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.
|Paradar 868Mhz LoraWAN antenna, weatherproof with N-female...||Buy on Amazon|
|Paradar 868Mhz LoraWAN antenna, weatherproof with N-female...||£54.99||Buy on Amazon|
|868MHZ 12DBI OMNI ANTENNA WITH N||£568.83||Buy on Amazon|
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.
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:
- Glass Fiber LoRa Antenna Peak Gain (5.8dbi) for £40
- Glass Fiber LoRa Antenna (3dBm) for £35.99
- Nebra HNT Outdoor Hotspot Miner for £420
Last update on 2021-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API