Help Identifying Object: Likely Military Radio Related

#1
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 an active place to ask. I'm not the first person to try identifying this, but I do believe I've been the most active searcher as of recently.

Anyway, as I said, we 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). Below are some pictures of the objects.

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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.

I've asked several other forums about the object, so I figured I'd try here as well. Any help you all can provide is very much appreciated!
 

W21A

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
IIRC it's some thing like a ground to air emergency transceiver. Like a SARBE beacon. Voice to speak, tone for homing. The rocker switch having been removed .ETA, the default switch position would be receive, with voice and tone positions being spring loaded back to receive, as both were transmit using more battery power.
 
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#5
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 an active place to ask. I'm not the first person to try identifying this, but I do believe I've been the most active searcher as of recently.

Anyway, as I said, we 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). Below are some pictures of the objects.

View attachment 398526
View attachment 398525
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View attachment 398524
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View attachment 398521

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.

I've asked several other forums about the object, so I figured I'd try here as well. Any help you all can provide is very much appreciated!
Looks like an optical transceiver head unit. A bit like binoculars but for sending and receiving light/infra-red. Line of sight only. Needs to be mounted on a stand and aligned with the other transceiver. Oddly enough I'm sure someone else was asking about an optical transceiver set recently. Speech or tone would possibly swap between a microphone and a morse key.

ETA. Found the article I was looking for. To be fair I'm not surprised you didn't find it.

Link to pdf article on light beam communications 1935. http://www.la6nca.net/tysk2/lispr/lispr.pdf

Here is a two part article with photos of a field test of the German 'Light Speaker 80' (my crude translation), on a tripod:
GERMAN, WWII, WW2, Lichtsprechgerät 80/80

GERMAN, WWII, WW2, Lichtsprechgerät 80/80

This article is about a laser based unit but the basic principal is the same.
Say It With Lasers: $45M DoD Prize For Optical Coms

ETA 2: Re Apex Electronics, there is an Apex Surplus in California that deals with Surplus Electronics and quite likely had the kit pass through their stores.

About Us
 
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#6
IIRC it's some thing like a ground to air emergency transceiver. Like a SARBE beacon. Voice to speak, tone for homing. The rocker switch having been removed .ETA, the default switch position would be receive, with voice and tone positions being spring loaded back to receive, as both were transmit using more battery power.
I've heard the idea of a emergency radio before, and even mention of a SARBE. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any evidence to back this up, outside of the implied switch positions. Definitely no photographic proof as of yet, but I'm not saying it's completely off the table yet.

Looks like an optical transceiver head unit. A bit like binoculars but for sending and receiving infra-red. Line of sight only. Needs to be mounted on a stand and aligned with the other transceiver. Oddly enough I'm sure someone else was asking about an optical transceiver set recently. Speech or tone would possibly swap between a microphone and a morse key.

ETA. Found the article I was looking for. To be fair I'm not surprised you didn't find it.

Link to pdf article on light beam communications 1935. http://www.la6nca.net/tysk2/lispr/lispr.pdf
I have seen pictures of the Lichtsprechgerät 80/80 before, and there's definitely a resemblance. I wouldn't be surprised if the object is an optical transceiver, but in all my searching I haven't found anything to confirm it yet.

Still, if either of you find definitive proof I'd be very appreciative to see it. In the meantime, thanks for the input so far!
 
#7
I've heard the idea of a emergency radio before, and even mention of a SARBE. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any evidence to back this up, outside of the implied switch positions. Definitely no photographic proof as of yet, but I'm not saying it's completely off the table yet.



I have seen pictures of the Lichtsprechgerät 80/80 before, and there's definitely a resemblance. I wouldn't be surprised if the object is an optical transceiver, but in all my searching I haven't found anything to confirm it yet.

Still, if either of you find definitive proof I'd be very appreciative to see it. In the meantime, thanks for the input so far!
If you want "definitive proof" that it's an optical transceiver, the contact details are on the web pages linked. Over to you to follow them up and make enquiries.
 
#8
If you want "definitive proof" that it's an optical transceiver, the contact details are on the web pages linked. Over to you to follow them up and make enquiries.
I think I've already tried contacting those people about it and never heard back. I could try again, but I don't think it's directly related to the Lichtsprechgerät 80/80 at least. Outside of the overall shape and two large holes they're not very similar design wise, plus if it was German it probably wouldn't have English words on it. In any case it could still be an English version of the same concept, just a matter of finding the right people to ask
 
#9
I think I've already tried contacting those people about it and never heard back. I could try again, but I don't think it's directly related to the Lichtsprechgerät 80/80 at least. Outside of the overall shape and two large holes they're not very similar design wise, plus if it was German it probably wouldn't have English words on it. In any case it could still be an English version of the same concept, just a matter of finding the right people to ask
You could try Zeiss who developed the Lichtsprechgerat. Don’t hesitate to contact us. in case they know of other manufacturers but it's possible they may no longer have the details.

"At the end of the war, Jena was occupied by the US Army. When Jena and Dresden were incorporated into the Soviet occupation zone, later East Germany, some parts of Zeiss Jena were relocated by the US army to the Contessa manufacturing facility in Stuttgart, West Germany, while the remainder of Zeiss Jena was reestablished by the (Eastern) German Democratic Republic as Kombinat VEB Zeiss Jena.[9] As part of the World War II reparations, the Soviet army took most of the existing Zeiss factories and tooling back to the Soviet Union as the Kiev camera works." Carl Zeiss AG - Wikipedia

US research on the "photophone" continued in the 1950's using high brightness lamps. Good luck finding info on that.

This article has superb photographs and suggests that the Lichtsprechgerät 80 previously mentioned was "rescued" by an American soldier Lichtsprechgerät 80 - LiSpr. 80

This site has info on the Atlantic Wall which may be of interest to others but here is the page specific to this topic: Lichtsprechgerät 80, Optics, Bunkeroptik | Bunkersite.com

Interestingly there was another Zeiss photophone, although it looks quite different:
Lichtsprechgerät 250/130 - Photophone Li.Spr.250/130 - Carl Zeiss Lichtsprechgerat

German instructions http://www.cdvandt.org/D-877-2-Lichtsprechger-80mm.pdf
 
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#12
Have you been in touch with the BCS(British Computer Society)?

In the early stages of transmitting data. You had to switch the analogue phone off to be able to use the router for data. The noise when connected and transmitted data Tx(transfer) and Rx(received) a multitude of different tones. The principle of this in an enterprise network is similar. It would be split between data and voice on a patch panel to the switch. Even at the desk ports you generally still have RJ 45 twin ports again assigned by voice and data.

Just a thought. When something in IT has been improved. It tends to be seen as a better new technology. For example the mainframe computer, became a raid array server, became a data centre, became (pretty much) the cloud. Most importantly of all. Its equipment has always, as a rule. Become smaller.

It could also be an old facsimile part. They used to be a good size. Also used through telephony based (voice / data, or tone) methodology.
 

W21A

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
From an ex RAF AEO of many years experience including SAR, it is the case of a Personal Locator Beacon, likely a derivative of a SARBE 7. He recognised it straight away.
 
#15
From an ex RAF AEO of many years experience including SAR, it is the case of a Personal Locator Beacon, likely a derivative of a SARBE 7. He recognised it straight away.
I'll look into this very closely. If you can get any more info (years produced, what country, etc) I'd really appreciate it. Regardless, thanks!
 

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