Helium HNT Hotspot Mining Wiki & FAQ

Table of Contents

Introduction

This Wiki is based off frequently asked questions on #hnt-iot-mining
This is a Wiki so please edit as needed or let me know what needs updating

Helium Mining

Explained to a five-year-old style video

A otherwise good starter of the actual mining process and how it is calculated is documented here, in short:

LongFi. Which is the combination of Heliums blockchain and the LoRaWAN frequency, is a low bandwidth and long range network that aims to get all the small things on a widespread network. LoRaWAN is better than using wi-fi as the transceiver and transmitter uses far less power. This means that Location trackers and other LoRaWAN appliances can last much longer on the same battery power.

Helium Manufacturers

What’s the best one to buy? Vosk covers it here

What’s the difference between them? Vosk addresses it here. A handy hardware-specs-only comparison is being built up here by crapdeathnel_x

Please use the following links to support Voskcoin and our community. Nebra , Bobcat , RAK .

Each hotspot vendor will provide everything you need to get your first miner up and running. One thing to note is that hotspot miners come with different frequency bands. Please make sure you are picking the correct selection for your region.

A list of each vendor and how many Helium miners are deployed is listed here

A spreadsheet tracking all the new vendors and where they are in the approval processes is available here

All certified vendors for Helium are listed here

Bobcat

Currently still (September 2021) recommended by Vosk. This is because they have proven delivery estimates.

Congratulations!
Your order number #XXXX is successful. We’d like to begin by thanking you for your time and patience throughout this process.
Your miner will ship in 8-12 weeks from the time you placed your order.

  • Serial port details of your Bobcat, MicroUSB cable at the back runs at 1500000 baud, 8N1, credit

Bobcat - Issue

Reports started on 6 October 2021 that Batch21 of Bobcat miner’s send out beacons and do not get any witnesses, my understanding is that Bobcat has been made aware of the issue / waiting for a fix

Timeline includes,

  • On 18 October 2021 OTA 1.0.2.32 reportedly fixed Batch21 witness issues
  • On 15 October 2021 this OTA was released which includes access to the handy ‘dig’ command and additional troubleshooting to perform for helping to narrow down the issue on these miners
  • This one
  • and this one
  • Bobcat update on 11 October 2021 (source):

Bobcat - Shipping update

20 October 2021:
Source

13 October 2021:
Source

29 September 2021:
Source
image

22 September 2021:

Source

Nebra


Sold out since 24 April 2021 due to component shortages

Nebra Outdoor:

Please do not order via Parley Labs and order directly through Nebra to support VoskCoin. Parley does not make their miners.

Nebra - Shipping update

4 October 2021:

Blog post - important bit:

In terms of batches, this means that batch 3 is nearly completed shipping with batch 4 about to commence - again this is a little behind schedule compared to what we had planned at the beginning of September (due to the issues mentioned above). Bear in mind that this is shipping from the factory so if you ordered from a distributor it might take a little longer - as the units need to get to them first.

As mentioned last week, if you have a batch 1 or 2 order that still has not arrived then it is likely there is an issue with the address or similar so please reach out to us at support@nebra.com so we can investigate.

In October, we expect to have a similar quantity of production completed (20k to 30k units). We will of course keep you posted on further weekly production quantities and what is shipping out when in the coming weeks.

20 September 2021:

Blog post

Important bit:

We will shortly have completed shipping all of batch 3, and in the next week will be moving onto the beginning of batch 4 production. We are still on track to hit the 30k units completed and shipped in September as we mentioned at the end of August…both direct orders from Nebra and from distributors such as Parley, Distrelec, SparkFun and others.

If your order is Batch 3 or beyond, not all of these have shipped yet so there is no need to reach out about specific orders at this time as we are still working through the shipping of these. Batch 1 and 2 orders have all completed shipping.

Cal-Chip / RAKv1.5 / RAKv2

NOTE: Significant delays see the shipping calculator. No orders are currently being taken due to supply issues

  • Manufactured by RAK however distributed by CalChip
  • Vosk referral link with 3% off - or use code ‘voskcoin’
  • Vosk’s review of the CalCHip RAK V2 published 9 May 2021
  • RAK has produced mostly miners for Emrit and other whitelabeled vendors at this stage on behalf of Cal-Chip
  • Bundled with a 2.3dBi (US) or 2.8dBi (EU)
  • Datasheet here
  • Weatherproof enclosure video
  • Rak V2 teardown
  • Check out the Shipping calculator to find out where you are in the order backlog
  • Public letter (June 3 2021):
  • CalChip distributed this on 15 October 2021 with regards to their delays and the RAKwireless offerings

Cal-Chip - Shipping update

September 30 Update:
PDF
image

September 22 Update:

PDF

NA RAK orders from Turtle batch or later has to choose between waiting until Q1 2022 OR choose other options

September 15 Update:
Link

RAKwireless MNTD


  • Order link
  • On 5 October 2021, RAkwireless started producing MNTD see about it here these appear to be in stock sooner than RAKv2 units
  • Keep an eye on their Twitter feed and subcribe to their newsletter for upcoming drops

Syncrob.it & SP North America

Syncrobit is the official manufacturer and producer of their Helium hotspot miner and released a co-branded miner with SP North America.

Vosk edition miner

  • Last update on 9 September 2021:
  • Previous update: SyncroBit confirmed delivery for September (and October) for the VoskCoin units - these will NOT be delivered sooner than other orders. (Fully expect these to be delayed though given their current run-rate)
  • This was sold out within 9 hours of the announcement, thank you all!
  • Order link went live on 8 June 2021 for 1337 units (archived version)
  • VoskCoin Medium article with a ton of information on this edition
  • Youtube video discussing the VoskCoin edition miner
  • No, it will arrive no later than the ‘official’ SyncroB.it version

SyncroB.it - Shipping update

21 October 2021 NA Update:
Source

We are currently in the process of shipping orders placed in April and are fulfilling through SB#5442 for North America.

A small batch of units went out last Friday. And more are going out this week and through the end of October.

If extremely larges orders hit customs it can double the wait time for clearance , so we are shipping smaller batches more frequently in a effort to avoid these delays.

For some insight into the process. we send hotspots to our distribution partner at which time they get marked as fulfilled in Shopify. Once the distribution partner packages and ships them we receive the tracking numbers and then pass them along to you via a automatic email notification.

Antennas are in stock and are being shipped as hotspots are fulfilled. If your hotspot has arrived and your antenna order does not show as shipped please notify support and we will check on this for you.

21 October 2021 EU Update:

Source

Regarding shipping for Europe. We are currently in the process of shipping orders placed in April.

We have already fulfilled through SB#3613 for Europe.

Another batch for Europe will go out in approximately 10 days.

If extremely larges orders hit customs it can double the wait time for clearance , so we are shipping smaller batches more frequently in a effort to avoid these delays.

For some insight into the process. we send hotspots to our distribution partner at which time they get marked as fulfilled in Shopify. Once the distribution partner packages and ships them we receive the tracking numbers and then pass them along to you via a automatic email notification.

Antennas are in stock and are being shipped as hotspots are fulfilled. We are currently fulfilling all the free EU antenna orders that were pending, and then will ship all antenna orders paid in full that were not paired with a gateway,

21 September 2021 EU/NA update:

As of now we have shipped up to order ~#SB3000. If you are under that order number and have not received your gateway, please reach out to our support team: support@syncrob.it

By end of this week we expect to fulfill all orders placed up to March 31st, representing the fulfillment of nearly 10,000 gateways to date.

Antennas
Free antennas are fulfilled as your gateways are fulfilled. As of now all US free antennas, for which the corresponding gateways have been delivered, have been sent.

We are working on fulfilling EU free antennas as soon as possible.

US antennas purchased at full price have also been shipped. If you purchased an antenna along side a gateway at a discounted rate, you will receive your antenna with your gateway.

20 September 2021 Update for AU/NZ:

Regulatory Approval
SyncroB.it Gateways are fully approved for Australia and New Zealand

The corresponding paperwork will be added here shortly:
Certifications and Testing : SyncroB.it

11 September 2021 Update:

A couple to other distributors/partners as the one on 3 September:


LongAP


LongAP - Shipping update

9 July 2021:

  • All fiat-payment orders have been shipped. A few crypto-payment orders are still to be shipped

6 July 2021:

We can accept orders for antennas and cables for LongAP One for the Netherlands with bank-transfer as payment only at the moment: https://longap.com/collections/longap-one-accessoires We are discussing options to accept orders for other countries again

LinxDot

Another Helium manufacturer, orders are now open to all

  • Page here use discount code ‘Voskcoin’ for 3% off
  • Fully onboarded on 2 August 2021
  • US/EU/AU approved
  • Their HIP19 application is here and got approved on 28 July 2021
  • Uses the Syncrobit ‘instant sync’ feature as it is the same firmware

Linxdot - Shipping update

31 August 2021 batch1:

Source

We’ve got a few updates. We’ve been to the soldering/assembly company this morning. The cases are now here and the boards are currently being fitted inside the cases for the 1st part of batch 1. We had a tiny amount of our product boxes delivered last Friday, and the rest are arriving on Thursday. We’ll have a part of batch 1 notified with their tracking details on Friday this week. Could be earlier, but please set your expectations for Friday this week, and that won’t be all of batch 1. The entirety of batch 1 will ship by the 15th of September as mentioned in the last update. And the 1st part of batch 1 will ship this Friday, with tracking provided same day. So I guess this is a minor delay by a few days, we didn’t ship anything by the end of August as initially expected, but I also don’t think it’s that bad. We’ll choose express next-day services for all of Europe and North America when we do ship on Friday this week. I’d say this is very positive news, as everything is on the move. We’re not on hold with any of the assembly processes.

Smart Mimic / Finestra Mine

A vendor who already sells a few LoRa gateways and sensors who appears to want to create a miner.

This miner is manufactured by Cal-Chip and not yet available, pre-orders only.

Note that this miner requires validators to be offloaded from the miners, which is schedule to happen Q3-Q4 2021, to quote Kerlink:

Kerlink will release miner software to run inside the gateways (full miner), but that requires the HIP25 (Validators) to be in production (to eliminate the high CPU usage on the gateways due to the Consensus Group work).
Kerlink will eventually switch to light gateways, as any other manufacturer.

Note that eventually all miners will have their software converted to a light hotspot - per the light hotspot roadmap detailed on this page.

Kerlink - Shipping update

  • 27 September 2021 Update:
    Source

image

  • 6 August 2021 Update:

Update on the Helium Network Compatible Kerlink Gateways! Helium and the DeWi Alliance finalized their testing of these units and have given the green light for shipping. The #HeliumNetworkCompatible Kerlink Gateways are estimated to start shipping within the next 2-3 weeks!

Tweet

SenseCAP


  • On 16 June 2021 SEED / SenseCAP has been approved by Helium Inc to take pre-orders after completing hardware audit, onboarding integration and adhering to regulatory certification
  • HIP19 application with Helium
  • Bundled antenna was going to be 1.2 dBi but now it will be 2.6dBi for US & 2.8dBi for EU
  • USB-C powered
  • Spec Sheet
  • FCC & CE certified June 22 2021
  • SenseCAP M1 FAQ
  • On 17 August 2021 they released a management dashboard
  • On 11 October 2021 they released a local dashboard as well as ‘Turbo Sync’ (like fastsync)

SenseCAP - Shipping update

20 August 2021:

To our lovely customers who purchased SenseCAP M1 at Seeed, here comes the update!

We have shipped Batch 1, 2, and 3, and are now in the process of manufacturing and shipping the rest batches. Please check the following picture of order info.

Today we have started to ship batch 4. However, due to a large number of orders, it may take a few days. We will try our best to dispatch all orders before August 31. If you have any questions about the shipping date, please contact us at order@seeed.cc.

Thank you for supporting SenseCAP M1!

12 August 2021 part 2:

To our friends from Australia and New Zealand, hope you will be excited for this update.

We’ve got the RCM certificate for SenseCAP M1 Indoor Gateway. We will share updates on the sale of the AU915 version soon.

12 August 2021:

New sale for US and EU. NO COUPON THIS TIME. Shipping is done by November 10th! Max Purchase is 100x units. For more Infos, check the latest pin.

Please check product page:
US915:
https://www.seeedstudio.com/SenseCAP-M1-LoRaWAN-Indoor-Gateway-US915-p-5023.html
EU868:
https://www.seeedstudio.com/SenseCAP-M1-LoRaWAN-Indoor-Gateway-EU868-p-5022.html

23 July 2021:

This is a warm welcome letter.
 
Dear everyone,
As we promised, we are going to have some updates in late July, so here I am. :blush:
I hope you are excited to see this update.
 
The production of SenseCAP M1 are going well as scheduled, more than 10,000 pieces will be shipped out by next week.
Some batches will go to our partners, more distributors will be updated next week.
While some batches, - BREAKING NEWS - will be sold on Seeed online store!!!! :partying_face: 
 
Please go to page below to get more information about  “How to purchase SenseCAP M1s on Seeed online store”.
https://www.sensecapmx.com/welcome-to-the-room-for-purchasing-sensecap-coupon-code/

Long story short:
1. You are welcome to come to Seeed store to purchase SenseCAP M1 on July 25th 10:00 AM (GMT+8).
2. We are going to release 100 pieces US version as our first trial to test our limits and traffic pressure.
3. Then we are going to release more in the days coming after, EU version will be available at that time too. The experience we learn from the sales of this first 100 pieces will help us improve the performance for the coming batches.
 
Looking forward to meet you in Seeed.:face_in_clouds: 
See you soon.
 
Sincerely,
Shuyang

8 July 2021:

  • The Global MSRP of SenseCAP M1 is USD $519. The actual price at our partners’ platforms might include shipping costs and VAT, hence the actual price might vary.
  • Available quantity for our first batch is 745 pieces (445 US version, 300 EU version), I know it is a small number :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: , but we have better news on the second batch: a few thousand pieces will be available in late July. We will give exact number later.
  • For the first batch, SenseCAP M1 will be sold through distributors. Please be aware that it will NOT be sold through www.sensecapmx.com
  • To make sure more people can get the devices, for the first batch, all the stock will be exclusively to the community, there will be limits on purchase quantity per person per order. Our distributors will release more info about the restrictions and plans.
  • Distributors will have their own release plan. They all try their best to provide fair opportunities to everyone, thus they won’t just put the products online quietly without advance notices, they will keep you updated to make sure you are well aware of the order date and time.
  • We are starting to ship to distributors this week, they should receive the products around mid of July.
  • At the same time, we are talking with other partners / distributors, will release more info later.


Pisces Miner


  • Pisces Miner is EU only, ordering is via waiting list so join their list if interested
  • Pisces Miner was fully onboarded on 2 August 2021
  • First batch will be a small batch sold with USDC (ERC-20) at around $600

23 September 2021 Update:


link

FAQ:

:star:Q:When will pre-order start?
A:We will start pre-order in mid-August. Because the final integration is still being completed, if everything goes well, we hope to start shipping within 2 months.
:star:Q:Where you can order?
A:The pre-order will be carried out on our official website.The official website is completing the final security test will be launched soon.
:star:Q:Is the purchase limited?
A:Quantity limit.Because we found that most users have installed antennas, the outdoor version is more suitable.
:star:Q:Outdoor version or indoor version?
A:Outdoor.
:star:Q:What radio frequency can be purchased?
A:Because the FCC is still in progress, so this sale is all 868M, please judge by yourself whether it can be used in the area.
:star:Q:Where to ship from?
A:Hangzhou, China. We will use world-class courier to ensure that the device is delivered to you ASAP.

On 12 August 2021 pre-order waitlisting opened, details:

The waiting list for Pisces is open!

Go to the homepage https://www.piscesiot.com/ Join the waitlist!

Tips:
-The first batch of available quantity is 1000 units (EU868M).
-This time the Pisces outdoor gateway is for sale only.
-The price is $650 VAT EXCLUDED.
-Payment method: Crypto Coinbase ,USDC/ERC20 Only.
-Delivery: 4-6 weeks after receiving your E-mail to order.
-A few days later, the Pisces team will send out purchase links by email according to the registration time.
-Remember to fill in the address, the price shown in the order will include the shipping cost, you don’t need to do more than the payment.

Join the Waitlist now!
Continue to follow us and follow-up activities.

Learn more about Pisces on our
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Piscesminer

ClodPi

  • ClodPi was fully onboarded on 2 August 2021
  • ​Pre Orders began on 6 August 2021 at 9AM IST here 45k Rupees
  • One of the only manufacturers for the India market

COTX Networks

NOTE: COTX has been placed on Helium’s naughty list on 27 September 2021 see this and should be on this listed until April 2022 before they will take new orders

Controllino

Heltec Automation

PantherX

  • Approved 27 September 2021
  • Website
  • Appears to be CN470 / EU868 only for $499 USD

Hummingbird

Milesight

  • Approved 15 October 2021
  • No additional information yet

RisingHF

  • Approved 15 October 2021
  • No additional information yet

Milesight

  • Approved on 15 October 2021
  • No additional information yet

Helium Inc (OG)

The original Helium Miner manufactured by Helium is no longer for sale.

Other manufacturers (inbound)

These are yet to be HIP19 (or just) approved and not for sale yet - these will move to the above section once they are approved and nearing a state of pre-ordering.

Naughty list

Manufacturers who has accepted pre-orders before HIP19 approval from Helium get on a naughty list , so far first offenders are,

Airbit

image

They also appear to have stolen some images:
image

And…

RevoFi

In late August 2021 their HIP application were denied

This was received on 10th July via email from RevoFi (ie, ignoring above and before they have been approved by Helium):

COTX

On 22 October 2021 this was released:

As previously announced, the Manufacturing Oversight Committee (MOC) has voted to place COTX Networks under a 6 month probation for its involvement, if only negligently, with partners who constructed massive illegitimate hotspot deployments that attempted to receive Proof-of-Coverage rewards without actually providing network coverage. As part of this probation, COTX is prohibited from accepting and shipping new hotspots orders for six months, starting retroactively from September 27, 2021.

While this suspension is designed to establish a message with all manufacturers that direct involvement in “gaming” is not a tolerable nor sustainable business practice, the MOC recognizes that the Helium Network’s most ardent and effective asset are hotspot hosts – customers who have and will continue to enthusiastically purchase hotspots from approved manufacturers. As the MOC’s rulings do not spread as far and wide as any manufacturer’s marketing efforts, we’ve set an order fulfillment cutoff date for one week after the suspension.

