Unregistered Comms Beacons

Unregistered Comms Beacons

Unregistered Comms Beacons have been found in systems within the bubble, and in deep space. Their origin is not known for sure, but it is possible that they are deployed by the Sirius Corporation.

Locating

When an Unregistered Comms Beacon is present in a system, it will appear on your Navigation Panel when your ship is within 1,000 Ls of it. They have been found not just around the primary star, but secondary stars, belt clusters, and even planets and moons deeper into the system.

Explorers are suggested to regularly check their Navigation Panel when traversing a system to perform surface scans, and report any strange signal sources, including Unregistered Comms Beacons.

The signal source for the Unregistered Comms Beacon can be locked as a target to drop out of supercruise, like any other. Contrary to the Galnet article, these devices have no known defenses, and it is safe to approach them.

Decoding

Each beacon transmits its message at a particular time, and repeats it at a particular interval. Many transmit hourly at a certain number of minutes past the hour, others appear to transmit on the hour, but not at hourly intervals. Further study in this area is warranted.

When the message is transmitted, your ship will receive the transmission and play it audibly within your cockpit.

The transmission will consist of a series of numbers and NATO phonetic alphabet characters. The rhythm and timing of the message is consistent and meaningful; a short pause separates each number or letter; a slightly longer pause separates groups of numbers or letters to form multi-digit numbers, or words; and a long pause serves to indicate a new line or phrase in the transmission.

For example the transmission “1..1….1….2..1……..Charlie” would be transcribed as:

11 1 21
C

The message may be repeated a number of times in the transmission, often four.

Here is an example of a beacon found in the Sol system:

Message Types

What to do with the message depends on the beacon, a number of different types of message have been found.

Those with a short sequence of numbers from 1 to 26 may be translated into a word by alphabet letter positions; e.g. “13 1 19 20 5 18” would be “MASTER”.

Check the Galnet feed at stations within the system for Herald articles, usually dated 25 Oct 3302, containing the words “Compromised Carrier Signal.” The article text should consist of NATO phonetic alphabet words, which can be transcribed to letters, with any numbers or dashes in the article copied as-is.

The message can then be decrypted using the code word from the beacon as a Keyed Caesar cipher key. These usually lead to a persistent signal source in the local system, or one very close by.

Those with a long sequence of numbers from 1 to 26, broken into multiple lines, may often be translated in a similar way. Take the first line as the Keyed Caesar cipher key for the remainder of the message.

Those with a long sequence of NATO phonetic alphabet words can be transcribed directly into a text message, using a longer pause between words to indicate a word break in the message, and a very long pause as a line or sentence break. The sequence may include numbers as well, which can be included in the message directly rather than being substituted for alphabet positions.

This longer message may be encoded with a Keyed Caesar cipher, it will be necessary to obtain the cipher key from another source; for example clues in Galnet Galactic News.

Other beacons, for example those involved with Sol/Achenar/Gateway Numbers Beacons mystery, may not match these common patterns and will require more effort to decode.

Known Unregistered Comms Beacons

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