Helium Mining – Definitive Guide to Earning Optimum HNT

The Helium network is gaining popularity from the ability to earn HNT passively. Here is a guide to help capitalize on the crypto network.

Cryptocurrency has seen incredible gains over 2021, with many projects starting to gain serious traction. One such project is Helium, also known as the ‘People’s Powered Network.’

Helium launched on July 29, 2019, as a blockchain cryptocurrency (HNT). The objective of the Helium network is to decentralize low-power wireless internet to benefit Internet of Things (IoT) capable devices.

As somebody who has started to dive into the realms of cryptocurrency, it does seem Helium is one of the most promising, both for its potential, as well as the ability to earn some serious dollar from it too. To help kickstart your journey, or add to it, here is everything I’ve learned about starting up in mining Helium, setting up a helium miner, and fully optimizing a miner for maximum $HNT earnings.

Note: Everything said on here is based on my experience with Helium mining – please feel free to ask questions, add to the comments, to help make this as good a resource page as possible! If you appreciate this, please feel free to send a cuppa worth across to my Helium address! 14gW15kg9Mn6zdEqj947PRqg5GzvzCrScWTNzF5aZdsB8CVA4RX



How to Make Money Mining Helium (HNT)

Helium mining is achieved through purchasing a designated helium miner, setting it up on your internet, and emitting a LongFi signal to the surrounding area. In essence, the further your LongFi signal is about to transmit, the more Helium you will earn.

You can see on Helium’s explorer page the locations that people have set up Helium miners already, their antenna strength (db), the height of the antenna (m), and the earnings (HNT and $).

With this, the first step to Helium mining is knowing whether your location is going to be profitable for you. Ideally, you want to see your location has:

  • No other Helium miners close by – otherwise, the transmit scale (multiplcation factor of earnings, based on how close Helium miners are to eachother) will be low.
  • Not in a valley, or hilly area – the LongFi signal easier is stopped by hills, valleys, and so forth. The flatter your location is, the better the signal will emit.
  • Many other Helium miners near – the more Helium miners there are around you (but not too close that it affects the transmit scale), the more you will be able to effectively earn Helium by transmitting beacons, challening, and witnessing beacons from others.

Even if you have any of the above criteria, you can still earn a good side passive income from Helium, which should increase as more Helium miners are added to the network.

Buying a Helium Miner

The first step is to buy a Helium miner. From research, there are a certain amount of companies that are offering helium miners (but not limited to):

  • Nebra
  • Bobcat
  • SyncroBit
  • RAK
  • Linxdot

And many more, for which you can see and purchase from Helium’s page here.

The real question to ask is which Helium miner is the best?

Technically speaking, they are all the same. Some miners might be slightly better antennas on delivery. However, from experience, it appears some miners do tend to perform better than others on the Helium explorer map (although this does, of course, come down to many other variables too).

From reading extensively about miners, it seems that the Bobcat Miner 300, or the SyncroBit miners, are the best bets to go with. Some Nebras have struggled with not being relayed (from Reddit chats etc.). However, this is Apples for Oranges as, ideally, you should go for whatever miner is quickest to be delivered (since they are genuinely always sold out). For reference, I have a Nebra miner, Bobcat Miner 300, SyncroBit miner, and a Linxdot miner (all indoor).

Optimizing Your Helium Miner Setup for Maximum Earnings

Once you have purchased a Helium miner, now comes the fun part: optimizing for maximum $HNT earnings. There are a few things we can do for this, highlighted as TLDR bullet point list, then expanded below:

  • Location: If you have multiple locations you could install the miner, choose the best one for maximum coverage and the ability to witness as many other miners as possible too.
  • Height: How high can you get your antenna? The higher the better, along with it best outdoors, as opposed to indoors.
  • Antenna. What db antenna is best for your location? Typically, below 4db if you are in a city, and above 5-6db if you are in a town, and 7-8db if you are in an rural area.
  • Cabling. Choosing a low loss cable reduces the db loss from your miner to the antenna, helping to maximize your coverage.

To find out what is the best setup for your Helium miner, I would highly recommend running a simulation of different setups on a website such as HotspotRF (affiliate link). This allows you to see the predicted witnesses, as well as potential $HNT earned, for different locations, antenna heights, antenna gains, and more.

For most people the best setup is to determine what location they have, using HotspotRF, will make them the most $HNT, with an outdoor antenna around 10 feet above the house in height and then experimenting with different antenna gains. Once you understand what gains your antenna needs for the best helium earnings, you can go ahead and purchase one.

A great tip with installing a helium antenna outside is that there is a great network of skilled engineers out there already that can do this for you, at a charge (if you do not want to buy for the poles/do it yourself): TV aerialist installers. This is exactly what I did for my Helium antennas and found the results to be incredibly good.

The height advantage of a Helium antenna on a 10 foot pole
The height advantage of a Helium antenna on a 10-foot pole


Buying the Accessories for your Miner

Once you understand where to locate your antenna at your location, the next step is purchasing all of the extras to make it possible. Just to reiterate, you should work out what is the best height and gain for your antenna, and then work around that.

Antenna

Typically speaking all antennas with the same gain should work the same way. Some people prefer reputable brands. From researching the internet, nobody seems to comment on unbranded antennas working any worse than branded antennas.

One thing to note is that you will want to make sure your antenna is omnidirectional. This allows for the signal to be transmitted in all directions, and not just one.

Cabling

Once you have figured how high you can get your antenna, the next step is to also think about how you are going to connect the antenna to your Helium miner.

You can purchase a cable that can connect your Helium to your antenna, where the length of the cable and quality will determine how much cable loss (gain) you will have. We want to minimize this as much as possible to help signal coverage.

