A single Trade Beacon deployed anywhere in a sector will give you trade data for all the friendly stations in that sector.
Trade Beacons are Ship Equipment items. Just like Nav Beacons, you purchase them at Wharfs or Equipment docks on the "Consumables" tab. They appear right beside the Nav Beacons, and are used in the same way. They're a little expensive, about 500k credits each, but worth the investment.
Trade beacons do not make unknown stations appear on your map. Your trade minions will be able to find them and thus reveal them on your map in their normal course of operations, or you can use a Trade Recon Beacon.
Trade Recon Beacons get trade data and give map location data for the important static objects in the sector (stations, gates, accelerators, highways). They are correspondingly more expensive at about 1,000k credits per each.
Unlike satellites, Trade / Recon Beacons do not give a live map view of their surrounding area. That, combined with only needing one per sector, should be a massive performance savings vs. scattering satellites near every station you want to trade with.
Sectors with beacons are re-scanned every 10min. Trade data is constantly live as long as at least one beacon exists in sector. Once the last beacon is eliminated from a sector, trade data will go stale after a few minutes (unless you've got a faction trade subscription or other contact with those stations).
- v1.6: improve Recon logic
- v1.5: add Trade Recon Beacon
- v1.0: initial release - Trade Beacons only
Inspired by Trade Receiver Satellites. Thanks to the TPWars team for the idea and the example.
Also see my other x4f work