The Antenna is probably the most important factor in your Helium mining setup. This is the part which most people will get frustrated with. It’s just an antenna so no big deal right? Wrong. The problem stems from the fact that the people’s network is still being built, thus the antenna packaged with the unit doesn’t take into account all the different shapes and sizes of buildings and hills or mountains possibly in the miner’s line of sight.
In the UK, Helium mining is still very new and especially in Scotland there are full areas with just a handful of other hotspots. The stock antenna will have no chance to be able to communicate locally with these other devices (except via the internet which is not ideal). Therefore, antennas can be changed accordingly to suit the user’s requirements.
Typically, the lower dbi (decibel relative to isotrope) of an antenna means the shorter distance the unit can transmit and receive I, but with a greater range of view (2dbi typicall has a 360 range but will not reach miners further away). A high dbi antenna can reach for miles but overshoot devices closer to you as the range is vastly reduced. It helps to get someone more tech savvy to help you decide on what antenna will earn you the most HNT.
No matter what antenna you decide on, you’re going to want to try and place it as high as possible and outside. If you’re on the first floor of a block of flats, and your miner with antenna is indoors….you’re going to probably have disappointing results compared to someone on the top floor with their antenna mounted outside. If they have a clear view in front of their balcony….jackpot.
Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world. Most of us will just have to make do with our indoor miners. A lot of houses in the UK have recently received insulated outer layers. If you own your own house, this doesn’t apply to you. If you rent, however, the landlord of your house or flat will not let you customise in any way that will weaken the cladding.
UPDATE: V11 POC (October 4th)
The new Proof of coverage model for Helium is launched and if Helium wants to be legal worldwide, it will need to adhere to each country’s broadcasting laws. This means that 8dbi antennas in the UK are probably not legal. The update will allow the hotspot to reduce transmission power for higher gain antennas. It’s annoying but necessary unfortunately.