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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 40
October 5, 2001


* +Amateur Radio volunteers still needed in NYC
* +Three new ham satellites now in orbit
* +FCC plans CORES "mass conversion" for ULS registrants
* +AO-40's GPS experiment deemed a success
* +Enforcement case highlights FCC certification rules
* +Digital conference offers insight on newest technology
* +USTTI students learn about ham radio
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
    +Texas ARES/RACES teams activate following bridge collapse
     FCC to dismiss filings submitted on outdated Form 605
     W1AW completes installation of AO-40 antennas
     Antenna articles sought
     Vertex Standard donates loaned gear to Virginia ARES
     Wisconsin antenna bill clears Assembly
     Hosts sought for 2002 USA Amateur Radio Direction Finding Championships
     Clarence E. Sharp, K5DX, SK
     AMSAT-NA Symposium to feature special event station
     New URL for ARRL Northwestern Division Web site
     ZK1NDK North Cook Island operation now good for DXCC credit

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Although the Salvation Army has cut one shift of radio operators to support
the organization's World Trade Center relief operation in New York City, it
still needs fresh Amateur Radio volunteers. "We are still short of people,"
said Jeff Schneller, N2HPO--who's coordinating the Salvation Army Team
Emergency Response Network, or SATERN, operation.

The midnight to 8 AM shift has been suspended, but SATERN still needs six
Amateur Radio operators per shift--a total of 12 per day--for the indefinite
future. Schneller said the SATERN volunteers who have been there the longest
now "are getting weary."

SATERN needs operators at the Kennedy Airport warehouse with their own base
station set up from about 8 AM until about 9 PM--possibly broken into
shifts. In addition, SATERN needs operators to ride with trucks to provide
communication. Operators start and end shifts at Salvation Army Division HQ
on 14th Street in Manhattan, which also needs operators.

Schneller said the word he has from Salvation Army is that the organization
is happy with the Amateur Radio support it's been getting. "They want us to
keep going," he said. So far, he said, some 40 Amateur Radio operators have
turned out to help support the Salvation Army relief effort--some from the
New York City area but others from as far away as Missouri, North Carolina,
Georgia and Florida.

"Response from around the nation and the world has been heartwarming,"
Schneller said, "especially those amateur operators who were willing to put
their life on hold, so that they could come help out for a few days or weeks
in NYC."

Schneller requested that potential volunteers contact him directly: Home,
718-461-0370; Cell, 917-226-1339; Page, 718-939-3939 (give message to
operator); Ham radio, Call N2HPO on the 147.270 repeater (141.3 or 127.3

The Salvation Army said this week it's sending additional personnel from the
Midwest to New York City to assist those who have been on duty since
September 11. Members will offer grief counseling, coordinate food service,
be on-site in Salvation Army emergency disaster vehicles and organize
supplies and volunteers. 


Following several delays, the Kodiak Star launch vehicle took off into space
from Alaska early Sunday, September 30 UTC. The Athena I rocket boosted
three Amateur Radio payloads and PICOSat--a technology demonstration
satellite--into orbit. Initial indications were that all satellites deployed
properly and were being monitored on the ground. The payloads included the
APRS-equipped PCsat, built by midshipmen from the US Naval Academy under the
guidance of Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, the acknowledged "father of APRS."

PCsat is a 1200-baud APRS digipeater designed for use by amateurs using
hand-held transceivers or mobiles. PCsat is transmitting 1200 baud AFSK
telemetry on 145.825 MHz, but the satellite has not yet been commissioned
for general amateur use. "We ask that users please wait while we get the
system loaded," Bruninga said.

PCsat's downlink has been heard around the world, with reports logged from
Alaska and Hawaii as well as from South Africa, Europe, Africa and even

Carried into space in addition to PCsat were the Starshine 3 and Sapphire
payloads. Starshine3 is a "disco" mirror ball with 9600 baud telemetry on
145.825. Sapphire has 1200-baud telemetry and a voice replay on 437.1 MHz.
Starshine 3's mirror ball is visible to the naked eye for earthbound
students to track. Chip Margelli, K7JA, spotted the satellite October 2 on
the West Coast. "Starshine was at least as bright as Mars," he reported.
"Very impressive!"

Sapphire is a joint effort between the Naval Academy's Small Satellite
Program, Stanford University and Washington University at St. Louis.
Starshine is a NASA payload.

The Kodiak Star launch--the first orbital mission from the Kodiak launch
complex--had to be delayed several times--most recently due to high solar
flare activity this past week. Earlier delays resulted from unsuitable
weather conditions, a problem with a tracking radar, and travel delays
because of the recent air traffic shutdown following the September 11
terrorist attacks. 

For more information, visit the PCsat Web site,
<>;. For more information on
Sapphire, visit the Stanford University Space Systems Development
Laboratories Web site,
<>;. The
Starshine Web site is <>;


Before the switchover to mandatory Commission Registration System (CORES)
registration on December 3, 2001, the FCC plans to do a "mass conversion"
from its Universal Licensing System (ULS) database. 

