The Ultimate Helium Hotspot Connector Guide

All these darn connectors... SMA-Male, N-Female, SMA-Female, SMA-RP-Male, N-Male and a couple more... but where to start? And which connector fits on your hotspot?

Well, actually, it’s pretty simple and I’m here to lay it all down for you!

The common connectors we use

First of all, let’s see what all these connectors look like.

connector types

As you might’ve noticed SMA is the complete opposite of SMA-RP.

Some people are very confused as to why their SMA-RP-Male connector does not have the characteristics of a “male” connector (you know, with the dinglydong), but that’s because it’s RP (Reverse Polarity). Hopefully, this already clears a lot of things up.

Now on to my favorite thing in the world: Logic!

It's all very logical

Okay, let’s start with the most important part which I like to call the logical part. I like to call it that because whenever I explain to people how these connectors work they most of the time tell me “Ah, that actually makes a lot of sense!”.

The first thing is: a Male connector fits in a Female connector. 

Alright, now that we know Male fits Female, here’s the second (and last) part to it: Only the same connector types fit each other.

So, when you have a LongAP hotspot with an SMA-Female connector on the device it will only fit an SMA-Male connector for the cable or antenna you attach to it. A bobcat has an SMA-RP-Female connector on the device end, so it will only fit an SMA-RP-Male connector.

To make it easier I’ve created a list of all connectors per hotspot (EU models only).

Brand

Connector (EU)

RAK / MNTD

SMA-RP-Female

Nebra indoor

SMA-RP-Female

Bobcat

SMA-RP-Female

SenseCAP

SMA-RP-Female

Linxdot

SMA-RP-Female

COTX

SMA-RP- Female or SMA-Female (please check)

Kerlink

SMA-Female

Heltec

SMA-RP-Female

Controllino

SMA-Female

LongAp

SMA-Female

Syncrobit

SMA-Female

Pisces P100

N-Female

Nebra Outdoor N-Female
RisingHF N-Female
Milesight UG65 N-Female
Panther X1 / X2 SMA-Female / SMA-RP-Female
Browan MerrIoT SMA-RP-Female

Oh, and while we’re here, this is a list of all our McGill Microwave antenna connectors:

Antenna

Connector

Omnidirectional 3dBi

N-Male

Omnidirectional 6dBi

N-Male

Omnidirectional 7.5dBi

N-Male

Omnidirectional 9dBi N-Male

Directional 8.5dBi

N-Female

Directional 10dBi

N-Female

Directional 13dBi N-Female

 Alright, let’s apply this to some real-life examples.

Real-life setup examples

First things first let’s take the most common setup there is.

Hotspot connected to an LMR-400 cable which connects to an outdoor omnidirectional antenna:

For this setup, we want to connect our McGill Microwave 3dBi Omnidirectional Antenna using a cable to the hotspot. Our hotspot is a RAK hotspot.

First, we look at the table with connectors and see that RAK has an SMA-RP-Female connector on the device end.

Then we look at the antenna table and see that our McGill Microwave 3dBi Omnidirectional antenna has an N-Male connector.

Now we need to find a cable that fits these two connectors. Now it’s important to keep in mind that Male fits Female and only the same connector types fit.

Since our antenna is N-Male we’ll need an N-Female connector to fit it. Our hotspot end has an SMA-RP-Female connector, so we’ll need an SMA-RP-Male connector on that end. So to connect the antenna and the hotspot we’ll need LMR®-400 N-Female to SMA-RP-Male.

If your hotspot has an SMA-Female connector you will obviously need LMR®-400 N-Female to SMA-Male.

Here’s a drawing to visualize this example:

hotspot setup 1

On to the next setup. Let's pick one that's also pretty common, but a little harder to figure out the right connectors for.

Hotspot connected to a window cable which connects to an LMR-400 attached to an Omnidirectional antenna with a lightning arrester attached in between:

This setup is a little bit more advanced and requires some better logical thinking.

For this example, we’re also going to be using a RAK hotspot and a McGill Microwave 6dBi Omnidirectional Antenna. This means the connector ends on those two stays the same (SMA-RP-Female on RAK and N-Male on the antenna).

For this example, we’re also going to be using an Ultra Low Loss LMR®-100 40CM SMA-RP-Male to SMA-Female cable to fit under the window and directly connect to the RAK hotspot (caution: watch out for sharp edges on windowframes with this cable).

Then we're going to connect the SMA-Female side of the window cable to an LMR®-400 N-Female to SMA-Male cable which connects to the N-Male part of our lightning arrester.

And lastly, for safety, we’ll also insert a Times Protect Lightning arrester N-Male to N-Female in this setup and we’re grounding this with some earth cable. These ligtning arresters fit perfectly in between the antenna and cable as you'll see from the visualisation. This means that if you already have an antenna and cable from us, you could simply pop in a lightning protector if you would want to.

If your hotspot has an SMA-Female connector you will obviously need LMR®-100 SMA-Male to SMA-Female for the window pass through cable.

Here’s a drawing to visualize this example:

Hotspot setup 2

Handy abbreviations

On our website, we use a lot of abbreviations for the cable connectors to make it easier to search. For example, when we write “SMRP” we actually mean SMA-Male Reverse Polarity.

Here’s a table of abbreviations we use:

Abbreviation

Connector

SM

SMA-Male

SF

SMA-Female

SMRP

SMA-RP-Male (yes, I know it's swapped around)

SFRP

SMA-RP-Female (yes, I know it's swapped around)

NF

N-Female

NM

N-Male

So, now you know…

Hopefully, you now understand how the connectors work. If you don’t quite understand it yet, perhaps a re-read will do. If you still can’t figure it out, you can always leave a comment or get in touch via the live chat on our site (only for order inquiries).

Oh! Don't forget to join our Discord server! Click here or go to http://go.hexaspot.com/discord

Suggestions for new articles are always welcome!

See you next time!

- Tobias

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