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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 37
September 14, 2001


* +Amateurs respond to terrorist attacks
* +ARRL president expresses pride in ham radio
* +Hams among the missing at World Trade Center
* +Wildfires stretch ARES resources in California
* +New ARISS antennas to launch in November
* +Hurricane Watch Net activates for Erin
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
    +North American Sprint (SSB) cancelled
    +Johnston Island K3J DXpedition on the air
    +Kodiak Star launch delayed as a result of terrorist attacks
     W9GFZ special event postponed
     It's business as usual for AMSAT-NA Symposium and Annual Meeting
     2001 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference to proceed on schedule
     DXCC Annual List deadline modified
     Former HQ staff member recovering from surgery
     Hiram Percy Maxim Award presented at Missouri convention
     Wisconsin PRB-1 drive appears to be overcoming sponsor's resignation
     Lansing, Michigan, HamFair canceled
     Ward Silver, N0AX, to edit QST "Contest Corral"

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Some already are calling it "Amateur Radio's Finest Hour," as volunteers
answer the call to assist in ongoing relief and recovery operations in New
York City, Washington, DC, and western Pennsylvania in the wake of terrorist
attacks on the US September 11. The need continues for operators to assist
over the long haul, however. Current estimates suggest hams may be needed
for a month or longer in the New York City area, and for at least the next
two weeks in Washington, DC.

Along with most other federal agencies, the FCC closed its offices and sent
its employees home following the attacks. The FCC issued no emergency
declarations nor other special instructions to the Amateur Radio community.
The ARRL advised amateurs to stay alert to instructions from local

New York City-Long Island Section Emergency Coordinator Tom Carrubba, KA2D,
reports that hams have been supporting emergency officials and the American
Red Cross relief and recovery effort. Amateurs have been staffing several
Red Cross shelters in addition to a staging/National Disaster Medical System
center, various Red Cross units, and the Greater New York City American Red
Cross Headquarters as well as the New York City Office of Emergency

Carrubba says the telephone system in lower Manhattan continues to be
problematic because of the high call volume. "American Red Cross
communications are overloaded, and traffic from the shelters is coming into
the New York City net at a rapid pace," he said. "The Amateur Radio ops are
doing a great job under very difficult and strange conditions, but this is
what they have trained for; they are getting it done well."

Red Cross Communications Officer Jay Ferron, N4GAA, agreed. "The Amateur
Radio community has come out very big and very strong," he said, adding that
local clubs and repeater groups have volunteered gear, frequencies and

New York City District Emergency Coordinator Charles Hargrove, N2NOV, has
expressed his appreciation to the amateur community. "Thank you for all the
support and well wishes," he said. "This is a difficult time for all of us.
We appreciate all the amateurs who have volunteered their time and

Carrubba also cited the ongoing efforts of Guy Richman, KC2AYG, who has been
coordinating net controls for the ARES nets, and Manhattan ARRL EC John
Kiernan, KE2UN.

Carrubba is seeking additional volunteers from the Greater New York City
region. He has asked out-of-state volunteers to "stand by until we can
provide for your safety and comfort." Volunteers need a VHF (2-meter) or,
preferably, a VHF/UHF (2-meter/70-cm) mobile radio, power supply and cables,
and mobile/portable mag-mounted gain antenna. Carrubba says hand-helds are
not sufficient to deal with the difficult operating conditions. 

"Operators are still needed," he said, but stressed, "This is a difficult

Amateurs are working two 12-hour shifts per day, 8 AM to 8 PM and 8 PM to 8
AM, "plus or minus three or four hours, mostly plus," Carrubba said.
Additional information is available on the ARRL Web site

At the scene of the Pentagon attack near Washington, DC, Virginia Section
Emergency Coordinator Tom Gregory, N4NW, reports an "upbeat" crew of about
two dozen amateurs is staffing six Amateur Radio stations in the immediate
vicinity of the Pentagon. "What shocked me the most was the devastation you
can see right there, 100 feet from the building," Gregory said. "The
destruction is total."

