Universal Current Disturbance Direction Finder

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The UCCDF in action
  • LGV Rota nicknamed this apparatus the "Cage à Moineau" (literally "sparrow cage") because listening to the Universal Currents with the headphones connected to this machine was like listening to bird songs, as if several birds were prisoners inside an unusual cage.
  • Two modeles were build. The first one was destroyed during 2nd world war. The second one still exists but needs some serious repairs.

How the UCDDF Works

Rota’s notes contain a description of the operation of this device.

The principle of the location of aircraft or boats at a distance Certain currents, are at the origin of crystallization of the earth and in the universe, each metallic element has been formed by the conjoined action of numerous natural currents, therefore each metal contains a quantity which when it is awakened become available.

The presence of a piece of metal whose energy has been awakened, produces in the field of one of the universal currents to which it owes its existence variations which can be observed. It has been found that a current develops a field 60 Km in diameter, its direction is constant but its other characteristics are variable.


These generalities being given and having noted the characteristics of the currents at different places in which aircraft fly it is possible to define at any moment at what distances they are, for example, of a point that an aircraft is seeking to reach. In the same way it is possible to determine the distance of a ship and more generally, of any metallic mass in movement.

A special apparatus exists (Cage à Moineaux) at the Installation at Mt-Saint-Aignan near Rouen which enables research into all the currents to study their characteristics and record their actions and reactions one upon the other. It is movable in a graduated circle and can be directed to all points on the horizon.

The complement of the apparatus is a phone treated with the appropriate currents to increase the sensitivity. The phone is connected by a wire to the apparatus.

When the apparatus A points in a given direction it intercepts a current C, the operator hears in the phone a particular auditory reaction R. If a metallic mass M, an aircraft for example, enters the field of C, the reaction heard differs R’ different to R.

When by trial and error a clear and maximum of response and is heard, the apparatus points in the direction of M.

The angle which that direction makes with respect to the horizontal AH is given by the apparatus and in resolving the triangle AMH the distance which separates the apparatus from the aircraft is given”.

Description of The UCDDF by LGV Rota

(Translated from the original document by Mike Watson)

Universal Current Disturbance Direction Finder

Apparatus permitting, (starting from a place where the velocity with respect to the earth is finite or zero), to locate, in the air, underground or under water fixed or mobile metallic masses.

Louis Rota

The present invention refers to an apparatus permitting with respect to a place where the velocity is finite or zero, to locate, in the air, underground or under water fixed or mobile metallic masses. This apparatus aims to reveal the perturbations that result from the presence of a metallic mass entering the fields of force produced by telluric currents. That effect, these perturbations are generators of differences in potential which are produced on the surfaces of pairs of insulated metallic cylinders. These cylinders are displaceable so that they rotate about their own axis and also may be moved relative to a system of sensors or probes conveniently placed around the place of observation the observatory.

Figure 1
Fig. 1
Figure 2
Fig. 2
Figure 3
Fig. 3

The drawings attached are a typical example:

  • Figure 1 is a schematic view of the installation which utilises the apparatus which is the object of the present invention.
  • Figure 2 and 3 are views of the lower and upper parts of the apparatus partly in elevation and partly as a vertical cut.
  • The view 4 is a lateral view of the mechanical assembly.

In the form representing a typical example, the apparatus consists of a base 1 in which is fixed a vertical rod 2. The hollow base 1 contains bevelled toothed wheels 3 and 4 which receive movement from the exterior by means of shaft 5 which is mounted on ball bearings. The pinion 4 of the said couple above it another conical pinion 6 which transmits the angular displacement in the opposite direction to the two pinions 7 on the two horizontal axes which extend either side as a prolongation of one another. The shafts 8 which carry the each of the pinions 7 are mounted in the diametric arms 9 by means of a hub10 and a casing in two parts. This hub 10 carries a horizontal 16 plate 11 in which are cut slots in the form of an arc. In these slots are engaged the screw 12 which is screwed into the table 13 which is part of the base 1 on which the plate 11 slides along the angular displacements of the casing. The graduations 14 allow the exact value of the displacement. The shafts 8 have at their extremities two chain pinions15.which we find issuing out of the arms of the casing. At the extremity of the arms 9 is mounted a vertical plate 6 carrying in its vertical plane of symmetry a slot 17 in the form of an arc with corresponding graduations 18. On the hub two extension bearers 19 are mounted. Each bearer is terminated by an eye, the one carries three slots and the other made in such a manner that it acts like a sliding clamp. The bearers 19 and ear 20 allow upward movement of:

  • a) The screw 21, which allows engagement with the slot 17 in the plate 16,
  • b) The end of one of the trapezium frame 22.

