Paradar 8.5dBi & 4.5dBi Helium Antenna Take a look at – 868Mhz excessive acquire antenna to maximise HNT acquire
When the helium hotspots finally ship, many people will want to maximize the amount of HNT they can mine from their hotspot.
I previously used the MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi as my main antenna, and now Nebra has started shipping their 5.8dbi and 3dbi fiber optic LoRa antennas. However, the 8dbi model is sold out.
In my previous helium hotspot antenna upgrade guide, I highlighted the Paradar 868 MHz antennas. These were one of the few antennas that were easy to buy at the time, and they were available on Amazon for convenience.
They sent me two models to try out, the 8.5dBi and 4.5dBi antennas. These cost a little more than competing products, but I like the fact that you can get them the next day through Amazon Prime, along with the assurance of Amazon customer service.
Alternatively, you can buy direct from Paradar and save a fiver on the 4.5dBi antenna or £ 20 on the 8.5dBi model. They even have a 14.5dbi option for £ 179.99 but this one sells out.
Paradar is a UK company that prides itself on the quality of its antennas. Speaking to one of the company’s employees, they claim they have some of the best-matched antennas on the market.
- With the 4.5 dBi model, the VSWR is in the 863-870 MHz band between 1.127 and 1.164, which corresponds to a power loss of only 0.457% in the antenna.
- For the 8.5 dBi model, the VSWR is in the 863-870 MHz band between 1.196 and 1.289, resulting in a power loss of 0.797% in the antenna.
With their matched antennas, they guarantee a VSWR of less than 1.5 @ 868Mhz (less than 4% loss in the antenna), but usually achieve much better.
Paradar wanted to point out that there are many companies selling 915MHz antennas online, including some big brands (they didn’t say names).
As a UK company you have little interest in making 915Mhz antennas, everything is geared towards the UK / EU market.
Helium 868Mhz antenna comparison
Antennas aren’t particularly exciting to look at, they all look pretty much the same, with length varying depending on the gain.
In the picture below you have the 8.5dBi and 4.5dBi Paradar antennas in the middle. The left antenna is a Chinese import from AliExpress, it is supposed to be a 10dBi antenna, which I am skeptical about. It wasn’t even that cheap at $ 70.50. On the far right is the 3.5 dbi Nebra antenna.
The lack of a backplate for the Nebra antennas doesn’t bother me, the setup seems cumbersome and that’s the last thing I need when climbing some ladders on the roof (I’m not particularly happy about climbing this high because of chronic Clumsiness).
The quality of the Paradar hardware seems excellent.
All antennas use the N-type connector on the antenna end, which I find preferable to the SMA connector on the MikroTik LoRa because it feels more durable and weatherproof for external use. I think the nebra uses masculine while the others are feminine.
Helium 868Mhz antenna power
An objective analysis of the performance was not possible because I lack the hardware or the skills.
The change from the MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi to the 8.5dBi Paradar brought a massive improvement in the number of witnesses and the range.
You may think that opting for a higher gain antenna will do this regardless of range, but in my experience it hasn’t always been. The higher the gain, the more direct it becomes (on the vertical plane) and when I used the Taoglas 12dbi antenna I couldn’t see any improvement in performance at all. With the cheap 10dBi Chinese model, I had suffered a loss of performance.
Current range is 5.53 mi (8.89 km) from my hotspot to the farthest, while the MikroTik has been stuck at around 4 km for the past few months (but it was 7 km in December).
It’s a bit difficult to say if or how much the antenna has improved my income. With the influx of hotspots entering the system, I’ve seen a sharp drop in my income over the past few weeks, the Paradar has at least fended off this trend.
I also used the 4.5 dBi antenna briefly, it offers less range but better coverage, so it is more suitable in denser environments. Knowing this wouldn’t give the same performance as the 8.5dBi antenna, I mounted it indoors near a window. In this location, it’s still connected to a lot of nearby hotspots and performs significantly better than the standard old antenna I have.
I will continue to use the 8.5dBi and make updates on performance over the long term. Hopefully I’ll get new hotspots soon so that I can then experiment with the best antennas with different placements.
Price and alternative options
The Paradar 8.5dBi costs £ 119 from Amazon or £ 99 direct with free shipping
The Paradar 4.5dBi costs £ 64.99 on Amazon or £ 59.99 direct with free shipping
The MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi costs around £ 45
So not particularly cheap. Normally, as a stingy Northerner, I would groan about products that seem to offer poor value for money. However, with a product like this, in my opinion, things are different. Even if this performs marginally better than the other brands, it will make up the difference in costs and likely generate a positive return on investment.
A total of
I admit that I do not have the best knowledge of antennas, so making an objective conclusion is a bit difficult.
However, I am satisfied with the antenna performance; when changing from the MikroTik LoRa 6.5dBi to the 8.5dBi Paradar there seems to be a noticeable improvement. There was certainly an increase in range that was to be expected.
The price may be a bit high compared to alternative brands, but I am confident that the improved performance will bring you a positive return on investment over a cheap antenna.
Paradar 8.5dBi & 4.5dBi 868Mhz helium antenna rating
Both Paradar antennas work well, the company offers this guaranteed performance and therefore a much more reliable purchase than some cheaper alternatives
Last update on 07/01/2021 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API