Antenna Issues

How do I know what antenna connectors I need?

That will depend on the Hotspot; the stock antenna connection on most Helium Hotspots including MNTD. Hotspots is a Female RP-SMA, meaning the connection to your Hotspot will be made with a Male RP-SMA.

For detailed information on antenna connections, refer to our Antenna RF Connectors 101 article.

Should I use a filter for my antenna?

Our Hotspots are equipped with a SAW filter narrowly tuned to your region. Odds are, an additional filter will hinder more than help. In the unique circumstance that your Hotspot is located very near a cell tower (i.e. beneath it), you may benefit from a narrow bandwidth filter, which can help reduce the noise that may be negatively impacting your RX/TX.

Recently, cavity filters and amplifiers have risen in popularity - These may negatively impact your signal and reduce activity. Use at your own risk.

Why is my Hotspot not Beaconing?

Hotspots automatically send Beacons every 6 hours, plus or minus a small "jitter" timeframe intended to randomize transmissions. If your Hotspot is not sending out any Beacons, there may be an issue with the Helium Miner running on the Hotspot or an issue with the SD card or firmware. Refer to our article on SD Card and Firmware Issues for more information.

Why do my Hotspot's Beacons have 0 Witnesses?

If your Beacons are typically Witnessed and you experience only an occasional 0-Witness Beacon, your Hotspot is likely functioning properly. There are a handful of reasons regarding the way witness receipts are reported that can rarely but occasionally lead to a 0-Witness Beacon. The issue is typically Helium network-related or a transient environmental issue affecting all LoRaWAN transmissions in the area and should resolve itself soon.

Common possible causes of no Witness activity periods:

  • Updating Hotspot Location or Antenna Settings in the Helium app will reset your '7 Day Average Beacons' and the list of Hotspots that Witnessed your Beacon, your 'Total Witnessed,' a 72-hour metric. 
  • Location/Inactivity could result in Helium Explorer displaying 0 Witnesses. Your 'Total Witnessed' list is a rolling 3-day window. As periods of inactivity roll through that window, it's normal to see this number fluctuate. Antennas that are poorly placed, poorly grounded, or indoors may experience long streaks of 0-Witnesses.
  • Antenna Malfunction/Failure is a less common cause but could be why your beacons aren't being witnessed. Learn more about antenna troubleshooting. “Antenna”.

If your Hotspot consistently receives 0-Witness Beacons, there may be an antenna related issue. Try the following troubleshooting steps one-at-a-time and move to the next if the issue has not resolved after three more Beacons have been transmitted since the last step:

⚠️ WARNING - Never power on the Hotspot without an antenna connected or disconnect the antenna with the Hotspot powered on. Doing so can damage the LoRa concentrator!
  • Power down your Hotspot by removing the USB-C power cable, then unscrew your antenna connection from the Hotspot. Verify the pin in the Hotspot's LoRa connector is intact and not bent, and the hole in the antenna's port is not blocked, then securely reconnect the antenna and restore power to the Hotspot.
  • If using an aftermarket antenna which has a removable cable connection, perform the same steps as above but unscrew, check, and resecure the antenna to cable side. Then, restore power to the Hotspot.
  • Verify the antenna placement is suitable for reaching other Hotspots, and use the Helium Explorer to verify there are other Hotspots within acceptable LoRa range of your Hotspot. "Lone Wolf" Hotspots will not have any nearby Hotspots to hear their Beaconing and thus will have their Beacons show as 0-Witness.
  • Try re-flashing the Hotspot's SD card with the latest firmware and/or replacing the card by following the procedure outlined in our article on Replacing the SD Card.
  • If Beacons are still not being Witnessed, reach out to MNTD. support for further assistance.