Thought it might be fun to play “space janitor” today in hi-sec with a cheap T1 heron fit scanning down lost drones. I must have picked up more than a hundred of them this afternoon, mostly T1’s, a few T2’s, and a handful of faction. It is not a very risky or isky activity, but good practice using combat probes.
Easiest way I have found is to tether up to a citadel, launch the probes, and then scan away. Still learning, but I think that the drones marked with “o” are abandoned. while the “x” drones are active in use. Using a T1 fit is pretty slow, the signatures have a lot of deviation, plus the signature radius of the drones is small so it’s sorta like hunting for needles in a haystack. Some skilling up would also help immensly as my frigate skill is at III and my astrometric pinpointing is only at II.
the O or X indicator doesn’t mean they are or aren’t in use, this is a “signature strenght” indicator
basically, if it shows dot you can go one or two sizes down and get better result, if it shows X then you need to center and maybe even increase size or spread of the probes to get dot.
To know whether the drones are in use you need to know what ship can have which drones and/or use dscan to make sure there is no ship near to them.
Skills doesn’t really matter, probing drones is very easy, you won’t get any faster via skilling any Astronometric skills than you are already. You can get faster via better d-scan work. Faction probe scanner and probes also helps a lot. Everything else than that, rigs, implants is unneccessary.
Yeah, scanning down drones is fun. I used to use a Helios to scan down drones in every incursion I flew in, just moved it in the Orca along with my Claymore, Loki, Scimi, Basi, etc… and whip it out after fleet and go scanning for geckos and such.
Just use a cov ops frig. Every new system you wanna scan in, burn off the gate with MWD and launch drones and cloak up. or warp to the next gate at 100km, drop probes before you warp, cloak mid-warp (don’t even have to wait for the reload to finish these days, the probes are already in the launcher at the start of the cycle now instead of the end of the cycle like it used to be), and then burn away from the out gate so you’ll be > 150 km off it when you’re done scanning for drones and ready to move on to the next system, etc. etc.
There’s no need to scan from tether if your ship can covops cloak (if you’re worried about recon damaviks (which don’t go to gates, anyway) or roaming fleets in invasions (which do), either way, cloaking and being 150+km from gate is 100% safe… UNLESS you happen to burn in the direction of a citadel that’s 1000 km from the gate (which might decloak you and then Triglavians or Blood Raider/Guristas diamond rats could getcha), maybe. so just make sure you don’t double-click right in the direction of an on-grid citadel when burning off the in-gate or burning off the-100km-warp-in of the out-gate. ;D)
*edited to add: noticed the frigate 3 part of that para a bit later than my reply, my bad… well, yeah, scan from tether for now, or just MWD off gates and don’t bother cloaking since… you won’t be able to warp while cloaked. Assuming you even have cloaking 1. (need cloaking 4 for covops cloak and frigate 5 for cov ops tech 2 frigs… but you can do astero without any frigate 5s, btw, and just train cloaking 4 for covops cloak as well)