Each bearer 19 receives tube 23 and at its other extremity a clamp 24 holds a position that is secured by screw 25. The clamp 24 can act as a chain 26 tensioner and carries at one part the linkage for the branch of the support corresponding to 22, the other part an axle 27 has at its other remaining extremity a chain pinion 28 and on which is respectively fixed a completely closed hollow metallic cylinder 30. The trapezium frame 22 is correspondingly connected with a telescopic rod 31. The pinion 4 on the vertical axis acts via its vertical stack on a casting 32 which carries the lower annular insulating ring 33, in turn supporting the walls of the vertical cylinder34. In that casting 32 is housed the epicyclic gear group. In the bosses corresponding to that of the casing 35 and on the vertical fixed rod 2, rotate two opposed conical pinions 36, 37 of different diameters. Each of them engages with the teeth of the double satellite 38 which turns about the axis 39, which carries a central hub 40 and on also on the other side the casing 35. The upper conical planetary pinion 37 is attached to the plate 41 which also carries the insulating plate 42 which in turn is attached to the lower end wall of a cylinder 43 concentric to cylinder 34. 44 carries the insulating plates 45, 46 which close its opposite extremities.

The upper plate 43 of the external cylinder 34 is attached to the lower planetary 47 of one of the upper epicyclic train similar to that already described, with the exception that in this case the planetary gear is of greater diameter than the previous one placed at the bottom of the train. The double satellites 48 turn on their axes 49 which carry the central hub 50 and the casing 51. The other planetary 52 similar to the latter entrains by means of spacer 53 the gear housing 54 in such a manner that it turns to the left. Each of the arms of this structure is driven by the conical pinion differential 55 and planetary gears 56,57 turning on the aforesaid arms carry in one case the pinion 58 and in the other case a metallic cylinder 59 closed by insulating plates. The satellites 60 are mounted on the axes 61 belonging to the central hub 62 and it engages in the casing 55. The pinions 58 enmesh with the same wheel 63 well fixed to the vertical axis 2. By these methods, when one acts on the the exterior command device one provokes by means of the conical gear couple 3, 4 the following results:

  1. The displacement in opposite directions of pinions 7, rod 8 and the chain pinions 15 chain 26 and pinion 28 results in angular displacement in the opposite direction of the cylinders 30 about their horizontal axis 27 which the both have.
  2. The concentric cylinders 34, 43 have movement in the opposite direction and have different speeds about their vertical axis due to the planetary gears 36,37 in the lower epicyclic gear train.
  3. Displacement in the opposite sense and with a different speed of rotation of the upper left [hub] 54 by the vertical exterior cylinder 34, is produced by the drive for cylinders by [casing] 51 which carries [54] turns to the left and makes the axles of cylinders [59] move in a horizontal plane.
  4. Displacements about their respective axes of cylinders 59 is the consequence of the rotation of pinions 58 on the gear 63 fixed to the vertical shaft 2; the angular speed in opposite directions of the cylinders 59 are de-multiples of the differential coupling 55.

In addition and closely related to these automatic displacements are the lower horizontal cylinders 30 that can receive:

  • An angular displacement of their whole assembly about their vertical axis 30, such that the acxes of the cylinders move in the horizontal plane.
  • An angular displacement of the supports 23 of the vertical axis 27 of each cylinder 30 about the horizontal axis of the frame 8 that carries pinions 15, such that the axes of the cylinders 30 can, independent of one another, be placed at different heights in the same horizontal plane. The change in position of the horizontal cylinders 30 has no effect regarding the angular rotation that they receive about their respective axes arising from the drive shaft 5.

