This article is about surveillance devices in BattleTech. For the so-called "Bug 'Mechs" or other uses, see Bug 'Mech and Bug (disambiguation).


The term Bug refers to a type of tiny electronic device which is used to eavesdrop and track individuals. These devices have been used for centuries for the purposes of surveillance and espionage, with a number of models available in the thirty-first century, but can be similarly detected and neutralized with Bug Scanners and Bug-Scanner Watches.[1]

Electronic Bugs by Type[edit]

Microphone Bug[edit]

About the size of a shirt button, modern microphone bugs can be planted anywhere and used to listen in on conversations. These devices are sound-activated, recording only when a significant sound is present within a five-meter radius, and can broadcast to any radio or recording device tuned to the correct frequency within five hundred meters. A microphone bug can last for a month in passive mode or actively transmit for up to two hours and will cease to function whichever comes first.[1]

SatNav Bug[edit]

These bugs mimic the function of a SatNav Receiver, triangulating its exact position to within ten meters through the use of an orbiting satellite network. In addition to transmitting its global coordinates, a SatNav bug will also broadcast its range, heading and speed relative to the receiver, and if connected to a holomap will automatically display its position on the map. As the SatNav bug is five times as large as microphone bug, these devices are more often used to track vehicles instead of people.[1]

Tracking Bug[edit]

Known also as tracers, these bugs transmit the location of a person or vehicle by transmitting a continuous radio signal on a specific frequency, which is picked up by a tracking bug locator to provide the user with the target's range, heading and speed. Standard tracking bugs are about the size and shape of a two-liter canteen, with compact hand-held devices being more expensive, and can attach to the target by means of an adhesive or small dart.[1]

Tracking Microphone Bug[edit]

Combining the features of a tracking bug and microphone bug, these allow the user to both follow and listen in on their target, but can only function for 24 hours before the internal battery runs out.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lostech, p. 109
  2. Lostech, p. 110