The process of setting up a Helium miner is pretty simple.

After powering on for the first time, ee sure to be ready to wait for the blockchain to sync locally to the miner which is normal with most blockchains, this synchronisation can take a long time – a fast sync option has been integrated with checkpoints on Bobbies, a bit like just downloading the header information for older BTC transactions but should be used with caution as potential bugs can show themselves when synching this way with some early units bricking themselves.*

*Expensive hardware that turns itself into an ornament through non-functioning

Unboxing and the stock antenna  

Out of the box, the unit comes with a power supply and small antenna that is seemingly pretty good for its size being a 4Dbi model that is short and stout as well as being weatherproof, the cable is pretty short so an extendable cable (of high quality) should be used if you cannot locate the device easily, one other option would be to locate the device when the antenna can be placed easily with a long network cable to your router. 

Antenna Cable

The best low loss antenna high-quality cable is of the type LMR-400, there are other cheaper types available but DB quality and transmitting power will be lost with these other lower-quality cables – make sure to use as short a cable length as is possible to further reduce power and signal loss. If you are on a tight budget source LMR-200 cable.

Antenna

There are many types of antennas available should you wish to upgrade your stock model, cheapest is not always best with these and it is worth paying the extra for not only performance but also longevity of the item with some cheap antennas not being reaching the advertised performance.

In the EU the 868Mhz band is used, the US uses 915Mhz so be sure to source the correct frequency standard hardware. 

The stock antennas that come with most devices if included are perfectly useable in themselves with the main restriction of them having to be located inside due to the short cable that is included – you can buy a high-quality extension cable to locate the stock antenna outside but it is worth considering at the time to upgrade the antenna while you’re at it. 

Radio Decibel (DBi)

Radio waves act in different ways with their DBi values, the higher the Dbi; a longer range will be possible but the radio signal will be stretched out,  think of it like how a rubber band acts when you stretch it apart from how the width thins overall. 

A higher DBi antenna has a higher gain but it will have less of a broader field pattern which means it will be of a narrower band outward and you can miss target hotspots.

  • If your hotspot is located in an urban area for local hotspots, go for a good quality 4 DBi model
  • If your hotspot is located in a rural area that requires a far reach, go for a 9 – 12 DBi model 
  • Anything in the middle, go for a 6 – 9 DBi model

When purchasing an antenna, check the SWR data value on the technical/product specifications, the lower this value the more focused every milliwatt of power will be.

Make sure the antenna and cables connections can marry successfully, most antenna utilises an N-female connector with the miners connection being an RP-SMA male – it is advisable to purchase an RP-SMA male to RP-SMA female short extension cable to connect to the main antenna cable, the reason for this is to make connections easier as a big and not very bendy LMR-400 cable can easily damage the little and delicate miners connection.

Make sure to NEVER power the unit on with the antenna disconnected, this can fry your miners electronics due to the output radio signal power being bounced back into the unit!!

Power up

Once you have the power supply, antenna cable and network cable connected, it is time to turn the device on 

While the miner completes its initial startup it will connect to the internet then starts synchronizing with the Helium blockchain, it may also download some firmware updates for the device, while all this occurs, download the Helium app for your mobile flat-panel device from the App or Play stores.

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.helium.wallet&hl=en_GB&gl=US

Apple: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/helium-hotspot/id1450463605

If it is the first time using the Helium app you must first set up a wallet, be sure to back up the private keys, don’t just save them on the device and never email/message yourself with them, either save them on a USB device or even print them out. If you lose access to the app or lose the mobile device you have the app installed on and have not backed up the private key successfully, you will lose all your HNT coin and there will be no possibility to ever recover it.

Once you have set up the wallet, now you can go on to setting up the miners location (assertion)  and antenna height as well as linking it to your wallet.

Manufacturer dependent, the Helium miners will have a small button (for pairing) that needs depressing for a few seconds to open the device via Bluetooth and complete the setup on the device the Helium app is installed upon, the app will ask you for some details step by step as part of the onboarding process.

There is a fee for bringing a miner to the Helium network and blockchain in the form of data credits, this is included with a new device, if you need to move the device to a different location or change the antenna type/height after, it will cost you around $10 in HNT, payable from the app’s wallet.

Now you just have to wait for the miner to fully synchronize to the Helium network, once this has completed the miner will start to communicate on the network, sending beacons to other hotspots, witnessing other hotspot miner beacons, creating challenges and most importantly with sending and receiving data to external IoT devices, for all this activity you will be rewarded in HNT (Helium) token, the better your setup and location (including other hotspots located nearby) the higher this may be – any rewards are paid to the Helium app’s wallet.

Make sure you open TCP port 44158 in both directions and tie the miner to a port on your network for successful port forwarding otherwise your miner will be in a ‘relayed’ state meaning that it will have to receive and transmit data over radio waves rather than the internet. 

Depending upon the manufacturer’s hotspot device, there are differing feedback panels for the blockheight reached locally, port status, speed of the net connection and so on – pretty much these devices, once set up and running through the blockchain and Helium app, are really set and forget devices, this coupled with the good returns mining as such, as well as being a very useful procedural operation.

Around 6 – 14 days after the miner has synced to the blockchain, you will start to see the rewards stabilise and will then have an opportunity to improve your system, perhaps moving the antenna to a better, higher location, upgrading the network or antenna cable, simple and modular little improvements can yield good returns.

Good luck and of course leave a comment if you require some assistance but as with most potential time/money investments: Research, research, RESEARCH 🙂

Useful links

Helium website: https://www.helium.com

Helium explorer: https://explorer.helium.com

Helium official Discord: https://discord.gg/helium

Get a FREE Helium hotspot miner for residual income 🙂 https://krumz.ihub.global/site/