The ARES operation is providing logistical support between the Salvation
Army's relief and recovery effort on site and the agency's Arlington
headquarters. The Salvation Army has deployed several mobile canteens and a
feeding unit to serve military and civilian emergency personnel assigned to
the recovery operation. 

"What we're finding is that communication is very difficult because of the
tremendous amount of noise from the construction-type equipment and the
generators providing power for the lights and support staff," Gregory said.
Because of the noise level, operators are being rotated frequently in and
out of the immediate vicinity of the attack. "There's the emotion of it, and
there's the tremendous amount of noise, and it's very grating on you because
you can hardly hear the radio to communicate," Gregory explained.

Gregory described the entire area as "very crowded with people" inside and
outside the Pentagon. "People and equipment cleaning up, finding bodies,
finding plane parts, firefighters still checking for hot spots, hoses,
equipment," he said. "The damage to the building looks worse when you are
right next to it than it does on TV."

"I found that it took me a few minutes to realize the gravity of what was
going on and the importance of what we hams are doing in our own small way
to help out," Gregory said. "The devastation of that building is awesome,
and it puts things in perspective and it certainly made me proud to be an
Amateur Radio operator and serve the people of the United States by offering
the support we could."

The Pentagon ARES operation continues to seek volunteers. "Because of the
immensity of the thing, we're trying to have six amateurs on duty at all
times," he said. "We need 20 volunteers every day for at least two weeks."
Volunteers should e-mail Tom Gregory, N4NW, at

Gregory emphasized that Pentagon site security is extremely tight. All ham
volunteers must have a photo ID issued by a government entity to the secured
area. "The FBI is handling issuance of IDs for access to the secured area
and is doing a complete NCIC check before a photo ID is issued," Gregory

At the so-called "fourth" plane crash site in rural Somerset County western
Pennsylvania, Kevin Custer, W3KKC, reports a busy scene as the investigation
continues. Custer arranged preliminary repeater communication into and out
of the crash site on Tuesday to help the Red Cross, Salvation Army,
Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and other state and federal agencies on
the scene. 

Custer said the investigation could continue for several weeks. "At this
time we are preparing for the possibility of family members coming to the
crash site--or close by," he said.

Montgomery County, Maryland, Deputy RACES Officer John Creel, WB3GXW,
observed that while the enormity of the attacks is bound to touch the
amateur community directly or indirectly, he has seen nothing but
professionalism among the responding operators in his area. Creel advised
amateurs to "just be prepared," and he echoed the sentiment of many that the
events of September 11 "will be with us for the rest of our lives. 

More detailed and updated information on Amateur Radio's involvement in the
disaster relief and recovery efforts is available on the ARRL Web site


ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, has expressed his deep appreciation to
amateurs throughout the world who have sent messages of condolence and
support. Haynie also praised the actions of Amateur Radio volunteers.

"The shock and horror of yesterday morning's events are still fresh in our
minds," Haynie said the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks. "Radio
amateurs in New York City and elsewhere around the country are doing
everything they can to support the authorities in locating and assisting
victims. We know that there are many among us who have been touched
personally by these tragedies, but there is comfort in knowing that we are
not alone in our grief."

"Never have I felt more strongly about what a great privilege it is to be a
part of the extraordinary global community of Amateur Radio," Haynie

Messages of support arrived throughout the week at ARRL Headquarters from
International Amateur Radio Union member societies and from individual
amateurs around the world. Japan Amateur Radio League President Shozo Hara,
JA1AN, expressed "great shock and dismay" at the attacks in New York and
Washington and offered "heartfelt condolences to the victims and families of
the victims" as well as any assistance JARL could offer. Deutscher
Amateur-Radio Club Managing Director Bernd Haefner, DB4DL, relayed similar
sentiments. "At this horrible time, we all are Americans," he wrote.

