HotspotRF

HotspotRF

Helium Hotspot Setup Equipment Guide

Hello, my name is Aidan and I’ve set up over 34 helium hotspots in a variety of locations. I’ve received a lot of questions about what equipment I used to implement my hotspot setups so, in this guide, I’ll be detailing how I set up my hotspots in various situations. 

Before jumping into this guide I think that it is important to understand why I go the extra mile to get the hotspots antennas as high as possible and how Helium Hotspots earn $HNT.

How do Helium Hotspots earn $HNT?

For a hotspot to earn HNT and provide good coverage it needs to be able to “reach” as far as possible with its radio-frequency (RF) signal and be able to talk to other hotspots. Periodically each hotspot is given the opportunity to “beacon” to prove its coverage. A beacon is a short RF signal that your hotspot sends out, if other hotspots are able to pick up this beacon you prove to the network that you are actually providing real coverage. This is call Proof of Coverage (PoC). 

When a hotspot beacons it is rewarded for each hotspot that witnesses its beacon, the more hotspots that are able to witness its beacon the more $HNT it will earn. Your hotspot will also be able to earn rewards each time it witnesses another hotspot’s beacon. This is a very simplified explanation but should be adequate for the purposes of this guide. To check if your hotspot should be able to reach other hotspots please use HotspotRF to simulate your expected coverage. If you would like to fully understand how the Helium Blockchain rewards hotspots please read up on HIP-15.

How does reward scale affect Helium Hotspot earnings?

Reward scale is an often misunderstood metric that actually has much less effect on your rewards than most think. The Helium Blockchain gives each active hotspot a reward scale from 1.0 to 0.00 based on the density of hotspots nearby. If there are lots of hotspots nearby already providing coverage then you aren’t adding much value to the network by adding another one so it will be given a lower reward scale. In contrast, If there are not many hotspots nearby then you are providing new coverage to an area that didn’t use to be covered so you are given a higher reward scale. You can also use HotspotRF to simulate your expected reward scale.

Your hotspots reward scale will only affect the rewards you receive for beaconing. Example: If you have a reward scale of 0.50 then you will get 50% of the rewards you normally would have for your beacons, and witnesses will also only receive 50% rewards for witnessing your beacon.

However, luckily the majority of rewards hotspots receive come from witnessing other hotspot’s beacons. So even If you have a low reward scale if you are able to get your antenna high up and witness far away hotspots that have high reward scales you can receive high rewards. If you are only able to witness nearby hotspots that also have a low reward scale you will not earn very good rewards.

Why do I need to get my antenna as high as possible?

Have you ever seen a cell tower on top of a hill? This is no accident the telco’s know how to play this game so they get their access points as high up as possible. The RF emitted by Helium Hotspots can go 10-15 miles with a stock antenna but only if it has a clear line of sight. If the RF needs to fight its way through trees, houses, and buildings it will only go a few blocks. Therefore we are going to want to get our antennas as high as possible to increase our coverage and earnings.

Location is key. If you have a friend or family member that lives in a high-rise or on a hill overlooking your area you will likely earn much better rewards by having them host it. Consider asking them before trying to optimize your location. 

Now that we understand these core principles please select the dropdowns below to see how I’ve been setting up my hotspots and getting them as high as possible.

If the highest point of your roof is a chimney I highly recommend installing it there.

To set it up you will need the following:

Consider attaching it to a pipe or something else sticking out of your house. In this example I used a 5ft length of PVC and ZIP ties to get the antenna above the roofline.

House Antenna Install

Or consider attaching your antenna to an existing satellite tv antenna mount. Or purchasing a separate mount. In the below example I’m using an existing satellite tv antenna and mounting a 9dBi antenna on top. However, I don’t bother upgrading antennas anymore. You will be shocked at the results you can get with the stock antenna and good placement!

If you’re looking for the quickest/cheapest way to setup your hotspot and/or don’t have any choice but to install it inside this is going to be your best bet.

You’re going to want to install the hotspot in the window with the best view (within reason no-one expects you to place this smack dab in the middle of your kitchen/living room window). I used double sided 3M velcro tape to mount my hotspot in the middle of this persons guest bedroom. Make sure the window doesn’t have bug screens as it will block most of the signal and try to get it as high up as possible and above any kind of balcony metal railing.

