Boba Fett's Lair : The Fett Files : Profiles

Homing Beacon
From Star Wars: The Essential Guide Weapons and Technology

A military homing beacon is a small device that cam be hidden aboard a starship. It emits a signal from its internal hyperspace transponder, allowing the "bugged" vessel to be tracked as it crosses the galaxy. While very expensive, a homing beacon can reveal the locations of ememy bases and fleet rendezvous points.

A homing beacon works by interactng with the HoloNet, a network that stretches throughout the galaxy and consists of hundreds of thousands of satelites that transmit messages through hyperspace. Each homing beacon's short-burst, coded hyperspace signal is recorded whenever it crosses a HoloNet communication signal known as an S-thread. Since a ship travelling in hyperspace usually crosses at least one S-thread per hour, a homing beacon can be used to track a ship to almost any system within the boundaries of the New Republic.

The signal is automatically logged into the HoloNet and forwarded to the beacon's control computer. After receiving the signal, the control computer knows the ship's location and can determine possible destination systems. When the ship leaves hyperspace, the beacon automatically broadcasts a location update that is accurate to within one parsec.

While extremely expensive, hyperspace homing beacons can play a vital role in intelligence gathering. After Rebel spies stole the technical readouts of the Death Star battle station, an Imperial homing beacon hidden aboard Princess Leia Organa's Rebel Blockade Runner, the Tantive IV, allowed the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator to follow the ship to Tatooine and capture it before Leia could deliver the plans to Obi-Wan Kenobi. After the Milennium Falcon was captured by the Death Star, Darth Vader had an Imperial XX-23 homing beacon hidden inside the smuggling freighter, and the beacon's signal led the Empire right to the main Rebel base on Yavin Four.

Like the Imperial XX-23, the Neuro-Saav XXt-26 is a small, lightweight homing beacon. Its narrow-beam hyperspace transponder signal is configured to blend into the ship's "background noise" (caused by drive emissions), making it virtually undetectable except by dedicated communications scanners. The assassin droid IG-88 hid two Neuro Saav XXt-26 transmitters aboard Boba Fett's Slave I and tracked the ship to Tatooine. IG-88 sought to steal the carbonite-encased Han Solo, but Fett outsmarted the assassin droid and and claimed Jabba the Hutt's bounty on Solo.

Subspace transmitters offer an alternative to the hyper-space-capable beacon, broadcasting a homing signal on standard subspace frequencies and allowing the targeted vessel to be tracked as it moves from system to system. While subspace beacons have transmission ranges of only twenty to fifty light-years, they are much cheaper and can be more easily tracked, since most vessels have subspace transponders as standard equipment.

Boba Fett's Lair
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