This means that, with exceptions, consumer orders placed by October 4, 2021 will be allowed to be fulfilled. The full ruling is as follows:

  1. Orders must have been made on or before 1 week after the 2021-09-27 suspension. This comes to 2021-10-04.

  2. The order quantity must be 20 units or fewer, or

  3. If the order quantity is more than 20 units, it must satisfy all of the following:

3.A The customer gives COTX permission to identify the customer to the MOC, and

3.B COTX forwards the customer information to the MOC, and

3.C The MOC approves the order.

  1. For all orders of quantity 21 or more in which the three items 3.A, 3.B and 3.C cannot be satisfied, we ask the COTX and/or its distributors issue a refund.

On 14 October 2021 this was released

COTX Suspension/Probation

The Manufacturing Oversight Committee has voted to convert COTX Network's suspension into a 6 month probation period. Under this probation COTX's ability to on-board hotspots will be restored to allow existing orders to be fulfilled subject to certain restrictions, but COTX will be prohibited from taking new orders until the probation period has ended.

We are requesting data from COTX and will describe the fulfillment process in more detail once that data arrives. We will also explain the rationale behind the suspension and probation in further announcements

This was released on 27 September 2021:

Temporary Manufacturer Suspension: COTX

The DeWi Manufacturing Oversight Committee (MOC) has voted to temporarily suspend COTX Networks’ ability to onboard hotspots due to troubling patterns we have observed with COTX hotspots that have been deployed by their partners and employees in advance of sales to the general public at large. In the meantime, COTX will continue to provide the MOC with explanations and reports to help rectify, and hopefully, resolve the issue.

What does the suspension do?

While the suspension is in effect, new COTX hotspots will not be able to placed on the blockchain. Existing COTX hotspots will continue to function normally.

Why the suspension?

We’ve identified a population of COTX associated hotspots that show troubling signs of “gaming” – attempts to earn rewards while not providing real coverage for the Helium network. While we acknowledge that any manufacturer’s hotspots can be abused this way, we are compelled to take action when the hotspots are directly under the control of the manufacturer or its major partners.

When will the suspension be lifted?

No date has been set to re-instate COTX’s onboarding ability. The suspension will only be lifted once the MOC has completed its investigation and is convinced that COTX’s deployment and sales plans will benefit the network overall.

Miner Placement

There are various things to consider when positioning your miner and maximising earning potential. Considering that Helium operates on a Proof-of-Coverage algorithm, placing your miner in a location where it can communicate with other miners is the goal. The more hotspots it can communicate within a specific range, the higher probability of earning more coin over time.

Range is important. On paper, it is advised to space miners 300 meters apart from each other. With that said, it has been reported that if line of sight is good as well, 300-350 meters can potentially be too close. If miners are too close, witnessing can become invalidated, resulting in reduced reward pay-outs. Note that all vendor’s default antennas are good for several miles of range assuming no obstructions in line of sight.

This is why you do not see mobile phone masts every block, it does not expand network coverage in a optimal way. Do not cluster.

To get a visual representation of how your exact location may communicate with neighboring hotspots, please check out Hotspotty. Input your address to review the sweet spot range. Your hotspot miner will be the black dot. Any additional miner that is within the red-colored heat map is considered an “invalid witness zone”. Alternatively, look at helium.vision, there is a good video demo on ‘If your place is good for Helium Hotspot Mining

PLEASE NOTE: This is a over-simplified explanation, and the technical details are in HIP17. ie. You can’t have more than 1 hotspot within a res 8 hexagon (to maximise your reward scale) unless that hexagon has 2 other populated hotspots as neighbours - this of course gets complicated to explain in scale, so please see the HIP17 link for further detail.

On 18 May 2021, Helium announced Disco Mode - you can use this (once you have a miner setup) to compare locations for the best rewards. Ed Ballou talks about it here (24 May 2021)

Other links,

  • Vosk talks about ‘What is the correct placement for Helium miners’ on this 19 Sep 2021 video
  • Vosk runs through using the explorer-beta.helium.com on 14 June 2021 and how to optimise spots
  • To add a semi-social element, future hotspot owners can plan and add their hotspots-to-be on this map
  • A video on how to use Helium explorer here
  • Vosk answers ‘How many Helium miners can I have in my house?’ in this 11 May 2021 video

How much will I make?

Please understand that the current hotspot population is growing by the day. What may be virgin territory today could be a strong hotspot region over time.

If you are curious as to if a desired location (whether it be your residence or a family friends) will be profitable, please use Helium Explorer . All you need to do is type in your city, and a list of active hotspots will generate.

Click on the 3 word seed phrase to open that hotspot account. From here, you’ll see a map of it’s connections, 24 hour/prior 24 hour and 30 day/prior 30 day payouts, the profit % change, along with witness and nearby hotspot information. This resource is the best tool for gauging approximate profitability in your area.

If you reviewed your territory and noticed there are no neighboring hotspots near your location, what is the next best option? Time to phone a family or friend! A plausible option is to let a fellow contact “host” your hotspot miner. That way, you are maximizing your miners profitability. I’ll go over this more later.

  • Vosk tlaks about ‘How much am I going to make?’ on this 19 Sep 2021 video
  • Vosk talks about Helium mining profitability in this video on 19 August 2021
  • Vosk talks about the mining earning variability in this video on 28 July 2021
  • Vosk talks about how much you make depending on your proximity to other miners on June 1 2021 here
  • Vosk talks about ‘How much money will I make’ here
  • Also try the Helium Hotspot Earnings Calculator
  • Vosk talks on 8 June 2021 about how the Hotspot reward system works
  • Vosk talks about how the Hotspot reward system works here
  • Miing Chamber talks about the reward system here
  • Keep in mind you can only practically witness 18 hotspots

How does seeing more miners increase my earnings?

@Toby’s example:


image
image

Just to let you all know my scenario and what rewards looks like here is my setups in stage 1 2 and 3 (Stage 1 = 1 hotspot, stage 2 = 2 hotspots etc)

Week 1-10 average 1.5
Week 11-13 average 11
Week 14 36

(Numbers = HNT)
Orange lines = Witness

  • A video discussing this as well, here
  • Vosk discusses witnessing here (9 May 2021)

How do I setup my miner?

It takes about 5 mins, turn it on download the app on your phone (links can be found at the bottom of the helium.com website and usually on a QR code with the miner), bluetooth search for it, pair it up assert location on the map on your phone connect to WiFi or Ethernet and boom done.
Video tutorial here

  • Vosk runs through the setup process here on 8 June 2021
  • Vosk runs through it again here as well

Antenna Placement

Antenna Strengths

Vosk answers ‘What is the best antenna for Helium hotspot miners’ here

As mentioned, the standard antennas are GREAT - 10km+ in NYC has been achieved by a discord member as an example here -


(RAK v2 unit at 30ft elevation)

This image best describes what higher dbi antennas do:

Please realise the donut shapes these make, especially at higher dbi - pictured another way:



(Credit to @2thdoc)
This is why you don’t put a high dbi in a city for example:

(credit @Shwetty)
Don’t be fooled by the picture of a 2dbi antenna either - the ‘bubble’ is huge:
image
(credit @Shwetty)


Note: 3dbi can reach out to almost 20 miles line of sight

  • Keep in mind, lower dBi antennas have more vertical range and less horizontal range. Higher ones have less vertical range and more horizontal range. Find a good balance that hits your nearby hotspots.
  • Careful with 8dbi or you will overshoot hotspots that are close to you and won’t witness/challenge them
  • Higher gain does not mean better or stronger all it means is that it’s more directed. Think of it like a flashlight or a garden hose. The more focused the light becomes the more direct the light goes
  • Antenna are environment dependent. If it’s in an urban environment a higher gain is not good you need a lower gain. If you are in open area trying reach specific point in an area than a higher gain is better
  • Antenna gain is just for penetration through buildings, trees etc. Your better sticking a 3dbi high up. and a 5.8 on ground for example
  • Angle of elevation also matters. If you mount a long range (narrrow beam) antenna on a high elevation and all the other miners are at a lower elevation your signal will just go right over the other miners and not link up. So in the picture with the two cars a 3dbi antenna will reach the other car but the 6dbi one will not since the signal just goes right over the other car.
  • Keep your antenna cable runs low - a handy refference for signal loss over cable lengths here and a video showing this here, Gristle King writes a good piece about it here as well
  • Jimmy is Promo discussing antennas here
  • Advice on maximum antenna strengths discussed in the FAQ below
  • Helium Noob has a good video about 'Is your Antenna Legal’ - US-centric but the math applies anywhere
  • EU equivalent on antenna power limits
  • Losses through typical materials:
  • Want to know more about LoRa at the protocol level and how it relates to antennas? Read this
  • Want to understand Gain/dB/dBm/dbI better? Read this
  • Useful dBm (and others) calculator

Antenna Connectors

This post explains all that is to know about RP-SMA, N-type, as well as PoE options etc.

The short version - all miners thus far have a Reverse Polarity SMA Female connector (RP-SMA-Female) on the casing (other than the Nebra outdoor which has an N-type Female)- therefore you need a RP-SMA male on the antenna cable end for most miners.

