direction finder

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direction finder

direction finder, electronic device used to determine the position of a ship or aircraft. In a simple direction finder a radio receiver is equipped with a revolving directional antenna. The antenna receives the strongest radio signal when it is pointing directly at a transmitter. By determining the direction of two land-based transmitters, a navigator may plot his position by triangulation. Direction finders have been replaced in many applications with more accurate systems, such as radar and satellite navigation systems (see satellite, artificial).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Direction Finder


an instrument used in marine and air navigation to determine the direction in degrees to external reference points such as coastal or floating objects, heavenly bodies, and so on.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

direction finder

[də′rek·shən ‚fīnd·ər]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

direction finder (DF)

A radio receiver equipped with a directional sensing antenna used to take bearings on a radio transmitter. Specialized radio direction finders are used in aircraft as air navigation aids. Others are ground based, primarily to obtain a “fix” on a pilot requesting orientation assistance or to locate downed aircraft. UDFs (ultrahigh frequency direction finders) receive signals in the ultrahigh frequency radio broadcast band; VDFs in the very high frequency band; and UVDFs (UHD/VHD direction finder) in both bands. See automatic direction finder.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved