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Vintage Amateur and Military Radio Amateur/military receivers and transmitters, morse, and any other related vintage comms equipment.

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Old 29th May 2019, 6:52 am   #1
Dwurban
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Question Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Hello everyone.

Hopefully this is the right place to post this, I've been asking all over the internet for help identifying this object I have pictures of and this place seems like a good place to ask, especially since someone recently recommended I try the avenue of UK Military Radio and not just USA Military.

I should mention that I'm not the first person to try identifying this object. Plenty of people have asked before me, but I think I am the most active searcher recently.

Well anyway, I've got have pictures of this unknown object that I, and several others, have been trying to identify for quite some time. We only know of two of them existing. Both were used as movie props, which is how we know about them and have pictures of them. But trying to find where they came from is a complete mystery. They were found sometime in the early to mid 1980s in California, likely at an electronic surplus yard like Apex Electronics. Both objects are made of aluminum and weigh 2 pounds. The only writing on it are the words VOICE, TONE, and RECEIVE (though RECEIVE has been sanded off on both objects). I've attached some pictures of the objects below, but for more detailed pics, as well as measurements of the object, check this link: https://imgur.com/a/JpRw4tB

Our best guess is that it was from some sort of portable military radio. The ears on the sides would act as belt loops, and the VOICE and TONE were markers for a switch, similar to other military radios. Despite our best efforts, however, no one can find a clear, definitive answer as to what these things are and where they came from before being used as props.

Any help you all can provide is very much appreciated!
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Old 29th May 2019, 11:45 am   #2
G8BBZ
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Hi,
I think this is the casing for an optical transceiver. The attached photo shows a similar equipment used by the Wehrmacht in WW2- bigger but same basic idea. Lots more info on the website of LA6NCA.
cheers
Peter G8BBZ
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Old 29th May 2019, 1:16 pm   #3
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

That's what I think too. A modulated light transceiver / light-beam telephone, not unlike the ones a friend and myself built in the early 70s.
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Old 29th May 2019, 5:25 pm   #4
Dwurban
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Thanks guys. This wouldn't be the first time these devices have come up in my search. But so far in what researching I've done I haven't found any proof that they're related, outside of the similar appearance. Not to say they're not, but if they are, it's not very well documented
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Old 29th May 2019, 5:38 pm   #5
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Does the Voice/Tone shaft connect to anything in the right hand tube?

Lawrence.

Last edited by ms660; 29th May 2019 at 5:41 pm. Reason: rewrite
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Old 29th May 2019, 6:55 pm   #6
Dwurban
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

It does not. The switch position doesn't connect to anything on the inside. Here's some more pics that can hopefully show that
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Old 30th May 2019, 8:00 am   #7
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

The lugs towards the big holes end look like guides/retainers for a mounting strap.

The tone-voice quadrant and pivot pin seem to have no direct connection to the thing itself, so it must have been a convenient place to put a control for something not now there.

Machining marks show the main bores were cut with a right-size end mill in a straight plunge cut. Quicker than a boring mill or lathe job, but less precise.

I'm not sure it's even radio or electronic. Could just be a mounting bracket.

David
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Old 30th May 2019, 10:33 am   #8
ms660
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Do the two pin holes either side of the shaft go anywhere?

Lawrence.
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Old 30th May 2019, 6:09 pm   #9
Dwurban
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Thanks for the observation, David!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ms660 View Post
Do the two pin holes either side of the shaft go anywhere?

Lawrence.
I don't believe so, I think they were just used for holding screws. There's also a possibility that they weren't there originally and were drilled once the object was used as a prop, but take this with a grain of salt, we don't know for sure.
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Old 31st May 2019, 6:47 am   #10
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Could it possibly an early microwave transmitter receiver using a Gunn diode. One large hole as transmit, the other receive and the centre chamber tthat goes between the two large holes providing the mixing function?

Peter
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Old 31st May 2019, 7:18 am   #11
Dwurban
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Default Re: Help Identifying Object: Likely from an old Military Radio

Hmm...this might actually be a solid lead. I haven't heard of a microwave transmitter in all my hours of searching, so I'll give it a go. Hopefully it'll lead to something, thanks for the tip!
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