The Best Antenna for Helium and HNT in 2022
What is the best antenna for Helium?
We see this question in our live chats every day. It's been a year since the Helium craze began, and the fact is- the best antenna for your setup may not be the same antenna that was best for you one year ago when the network was less populated. If you have an outdoor setup, changing antennas is not difficult and our staff can help.
The best Helium antenna for city and urban use
A 3 dBi may not sound too exciting, but it packs a punch with good range and a wide vertical beam. In fact, Helium expert and legend Gristle King noted in his May 2022 State of the Network video that he has changed a number of his setups down to 3 dBi. If you find you are overshooting nearby hexes, a 3 dBi could be worth trying.
We offer both the ALFA Network AOA-8696-3ACM and the RAKwireless 3 dBi fiberglass model, both fantastic choices if you need a 3 dBi.
The Best Helium Antenna for the Suburbs
This is the easiest choice you will have to make- the winner, as proven by over 10,000 setups, is our Rokland 5.8 dBi outdoor antenna. This antenna is what we call a mid level gain, and is has the perfect combination of a wider vertical beamwidth compared to high gain antennas, as well as outstanding range. In suburbs where hexes are nearby but not as crowded, this 5.8 dBi can help you see nearby hotspots while still giving you great distance
The Best Helium Antenna for Less Dense Areas
If you are further away from hotspots and don't have any in surrounding hexes, a high gain antenna may be for you. Our Rokland 8.5 dBi model is tuned to Helium frequency with 8.5 dBi of total gain. This offers better overall range, but most benefit will come from high elevation. Be sure to see our coaxial cable section to get a cable long enough to go between your miner and this antenna.
The Best Helium Antenna for Remote Areas
We caution against being a "gainiac". Because the vertical beamwidth becomes more narrow as gain increases, going with the highest gain possible won't be effective in most areas and will likely lead to diminished results. But if you are in an open or rural area, and do not have hotspots nearby within 5-10km, our 12 dBi LoneWolf antenna is professional grade and can deliver outstanding distance. High elevation is needed. This antenna is not recommended for ground level install.
Should I get a directional antenna?
A directional antenna can often be counterproductive. Helium thrives off hotspots being able to communicate with others in all directions. Limiting the direction of your reception to one narrow area may decrease your witness count. But if you are far from a cluster of nearby hotspots, or you have an ocean or mountain behind you, a directional antenna could be the solution.
In the above example, the hotspot shown is an ideal candidate for a directional antenna like our ALFA Network AYA-9012. In cases with hotspots all around you, you want the circular 360 degree benefit of an omni directional antenna. But here we can see 360 degrees of reception isn't useful, and with proper elevation and open land, the 36 degree beam of the directional Yagi is advantageous.
What is a "Tuned" Antenna?
This is the industry's biggest buzzword of 2022. Tuned implies an antenna has been tuned to the specific frequencies on which Helium operates, in the USA this frequency is at or around 915 MHz. Click here to see the our list of frequency by country.
Remember, an antenna won't be tuned to an exact frequency numeral because radio waves do not move on one exact band. You want to look for an antenna's frequency range, with narrower being better for most cases. An antenna tuned between 900 and 930 MHz is ideal for Helium in the USA. The antenna does not receive strong signal on other frequencies which interfere with Helium performance. A wider tuned antenna like 600-2700 MHz may work for Helium but not nearly as well a tuned antenna. Wider bands such as 860-960 are okay for US915 users as well. RAKwireless tunes their models to 860-960 MHz so they work on both the EU868, the US915, and the AU915 bands. We do not recommend going wider than 860 to 930 MHz.
For a comprehensive list of Helium related Q and As check out our FAQ page or reach out to our team of experts ready to help optimize your Helium setup. Whether you need full setup advice or just want to make sure you have the right cable for your antenna we are here to help.
Rokland Technologies is the largest authorized ALFA Network distributor and brand partner, and a leading retailer and developer of WiFi, 4G, and Helium network IoT products in Gainesville, Florida. Launched in 2000, our company has 22 years of experience in technology, with over 1000 combined years of experience among our staff and technicians.