And here’s a great graphic presentation :slight_smile:

(credit: @Paul)


Antenna Reviews

I’ll put some antenna reviews people pointed me to here and break out into sections over time.

RAK

Antenna Vendors

Please ensure you read ALL of the above sections before upgrading your antenna (bigger != better, etc). If you are here nontheless and are looking at outdoor options, here’s some we came across:

Helium App Questions

This is a attempt at collecting and answering a number of issues/errors that occur in the Helium App

Registering the miner

Issues with pairing or going through the registration progress (where the miner get their name)?

Wait until the miner is ‘ready’ on Bluecat’s this means the LED must NOT be Yellow

Syncing to the Blockchain

  • Initial syncing can take between 1 and 8 days - watch this video which runs through the same points
  • It takes even longer from 99.1%-99.999% than 0-98%
  • If it has been “stuck” at 0 blocks or 1 blocks synced see the last bullet
  • It is quite normal (as blocks are generated every ~67 seconds) for the percentage sync to drop over time as it falls behind
  • If your hotspot has been at the same block for more than 24h we suggest a reboot, or trying a wired connection, otherwise - just leave it
  • Some miners offer a fast-sync option, see how to access those menus here a special Bobcat guide to do that is here as well

If you are feeling techie and want to pass the time whilst this is happening,

  • If you have a Bobcat
    • Since 7 September 2021 the ‘fast sync’ method was introduced - read up on how to use it here
    • You can browse to the IP address of the miner and click on the link that says “Sync Status” and see the difference between your height and the blockchain height, OR,
    • You can browse to the IP address of the miner and click on the link that says “Miner (5s, miner slow down)” - take the miner_height value and compare with the blockchain_height value
  • For anything else, you can
  • Or - Install this app and go into the diagnostic screen to see what the miner ‘thinks’ is the current height - observe over time

Bobcat Random Syncing

Do you feel like your Bobcat is falling in and out of the status of syncing or have you just setup your Bobcat recently and want to avoid a long initial sync delay?

NOTE: The Explorer and the App is lagged and not always up to date and cannot be relied on (Sept 2021), it might simply be saying your hotspot is ‘syncing’ when it is definitely not, since Bobcats allow you to check this directly with the miner we can check for it here.

Follow these steps or follow a video,

  • Browse to the IP address of your Bobcat on your local network, if you are unsure how to do that, see this section
  • Once successful, the page should look something like this:
    image
    – If you do not see a webpage, you either have the IP address wrong or the miner’s webserver is unavailable, wait 30mins and check again, if that fails, turn it off, wait a minute and turn it back on and wait 10 minutes generally resolves this
  • Click on ‘Sync Status’, a perfectly running one will look something like this:
{
  "status": "synced",
  "gap": "-1",
  "miner_height": "1022841",
  "blockchain_height": "1022840",
  "epoch": "26492"
}
  • Take a note of the ‘gap’ line,
    – If the value is negative it is synchronised
    – If the value is 10 or less, the status will say ‘synced’ and everything is OK (regardless of what Explorer says)
    – If the value is 400 or less, the miner is busy syncing and will eventually appear sync - reload this page every 10 minutes or so to check
    – If the value is above 400, follow from step 5 onwards under ‘Bobcat Perpectual Sync Issue’ below
  • If the ‘gap’ over a period of several hours have narrowed to less than 100 and then suddenly jumped back up to a high value (above 400) you might have the ‘Perpetual Sync Issue’ please follow the steps to resolve that in the section below

Bobcat Perpetual Sync Issue

This issue starting arising week-of 13 September 2021 - this may or may not help some Bobcat’s perpetually syncing.

FIRST: Be 100% confident your Bobcat is perpetually syncing, this means that you have checked your Bobcat’s Status screen (/status.json) and seen that the ‘gap’ number decreases slowly and then over time (3+ hours) reset back to a much higher again (instead of being below a gap of 10).

NOTE: The whole process takes about 6 hours

[Credit] (Discord)

THIS METHOD IS NOT A GUARANTEED FIX.
USERS WHO USE THIS METHOD DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK.
PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY (especially where it says IMPORTANT)

  1. Switch to Ethernet if you can
  2. Access the miner dashboard by entering the miner’s IP Address into the browser. From the menu, click on Reset Miner
  3. Go through the steps to get this started (type in ‘I Agree’, enter username: bobcat password: miner)
  4. IMPORTANT, WAIT FOR THE MESSAGE BELOW TO BE DISPLAYED (might take ~20mins):
    1: your miner is going to rest
    2: housekeeper was sent home
    3: dockerd is stopped
    exit status 1
    5: detonated a bomb, old blockchain data gone
    6: detonated another bomb, miner gone
    7: the housekeeper is back, but everything is gone
    8: rebuilding everything
    9: cleaning up
    10: cleaning bomb resedue
    your miner has successfuly started, but it may take 15 minutes to load files, please be patient. you can run the diagnoser after the light turns green
  5. Go back to the miner dashboard and click on Sync Status. Do no proceed to the next step until you see your miner height above 900,000. The reason for this is because the blessed snapshot isn’t confirmed as loaded until this happens. If you do this step too early, start at step
    1 again.
  6. Once confirmed, click on Fast sync(Alpha)
  7. Again, go through the steps to get this started (type in ‘I Agree’, enter username: bobcat password: miner)
  8. IMPORTANT WAIT FOR THE MESSAGE TO BE DISPLAYED:
    Synching your miner, please leave your power on.
  9. This concludes everything you need to do to fix the perpetual gap problem

Hotspot needs attention

If your miner has not fully synced yet (or at least have been synced for a couple of days) this is normal and read the above section.

If it was synced previously for a couple of days at least,

  • Some have reported that working miner’s even report this error, it might be normal and just a network anomaly, which will work itself out
  • Check connectivity (can you see the miner on your LAN in a ping, etc, does your router see it? Does it have internet access?, etc.
  • If your block height has not increased in 24h try rebooting the miner

Update Hotspot

Your initial assert might take a long time as your miner is probably not synced or there is a issue with the blockchain. Just be patient and have a look at the explorer under the activity tab to see if/when your assertion has gone through.

Failed Transaction

This has been seen when updating location / antenna / height, suggestions:

  • Check on the blockchain explorer if you have not already asserted (activity tab)
  • As suggested - possibly try again in ~30mins

How to transfer a miner

  • Note that the hotspot being transferred should be fully synced (or within roughly 1200 blocks) to allow for a transfer
  • The original owner has to go the cog/settings of the miner, which will show this screen:
  • Then go to ‘transfer hotspot’:

Characteristic error

Leave the device for ~30 minutes, close the app, open it again and it should be showing that it is syncing.

Onboarding Error

Error saying invalid_onboarding_address

No fix has been shared yet, generally trying 15mins later has been reported working.

gateway_already_active

Usually means that this has already been registed, force-close and try again in 30mins, you will probably see it has registered.

Constructing Error

image

‘There was an error constructing the Add Hotspot transaction. Please try again.’

Simply force-close the app (as it likes to cache) - and try again in 30mins - this is apparently a onboarding server issue however we have seen this occur more during busy times on the Explorer website especially.

My hexagon is not showing?

Helium has a ‘tileserver’ which sometimes get backed up due to the big amount of hotspots going online, over time this ‘job’ will re-run and add your hotspot to a tile.

  • Example issue from 22 October 2021
7 Likes

FAQ

Tipping Jar

Keeping this post up to date takes some effort, if this has been helpful in any way and you wish to buy the dude some coffee, you can tip some HNT at:

13k9BE5RGGg1WRLcWqAV7ofcavxk4cLYE8jkSvaQMHaasdrsuxk
image

To keep things honest - Vosk’s confirmation

Hat tip to y2kanonomous, Phayu94 and Steverino

Networking

  • All manufacturer units support WiFi or Ethernet
  • Expect to use approx. 20-40GB of traffic per month for your miner, this will reduce once validators go online, reference

What static or DHCP reservation mean?

Typically you want your router to assign a static IP (or sometimes called a DHCP reservation) for your miner, so that it always gets the same IP address on your internal network.

This in turn ensures that your portforwarding (see section below) works as intended.

There is a good guide to explain how this works here

What does relayed mean?

  • Ensure you forward TCP port 44158 to your miner from the internet to ensure your miner does not appear as ‘relayed’ (more info here), video tutorial here, similarly see ‘Fixing Relayed Hotspots
  • A good tool to check your own port forwarding - do NOT use your hotspot’s IP address, use the IP that shows up on the web page!
  • A written guide on what to do
  • If you still need help, reach out to @Paul on discord / Other paid for help (apparently) here
  • Here is a great workflow as well credit to Jason on Helium’s discord - keep in mind that the cellular workflow mostly applies to US only (v4):

How relayed status affects your earnings

One of the vendors summarised it well from the original Helium pages:

Relayed Hotspots & the Importance of Opening Ports

Relayed Hotspots do not just affect the Hotspot owner, but can also affect its neighbors and the network.

Relayed Hotspot as a Challenger

When a relayed Hotspot issues a challenge, the receipt (or acknowledgment of the challenge) by the challengee and witnessing Hotspots may not arrive in time to be accepted. This is due to the receipt having to traverse various other Hotspot connections to arrive at the relayed challenger.

Any witnesses that heard the beacon will have issues submitting their receipts to the challenger in a timely manner.

