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It's most likely a military Voice / Tone Transmitter Box, probably used as a pilot survival radio/beacon.

More pics and info on this page.

They're guessing 1940'-1960's, operating in either the VHF or UHF AM range, maybe of UK origins.

Of course, we really know it as the wormhole emitter from the Back to the Future DeLorean...

 

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It is obviously a voice box
 

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It reminds of a wave guide. Possibly as part of some form of receiver which was used in one way communications to receive directed signals. Where it is marked voice and tone there was probably a large switch which pivoted on that stud/boss located at the center/edge. The switch probably allowed the guide to physically direct one signal or another out to be amplified.

responding to myself;

I think the switch (the pedestals near 'voice' and 'tone' are clearly stops for the travel of the switch) probably allows the operator to align the receiver/transmitter to a predetermined tone. Receive the tone clear and then switch to voice.

I do not believe that it mounts the way it is shown in the picture @Meese shared, it would be upside down for one thing.. The other is that the part where it says 'Receive' is clearly meant to be upright facing the operator and the arc relief is clearly meant to allow for switch travel or perhaps, a meter but I think it is for the switch to flop back and forth between voice and tone. The boss where the switch mounts is meant to be at the top (judging by the fact that 'Receive' should be legible)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's located on several different websites/forums, he's obviously put the feelers out to several places.
Yup. Trying to help the dude out... I figured with all the smart fellows around here (to say nothing of the advanced average age) one of ya'll may have actually operated one in the past and come back with "Yah... That's the doohicky that..."

:grin:
 

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It's a forum modulator isn't it? You just plug it in to the thread of your choice and adjust the noise and tone as desired. Boy, the things people can manufacture nowadays...:)
 

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I do not believe that it mounts the way it is shown in the picture @Meese shared, it would be upside down for one thing.
Maybe if I show you the zoomed-out picture: :D

 

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LMFAO!! Thanks for making my day!
No problem. :D

Near as anyone can tell, a special effects guy found two of these boxes in a military salvage store in L.A. in the mid-80's, polished one up, and mounted it to the De Lorean.

Ever since then, fans and veterans have been trying to figure out just where these two parts came from, with little actual success...
 

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The simple switching & size made me think of IFF & more importantly the Pip-Sqeak system ........... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pip-squeak
Maybe its the support element for one. This looks like a selector used for signal isolation, the fact that the end of throw on the switch is a mechanical post tells me that it was meant to be robust and that it probably took some effort to turn, also that it was moving something mechanically (an electronic switch would not need the stops). The lack of any kind of supports, rails, bosses, etc internally makes me think of a waveguide (mechanical amplifier/filter). It could be a pre-selector for a directional signal system but it lacks the supporting elements to be the actual system. You are right that the simple mechanism feels like a part of some form of early beaconing system.
 
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