The transponder is a device broadcasting identifying information on a fleet to others in space. It forms a major component of the sensor mechanic.

When the transponder is on a fleet has +1000 sensor profile and full details of the fleet are revealed at maximum range (instead of only up close). The player can turn the transponder off in order to reduce their chances of being detected, or to perform actions desiring anonymity.

Among NPC fleet patrols, trade convoys and other such "legitimate" fleets will have their transponder on, while pirates and smugglers will keep theirs off.

Anonymous attacks[edit | edit source]

Normally, engaging an enemy fleet will cause the player's reputation with that faction to instantly drop to hostile. If the opposing fleet has not recently seen the player with their transponder on, they will not be certain of the player fleet's identity, and combat will only cause an incremental reputation penalty. Performing anonymous attacks in this manner is useful for when the player wants to destroy a particular target without becoming hostile to its faction.

After a transponder-off engagement, nearby fleets of that faction will treat the player fleet as a hostile entity despite not knowing its identity yet. If the player turns the transponder on while in view of such a fleet, their connection with the past attack will be revealed, and the full reputation penalty will apply. In such cases a warning will appear if the player attempts to turn the transponder on.

The player's past deeds with the transponder off will be forgotten if they can avoid being seen for a few in-game weeks.

Docking[edit | edit source]

The player can dock with markets while the transponder is deactivated, as long as no patrols are following or looking for the player fleet. This allows trading with inhospitable factions, removes the smuggling suspicion for trading on the black market, and is required to contact certain individuals on the comm board (such as black market contacts and criminal investigators). The open and military submarkets cannot be accessed while docking anonymously.

When docking at a market belonging to the pirate or independent factions, or with the Free Port market condition, all restrictions and penalties on transponder-off docking are waived.

Patrols[edit | edit source]

A patrol catching player with transponder off

Patrols that see the player fleet running with the transponder off will fly over and demand the player turn the transponder on and submit to a cargo scan, and a reputation loss will occur. The scan can find any illegal goods the player is carrying, resulting in a demand to surrender the contraband. Refusing to activate the transponder or turn over contraband will result in a battle.

If the same patrol catches the player with their transponder off for a second time, a battle will immediately result.

Turning the transponder on after already being seen with it off will not prevent the demand for a scan.

Patrols from markets that do not check transponder status for docking (independent and pirate markets, and free ports) will not care about the player flying with the transponder off.

It is worth noting that if the patrols do not detect your fleet while it's transponder is off then there is no transgression, particularly if it is turned back on before being detected. For this reason seasoned players often use Go Dark if they wish to turn off their transponder when there are patrols generally around.

Default Active Sensor Burst · Distress Call · Emergency Burn · Go Dark · Interdiction Pulse · Scavenge (ability) · Sustained Burn · Transponder
From skills Neutrino Detector · Remote Survey · Transverse Jump

Change History[edit | edit source]


  • Transponder-off trade:
    • No longer has any impact on reputation or, for black market trade, suspicion level
    • (Previously: had a smaller-than-normal effect; goal is a more clear distinction)
  • Added "transponder off" warning and option to turn it on while jumping into a populated system:
    • Only warns if patrols in-system care about transponder status
    • Warns if turning the transponder on would make any factions immediately hostile

Icon check temp.png

Only up to date for version 0.9. It is likely still broadly correct but not verified for the most up to date data yet. Please double check the Version History

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.