The Challenger does not earn HNT, Challengee does not earn HNT, witnesses do not earn HNT!

Relayed Hotspot as a Challengee (Beaconer)

A Challenger that sends a request to the Challengee expects an acknowledgment or a receipt by the Challangee within a certain period of time.

If the Challengee is relayed, the initial request can take too long to arrive at the relayed Hotspot, and the request becomes stale and invalid.

The Challenger does not earn HNT, Challengee does not earn HNT, witnesses that respond do not earn HNT.

Relayed Hotspot as a Witness

Hotspots that witness Beacons have to submit their receipt to the Challenger in a timely manner in order to earn HNT.

If the witnessing Hotspot is relayed, then they are unlikely to submit their receipt in time.

How do I see more technical relay info?

  • Find your miner’s ‘long address’ - ie, not the three-worded name, but the long address as shown here:
    image
  • Now browse to https://api.helium.io/v1/hotspots/<THE_ADDRESS> - replace “<THE_ADDRESS>” with the long-form address as shown above.
  • A UPNP relayed hotspot will have something like this in the listen_addrs field:
  • ie. a UPNP relayed miner contains a app/session id and ipv4 address
  • A non-relayed one will look something like this:
  • A relayed one will look something like this (with just p2p info):

Can I setup WiFi remotely?

If you are sending a miner to a third party who will NOT be in control of your wallet (which controls the miner) you can let the person at the remote site,

  • Install the Helium App
  • Get the miner into Bluetooth pairing mode - as if setting up a new miner in the Helium App
  • Make it connect to their Wifi network
  • The Helium App will NOT let them control the miner as only the wallet owner can do that
  • Video showing this method here

Can I access my miner remotely?

There are three kinds of access methods typically found,

  1. Bluetooth onboarding/diagnostics
  2. Network based (typically a webpage)
  3. Cloud based (typically a management dashboard)

Accessing the miner over bluetooth

This typically involves,

  • Opening the Helium app on your mobile device
  • Going to the miner’s name and clicking the cogwheel (or pressing the + to onboard a new miner)
  • Adding a new miner / Pushing the ‘diagnostic’ button

Accessing the miner over IP

Some miner’s have a web interface you can connect to by browsing to the miner’s IP address on your local network.

  • If you do not know the IP address of your Bobcat on your network,
    – Put it in diagnostic mode, pair it to bluetooth and look at the diagnostics screen
    – Login to your router and look for the Bobcat unit in the active clients/DHCP leases table, it typically describes itself as the miner vendor type or model number or even hotspot name
    – Use a tool such as ‘fing’ to find stuff on your network

  • These miner’s have local accessible webpages you can browse to from your browser by typing in the IP address:
    – Bobcat
    – Linxdot
    – Sensecap
    – Syncrobit

Accessing the miner's cloud based dashboard

Some vendors offer a management dashboard, they are:

Security

What about the security of these miners?

  • See Helium’s comment on this here
  • As with most IoT devices technical peeps tend to put these devices on a segregated network segment

But you can see me on the map?

NOTE: On 17 June 2021 a update was released that will start moving miner positions into their hex-res8 positions please see this section for more information.

The protocol is ‘Proof of Coverage’ the location is literally the point. Not that it isn’t a consideration before getting into it but it isn’t connected to your name and the dot on the map is within 300m, so that house you think its in, it may not be, could be any of the houses within 300m of that.

If you’re the only one within 300m, then yes its obvious which house it is, but not who lives there. If Satoshi Nakamoto had one of these it wouldn’t give you a way to find him.

It is not much different than someone having your IP address which they can get by embedding a tracking pixel into anything you consume online. You, personally are just more aware with this now because you saw the map, its not that your pseudonymous ID is not already linked to an address its just that you are ignorant to it.

The geo location is also not specific enough to find the exact house someone lives in, unless a) it is the only house in that area so impossible to be wrong, or b) the house has a 8-10 dbi antenna stuck on the side of it.

It is good practice in mining anyway to move currency from a wallet you use to mine to another wallet (on exchange, hard wallet, Helium app on another phone)

My miner is generating security alerts?

Some “firewall” / “security” software or services MAY flag your miner as a security threat as your miner are receiving and sending many connections to/from many other nodes on the Helium network all the time as part of the normal operation of the device.

This ‘pattern’ of traffic is typically associated with peer-to-peer software or command & control malware systems. However in the case of Helium miners it is perfectly normal behaviour.

You can therefore ignore the warnings / turn off those specific alerts / throw it in the bin as it adds no value.

See the security section if you have more questions.

Hacking?

This section discusses circumventing the reward structure for your own benefits, rather than the security aspect of it (check security for that)

POC Hacking

As the network grows, especially in more congested areas, bad actors will be motivated to assert their miners in a way to maximise their benefits. Since Proof of Coverage is the mechanism to verify positioning, these bad actors will manipulate positioning in a unethical manner for maximised returns.

As the network grows this problem will grow in complexity as well as detection and of course remediation steps however will continually be worked on.

Interesting links on this topic,

  • On 14 July 2021 a Helium dev said:

If we released a statement every time someone wrote some FUD about helium i dont think we’d ever get anything else done.

  • On 13 July 2021 tactical investing did a video about the article below and spoofing in general
  • On 2 July 2021 it was mentioned that online validators can hopefully assist in POC abuse situations
  • Helium’s CTO discusses it here on 1 May 2021
  • Helium’s Dirty Secret - POC Hacking explained - from Jan 2021
  • Notably a Helium developer responded on these particular examples here

Credit: @Sound

Beacon Hacking

  • First noticed 24 September 2021
  • Example wallet
  • Mr Huge discusses it on 25 September 2021 on this video
  • This issue appears to have been addressed by 7 October 2021:
    image
    (source)
    After this post the above-mentioned (and other) such hotspots stopped earning those tremendous amounts.

Cal-Chip Witnessed Beacon Hacking

  • Noticed around 9 October 2021, specifically some Cal-Chip hotspots started Witnessing the maximum amount of witnesses (18 at the time of writing) every 1-2minutes, thereby increasing their earnings dramatically, two examples:
    Magnificent Mercurial Yeti
    Exotic Taupe Frog
  • We know these have been reported but have not seen a response yet

Can a hotspot be banned?

Capcom on 27 September 2021 said here:

We see the question often of “why isn’t this Hotspot banned???” when suspicious PoC behavior is observed. there is currently no mechanism to ban Hotspots from the network, nor has any serious discussion ever taken place about how such a system would work. I wanted to drop this template of a proposal around how a denylist could be implemented by validators that would effectively turn suspected Hotspots into data-only Hotspots. please note that neither myself nor Helium Inc are actually proposing this, but I did want to get some discussion going on the subject, and give people a template with which they could decide to make a serious HIP proposal (see HIP/0007-managing-hip-process.md at master · helium/HIP · GitHub on how to create a real HIP). the template for the denylist idea is here: denylist.md · GitHub

What's the future for Helium & HNT?

  • 5G
  • Topical video link (bullish speculation of $80-100 USD per HNT)

What about more miners coming online?

You make more money mining with more miners near you vs none, it’s not like normal mining. Video discussing it here.

Will PoC go away?

Thanks @Sound for the eloquent contribution -

Yes - in around 20 years, every year it will get less and less till it’s finally eroded away - see this.

So you will earn less from miners coming online + every year the POC % goes down + halving every 2 years.

This can be offset by,

  • IF the value of HNT goes up, more partners come online(in dense populated with good spacing?).
  • When the founders take a % cut in their payouts as well. Though there is no telling if their loss is the miners gains.
  • Become a validator and make hnt from the census group

What are data credits?

It looks like this:

  • 1 Data Credit = $0.00001
  • HNT is burned to create DC
  • How many DC you get per HNT burned depends on HNT oracle price
  • 1 DC is worth 24 bytes of data.
  • So the above packet transfer was a data transfer of 96 bytes

(Credit to @jmznoh)

Is it safe?

Concerned about safety of the miners?

  • kyk13 Did a excellent article on this on this topic
  • Yes, as safe as a cordless phone
  • See this

Which miner should I get?

Since all miners perform the same, you should get the miner that arrives in a timeframe you can cope with at a cost you are willing to depart with.

Which region frequency should I get?

See https://whatheliumregion.xyz/ another list here

Note:

  • Note Bobcat (and several other vendors’) US 915 Band is NOT legal in AU - see this

But I want two miners within 300m?

Okay, however they will not witness each other which means reduced earnings. See Miner Placement for more.

Why does 1 witness give me 0.5 reward?

Hotspots who only have 1 witness has a 0.5 reward scale, read about HIP17 here

  • Another example,

In my situation i found the Hotspots effected weren’t the ones with the lower rewards scale but it was the Hotpots who witness the hotpot with the low rewards scale

example-

I have 3 hotspots 2 with a 0.5 Rewards scale and 1 with a 1 rewards scale

One of the hotspots with a 0.5 Rewards scale but could witness the one with 1 Rewards scale would get 100% of the witness rewards (if that makes any sense)

(Hotspot with 1 rewards scale Beacons, 0.5 rewards scale witnesses and recieves 100% of the rewards
Hotspot with 0.5 rewards scale beacons, 1 rewards scale hotspot witnesses but only recieves 50% of the rewards )

  • Ie, if your miner is within 350m of another miner, the hotspot that is close to you, and that person wont give great rewards to each other, but you can still receive good rewards (i.e 100%) from the other 1.0 Reward scale miners

I witness someone but they do not witnessme?