Once CORES becomes mandatory in December, everyone doing business with the
FCC--licensed or not--must obtain and use a 10-digit FCC Registration
Number--or FRN. The FCC called the move is "a first step" toward
streamlining fee collection and tracking. Many amateurs registered with the
ULS were assigned an FRN by CORES in a mass conversion last year. Affected
amateurs were notified by mail. 

An FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau spokesperson told ARRL this week
that another mass conversion will be done prior to December. As a result,
anyone who has registered a Taxpayer Identification Number--typically an
individual's Social Security Number--with the FCC will be assigned an FRN,
which will appear in the FCC amateur database.

The requirement to obtain an FRN extends to applicants for an Amateur Radio
license as well as to anyone required to pay a fee to the FCC, such as those
applying for a vanity call sign. An FRN will not be needed to file comments
in rulemaking proceedings, however.

Amateur Service licensees not already registered in the ULS are encouraged
to register their TINs soon, to save the step of a second CORES registration
after December 3. To register, visit the FCC's ULS Web site
<>; and click on "Register TIN/Call Sign." (NOTE:
The Universal Licensing System will be down for scheduled maintenance from
10 PM Eastern Time Friday, October 5, until 8 AM Eastern Time Monday,
October 8.)

The FCC established CORES last year and has been in the process of
implementing it. The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau concedes that
a lot of issues remain undecided regarding how CORES/FRN will work for the
Amateur Service. For more information on CORES/FRN, visit the FCC CORES Web
site <>;.


AMSAT News Service reports that the GPS experiment on the AO-40 satellite
has undergone successful testing. The experiment--supplied and sponsored by
NASA--is designed to determine if it is possible to get positional data
while outside of the GPS ring of satellites.

"We received a signal on the apogee receiver from about 52,000 km out with
good signal levels," said Jim White, WD0E, who's been the AMSAT coordinator
and chief operator for this activity. "Further data is being gathered and
those downloaded so far are being analyzed."

There are two GPS receivers on AO-40, A and B. The A receiver is for
receiving signals while in the vicinity of apogee--when the satellite is
farthest from Earth. The B receiver provides signal reception in the
vicinity of perigee--when the satellite is closest to Earth. Both receivers
are operational, and data are passed from the receivers through the RUDAK
digital transponder to the S-band transmitter.

AMSAT-VP for Human Spaceflight Programs Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, was
instrumental in setting up the GPS experiment. "If this experiment goes the
way I expect, it will revolutionize the way we use GPS in space," Bauer
said. "Many future HEO (high Earth orbit) spacecraft will be able to take
advantage of GPS for autonomous navigation and station keeping."

Earlier this month, AO-40 ground controllers successfully tested the
spacecraft's 24-GHz transmitter. The K-band transmitter on 24.048 GHz was
activated September 9 on orbit 396 and connected to the passband and beacon
inputs that feed the S2 (2.4 GHz) transmitter.

For more information on AO-40, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site,


The FCC's Riley Hollingsworth used the occasion of a recent Warning Notice
to hammer home the FCC's position on the sale of RF amplifiers that have not
received FCC certification--formerly called "type acceptance." In a
September 19 letter to Extra licensee Sidney Lee Martin, KD4YBC,
Hollingsworth reiterated an earlier FCC warning to Martin that he cease
commercial marketing of non-certificated external RF amplifiers and
amplifier kits capable of operating below 144 MHz.

In 1978, the FCC banned the manufacture and sale of any external RF
amplifier or amplifier kit capable of operating below 144 MHz without a
grant of certification from the FCC. The rules specifically prohibit
manufacture and sale of amps that operate between 24 and 35 MHz as a means
to stem the flow of illegal Citizens Band amplifiers.

The case arose from a February 11, 2000, warning to Martin from the FCC's
Detroit office as a result of a classified ad Martin had run in QST. The ad
featured the sale of external Amateur Radio RF amplifier kits for HF and 6
meters. The FCC letter admonished Martin that selling or offering such units
for sale violated Section 2.815 of the FCC's rules. 

Martin--who operated a one-man business called RF Electronics in South
Carolina--countered with his interpretation that he was allowed, under FCC
Part 97 Amateur Service rules, to sell such kits as one amateur to another
under an exception to the certification rules. Martin argued that Section
97.315 of the Amateur Service rules permitted his licensed customers to
purchase from him--as another licensee--and construct or modify one model of
a non-certificated RF power amp or kit per calendar year for that licensee's
personal use.

The FCC rejected that analysis, however. Hollingsworth emphasized that
Section 2.815(c) of the FCC's rules requires all external RF power amplifier
kits that can operate below 144 MHz after assembly be FCC-certificated
before they can be made, sold, leased, marketed, imported, shipped or
distributed. He noted that other provisions of Section 2.815 apply only to
certain already fabricated amplifiers and do not exempt amplifier kits,
particularly those capable of operating between 24 and 35 MHz after

Hollingsworth said Section 97.315 also "specifically prohibits the use in
the Amateur Service of an amplifier that the operator had constructed from a
non-certified kit." He also noted that, in addition to kits, Martin's RF
Electronics Web site had been selling non-certificated, assembled RF power
amplifiers for use below 144 MHz. Hollingsworth said at least three of the
assembled models were advertised as operational between 24 and 35 MHz. 