ARRL Vice President Kay Craigie, WT3P, noted that, on a day when many
Americans were rushing home to be with their families, many radio amateurs
were assisting in the emergency response. "Compared to the sacrifices by
emergency responders in New York City and at the Pentagon, it was a small
thing, yet a thing that should not go without notice."


At least four Amateur Radio operators are among the many still missing in
the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New
York City. The attack also destroyed the major TV and radio transmitting
site atop one of the twin towers.

The hams reported missing so far include:

 * Steven A. "Steve" Jacobson, N2SJ, 53, of New York City, a transmitter
engineer for WPIX TV, and an ARRL member.

 * William V. "Bill" Steckman, WA2ACW, of W Hempstead, New York, a
transmitter engineer for WNBC TV. He was well know in the NYC area and ran a
number of repeaters from the World Trade Center, most notably the 434 MHz
ATV repeater.

 * Robert D. "Bob" Cirri Sr, KA2OTD, 39, an ARRL member from Nutley, New
Jersey and the ARRL District Emergency Coordinator for Hudson County. A Port
Authority police officer, Cirri was on the job helping to evacuate workers
from the building when it collapsed. 

 * Michael G. Jacobs, AA1GO, 54, an ARRL member from Danbury, Connecticut.
Jacobs worked at Fiduciary Trust Company International, which had offices in
the World Trade Center.

The collapse of the World Trade Center brought down the master TV
transmitting antenna that served all but one television station in New York
City, as well as several radio stations and amateur repeaters. "The
broadcast community is in absolute shock," said Hudson Division Vice
Director Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, who works for ABC News. "We all knew
transmitter engineers, we all knew people who worked up in those towers near
those big television transmitters, and they're gone."

Mendelsohn said many viewers in the Greater New York City Area who are not
on cable can only see WCBS, channel 2, which maintains its transmitter site
on the Empire State Building. WCBS has offered assistance and space to help
the other stations get back on the air from its site, he said.

"None of the other transmitters exist anymore. They're in the rubble along
with the master antenna system, hundreds and hundreds of two-way radio
system antennas, and boxes and, of course, untold thousands of people who

There was cause for rejoicing in the case of another amateur who worked in
the World Trade Center. Rob Nall, WV0S, reports that his friend, Herman
Belderok, Jr, KB0EEB, managed to get out of the building just minutes before
the structure collapsed.


The wildfire rampage in Northern California took a toll on Amateur Radio
Emergency Service resources there. Sacramento Valley-North Section Emergency
Coordinator Dave Thorne, K6SOJ, says maintaining 24-hour-per-day operations
at evacuation centers and at the Red Cross chapter in Chico, plus providing
field operators and HQ stations for the California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection exhausted the pool of trained ARES operators.

"As of today, things are beginning to de-escalate, and our ARES members are
being released as appropriate," Thorne said September 10.

The latest major wildfire erupted September 6 north of Lake Oroville in
Butte County. Dubbed the "Poe Fire," it consumed more than 7500 acres,
destroyed 27 homes, and prompted the evacuation of more than 400 residences,
according to news reports. Emergency Coordinator Steve Kaps, N6NPN, says
that the Butte/Glenn County ARES team was activated right away by the county
emergency manager to provide emergency and auxiliary communication for the
American Red Cross. Kaps said ARES also assisted CDF when its normal
communication channel became overloaded. 

The Sacramento Valley Section mutual aid plan was activated last Friday,
September 7, but ARES teams from nearby Shasta County already were involved
in their own fire-related activity and unavailable. Thorne says ARES
operators from Tehama County and from as far away as Siskiyou County were
dispatched, and some remained on duty earlier this week.

"These dedicated volunteers are to be commended," he said. "For some it was
over a 300 mile round trip, and they pay their own expenses."

The Poe Fire was the fifth major wildfire this year to hit the Sacramento
Valley-North's eight-county service area.


New Amateur Radio on the International Space Station antennas could be in
place by early 2002. In addition, plans now call for splitting the current
initial ARISS equipment into separate ham stations aboard the ISS--initially
2 meters in one location and 70 cm in the second.