  • 3M Command Large Picture Hanging Strips – Each strip is rated up to 16lbs, for good measure and to protect your hotspot use 2-3. Make sure to clean the hotspot and glass thoroughly with glass cleaner and make sure its fully dried or your hotspot might fall.
  • Ethernet Cable (Optional but preferred) – Check how strong your WiFi signal is at the location you will be placing your hotspot by placing your phone at the location and doing a speed test.
  • Power Extension Cable

Antenna Grounding

If you install your hotspot on a roof or outside in an exposed manner you may be required by law (and common sense) to ground your setup to protect it and your house from lightning strikes. Every country/state has different laws/requirements on this topic so please do your own research. HotspotRF is in no way liable for any damages caused by this setup guide.

Power Lines

If you install your hotspot on a roof or outside in an exposed manner ensure that your antenna is nowhere near power lines. Certain setbacks are often required by law in certain jurisdictions. Serious electrocution and possibly death can result from your antenna coming in contact with power lines. HotspotRF is in no way liable for any damages caused by this setup guide.

Fall Risk

There is an inherent risk of bodily injuries when climbing on your roof or other elevated surfaces to install an antenna. Please take necessary precautions and if you’re not experienced with working on elevated areas hire a professional to setup up your antenna for you. HotspotRF is in no way liable for any damages caused by this setup guide.

16 Comments

  1. CryptoRade

    Hello Adain,
    I like your tool very much. Thanks a lot. I would like to set up 7 Bobcat miners in my neighbourhood. Is it possible to simulate more than 1, or in my case 7 hotspots on the map in the same time?
    I would like know to where to place them exactly.

    Cheers Dirk from Switzerland

  2. Diamond_Hands

    I’ve noted that after running a simulation for a son who lives in Boise, ID. His first report indicated, with a 4 dBi antenna at 25′, he’d reach 3 hotspots and earn 52 tokens.

    Then a couple of days later I ran a simulation keeping all the parameters the same, changing only to an 8 dBi antenna. That report indicated he’d reach 6 hotspots, but his earnings dropped dramatically to 11 tokens.

    With those reults in mind, I re-ran the simulation exactly like the first one, again with a 4dBi antenna. That report confirmed the first report’s 3 hotspot reach, but reduced the earnings to 37 tokens.

    Can you explain the discrepancies?

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • illuminatus

      Based off the information you’ve presented, hotspots coming on and offline in the area can cause this, not the same lat/lng down to the 0.0001 decimal point as well due to the terrain. You can e-mail hello@hotspotrf.com with the lat/lng and settings used for an in-depth analysis.

  3. DavidZ

    Great info, I will definitely use your techniques when I receive my hotspots.

  4. Cliftonmurray

    can I book a call do discuss my location. I’m in vancouver on a hill overlooking the city and I have a rood top deck. trying to decide if I use the rood or window in top floor closet.
    relatively new so a conversation would are helpful.

  5. sunnyaman2012

    I have been into crypto from a quite some time but new to Helium Miner. Just ordered 2 Bobcat Miners with 5.8dbi antennas. I have used your simulation and I want to thank you for providing free 10 credits.
    My question is I have used the best numbers to my knowledge in the simulation, It is showing me in green area and showing Reward Scale is1. There are no hotspot miners near me, the nearest one is probably 20-25 miles away. Do you think it will generate me good profits? Thanks, still trying to figure out how to place and how this works.

    • illuminatus

      Typically if there isn’t any witnesses around, you’ll be looking at pretty low rewards unfortunately. Though as time goes on, the more hotspots that come online next to you, you’ll starting increasing earnings.

    • Diamond_Hands

      Wondering if you’ve received your Bobcat miners, and if not when do youn expect to receive them?

      Also curious who you ordered yours from?

      We have seven ordered, Ordered 1st 2 ordered late April, and 5 more in early May. We’re not expecting the first two until July, and the 5 until September/October.

      Thanks and good luck!

    • Diamond_Hands

      My son’s simulation, in flat Michigan, has no hotspots within about 9 km, and 1 at 10 km, and just a few within 12 km. His simulation indicated with either a 4 dBi or 8 dBi antenna he would still reach no other hotspots. His projected monthly earnings with both antennas were 1 HNT.

  6. Hlook55

    Are you grounding the antennas at all or using lightning aresstors or is this step unnecessary ?

    • Aidan

      It depends on your jurisdiction. I just added a warning/disclaimer about this. Please do research for your jurisdiction.

      • Shawn

        Thanks fort eh quick response. I’m in canada. Setting up a hot spot in a penthouse suite 340 off the ground in Calgary, AB. Not sure how to ground it easily. Will call an electrician.

        Thanks,

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