Things To Look Out For In A Helium AntennaSearching for the right antenna for a helium hotspot can be hectic in today’s market. Although platforms like Youtube, Reddit, and even Twitter are helpful, you can still get pretty confused. This post is structured to help you choose the best antenna for your Helium hotspot.
Choosing the right antenna is critical for optimal performance, but most people neglect other factors that can improve operation potential.
There has been a lot of research about the different types of antennas —let us zero in on two major types:
- Omni directional antennas
- Directional antennas
These antennas radiate signals everywhere by turning in all directions—horizontal and vertical. However, they’re designed to look like vertical antennas, making them easier to install. So, you can mount them in any area you want as long as nothing obstructs their line of sight.
These antennas work better when you aim them in a particular direction. The reason is that it’s optimized to reduce interference while improving transmission. So let's say you stay in a remote location (perhaps a mountain or deep in the woods) and need sounder reception; directional antennas are the best.
Factors to Look Out For Before Buying a Helium Antenna
Surveying your location can help pick the appropriate antenna to match. Here are some key factors to consider:
1. Terrain (Topography): These are the features around you—both natural and artificial. Elevated terrains fall into this category. The terrain will determine the radio frequency your antenna will receive. So, observe your surroundings and take appropriate actions before purchasing a helium antenna. For example, the buildings around you should influence your decision if you live in a city.
2. Elevation (Height): The higher your antenna, the farther away from obstructions. Outdoor antennas might not be optimal, but they’re an appropriate choice since placing them outside reduces the barriers. The downside to outdoor antennas is placing them in an optimal position. They must be mounted strategically to get the best out of it. So, if you're interested in getting an outdoor antenna, note this limitation.
3. Line of sight: Always ensure your antenna is clear of obstructions. When the line of sight is clear of obstacles(e.g., buildings, vegetation), top mount your antenna so high is irrelevant. Now you might be thinking about how to do that in areas with buildings or vegetation; you will have to get an antenna with a high gain or be strategic with the placement if your pocket doesn't fit.
That brings us to two antenna suggestions we have prepared for you through our research. If you have extra money to spare, you can try the HNTenna (which works indoors and outdoors) for your current setup.
McGill antennas 6 dBi has an excellent reputation among customers. You may be thinking, 'but what if you don't have that much to spend?' Don't worry: we have that covered. And here are some qualities to look out for in a helium antenna that doesn't strain your pocket:
- Try to zero your search to antennas with a narrow edge. By narrow edge, we mean an antenna with a 30MHZ bandwidth. But bandwidths less than 30MHz can be considered ideal.
- A helium antenna should be vertically polarized. But we prefer a multi-polarized antenna since it can receive and transmit many signals.
- If an antenna has a good strength(say, more than 6dBi), you will have to tilt it downwards by 1 to 3 degrees. This repositioning is to ensure you don’t overshoot surrounding hotspots.
- The thought of getting a wide or ultra-wideband should be admonished. Don't be surprised by how amazing the name sounds, although they cover a large bandwidth.
- Our recommendation for most environments is between 6dBi or 8dBi. They provide a decent balance between signal gain and bandwidth.
Now that we have covered what is needed, let us dive into some factors that affect the signal strength in the area you are located:
- The materials used in building your home should be considered. This is especially true if you get an indoor antenna because some signals change direction when obstructed.
- Note the number of telecommunication towers around your region. The lesser they are, the lower the chances of having good reception.
- The distance and direction of these towers from your region is another factor.
- Installation: Poorly mounted antenna can lead to low reception in some cases. While in others, they may not work. This might not be a result of antenna fault but due to poor installation.
Keeping these pieces of information in mind can help you in your choice of what type of antenna you need to purchase.
The increased demand for helium antennas results from the rapid rise of helium hotspots in rank popularity. So if you're here searching for information to navigate the market, permit us to say you're in the right place.
First and foremost, put your environmental factors into consideration. Then decide the type of antenna you what to purchase. Choose between an outdoor or indoor antenna (Omni directional or Directional). Install it properly if it's an outdoor antenna for the best signal. But if you want something less straining on your budget and with easy installation, an indoor antenna is the right choice to purchase.
Knowing your budget will make your navigation easier. Keep your location, signal gain, and terrain in mind. You are narrowing down your choices, enabling you to grab the best helium antenna for your location.
NB: Previous antennas mentioned earlier are still excellent choices.
Question: Is it okay to use a high gain antenna regardless of environmental factors?
Never neglect environmental factors in purchasing an antenna. It is a waste of money to purchase a high-gain antenna if your terrain is flat.
Question: Is it advisable to install my helium antenna myself?
You can carry out the installation yourself just make sure the device is unplugged when swapping antennas.
Question: What position is best to install my antenna?
It's best to place your antenna in an area where its line of sight is clear and free from obstructions. The window side or rooftops are suitable places for outdoor antennas.
Question: What’s the best antenna?
There’s no definitive best antenna on the market. It’s up to you to decide which works best for you. So try our recommendations above and make a choice. We recommend reading our article on Antennas and Frequency Explained.