Upgrade your Helium Hotspot antenna for a greater range in the UK with a MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi Omni Antenna

Update – With the MikroTik out of stock there are two options on Amazon by Paradar which have an 8.5dbi Antenna or a 4.5dbi antenna. I have also written another post about the best antenna selection for the Helium Hotspot.

I was a little sceptical when I was first offered the Helium Hotspot to review; it just sounded like an expensive piece of tech that wouldn’t take off.

I have been mostly proved wrong, I still stand by my reservations and would still advise that you only buy it knowing that it may not earn your money back. However, it has proven to be more profitable than I had imagined.

I have been lucky in that Blackpool appear to have one of the highest numbers of hotspots in the country, and the actual density of hotspots seems to rival London.

Anyway, most users will be aware that you need to try and optimise the position of your hotspot to increase its range and maximise earnings.

A lot of people on Reddit upgrade their aerials. When I looked into this, finding an appropriate antenna in the UK didn’t seem that easy.

There is the Fiber Glass Antenna Kit for Helium Hotspot sold by RAC, who also make the RAK hotspot miner. I have sure when I first checked this site I couldn’t buy it, but it now looks like you can order it shipped to the UK for $65.00.

I ended up trying to be cheap and buying a generic outdoor 4G antenna from Amazon. I later learned that not all antennas work quite the same. Than antenna did seem to improve things a little, at the very least it allowed me to place it outside my window.

A little bigger than the original antenna

More recently, I tried to find an alternative solution and came across the MikroTik 824-960MHz 6.5dBi Omni Antenna, which is available via msdist.co.uk for a bit over £50 after shipping, alternatively, there is the Glass Fiber LoRa Antenna Peak Gain (5.8dbi) for £40 from Pi Supply.

This comes with just enough cable to run outside my window, but you may need to extend this further.

This covers the frequencies of 824 – 960 MHz which is compatible with the EU Helium Hotspot.

It has a higher gain than the option sold by RAK, but I think theirs is specific to the region so could potentially offer better performance.

With the MikroTik you will have to buy an adaptor, I ended up going for this 15-piece pack which guaranteed I had the right adaptor.

Previously I was connecting to just 4 hotspots, all within a few streets of me, since installing this antenna, this has increased to 15 hotspots with some around 2.5 miles away as the crow flies.

Recently my earnings appear to have slumped a little, but with the new antenna, it looks like things have shot up considerably. I have only had it two days, so I will give it a week and see how much the graph shape changes and report back.

[Update 27/01/2021] MikroTik Antenna pays for itself in days

Apologies for not updating this sooner. The results have been excellent though. As you can see in the above screenshots I was earning around 10 HNT per week, with the graph starting to get steeper when I installed this. Hotspots went up from 4 to 15.

With the new antenna, I now earn around 80 HNT per week and the number of hotspots has increased to around 25.

So the investment paid itself off within a week and I would regard it as an essential purchase for anyone running a Helium Hotspot.

Pi Supply also sell LoRa hardware including an outdoors miner and antennas. Most of it is out of stock or pre-order but the links are:

Last update on 2021-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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14 thoughts on “Upgrade your Helium Hotspot antenna for a greater range in the UK with a MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi Omni Antenna”

    • Apologies, been a nightmare keeping on top of things recently.

      I have updated the post, but it is well worth the investment, massively increased the number of hotspots I connect to and earnings have around 8 fold. Though, where I live has an unusually large number of hotspots, so your mileage may vary.

      Reply
  1. Do the further hotspots that become available once the improved aerial is installed boost your mining even if they are owned by other people?

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Yeah, the lighting arrestor is probably advisable in the US, the UK has approximately 0.46 lightning strikes per square km each year so very low risk. People should still assess their risks and installations on a very tall building should certainly consider it.

      Reply
  2. Hi

    Thanks for all the valuable info. Since I am ordering 20 of the MikroTik 824-960MHz 6.5dBi Omni Antenna, I do not want to order 20 of the 15 adaptor packs, can you help me identify which adaptor it is I require for the MikroTik.

    Also ordered 10 of the Glass Fiber LoRa Antenna Peak Gain (5.8dbi), did you get quick delivery and do you need an adapator for these?

    Thanks
    Much appreciated

    Reply
    • You Require an RP SMA MALE (Helium hotspot side) to an SMA Male (Antenna side)

      I ended up replacing the entire cable so I could mount the antenna higher. You can get cables off Amazon but I got a custom made one via McGill Microwave Systems on eBay (https://mghty.uk/mcgillmicrowavesystems) – I bought some of the LMR-400 cable which is very thick but offers very low signal loss – I think it was this cable but then messaged them asking for the RP SMA MALE & SMA Male cable ends.

      Reply
    • At the moment, the furthest hotspot is 4km/2.5miles away. With the antenna, I am on now I have had roughly 7.5 km (4.6 mi) previously. At one time, I was experimenting with a 12dbi antenna, and I had a connection at 22.34 km (13.88 mi) I am not sure how that was achieved though, maybe they have a super powerful antenna too, or perhaps it was a glitch in the system.

      Reply

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