My Helium beacons have zero 0 witnesses – How do I fix this?

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.

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.

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.

To ensure that this is not the problem, 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.

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.

Summary

In this post we’ve discussed reasons for zero witnesses despite there being a transmitted beacon. We also discussed what you can do to solve some of 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

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