After umming and ahhing and running a stack of simulations on HotspotRF, last week I bit the bullet and ordered some antennae.
While there were definitely MUCH cheaper options available online, I invested (note: invested, not bought!) in something with a good reputation for quality – 4 x RAK’s 5.8dBi outdoor antennae (in white) from RAK’s Aliexpress store – Rakbitmall.
I debated for a few days exploring various options and settled on swallowing the whopping DHL USD$69 delivery fee(AUD$94!). Well, after barely 6 days since I ordered them on them on the night of 2 Sept, I have them! (well, 2 of them). I’ve never received ANYTHING from China so quickly! I’m not sure where the second package is yet, but I have 1 of 2 in my hands. If I don’t receive the second in the next couple of days I’ll chase it, but delivery within a week from Shenzhen via Singapore is impressive, and I think worth it, compared to the weeks or months deliveries can take from Aliexpress ordinarily using the cheaper or free postage options.
UPDATE: Second package just arrived today – 2 days after the first.
These things are long at 80cm+, and so I was pretty impressed with the quality of the packaging they came in and the care taken to package them properly. The antennas are packaged in foam – with foam ‘caps/disks’ which protect each end, and then all within a very sturdy and rigid cardboard poster-like tube. I received 2 x antennae today and so the two tubes were also packed inside another sturdy box filled with thick paper padding – the brackets, N-type -> RP SMA pigtail lead and quality control cards were also include in the outer box. These were packed the way I would have packaged them and I tend to be on the paranoid side of things there. They were packaged VERY well.
The product itself feels good, and is nicely finished – no strange rattles as other reported. The quality of the cable and fittings seem very high too. As for performance – we’ll see! But I have high expectations. You’ll hear about it here when I put them to work.
This weekend my job is to get it installed on the roof. Fortunately, I have an old mount for a long-since-gone Foxtel dish, which points vertically, and sits in the best corner of the roof about 80cm tall from it’s base at gutter level. For this install, I’m going to fix 3m of aluminium tubing to it and then mount one of the antennas on top. I’ll run a draw wire through the walls to where it needs to go once my cable and lightning arrestors arrive. That should get me high enough above the rooftop enough to provide coverage where I need to, and in the directions that matter.
It’s a small step – still no miners yet! – but antennae are a step in the right direction. I now have some hardware that I can install, and will be ready to plug in the miner the second they arrive.
This experience was really a trial run to see what the buying and delivery experience was like and to get a sense of quality. I have other antennae to buy, and will likely go this route again so long as they perform well. Sure the shipping was costly, but once you’re up and running, the delays in slower shipping could prove MORE costly, on balance, when measured against lost potential HNT earnings.
For many it may pay to go this same route.