If you witness another miner and they do not witness me, what does it mean? Ed Ballou address it here.

It means someone (you or theirs not witnessing the other) cannot receive your signal as well as you/they could.

Why did I not get a witness award?

  • Expand it and look at the challenger, if it is relayed you will get no reward
  • If he is not relayed then you are not reachint other hotspots
  • NOTE: The challenger could be anywhere in the world and does not need to be local to you

How do I identify beacon issues / Why do my beacons have 0 witnesses?

If you normally get witnesses, zero witness beacons can be a sign of a hotspot networking issue (usually from relayed status), though not necessarily your networking issue. There are three types of hotspots involved in beacon: 1. challenger, 2. challengee/beaconer, 3. witnesses. The beaconing hotspot is #2, but zero witness beacons are often a sign that hotspot #1 has a networking problem and #3 hotspots can’t contact #1.

Zero witness beacons are/can be caused by the challenger hotspot being relayed, and the challenger can be anywhere in the world.

Because the witnesses to your beacon reply to the challenger, not the beaconer. if the challenger isn’t allowing inbound tcp/44158, then the witnesses cant contact it.

Thanks @Shwetty for this

Why am I getting no witnesses?

If you have read the above and still perplexed maybe you have this issue,

This is caused by over-tightening the antenna, which in turn pries the mini-connector off the board as pictured, you can simply replace the pigtail, some help:

I have too many miners close to me?

But what if you have reduced awards because too many miners are too close to me? VoskCoin answers this well on this 8 June 2021 video

To demonstrate another way:

No hotspots are around me?

I am alone / no hotspots/miners are around me, closest thing is 40 miles away, what do I do?

  • Buying more than 1 miner and placing it closeby (but more than 350m away) would be beneficial
  • Keep in mind that the map will change drastically by the time you get your miner
  • Video discussing the topic here
  • See how location is important here
  • And how witnesses are important here

What is a POC Challenge?

  • This is used to confirm your proof of coverage, and where you are physically compared to other miners
  • See the docs here

Which mods should I invest in?

It is best to see how your miner performs first with what it came with - all manufacturers send overall good antennas.

Your priorities should be,

  • Elevation
  • Line of site to as much as possible should be your second aim, the less obstructions around the better
  • The antenna cable length should be kept as short as possible (use LMR400 to minimise loss please)
  • If all of the above is problematic, have a read about antenna placements here

What about profit sharing deals?

Emrit IO / Hotspotshare / etc. falls in this category,

Emrit has a application process where you provide your location and they will consider sending you a Helium miner for free. Emrit in turn will give you 20% of the earnings that the miner makes.

Assuming you are approved, this appears as a low-risk and little-investment opportunity to see how a Helium miner will perform at your location.

Some things to consider,

  • Power (~10W, ie. minimal) and broadband use is of course your outgoing costs
  • The miner is never yours, there are T&C’s to agree with
  • As you take no risk, you will only get 20% of the rewards
  • The device is not linked to your wallet
  • Emrit’s terms of service
  • Emrit ‘review

Alternatives,

Do they ship to me?

Reported Scams

DYOR / This is not always current - but some we have heard of:

What about PoE

At the time of writing (June 2021), the only Helium miner that supports PoE “out of the box” is the Nebra Outdoor unit and Syncrobit’s.

You can however always use PoE splitters / injectors - a good post that includes the barrel sizes here.

  • This guy shows his POE injector and splitter used for a Bobcat
  • Gristle King shows PoE injector/splitters in this video

What about Amazon sidewalk?

  • Helium CEO talks about it here
  • Crypto Gossip talks about it here (June 8 2021)

If I have two miners do they challenge each other?

All miners send/receive challanges - see Vosk’s video here

I have a finance/tokenomics/tax reporting question

  • Good site for calculating any tax on your HNT mining at minertax.com
  • Another good HNT Transaction Export tool for reporting purposes
  • Miner history for a period tool
  • The Helium Flywheel: Why Network Growth & Halvings Are A Good Thing! - a good article around the economics
  • Good chat about known risks here
  • Crypto Gossip talks through the Helium Token and Halving here
  • VoskCoin runs through ROI on Helium on this video from 8 June 2021
  • Coin Bureau has a good all-round tokenomics video from 3 October 2021 here
  • See how token allocation will change over time (taken from here) credit: @jonenren1

Why is my earnings so low?

Wondering why your rewards are so low? Here’s some (certain not all) reasons:

  • More miners come online every day, there is a set amount of HNT for miners per month, therefore the same total amount of rewards are split across a increasing amount of miners every month. Check the tokenomics section in the heading above for more information.
  • On the same topic, KoalaBlast has a good post about it here
  • Understand your transmit scale and what affects it - more miners in your area will scale your rewards down, see sections " What is HIP-17 and the Hexagons about?" and * Miner Placement for more information
  • Those who you witness (and yourself) might have reduced earnings due to being relayed, see " How relayed status affects your earnings"
  • There might be technical issues on the network,
    – You can see the official Helium network status here
    – Miners (yourself and/or others) might be strugglint to keep sync to the blockchain due to a recent change, see " Syncing to the Blockchain" for more information
  • Environmental factors affect radio performance,
    – Raining
    – Humidity
    – Temperature
    – Cloud cover

Hotspot/Host Management

Some options to look at if you manage a fleet of hotspots/miners for fleet management:

Phayu94 has written a review of the main contenders

Options include,

Hotspot/Host Monitoring/Tools/Scripts

Some interesting scripts/tools we have come across:

Dashboards,

  • HNT_Monitor - Bigdata/Prometheus based hotspot monitor

Others,

  • See the ‘Hotspot/Host Management’ section above
  • Paul has a alerting-script in the works - ask him on Discord :slight_smile:
  • Helium-Status lets you check the p2p peerbook, IP’s, etc. of hotspots

MX2Pro vs Helium?

Still early days for both projects however here is one writeup.

You can use a M2 Pro and Helium miner within the same 300m without any concerns

What is HIP-15?

HIP-15 is the Beaconing Rewards system and covers the reward factor and how Proof of Coverage is rewarded.

What is HIP-17 and the Hexagons about?

  • HIP17 is about the Reward Scale
  • The dude from kyk13.com has a excellent video running through HIP17 and density scaling here and another update with more information here
  • On 19 June 2021, Jimmy is Promo is running through the Helium App Update which included the hexagon views
  • On 17 June 2021 Helium published ‘History in Hexagons’ and ‘Understanding Hexagons’ which contains a lot of useful information around Hex res’s
  • HIP17 covers the hex density award scaling for Proof of Coverage
  • Check out hotspotty.net it has quite a good HIP17 fact-gathering system

What is HIP-19?

HIP19 is the process by which manufacturers apply to create Helium miners where they go through a certification process. This is documented by Helium here.

What is HIP-20 / What about halving?

HIP20 (HNT Max Supply) is documented in this proposal and was approved on 18 November 2020 and documented in this medium article.

In a halving you earn half of the rewards you were before yes. and with more miners that reduces the total amount paid per hotspot down yes but typically since its harder to get said coins price increases.

The first halving occurred on 1 August 2021 at 00:00 UTC, here is the transaction

  • Total monthly HNT rewards target that can be earned goes from 5 million a month to 2.5 million a month
    Of that …
  • Helium Investors share goes down from 34% to 33% and can only be earned by HST token holders
  • Consensus share remains the same at 6% and can only be earned by Validators
  • Of the remaining 61% able to be earned by hotspots
  • Max data transfer share increases from 32.5% to 35%
  • PoC Challengers share decreases from 0.95% to 0.9%
  • PoC Challengees share decreases from 5.31% to 5.02%
  • PoC Witnesses share decreases from 21.24% to 20.08%

But as the actual Data transfer share is still very low the figure left over from 35% Data Transfers gets shared within the PoC rewards earnings and so the effective PoC percentage is really these:

  • PoC Challengers approximate share is 2.1%
  • PoC Challengees approximate share is 11.7%
  • PoC Witnesses approximate share is 47.1%

As Data transfer usage gets higher in the next 2 years before the next halving the actual PoC percentages will get lower

What is HIP-24?

HIP24 is a proposal to have awards split percentage based for a particular miner to several addresses. This is not yet approved.

  • See the proposal here
  • See Helium discuss it here

What is HIP-39 HNT Redenomination?

This is the voting for a 1000:1 split of the HNT token

Talk to me about the PoC standards

PoC version v10 is the Proof Of Coverage version - it is expected over time that proof of coverage rewards will be changed.

PoC v10

We are currently (October 2021) on PoC v10, there is a range of RSSI/SnR they want you to be within, for PoC v10 this is it:
image

PoC v11

To be activated at the soonest by 1 November 2021 source

  • See Helium’s blog post about everything you should do
  • Factor in the antenna height and gain you set in the app, right now those values are ignored.
  • Modo Tech did a good video on actionable items for POCv11 in this video
  • Elgen Tech with a technical video on what to expect
  • We will be given two weeks notice before POCv11 implementation - you have that time to correct your location, dbi antenna and elevation figures if required
    – Note that updating your location costs 1,055,000 DC = $10.55
    – Note that updating your elevation/antenna only costs 55,000 DC = $0.55
  • Source unknown but might be interesting:

Someone mentioned NFT?

