR600
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: The biggest chal­lenge was get­ting the anten­na up in the 65ft tree. First, I used 50ft of 1 in con­duit PVC, strung togeth­er, and shoved it up the tree. It prob­a­bly took 300 times to get it in the posi­tion it is in now. It could be more to the left, but after 300 tries and one week lat­er, it’s good enough. Next, we need to get the anten­na on top. Using the 50ft of LMR600, I strapped about 100ft of 550 (para­chute) cord to an old N type con­nec­tor, and using 1/2 under­ground water­ing plas­tic hose, pushed the LMR600 over the top, until it came down the side of the tree, to where I could reach it. I con­nect­ed the anten­na, and using the 550 cord, pulled the LMR600 back down through the con­duit, until the anten­na calm­ly rest­ed at the top. This took about eight tries to accom­plish. The con­duit decid­ed to come bar­rel­ing down the side of the tree most times, or the 550 cord snapped because of the sharp edges on the con­nec­tor. Once the cable was back through the tube and the anten­na was secure to the top, I cut the con­duit and cable to length, installed the box in the tree, and hooked every­thing up. I have a 12v fan mount­ed on the cov­er, run­ning off a 5v iPhone charg­er. Using dis­cov­ery, I am hit­ting about 550 hotspots. So far, I am up to 170 on the explor­er.
Hotspot Name: Hot Orchid Okapi

Hotspot Mfr: Sense­CAP M1
Anten­na Mfr: HNTen­na
Anten­na Gain: 3
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 13
Cable type used: 70′ LMR600
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: I just received a RAK out­door enclo­sure and I will be mount­ing the hotspot on the mast. It was orig­i­nal­ly a Bob­cat at this loca­tion and I did­n’t trust it out­doors. It’s locat­ed on a com­mer­cial build­ing using a non pen­e­trat­ing roof mount and a tele­scop­ing 28 ft. mast. It’s locat­ed on the edge of 13 well spaced hotspots and dou­bles the rewards of the next best one in the group, well worth the effort of guy­ing a tall mast!
Hotspot Name: not provided

Hotspot Mfr: RAK Hotspot
Anten­na Mfr: L‑Com
Anten­na Gain: 8
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 15
Cable type used: LMR400
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: 31′ Tele­scop­ing Mast on top of an indus­tri­al ware­house. Pow­ered w/ PoE.
Hotspot Name: Fan­cy Orchid Pigeon

Hotspot Mfr: RAK Hotspot
Anten­na Mfr: RAK Wire­less
Anten­na Gain: 8
Ele­va­tion (meters above ground): 7
Cable type used: LMR400 trim to 5.332m (36 1/2 wave­length @ 915MHz
Mount­ing Deploy­ment Notes: Mount­ing used a can­tilever beam eve mount about the garage. Added sol­id cop­per 6 AWG for sup­pres­sor drain to earth ground spike at elec­tri­cal ser­vice entry. Used a pass through to garage for feed­er cable typ­i­cal­ly with marine cab­in anten­nas. Has an option to add an inline step atten­u­a­tor 1–30 dBi to tune anten­na gain. Sealed exter­nal N‑Types con­nec­tors with teflon/silicone/PVC elec­tri­cal tapes.

If you’d like to share your work, I’ll give it a quick review to make sure it looks good & get yours post­ed up ASAP. Thank you for contributing!

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2 responses to “What Does A Great Helium Hotspot Look Like?”

  1. Hey Nik,

    Thanks for shar­ing these. I rec­og­nize the sec­ond deploy­ment list­ed aka your first deploy­ment. I believe its list­ed as 14 meters high on the explor­er, but here it’s list­ed as 10 meters. Is it safe to assume it’s 10 meters? Also, if you were set­ting up this deploy­ment today, would you use a dif­fer­ent anten­na (3 dBi or 5.8 dBi) or would you stick with the 9 dBi with attenuator?

  2. Hi Jacob, it’s prob­a­bly some­where between the 2 ele­va­tions; the pole is 23′ and the roof is, oh, maybe 13–15′, maybe more above ground. If I were to set up again I’d use the 3 dBi HNTen­na. That 9 dBi cost me HNT while I fig­ured out what the prob­lem was.

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