Last updated April 8, 2022
This is one of the most frequently asked questions – My miner is sending out beacons. However there are no witnesses and therefore zero HNT rewards. What’s the reason for this and how to fix it? There are a number of reasons why this could happen and in this post we review each case.
Table of Contents
How do miners earn HNT?
One way Helium miners earn HNT is by completing a proof of coverage challenge. A hotspot transmits a beacon when it is challenged by another hotspot – called the challenger. A beacon is a radio signal that is intended to be witnessed by other miners that are within listening range of yours. When miners witness a beacon they have to send a receipt back to the challenger. The challengee has to do the same and if everything checks out then HNT are awarded to all parties in the transaction.
Reasons for Zero Witnesses
Let’s take a look at the reasons where despite transmitting a beacon, there are no witnesses and therefore no HNT are earned.
No miners nearby
As shown in the above picture, the challengee sends out a radio beacon when challenged . However, there are no miners within the listening range of the challengee. As a result the transmitted beacon is not witnessed by any hotspots. Neither the challenger nor the challengee earn beacons.
Solution: Experiment with a high gain antenna for increased coverage
No signal transmitted
In the situation below, the challengee attempts to transmit a beacon but there’s no actual radio signal emitted and therefore no witnesses. This can happen for many reasons. Your antenna may not be connected to the RF port of the miner. Your RF connectors at the ends of the RF cable might not be tight enough to make a good connection.
Solution: Tighten all the cables, antennas and connectors. Make sure that the RF adapters are of the correct kind. For instance an RP-SMA-F connector must be mated with an RP-SMA-M connector.
Challenger is relayed
Let’s look at yet another reason why you may have zero witnesses. A challengee sends out a beacon that is witnessed by miners. These miners attempt to send their receipt to the challenger. The challenger is however relayed and this prevents it from getting the receipt in a timely manner from the witnesses and the challengee. As a result of this, there will be no witnesses and all participants in this transaction make zero HNT.
Solution: Fix a relayed miner by opening port 44158
Note: It is expected that by the end of April 2022, all Helium miners will be converted to light hotspots. This will resolve the relayed issue for everyone once and for all.
Witness unable to process beacon
And finally, let’s say you have only one or two miners within listening range of your hotspot that you rely on for witnessing. If these miners are ‘busy’ with some other processing tasks they might not be able to witness the beacon your miner transmitted and once again there will be zero HNT awarded.
You just started mining
In addition to the above reasons, you might see zero witnesses when you just start mining or assert a new location. It can take a while to start seeing witnesses associated with your beacons.
Solution: Wait a while
Issues with the Network
Starting in the fourth week of March and at the time of writing in April 2022, there’s an issue with Helium seed nodes that’s resulting in miners earning nothing. No witnesses, no beacons and no challenges.
Helium is working to understand and resolve this issue. As mentioned earlier, the move to Light hotspots by the end of April 2022 should resolve many of the network issues.
In this post we’ve discussed reasons for zero witnesses despite there being a transmitted beacon. We also discussed solutions to these problems. As a recap here are the mean reasons for zero witnesses:
- No miners nearby
- No signal transmitted
- Challenger is relayed
- Witness unable to process beacon
- You just started mining or asserted a new location