ARISS Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said the new flight antenna systems were
shipped earlier this month to Johnson Space Center for a bench review. "We
will be having our final safety review with NASA on September 18," he said.
He said prototype units already have been tested to see if they withstand
the temperature extremes and "thermal shock" of space. Technical testing for
SWR and pattern also has been completed.

The new antennas--designed to cover HF, VHF, UHF, and the 1.2 and 2.4 GHz
bands--are expected to be transported to the ISS in late November aboard the
shuttle Endeavour on the STS-108 mission. The new antennas could be
installed during a space walk early next year after the Expedition 4 crew is
aboard. Bauer said training to install the new antennas is under way.

Once the appropriate gear is in place, ARISS operation could extend from HF
through 2.4 GHz. The HF antenna is a 2.5-meter long flexible tape. Bauer
thinks it will definitely work on 10 meters and speculated that it might
work on 15 or 20 too. The new antennas will be arrayed around the perimeter
of the ISS Russian Service Module--or Zvezda.

Bauer says a 2-meter station will remain in the Russian "Functional Cargo
Block"--also called the FGB or Zarya--and will use the existing Russian
antennas now used for ARISS. Once the new antennas have been deployed, a
second station will be set up in the Service Module. In the short term, that
will be a 70-cm station, but in the long term, the Service Module station
will support expanded capabilities.

The new antenna systems were developed by the US, Italian and Russian ARISS
partners. Bauer concedes the hardest part of the process has been getting
the new antennas space-ready. "I want to thank all the individuals from
around the world who have enabled the ARISS team to get this far," he said.
"It has been a challenging effort. Your persistence and can-do spirit
enabled the antenna systems to go from just a dream to reality." 

Visit the ARISS Web site, <>;.


The Hurricane Watch Net and operators at W4EHW at the National Hurricane
Center in Miami activated for 11 hours over the September 8-9 weekend to
keep an eye on Hurricane Erin. The storm, which had threatened Bermuda, was
still a Category 1 hurricane at week's end.

The Hurricane Watch Net and W4EHW activated September 9 at 1100 UTC and
terminated operations at 2200 UTC after the storm had passed east of Bermuda
with no significant impact.

W4EHW Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4JR reports that
W4EHW received many live surface reports from Bermuda. W4EHW operated on the
Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz as well as on the Bermuda Emergency Net on
14.275 MHz. Ripoll and the Hurricane Watch Net's Mike Pilgrim, K5MP,
reported that up to a half dozen Bermuda hams provided storm data, including
measured weather surface reports and visual observations of the surf. 

The storm, with winds at 80 MPH, moved into the Atlantic. By week's end,
forecasters were calling for large swells affecting the US East Coast and
the Canadian Maritimes.

The Hurricane Watch Net <>; activates 14.325 MHz whenever a
hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or becomes a serious
threat to a populated area.


Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily
sunspot numbers were up more than 86 points this week, and average solar
flux rose 39 points. The daily sunspot number peaked on Sunday at 291, the
highest value since April 1. Solar flux peaked on Tuesday at 249.7, also the
highest since April 1. Solar flux is expected to level off over the next few
days, to 235 on Friday, 225 on Saturday and Sunday, and around 215 on

There have been several coronal mass ejections since September 11, but they
were not Earth-directed. Geomagnetic conditions have been quiet this week,
but on Thursday we experienced a rise in activity. On Friday the predicted
planetary A index is 20, and conditions are expected to be unsettled after

Sunspot numbers for September 6 through 12 were 204, 288, 281, 291, 217, 180
and 228, with a mean of 241.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 222.2, 226.1, 249.5,
236.2, 244.5, 249.7 and 235.1, with a mean of 237.6. Estimated planetary A
indices were 8, 6, 7, 7, 5, 9 and 13, with a mean of 7.9.