This was mentioned in early June 2021 - Zodiac NFT’s for Helium consists of 12 collectable NFT’s you can get for your miner or validator and funds go to charity.

What is a lonewolf?

A hotspot/miner that can not see any other miners to validate. Vosk talks about it here.

Talk to me about validators

Online validators went live on 7 July 2021. This moved ‘consensus awards’ from miners to special online validators.

This made way for enhancements such as,

  • More predictable block generation times
  • Stability in the blockchain)
  • More consistent awards
  • Removing the blockchain syncing from miners, thereby enabling a future of ‘light’ (thus cheaper) miners
  • ‘Data only’ packet-forwarder hotspots with no proof of coverage capabilities

Content,

Validator pools?

  • 11 July 2021 - Spreadsheet comparing Helium Validator Pools
  • 23 June 2021 - Helium has published a list of Staking Providers here - DYOR
  • HIP31 might be problematic for this - discussed in this 18 June 2021 Crypto Gossip video
  • Tactical investing runs through a couple of testnet pools here

Talk to me about how consensus works

See this

Keep in mind that consensus is going to go away to online Validators around Q3,Q4 2021

Tell me about Discovery mode?

Discovery mode is also known as Disco mode - which was released on 18 May 2021. You can use this (once you have a miner setup) to compare locations for the best rewards. Ed Ballou talks about it here 5 (24 May 2021).

Am I too late to buy a miner?

  • Understand and read’Why is my earnings so low?’
  • Vosk talks about it on 19 Sep 2021 here
  • Vosk talks about it on 13 September 2021 again
  • Vosk talks about Helium HNT price predictions here on 19 August 021
  • Vosk talks about it here on 13 August 2021
  • Vosk talks about it here on 14 June 2021
  • Vosk talks about it here on 1 June 2021
  • Should I buy a miner? Vosk talks about it here
  • Understand ‘Miner Placement’
  • Research and do the math yourself

I want a miner quickly?

If you are impatient, you are probably weighing the cost of a Ebay/other scalper priced miner compared to waiting for one and seeking advice on the topic, some thoughts:

  • DYOR, this is not advice
  • In terms of ROI,
    – See the tokenomics section
    – Understand that HNT being mined will become less and less with more hotspots coming online
    – Understand that returns are unique to every location and position and how to make the best of the options available to you by understanding miner placement
  • In terms of other risks,
    – Be careful with resellers, Helium miners are tied on to a wallet on setup and needs to be transferred otherwise it is locked to the original owners wallet
    – Lots of scalpers are selling positions in queues with vendors rather than in-hand options
    – Be familiar with ‘Am I too late to buy a miner?
  • Read the whole Wiki/FAQ and any other sources until you are comfortable with your decision

Can I make my own miner?

You could in 2020, you cannot anymore, if you create one now it would not be signed by Helium and therefore you would never get rewards.

You can DIY a Helium Light Hotspot with a Dragino LP28 DLOS8 for packet forwarding but will not be compensated for it (yet) if you want to play with the technology.

What is light hotspots?

There is a roadmap for Light Hotspots (or Light Gateways) to go in beta, read about it here

If you want to read about what the plans are post HIP19 (where vendors manufacture for Helium) there is talk of a secure module HAT which can be put on DIY hardware on this HIP proposal

  • kyk13.com wrote a excellent article about Light Hotspots / Packet Forwarders / Regular Hotspots in this blog in late July 2021
  • On 2 July 2021 Helium made some interesting comments on the future light-hotspot miners and how important it is to drive the cost of future miners down
  • On 30 May 2021 Ed Ballou answered “If you must sell your current pre-order if light gateways are coming out” here

This was published 4 June 2021:

Can I put the miner in my car/truck?

No - the position needs to be asserted, see the below on the re-assert fee. Youtube link discussing this

I need to move my miner / remotely assert a miner

  • There is a ~$10 re-assert fee to assert a new position (distances more than 300 meters)
  • Vosk talks about the process here

Someone mentioned 5G?

First photos of prototype of FreedomFi LoRaWAN / 5G hotspot:


  • NOTE this is US only for now and completely optional
  • FreedomFi’s webpage received some updates on 31 August 2021
  • The idea is that it will provide 5G coverage for areas with bad cell service, therefore expect a lot of Internet use as such a site and expectations of low latency and high throughput
  • HIP37 - Omni Protocol is a interesting read on the economic intensives of 5G/data
  • Ed Ballou does a unboxing of the FreedomFi 5G miner on 8 October 2021 here
  • CryptoGossip runs through the Freedomfi purchase options on 29 September 2021
  • Good 23 September 2021 video from ‘The Hotspot’ titled ‘5G Omni-Protocol & Proof of Coverage (w/ Boris Renski & James Fayal)’
  • Modo Tech did a good video on 16 August 2021 talking about concerns around the 5G band-wagon and what to expect
  • Buckle Up. Helium 5G is Coming
  • Episode Two: The Path to 5G
  • FreedomFi FAQ here
  • Helium CEO discusses CBRS & 5G here
  • Please note it might be prohibitively expensive for those starting off,
  • (22 May 2021) FreedomFi CTO showing PoC of using the FreedomFi gateway on the Helium blockchain
  • (23 May 2021) FreedomFi Helium Hotspot Update going through the FAQ’s by Crypto Gossip
  • HIP27 discusses 5G/CBRS
  • FreedomFi shows what’s all involved with a LTE (not 5G) setup in this entertaining video
  • Previously we had a mini-rant here, this is deleted because it appears this offering is data-only as well as CBRS which skips many regulatory hurdles, whilst there is still some significant costs (outlined roughly above) they are not as costly as operator-level operations

Can I contact a owner of a miner?

Not directly - however there are a couple of contacting-miner platforms:

What if someone steals my miner?

Theft has little purpose as the miner has your wallet address on it - they would be mining to your address unless you released the miner beforehand.

What about mast installations?

This is a specialised area, cell towers require a contract for the lease with the cell tower owner (or revenue share), certificate of insurance, extra equipment to install (~$1k), extra installation costs ($1-3k), internet and of course power is not always available.

Our resident US expert on this is @jhunter007, some photos:


What about lightning arresters and grounding?

These should be installed on any external installation to a ground wire, some info on the topic:

How do I pitch one to a friend?

Want to put a miner at a friend/neighbour?

  • Quirky introduction video from Helium
  • Gristle King around ‘Why is Helium So Exciting?
  • Discuss that the device does IoT
  • Discuss security, dog-trackers, etc will connect to it, not WiFi or your network
  • Discuss impact to the person - ie. little electricity use, not more than a couple of hours of Netflix use in bandwidth per month
  • Benefits - pay their internet? A %?
  • Video discussing this here

@Tankin kindly shared his strategy,

Ideas For Finding Neighbors/Friends To Network/Partner with HNT Miners.

Facebook Community

Check to see if your neighborhood has a Facebook page you can join. If they do then join it, introduce yourself, and talk a little about HNT mining mention how many miners you have and that you are looking to expand the Helium Network, help fellow neighbors earn a bit of passive income.

If they are interested you can proceed to tell them more details about how it works or you can send them this video and then have them follow up with you with any questions they have.

After you know they are pretty serious this is when you explain that the hotspots need to be 350m+ apart for the best result if you haven’t already and this is when you ask them for their address to be sure theirs will be 350m or more away from the hotspots you have planned.

If they are 350m+ then you can discuss how you will split it.

I have listed a few examples of ways you can go about splitting, but you can get creative and come up with your own ways if you would like.

If they are within 350m explain that you are sorry but they are too close. Don’t end it there though ask them if they know any neighbors in the area that may be interested and if they do reach out to them.

This works the same for apps like Nextdoor as well!

Door to Door

This is a bit more tricky. However, some ideas for this that you could try is picking a start location and map out houses/businesses that are 350m+ away from there and start knocking doing the same thing as above only in person rather than via Social Media.

Ideas for Splits(You/them)

80/20 forever or whatever % you want

80/20 until the units paid off and then 50/50 or whatever % you want

If they are friends or family offer to take them out for lunch/do something nice for them

Offer them a flat monthly rate or cover their internet cost monthly(I don’t like these as HNT mining can go up or down in profitability so you may end up paying them more than the miner earns. This is why I like the % method best.

Splitting The Earnings

If you are doing a % split you can offer to send them their portion of HNT to their HNT wallet and teach them how they can sell it or you can offer to sell their portion of HNT and then pay them what it sells for via PayPal/Venmo or any other way you choose.
You can make a Facebook page for people in your neighbourhood that are using your hotspots to keep everyone up to date on how they are doing

How much electricity does it use?

Assuming 0.15c/kWh (which is above average):

  • Bobcat says no more than 0.12kWh per day, so worst case: 56c per month
  • Nebra says rated up to 15W, so worst case: $1.67 per month
  • RAKv2 says powersupply up to 5V/3A = 15W, worst case: $1.67 per month
  • SP NA says 21W, worst case: $2.34 per month

I heard the miners reboot all the time?

A issue with miners rebooting due to a OOM (out of memory) condition has been reported, affecting all miners (not vendor specific).

