Helium Hotspot Antennas Improve Information – 8dbi vs 5.8dbi vs 3dbi
I previously wrote a post about upgrading my helium hotspot with the MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi omni antenna.
Since then I’ve made a lot of changes and obsessed with finding the best performance. Unfortunately, due to a large number of hotspots in my city, my performance has decreased. I wish I had used the optimal setup from the start.
It turns out that antennas are more complex than you think. It’s not just about buying the most powerful you can find and placing it as high as possible.
8dbi vs 5.8dbi vs 3dbi antenna – different antenna gains have different degrees of coverage
Omnidirectional antennas are not quite as omnidirectional as you might think if you increase the antenna gain. So you can’t just buy a Taoglas Barracuda 12dBi antenna and believe it will travel a great distance with 360 degree coverage – trust me, I’ve tried and it’s a super expensive antenna.
The lower the reinforcement, the better the coverage. At 2dbi you get 360 ° coverage. At 5dbi, however, it drops to 40 °, then 7dbi is 30 °.
In a city with many hotspots, a lower gain antenna may be best.
Then, of course, is the placement; Of course, higher with fewer obstacles is better. In hindsight, I wish I had paid for an aerospace company to come over and put my antenna on my chimney.
Also, keep in mind that you will need an antenna that is compatible with your region. Some antennas cover multiple frequencies, which is fine as long as it covers your frequency.
- For Great Britain this is 868 MHz
- For the USA this is 915 MHz
Helium hotspot antennas for the 868 MHz models of the helium hotspot in the UK
Be warned, the Taoglas 12dbi option may not be your best bet unless there aren’t many hotspots in your area.
Helium hotspot antennas for the US 915 MHz models of the helium hotspot
Loss of signal through the cable
You also need to consider how the signal degrades on the way back from the antenna to your hotspot. The longer the cable, the greater the loss of signal. In retrospect, I screwed it up again here and bought cheap cables from Amazon. Using the SMA adapters purchased from Amazon could potentially cause further signal loss.
You can get low loss cable, Amazon has a lot of these offerings, but a decent low loss cable is the LMR-400, which is harder to find and a lot more expensive.
Be warned, the LMR-400 is very thick, I had an old hole in my office for a TV antenna, and I only just managed to push it through. I had previously run cable through a small window and left a small gap with the window partially closed, but this cable would have left a large gap.
Custom cable and which connectors to use for your antenna
Antenna with N connector for RP SMA MALE
You can have cables made to custom lengths. This is your ideal option, allowing you to choose the minimum length required to reach your hotspot.
To avoid using adapters, you need to find out which end of the cable you need. For the MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi omni antenna that I am using, it has an SMA female end, while the helium hotspot has an RP-SMA female.
For the MikroTik I needed the opposite connections, namely RP SMA MALE (helium hotspot side) and SMA connector (antenna side).
I ended up buying McGill Microwave Systems on eBay. I think it was this cable, but then I wrote to them and asked for the cable ends of the RP SMA MALE & SMA Male.
Some antennas use the larger N-type male connector, including the RAK 5.8dbi fiber optic antenna kit, so this would require an N-type female connector
If you are having a cable made, I would suggest confirming with the company the exact ends required. I am easily confused with all connector types and it is easy to confuse one another. A professional will know best.
Some of the options on Amazon are available below, but you may need to purchase the adapters to get them to fit properly.
Last updated on 1021-05-10 / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API