Occasionally, I will have a play-through of FTL where my fuel supply runs dangerously low, and resupplies are few and far between. In these cases, I'm occasionally forced to "Wait" while exploring a sector, since I have no fuel to jump to the next way-point.

I've noted that my ship comes equipped with a distress beacon that I can enable when I am forced to wait.

  • What does turning this beacon on affect? Does it increase the chance that someone (good or bad) appears quickly?
  • Do I need to remember to turn it off once I've obtained some fuel?
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    How do you turn on the distress beacon? I've never noticed it. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 15:19
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    It appears in the lower right corner of the "Jump" screen (where you jump from way-point to way-point). I think it will only appear if you are out of fuel and forced to wait, though it may show up every time; I don't really remember. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


The distress beacon does not advance the rebel fleet more than a normal jump/wait, although with the beacon on, the chances of running into a stray rebel cruiser are greater.

Having the beacon on simply opens new opportunities to obtain fuel that simply waiting does not.

You do not need to turn it back off once you have turned it on. While it will still display as being on while in the Jump screen, nothing is affected by this.


The ship distress beacon, when activated, has a chance each turn you wait to trigger an event. Sometimes, a hostile ship will appear. Other times someone will offer you an exchange, or give you the fuel that you need.

But, it also has a high probability to do nothing, and each turn it is active the Rebels will draw closer until you get nothing but rebel ships attacking (which always give you 1 fuel when you defeat them).

Basically, it is a last resort, as the rewards for sitting and waiting are usually very low, and all that the beacon does is increase the frequency of events while waiting.

  • 1
    The distress beacon has to be turned on. You don't need to do that in order to wait.
    – SysDragon
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 16:06
  • So are events less likely to happen if I don't turn on the beacon and wait? Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 17:02
  • @JonahBishop Yes.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 17:19

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