* This weekend on the radio: YLRL Howdy Days, the QRP Afield event
<>;, the AGB NEMIGA Contest, the Air
Force Anniversary QSO Party, the ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest, the
Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW), the Washington State Salmon Run, and the
Tennessee QSO Party are the weekend of September 15-16. JUST AHEAD: The CQ
WW RTTY Contest, the Scandinavian Activity Contest (SSB) and the Radio Club
Panama XXX Anniversary Contest are the weekend of September 22-23. NOTE: The
dates indicated in September QST ("Contest Corral") for the CQ WW RTTY
Contest are incorrect. The contest is September 29-30 weekend. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page, and for more info.

* North American Sprint (SSB) cancelled: The North American Sprint (SSB)
sponsored by NCJ and scheduled for September 16, 0000-0400 UTC, has been
canceled. "This is being done out of respect to all affected by this week's
events and also to eliminate any possibility of interference from the
contest with emergency communication that may be going on," said SSB Sprint
Manager Jim Stevens, K4MA.

* Johnston Island K3J DXpedition on the air: The K3J DXpedition to Johnston
Island got on the air September 13 and will remain on the island until
September 18. The team had been held up in Hawaii after airline travel was

* Kodiak Star launch delayed as a result of terrorist attacks: The Kodiak
Star launch that will carry three Amateur Radio payloads--including the US
Naval Academy's PCSat APRS satellite--into space from Kodiak, Alaska, has
been delayed due to travel disruptions caused by the recent terrorist
attacks. NASA says the launch has been rescheduled for September 20, at 0100
UTC (9 PM Eastern, September 19). The Kodiak Star mission comprises four
small satellites that will be launched aboard a Lockheed Martin Athena 1
rocket. The launch will mark the first orbital launch from the new Kodiak
Launch Complex in Alaska. PCsat is a 1200-baud APRS digipeater to be
accessible using H-Ts and mobiles. It will operate on 145.825 MHz. Starshine
3 is a mirror ball with AX.25 9600-baud telemetry on 145.825 MHz, and
Sapphire has 1200-baud AX.25 telemetry and a voice replay on 437.1 MHz.

* W9GFZ special event postponed: Due to this week's terrorist attacks, the
National Radio Astronomy Observatory Amateur Radio Club has postponed the
W9GFZ special event operation scheduled for this weekend, September 15-16,
from the NRAO in Green Bank, West Virginia. The special event will be
reschuled for a later time.--Dave Finley, N1IRZ 

* It's business as usual for AMSAT-NA Symposium and Annual Meeting: AMSAT-NA
President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, says he and the AMSAT-NA Board of
Directors have agreed that the AMSAT-NA Symposium and Annual Meeting in
Atlanta the weekend of October 5-7 will proceed on schedule. "At present we
do not see any reason why any changes should be made," Haighton said, "and
we totally agree with those who believe that 'business should proceed
normally as soon as possible, to show that we will not be beaten by a bunch
of terrorists'." Haighton said the more who attend in Atlanta, "the bigger
and stronger will be that message." Haighton invited AMSAT members and
nonmembers to attend. "I look forward to seeing a record crowd!" More
information and a registration form is available on the AMSAT-NA Web site,

* 2001 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference to proceed on schedule:
The 20th ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference will be held as
scheduled September 21-23 in Cincinnati. The annual gathering provides an
international forum for radio amateurs involved in digital communication,
networking, and related technologies to meet, publish their work, and
present new ideas and techniques for discussion. Sessions at the beginner,
intermediate, and advanced levels will be offered in selected areas of
digital communication. Tony Curtis, K3RXK, will be the banquet speaker
Saturday evening. Full DCC information, a registration form, and hotel
information may be obtained by contacting Tucson Amateur Packet Radio,
972-671-TAPR (8277); fax 972-671-8716; e-mail:;

* DXCC Annual List deadline modified: Effective immediately, all
applications for DXCC credit that are postmarked by September 30 will be
eligible for inclusion in the DXCC Annual List that will appear in the 2001
DXCC Yearbook. It's not necessary that applications actually be received at
ARRL Headquarters in Newington by that date. All submittals must show clear
evidence of a postmark or posting date. This change should alleviate most
problems arising from recently reported mail delays. Applications will be
listed on the ARRL Web site DXCC page
<>; as they are received. 