  • Ed Ballou talks about it here (24 May 2021)

19 May Update #2:

Syncing Issues: Update The core developers pushed a blockchain release late last night 2021.05.18.0 which alleviates some issues on RAK and OG Hotspots. About 27K of the online hotspots have picked up this release and we continue to monitor all 40k nodes on the network and their sync status. We’re seeing some improvement on some hotspots but are noticing some new issues that we will continue to address. this is roughly in order of importance. 1. Some hotspots with smaller SD card (32 GB) are filling up in space as the new RocksDB checkpoints are using more disk than they did before. When the disk fills up, the miner is unable to proceed. The core devs are working on a way to force more garbage collection to solve this issue and will be issuing a follow up OTA firmware update that includes this . 2. Bobcat and other mis-configured Docker based Hotspots are unable to maintain a maximum open file limit that the miner needs. This configuration needs to be rolled out to all of the Bobcat fleet but since they automatically update around 21:30 UTC, they will need to skip yesterday’s release. We will be rolling back the latest tag and then rolling it forward again after their update time to accommodate their team’s timezone. We advise that all hotspot manufactures ensure their Hotspots OS settings allow for a max open files setting that matches the Dockerfile. We also advise not using the latest tag directly (and some manufacturers already have this process in place). 3. Some hotspots are having trouble picking up the latest snapshot from peers. The network has generated a more available snapshot and the core devs will be issuing a follow up OTA that includes this . The core devs continue to work on the remaining issues and we appreciate your patience!

19 May Update #1:

Required Blockchain Release: Fixing OOM and Sync The team has a new release tagged 2021.05.18.0 which primarily fixes out-of-memory and sync issues observed on older, less capable hardware, and other bug fixes. This is a follow up release to the prior, paused, 2021.05.16.1 release. This is a required upgrade for all miners and will be automatic for all Hotspots using the Helium firmware when we GA.
Read the Engineering Blog for details: Blockchain Release: Fixing OOM and Sync | Helium Engineering Blog No manual intervention is required if you are operating a Helium Hotspot or RAK Hotspot Miner. Other manufacturers will need to update their fleets and owners will need to wait on their manufacturer to push an update to their Hotspot. DIY will need to manually update and Docker builds will kick off as soon as we tag the GA. We will be specifically testing this release with the Bobcat team this evening to ensure a rollback isn’t necessary again. We have been beta testing 2021.05.18.0 since May 18th, 2021 4:30 PM PT. Current ETA for GA is 9:00 PM PT, May 18th, 2021. Sorry for the late evening ping but as you all know, the core devs have been focused on this issue. Thanks for your patience!

18 May 2021 Update:

Paused Blockchain Release: 2021.05.16.1 The core developers have paused the 2021.05.16.1 release as of yesterday and are continuing to work on the memory and out-of-sync issues. A few miners have updated to the latest firmware and the entire Bobcat fleet automatically updated to the latest Docker tag. This exposed some unforeseen issues causing us to pause the wider roll out. The blockchain continues to be stable and assets (Hotspots, HNT, DCs and OUIs) remain safe. We’re working with the Bobcat team to roll back their Hotspots (which will happen automatically later this evening). The core devs will provide an update and information about the next release soon. We’ve been beta-testing a new firmware and are seeing some promising results. Thanks for your patience!

17 May 2021 release notes for 2021.05.16.1 - here

13 May 2021 initial note:

An Update on Memory / Sync Issues

As much of you know, a small percentage of Hotspots are having an issue with memory / sync issues and preventing them from participating in blockchain activity. The scale of the fix required for this issue is larger than the core developers expected and requiring them to rework the miner to use RocksDB’s checkpoint feature. This is a significant change and needs to be done safely.

There will be a separate release that is being testing tonight to support other efforts but it is not intended to address the memory issues. We should have an update tomorrow on the progress being made.

Thanks for your patience!

LoRa Examples

Example products,

Science stuff,

I want to mine offgrid

Check out this - How to take your Helium Hotspot off grid

  • Gristle King running through offgrid requirements https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QrqB5uIJ6con 23 July 2021
  • RaspberryPi offgrid video but quite applicable as power requirements are the same as Helium miners
  • GKI Readyspot - packable Off Grid Helium Hotpsot and writeup
  • Good video running through creating your own outdoor enclosure with temperature control, fans, POE splitter, etc.

Is it benficial to have more than one miner on my account?

Short answer - it does not matter, explainer here

Interesting Apps

  • Helium Hotspot Utility (Android | Apple ), mentioned here. - Useful for quick diagnostics without using a wallet
  • https://hotsbot.net/ Notifies you on Telegram of any activity on your Helium account, the author runs through it here on 22 July 2021

Interesting miners / Fun Facts

Interesting miners spotted -

Fun stuff,

How to use the Helium Explorer

  • First Look at the New Beta Helium Explorer 2.0 Website - 9 June 2021 by Jummy is Promo

Where can I exchange/trade HNT?

You can transfer/buy/sell Helium HNT at,

Talk to me about antenna power limits?

Thanks @jhunter007,

For those of you having questions on how powerful of an antenna you can use, please refer to the FCC rules on the US915 spectrum:

FCC allows for 36 dbm total output power. So if the hotspot is doing 27 dbm (which I think is the max that most of the Helium hotspots use)…you can add a max of a 15dbi antenna, from this site:
image

  1. Maximum transmitter output power, fed into the antenna, is 30 dBm (1 watt).
  2. Maximum Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) is 36 dBm (4 watt).
    You can obtain the EIRP by simply adding the transmit output power, in dBm, to the antenna gain in dBi.

This is for those of you that really want to understand the technology. For those of us that don’t, you’re generally fine up to a 8dbi antenna, no matter which hotspot you chose.

What's the best practice for swapping antennas?

Switch your miner OFF when changing antennas!

Each antenna is a resistor and therefore has impedance, if you made the impedance change whilst the miner is on it could damage the radio.

It can be compared to the same effect of wiring speakers to an amplifier:

Once antennas are swapped - it is safe to turn it back on.

credit: @Shwetty

Can I put two antennas on one miner?

Vosk mentions this question on this 20 Sep 2021 video

Assuming that both antennas are 50 Ω resistive, they will combine in parallel for a 25 Ω load impedance when transmitting. This will cause the transmitter to see a 2:1 SWR. This is a 0.333 voltage reflection coefficient so ~11% of the transmitter power will be returned to the transmitter from the tee junction. The remaining 89% of the power will be split between the two antennas resulting in approximately 44% of power to each antenna. The net effect is an measurable dB loss to each antenna.

The above scenario assumes that the transmitter does not further fold back the output power as part of an SWR protection mechanism nor does the transmitter final burn out due to elevated SWR.

If you wish to deploy an antenna with additional gain, you will be far more successful with a purpose built antenna for that purpose.

credit: @Shwetty

One post said,

Why do I have a 1.2dbi antenna?

Are you concerned that the Helium app/explorer shows you/someone else has a 1.2 dbi antenna at 0 elevation?

That’s because when you asserted your miner you did not choose a antenna type or location.
Currently (POCv10) this data is not used at all for any reward calculations so it does not have to be correct or need correcting.

When POCv11 is announced and available this will however need rectifying as it will form part of the reward calculations, see this

What's with the miner names?

They are randomly generated to make it fun but memorable, the Helium COO talks about it here.

The technical explanation - The swarm_key is an ECC Compact Key used by the Miner to sign all blockchain and libp2p transactions. The three word animal name (e.g. angry-purple-tiger) is actually derived from the public key of the swarm_key. (link)

The three sets of names are available here

What's some funny hotspot names

We’ve seen a few odd ones,

  • Hot Cream Rooster
  • Dry Cream Swallow
  • Huge Cream Swallow
  • Massive Green Duck
  • Muscular White Ferret
  • Bald Oily Beaver
  • Attractive Fuzzy Beaver

I need Helium Jokes/Memes

Random images found on Discord,


5cl421
ShouldaBoughtAnotherMiner
5cg1aj
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Activation rate

For those interested in how many units of each manufacturer are going online every day - I keep a tally here. Data is from Helium’s Makers hotspot explorer

PS: Another nice graph available here

Want to know where those new hotspots are? This is a useful site

1 Like

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we could nuke the thread and give you post #2 lol

1 Like

I had to nuke all previous comments - but now have all the space for expansion, thanks!

  • The Bobcat section highlights that the antenna is waterproof
  • Read the antenna placements & strengths section to simulate a position, the loss in lengths of cables, etc.

Hi i’m young but i do some social media and would be very interested in buying a helium miner i want to know if it’s still profitable and if there isn’t a hotspot in my city can i still mine?

Hello, I have my Bobcat 300 Syncing for 2 days. On the Helium explorer website, I see that the hotspot is being relayed while syncing. The miner is connected to the Internet via WiFi and the Wifi is actually an extender of my router. A wired connection is not possible. Do I need to apply the fixes for relayed or shall I just wait? Thanks

Syncing has no relation to being Relayed or not.
However being relayed will impact you, see the relay section for that
If you have issues doing this on your router (not miner) visit us on Discord

I living in United Arab Emirates. I contacted Bobcat support mentioning that i am not able to select country “United Arab Emirates”. They replied saying that currently they do not support this country.

Apply the fix on home router or the extender to which the miner is connected to?