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Getting started

What do I need to mine Helium?

In principle you can start with just the miner however it is best practice to install an external antenna to get the best possible results. Therefore a miner, antenna, cabling and some mounting hardware are the basic elements of a succesful Helium mining installation.


What miner should I get?

Currently the most popular model in New Zealand is the Sensecap M1. The range of miner hardware for our frequency plan is unfortuntely limited as most vendors prepare their units for the far bigger US915 (USA) and EU868 (Europe) markets. Other suitable miners are made by Nebra, Milesight, PantherX, Linxdot. (this list is ever growing).

What are the best buying options for New Zealand?

You can buy Sensecap M1 units through the following retailers in New Zealand: PBTech & GoWireless. Alternatively more stock is available in Australia: IoT Store/IQ Flow & The Connected Works.
The Milesight UG65 Helium miner can be purchased in Australia only right now: IoT Store/IQ Flow.

I have heard about Bobcat, what about them?

Bobcat made some of the first Helium miners and therefore they have built up quite the reputation. Bobcat currently do not have an AU915 model deployed (at the time of writing). There are several American Bobcat units in the country that operate on US915 frequencies. These miners only operate at about 40% of their capacity due to being on the wrong frequency plan. It is pointless to operate a US915 miner in New Zealand and these units should be returned to America (or sold on eBay). When the Bobcat AU915 unit is available this paragraph will be updated. It is currently available for pre-order with unknown delivery date at the Bobcat website.

What's the deal with AU915/AS923?

LoRaWAN frequencies are allocated to certain frequency ranges all across the world. Australia and New Zealand were initially allocated the AU915 frequency band during this process. Howver the frequency band has been changed to AS923, which is common in parts of Asia, to bring the regions in line. Because the native form of AS923 would limit ouput power, a dual frequency plan was implemented which is currently still less powerful than the original AU915 plan, much to the dismay of the Helium Community Down Under.


Why should I get a custom antenna?

The stock antennas that come with the miners are very low performance. They are intended for use in major urban areas such as London or New York. Unless you live in a major CBD, running a miner on a stock antenna will not result in great gains at all. New Zealand has a diverse and rugged landscape with many natural features that can block and interfere with radio signals. Also because of our low population density the miners we have are scattered across reasonable distances. Therefore it is always recommended to upgrade your stock antenna to a custom antenna and place that antenna as high as you can.

I am renting or cannot place anything on the roof, what do I do?

To be honest, any custom antenna will outperform the stock antenna, even if it is placed indoors. If you cannot access or have no permission to place an antenna on the roof maybe try attach it to another high object such as a fence, toolshed or garage. If outdoors is no option at all, placing an antenna in a roof cavity (indoors) will still yield reasonable results providing the roof structure isn't metal.

Can I change antennas while the miner is running?

NO!! Never plug/unplug antennas while the miner is powered on. Doing so can burn out the transmitter/receiver module in the miner and you will have to send it off for repairs!


What connectors do I need on the miner end?

Most miners have RP-SMA female connectors. Please note that this is Reverse Polarity (RP)-SMA, not standard SMA. The two are not the same.

What connectors do I need on the antenna end?

LoRa antennas mostly come with N-type connectors. They can be either male or female. Please confirm the type and gender of the antenna you ordered before ordering a cable.

How long can the antenna cable be?

The miners are very sensitive and therefore the shorter the cable the better the signal will be. Cables beyond 10 meters create a signficant amount of cable loss. Try not to exceed 5 meters, it may be necessary to place your miner in an outdoor enclosure to achieve this. It's better to use a long ethernet cable to place your miner closer to the antenna than it is to use a long antenna cable to get to your miner.

What type of cable should I get?

LMR400 is generally the best type of cable for Helium miners. LMR200 is acceptable for short distances (1 or 2 meters) due to signal loss. Note that LMR is a branded type of cable and you will also find it as LLC400 or RFC400 locally. These are non-identical clones but will generally work just as well.

Can I connect this heavy cable directly to my miner?

Yes you can but it is not recommended. LMR400 cable is very heavy and if you pull it too hard it can dislodge the connector from the miner. It is recommended to add a short (30cm or shorter) pigtail cable between the heavy LMR cable and the miner to reduce the strain on the connector.


How does the scoring system work?

The scoring system was developed to give an impression of the performance of a hotspot. Points are counted as per the below;

Hotspot is offline: 0 points
Hotspot is online: +10 points
Hotspot relay status unknown: 0 points
Hotspot is relayed: +10 points
Hotspot is not relayed: +20 points
Transmit scale below 0.5: 0 points
Transmit scale between 0.5 and 1.0: +10 points
Transmit scale of 1.0: +20 points
Zero witnesses: 0 points
Between 1 and 4 witnesses: +10 points
Between 5 and 9 witnesses: +20 points
Between 10 and 19 witnesses: +30 points
Between 20 and 29 witnesses: +40 points
More than 30 witnesses: +50 points
Hotspot is spoofed: all points void

100 points equivalates to 5 stars

*This page is constantly updated with new questions and answers*

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