Typically, people like to connect their miners by ethernet to their Wifi routers. This is a good technique to do, as it makes sure the miner has the best internet connection (as opposed to Wifi). Miners typically need around 200-300kps of internet to work.

However, if you choose to connect your miner to a Wifi router, it is important to note that it is far better to make the ethernet cable run longer (router to miner) than to make the cable from the miner to the antenna run longer.

Ethernet cables can transmit without much loss for tens and tens, even hundreds, of meters. With this, a good setup to do is:

  • Always have your Helium miner as high up the house as possible. This reduces how long the cable is from your miner to your antenna, reducing gains loss.
  • Either:
    • Run an ethernet cable through your house, from your router to the miner.
    • If you don’t want cabling as above, use a Powerline Ethernet Adaptor – this allows for connectivity using your mains wires to send internet just as quickly. See a good one here for UK or here for US (not affiliate). You can then plug this to your highest socket, and connect by ethernet to the miner (as long as you have a powerline adaptor downstairs connecting to your Wifi Router).
  • Choose a low gain-loss cable between your miner and antenna. Work out how much cabling you need, and add 20% as a contigency. Depending on cost, you have a few options you can go for (the higher the cost, the lower the db loss). See here for a table of cable losses. I would typically go for LMR 400-600 cable as the best for price versus loss.


Lightning Arrestor

If you have an antenna outside, you are likely going to need a lightning arrestor. This is a piece of equipment that connects to your antenna/cable that breaks the circuit if the charge on that circuit gets too much. It aims to protect your antenna and Helium miner from surcharges in electricity.

Now, some people state they do not need lightning arrestors, whilst others say it is a necessity. From talking to experts in different areas, even from the defense sector:

  • If you are prone to storms, you should always get a lightning arrestor.
  • If not (such as a very dry deserty place that never has storms, or very cold locations that typically don’t have any thunderstorms, you might be able to get away without one.
  • My advice is to always get a lightning arrestor.

Do note that lightning arrestors have a db loss associated with them. Aim for one with a loss of <0.2 db.

Troubleshooting a Helium Miner not Working

Helium is relayed

Helium miners turn to relayed when it has no internet connection to it. The number one reason (if your internet is still working) is that the Port Forwarding has not been set up.

  • Go into the bluetooth of your miner through te Helium app and find out what the IP address of your miner is. You can also do this in your Wifi router’s diagnostic page, which is typically http://192.168.0.1/ or http://192.168.8.1/.
  • Make sure the IP address of your Helium miner is port forwarded to TCP 44158.

The app is quite slow to update, so check on the Helium explorer to see if the miner is synced.

Helium miner not earning anything

There could be many reasons this happens. It is worth double-checking each of the below points (this is what has happened for me):

  • Is the internet working?
  • Has the miner got power uninterrupted?
  • Is the antenna connected to the miner properly (no lose cabling etc.)?
  • Is the miner itself not in a position where it can easy overheat?
  • When connecting to bluetooth, does the diagnostics suggest anything?
  • Is the Helium network up and running?


Helium miner is earning very little, compared to before

There are multiple reasons a Helium miner may be earning little. These include:

  • Antenna moves accidently
  • Helium miner box overheating
  • Intermittant internet or power to the miner
  • Low internet to the miner (miner needs around 200-300kps)
  • Helium network is down
  • Miners around you are down


FAQs on Helium Mining

What is a helium miner?

A helium miner is a device that connects to the Helium network with a LongFi signal. This creates a decentralized LongFi wireless coverage network that Internet of Things (IoT) devices can connect to.

Where can you buy a helium miner?

Supply is limited due to the incredible demand there is for helium miners. Visit the official Helium website for the companies that sell miners. If sold out, your best bet is to buy 3-4x for a miner on eBay.

Which helium miner is the best?

Although all miners are very similar, there is a consensus on the internet that the Bobcat 300 miner may provide better results than other miners.

How do you set up a helium miner?

In short, connect a helium miner to your internet. Set the port forwarding of the helium miner’s IP address to TCP 44158. Place your helium and antenna as high as possible, preferably outside, and watch the miner start to earn $HNT.

How do helium miners work?

Unlike most cryptocurrencies, helium does not use GPU power but uses radio technology. Helium miners work together to perform a ‘Proof of Coverage,’ for which miners can earn $HNT. As well as this, the coverage of the network allows Internet of things (IoT) devices to utilize the network – miners can earn $HNT from this too.

How much is a helium miner?

Helium miners typically cost between $400-800. However, that is not the only cost of a miner. A good antenna will cost at least $80, cabling another $80, a lightning arrestor $50, and potential installation above the house upwards of $400. In total, a setup can cost as much as $1,500.

Where can I trade helium crypto, HNT?

Most crypto exchanges support cryptocurrency, such as Binance. There, you can convert it to USDT and other assets, cash out as a fiat currency, or convert to another cryptocurrency.

What is the future of the helium network?

The number of miners is growing rapidly, allowing for the network to continually increase in coverage. Although there are competitors, such as Veniam, Tibit Communications, Beambox, and Osmozis, helium is gaining lots of momentum, hence why miners are continually sold out. It would not be surprising to see the network have a very wide network coverage in 1-2 years, with the price of HNT hitting new highs.

Note: Everything said on here is based on my experience with Helium mining – please feel free to ask questions, add to the comments, to help make this as good a resource page as possible! If you appreciate this, please feel free to send a cuppa worth across to my Helium address! 14gW15kg9Mn6zdEqj947PRqg5GzvzCrScWTNzF5aZdsB8CVA4RX