From the point of view of the installation and interconnections, the apparatus is set up as in Fig1 about the vertical axis 2 which is considered as the origin around which are placed the probes or sondes 64 either aerial terrestrial or aquatic. The probes or sondes are placed symmetrically and diametrically around the apparatus origin. These probes or sondes are made of cylinders open or closed non corrodible and not attacked by sea water etc. these sondes or probes are connected by means of conductors 65 to a fixed connector 66, with their being put alternately in contact with the pairs of slip rings 67, each pair is connected by means of cables traversing the support frame of the apparatus and the slip rings both the external or internal surface of the horizontal cylinders 30 and 59 and both the external or internal surfaces of the coaxial cylinders 34,43. The other brush such as 68 in contact with the internal or external surface of the said cylinders are connected by means of conductors to the brushes supported on the collector rings fixed on the extremity of the vertical support of the apparatus. The othe brushes and rings are also in contact in such a way as to utilise two by two to from a circuit which is connected to a measurement apparatus, visual (voltmeter for example) or sound ( headphones 69 with an amplifying circuit if needed).

If one of these circuits (circuit of the lower cylinders 30 for example) is considered, it is seen in the course of the angular displacement of the apparatus the brushes slide on the contacts of the collectors 66 of the exploration probes or sondes 64. The circuit passes by means of the external surfaces of the cylinders, through the upper collector-slip rings. From there the brushes ensure closure of the measuring circuit permitting the detector to measure the variations of the telluric currentson the bodies of the cylinders when the latter are displaced across the vertical plane defined by the diametrically opposed exploratory probes or sondes 64. It is possible to also recognise the perturbations which occur in the telluric currents when at a distance the field of lines of force is disturbed by the passage or presence of a metallic mass, for example, mass which introduces a heterogeneity into the homogeneity of the said field.

The angular displacement of the lower horizontal cylinders 30 which allows a variation in the height of their axes above the fixed horizontal plane, serving to realise views in different fixed horizontal planes, which allows verification in altitude or depth of the mass which disturbs the telluric field.

The cylinders utilised are of pure metal, non magnetic, such as copper silver zinc etc.. They can be of one single metal, either being constituted of cylinders fitting into each other or of different metals. These cylinders can in the latter case be pierced by windows allowing the appearance of the surface of the cylinder which is double. One can obtain an equivalent result by soldering longitudinal metallic bands or a ring on the cylinder in a different metal to that of the cylinder.


Apparatus permitting , (starting from a place where the velocity with respect to the earth is finite or zero), to locate, in the air, underground or under water fixed or mobile metallic masses.

  • the presence and the position of metallic masses in the controlled space are determined by the difference in potential engendered between the metallic surfaces of pairs of insulated cylinders, the cylinders being in effect mobile in rotation; in the one part about their own axis and in the other part relative to a system of probes or sondes; the latter being conveniently located about the place of observation and in the controlled space such as to be influenced by perturbations which the telluric field undergoes due to the presence of metallic masses.
  • The detector is constructed in the following manner:
    1. Two coaxially mounted insulated cylinders separated by an air gap and capable of being rotated on their axis in opposite directions and different velocity about a common axis.
    2. Two horizontal cylinders having the same axis but mounted either side of the vertical cylinders. These cylinders which can turn about their common axis can also receive a movement of gyration about the vertical axis.
    3. Two horizontal cylinders with their axes parallel either side of the vertical cylinders, these cylinders which can turn about their respective axis and at the same time about the vertical axis, they also can be placed at different heights by angular adjustment of their supporting frame.
  • The cylinders of each part can be put in contact, by their exterior surfaces, for example with the extreme radially opposed probes or sondes spread out in space, aerial, subterranean or aquatic. The interior surfaces of the cylinders of which the metal from which it is constructed can be different from that of the exterior part is connected via brushes to a detecting apparatus such as headphones or a visual instrument.
  • A control mechanism produces the following simultaneous actions:
    1. By means of an epicyclic gear chain a rotation in opposite directions and of different velocities of two vertical cylinders about their axis.
    2. Opposite rotations about their axes of two horizontal cylinders, their axes being parallel.
    3. Rotation by through the intermediary of one of the vertical cylinders, of an epicyclic gear chain and, if it is necessary to the horizontal axis on which the two upper cylinders are mounted in a prolongation one of the other and of the vertical axis. These cylinders receive equal angular velocities in the opposite direction about their common axis.
  • The parallel axes of the lower horizontal cylinders are carried by an adjustable system allowing the adjustment of the axes to variable heights with respect to the horizontal reference plane. The whole assembly can be rotated about the vertical axis of the vertical cylinders. Graduated scales allows measurement of the value in both the vertical and horizontal plane.

See Also

A00009 CageMoineau.jpg