Ten tips for exploration in lowsec.
1- use 2 ships, a dedicated scan ship preferably a cov ops, the second ship should be CHEAP, you don’t need huge tank or DPS output to solo radar and mag sites, something like a arbitrator or vexor will easily do. You want something cheap because while you are in these sites is while you are vulnerable as you cant use cloaks while hacking or slavaging ect. I prefer drone boats as they allow you do decent damage plus fit a good tank and all the mids/highs for code breakers salvagers ect. Also the size of the cargo hold in cruisers will normally just fit the loot from these sites.
2- Pick half a dozen low population systems in lowsec close together (never a high sec or null entry point) and set up safe spots to scan from.. when you undock in your scan ship warp to these spots to launch your probes the fly off in a direction cloaked while you scan. NEVER launch probes next to a station , gate or from a asteroid belt. If you have a nippy cov ops you will be near impossible to catch if you follow this rule.
3- Fit for speed. The biggest advantage of using small-ish ships is their ability to align fast and move before people can lock them- use this! You want to be nippy to zip through most gate camps and GTFO, also helps if there are asshats station camping.
4- If you have a Jump Clones, dedicate one to exploration and fill his head with the CORRECT implants. Snake implants are good as the boost your speed and align times, and the prospector implants help a lot. And can make the difference finding some sites.
5- Never start a site if there is a fleet in system, be patient , move to the next system in you cluster to scan sites down and come back to it..it will almost always still be there. If your already in a site and a fleet warps in, align out and watch d scan like a hawk, if you see incoming ships bail, but most fleets wont bother looking for a solo cruiser they hunt bigger game.
6- When you scan, use 5 probes, from a top down view laid out in a + formation with each of the 4 outer probes overlapping the centre probe. Start at 34 AU and work your way down, focus on one signal at a time. It takes practice. Line the centre probe up on the signal on the x,y AND z axis and keep reducing the scan size and pulling the outer probes closer until you get a 100% hit.
7- After each site haul you loot back to a station, this should be self explanatory, if you get caught with your pants down you don’t lose all your work. Also if you fill you ship up you may have to leave the site before you have looted everything and the site may despawn.
8- Don’t panic..it gets you killed. If you come through a gate into a camp or have someone warp in on you at the sites don’t lose your head, if you do you will always lose your ship stay calm, but act FAST, unless you have combat experience warp out ASAP. If at a gate align and warp quickly. If you have a cloak use it.
9- Deposit all you loot at 1 station, as close to high sec as you can get it. Then figure a way of getting the loot out..bear in mind hauls could be valued in the 100 mill mark, so have a plan to transport it, either with a blockade runner or some other means. If your like me you will prefer to do more runs at smaller value to avoid emo rage quit. When you get the loot out, it is a buzz.
10- If you become well know for exploration in a certain area, people may try to hunt you more often, counter this by every onw and again sitting at a site in a well tanked ship with several friends waiting nearby to warp in and lend a hand.. this tends to make people think twice before interrupting you in future.
If you follow these rules you can make lowsec exploration a fun and profitable experience, netting between 10 and 50 mill a site (the sites take around 10 15 min’s each once you find them). It breaks up the tedium of mission running and can get the blood pumping in a really good way. It also helps you become familiar with moving and living in lowsec. If you want to further increase profits, each time you ship a haul out of lowsec, import some ammo or other goods to sell in lowsec at a small mark up.
I hope this helps any budding explorers take their first steps into this sneaky fast paced world…and stay away from my sites ;)