* Former HQ staff member recovering from surgery: Former ARRL Headquarters
staff member Bob White, W1CW, is recovering from heart surgery at a Tampa,
Florida, hospital. An ARRL Life Member, White, 81, worked at Headquarters
for 25 years, primarily managing the DXCC program. He's also a CQ DX Hall of
Fame member. His wife Ellen, W1YL, and their son Jim, K4OJ--also former HQ
staffers--have expressed their thanks for the outpouring of e-mail and get
well wishes.  thank everyone for the outpouring of e-mail and get-well
wishes. "My father is pleased by the number of e-mails he has received from
hams around the world," said Jim White. "This has been very helpful to him."
He said his father remains in good spirits. His prognosis is for several
weeks' post-operative recovery at the hospital before being allowed to
return home. E-messages can be sent to his home care of Ellen White, 

* Hiram Percy Maxim Award presented at Missouri convention: At the recent
Missouri State Convention, ARRL Midwest Division Director Wade Walstrom,
W0EJ, presented 2000 Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award winner Thaddeus W.
Huff, KC0AQG, with a plaque and a check for $1000. Huff, 19, lives in
Clarence, Missouri, and attends Moberly Area Community College, where he
majors in criminal justice. Huff is active in community development and has
spearheaded several programs to benefit his community, including an exhibit
at the Clarence Community Resources Exposition to demonstrate Amateur Radio
and emergency communications. A member of the Amateur Radio Emergency
Service, he has organized severe weather spotting courses for Macon and
Shelby counties. The Hiram Percy Maxim Award goes each year to a radio
amateur under the age of 21 whose accomplishments and contributions are of
the most exemplary nature within the framework of Amateur Radio activities.
The award was established in 1936, and formal nominations come from section

* Wisconsin PRB-1 drive appears to be overcoming sponsor's resignation:
Wisconsin's PRB-1 bill, Assembly Bill 368, appears to be retaining its
momentum despite the recent resignation of the measure's Assembly sponsor,
Rep Joan Wade of Montello. Wade, who resigned August 31, had introduced
AB-368 earlier this year. The bill now will be in the hands of Rep Luther
Olsen of Berlin. AB-368 was voted out of committee this week on a 5-1 vote;
a vote by the Assembly could happen when the legislature reconvenes in
October. A public hearing on the bill was held in May by the Committee on
Urban and Local Affairs. The bill's Senate sponsor will be Sen Fred Risser.
If AB-368 gets to the Senate, it will be referred to a committee, and
another public hearing will be held. Information on how to contact Wisconsin
lawmakers is available via the Badger State Smoke Signals Web site,
<>;.--Badger State Smoke Signals 

* Lansing, Michigan, HamFair canceled: The 31st annual HamFair
<>; in Lansing, Michigan, scheduled
for October 14, has been cancelled. The event, sponsored by the Central
Michigan Amateur Radio Club and Lansing Civil Defense Repeater Association,
was called off because of lagging ticket sales and vendor booth
reservations. For more information, contact J. Ervin Bates, W8ERV,; 517-202-6229.

* Ward Silver, N0AX, to edit QST "Contest Corral": Ward Silver, N0AX, will
take over the reins of the QST "Contest Corral" department from George
Fremin, K5TR. The change is effective with the November 2001 issue of QST.
Licensed since 1972, Silver--who's 46--is a Life Member of ARRL and the
Western Washington DX Club. A resident of Vashon Island near Seattle in
Puget Sound, Silver is married and the father of twin boys, KD7DQO and
KD7FYX. "My favorite contests are CW Sweepstakes, CW Sprint, and CQ WW
CW--you might detect a slight inclination towards CW on my part," he says.
He's especially interested in QRP (low-power) operating but also likes
participating in multiop groups, such as W7RM and K3LR. Members may contact
Ward Silver, N0AX, via e-mail, 

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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