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).