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Starfleet Equipment & Devices

A communicator or combadge functions as a personal communications device for Starfleet personnel.

Symbol of Starfleet Membership

The design of the device incorporates the emblem of Starfleet and serves as a symbol of membership within Starfleet. Removing a combadge from its proper placement on one's uniform constitutes being out of uniform. Such an act is done so when resigning from Starfleet or when wishing to speak "off the record."

Current Model


  • Range:
    • Combadge-to-Combadge: 1,200 km
    • Ship-to-Combadge: 75,000 km
  • Impact Resistance: Drops of up to 35 m
  • Data Storage Capacity: Variable, typically from 15 to 100 kiloquads
  • Power Cell: Sarium krellide battery
  • Battery Life: 2 weeks, normal use
  • Translation Matrix Capabilities: Conversational libraries of 253 galactic civilisations. The combadge's universal translator also has the linguistic routines for rapid but basic translations of new languages encountered.

Subspace Transceiver Assembly

The heart of the communicator is the Subspace Transceiver Assembly (STA). This incorporates a low-power subspace field emitter and an analogue to digital voice encoder.

The STA is also used in other devices such as the PADD and tricorder for data transfer and communications functions, but the communicator offers the most versatility of the three devices:

  • Communicators are fully-capable of independent communications operation. When connected to a starship's more powerful communications systems, however, their built in range of 1,200 km is enhanced to 75,000 km.
  • Tricorders can offer limited-range emergency communication at the cost of reduced power cell life.
  • PADDs rely on a starship's computer and communications systems, and while they can be used for instance to display a subspace call, offering a convenient portable communications option, they are incapable of functioning as a communicator when not connected to the starship's computer.


  • Voice inputs are received by a monofilm pickup microphone. All Starfleet communications are encrypted, the voice signals are modified by the encryption assembly. The encryption algorithms used by Starfleet are changed on a random schedule.
  • Communicator range will improve if a planet's magnetic field is less than 0.9 gauss or mean geological density is less than 5.56 g/cc.


For security purposes the communicator can identify its user bioelectrical field and temperature profiles using a built-in dermal sensor array. If another crew member tries to use the communicator without security override authority, the communicator will not activate. During normal situations, security codes are changed every five days. In emergencies the codes change at least once every 24 hours.

Additional Features

Each communicator has a removable microfilament which can be used to modify the internal circuitry and activate additional systems, such as a homing signal. If the combadge's outer casing is broken, the homing signal is activated automatically to help rescue teams find bodies/survivors.

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