Hi! I’ve noticed that there are a lot of new folks joining the Helium Network and I think that’s awesome!! The quicker Helium grows to cover the world in coverage – the faster manufacturers, businesses, and tinkers will adopt the network for their designs. IoT is a huge industry that is rapidly growing and the Helium Network will fill the niche between high-cost cellular networks and low coverage Wifi. The key to Helium’s success though is for it to blanket the globe with high-quality RF coverage, and that can only happen if we all band together and build a resilient network using proper RF hardware and procedures.
Over the past few months, I have taken to the road to audit the network, by determining coverage of the miners, finding POC exploiters, and determining the best antenna practices for maximum coverage. Unfortunately, during my time doing this research I’ve found that the majority of people who have miners are not mounting their antennas correctly. Oftentimes, these folks are earning a meager 8HNT a month, significantly less than other better-equipped miners.
I Have A Public Service Announcement
During my time doing the auditing, I’ve been driving around the areas of coverage of the miner. I’ve found one common theme between all of them; 9 out of 10 of the miners I’ve audited had poorly placed antennas. This bad placement significantly impacted their earnings and reduced their coverage area. I’ve already written an article about proper antenna placement, but I want to reiterate some easy steps to increase your coverage.
Antenna Installation Tips
- Mount Your Antenna Outdoors
This is the single most important step to increasing range. Most homes are built to keep energy from escaping – with concrete, UV blocking windows, and insulation – all very bad for radio waves
- Purchase a high DBi antenna
Investing in a high-gain antenna will pay for itself in the long run. They are relatively cheap, with some only costing 75 dollars, and can dramatically increase your coverage and make your miner a better witness (which gets you paid). I would strongly suggest purchasing your antenna from a reputable manufacturer like Comet, Diamond, and Laird. They have a long history in the HAM radio world and have a proven track record.
FYI – stay away from cheap Amazon sellers, my testing has indicated that many of them are dishonest.
- Mount Your Antenna as High as Possible
Mounting your antenna higher means that the wireless signal will have less objects to travel through. Mount your antenna high and above the roofline so that it has a 360 deg unimpeded view of the landscape
- Use a Low-Loss Cable
If you plan on running a cable to your antenna, you need to use a proper cable to connect it. The cable must be 50ohm rated. If you plan on running your cable it’s important to use this chart as a reference. You want to keep your cable loss below 3db
The Network is Stronger If We All Work Together
So that’s a quick summation of the steps, I know some of you on the message boards here may think that I’m beating a dead horse here, but it’s shocking to see so many people leave money on the table from poor antenna placement.
Ultimately, the faster we can get the Helium Network to have ubiquitous coverage, the quicker the network becomes self-sustaining and generating revenue in the way of DC credits. The best way to do this is to increase the coverage of already deployed miners, so in a way, these tips end up helping all of us.