Hollingsworth said FCC rules permit an individual amateur to construct or
modify a non-certificated RF power amplifier once per calendar year for use
at that amateur's own station--although the unit may not be built from a
kit--and the amateur may then sell the amplifier to another licensee or
dealer. The rules do not provide for mass marketing or manufacturing and
marketing kits or assembled amplifiers as part of a business, Hollingsworth
said. He added that the FCC would prosecute any violations and take
enforcement action against Martin's amateur license.

Martin's Web site no longer offers any RF amplifiers for sale.


Despite reduced attendance in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist
attacks, the 2001 Digital Communications Conference forged ahead in
Cincinnati, Ohio, September 21-23. The conference was co-sponsored by the
ARRL and TAPR--Tucson Amateur Packet Radio.

At the Friday afternoon Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS)
symposium, Byon Garrabrant, N6BG, introduced the Tiny Trak II, a miniature
TNC designed for portable applications. Its innovative features include
"Smart Beaconing" in which the Tiny Trak increases the beacon rate
automatically according to the speed the tracked object--such as an
automobile--is moving.

Smart Beaconing also attempts to detect when the moving object makes a
sudden course change and immediately sends a beacon to update the position.
During public service events where many APRS stations are active in the same
area, the Tiny Trak II provides a means to assign precise beacon intervals
to each station to minimize interference.

Steve Bible, N7HPR, updated the audience on the evolution of the Easy Trak
antenna rotator controller. He raised eyebrows when he introduced the Easy
Trak Jr, a truly tiny rotator controller approximately the size of a human
thumb. It's designed to plug into any PC serial port. Bible says the Easy
Trak Jr should be available by year's end and sell for under $100.

Saturday forums ranged from a satellite seminar courtesy of Steve Coy, K8UD
to a humorous CirCad presentation by Jay Craswell, W0VNE. QST Editor Steve
Ford, WB8IMY, discussed PSK31 and other innovative digital communications
modes in two separate seminars Saturday afternoon. Bible and Gary Barbour,
AC4DL, offered back-to-back forums on software-defined radios, DSP and
digital voice. 

At the Saturday banquet, Tony Curtis, K3RXK, spoke on the history of Amateur
Radio in space. Curtis noted that the first Amateur Radio satellite--OSCAR
1--was launched nearly 40 years ago. Amateur satellite enthusiasts now are
looking toward the possibility of landing a communications package on the
lunar surface or even on Mars, he said. 

The 2002 Digital Communications Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado.


Students from five African nations and an observer from Canada recently
attended the United States Telecommunications Training
Institute/International Amateur Radio Union course on Amateur Radio
administration at ARRL Headquarters. The course was held September 26-28.

Coordinated by USTTI and presented jointly by IARU and ARRL staffers, the
program covers--among other topics--the International Telecommunication
Union and ITU regulations, the IARU, spectrum management, emergency
communication, digital communication, satellites, electromagnetic
interference, international licensing, and Amateur Radio testing and

The trainees also constructed a simple 40-meter receiver in the ARRL Lab.

Attending this year's session were Samson Nyatia of Uganda, Davie Mulambia
of Zambia, Mohamed Ouhamou of Morocco, Aron Kilangwa of Tanzania, Adeyinka
Odunsi of Nigeria, and Daniel Lamoureux, VE2KA, of Montreal, Canada.
Lamoureux, an international member of ARRL, monitored the course and plans
to teach it in French at a later date. All of the students are in
occupations in their home countries that involve the use of

Teaching the majority of the Amateur Radio Administration Course were ARRL
Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, and Technical Relations
Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, and ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator
Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ.

Assisting from the ARRL Laboratory staff were Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI;
RFI Engineer John Phillips, K2QAI, and Test Engineer Mike Tracy, KC1SX.
Assistant to the Executive Vice President Lisa Kustosik, KA1UFZ, served as
USTTI coordinator.

For more information, visit the USTTI Web site, <>;.


Propagation wizard Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux
and sunspot numbers were lower this week. This is no surprise, because the
flux had reached a new high for this solar cycle during the previous week.
Average daily sunspot numbers dropped more than 45 points and solar flux was
down more than 25 points. 

Indicators that did not drop were those tied to geomagnetic stability.
Average daily planetary A index increased by 16 points to 29.6. The most
active days were Monday through Wednesday, when the planetary A index was
50, 43 and 53. Planetary K index reached a high of 7 on Wednesday,
indicating a geomagnetic storm. For higher latitudes the peak day for
geomagnetic activity was Tuesday, when Alaska's College A index was 82, and
the College K index reached 8.

The geomagnetic activity was caused by a series of solar wind disturbances.
In addition to absorption of HF signals over high latitude paths, there were
some impressive aurora displays. 

Current predictions project solar flux decreasing to 185 on Friday, then
increasing to 190 on Saturday and 195 on Sunday and Monday. Geomagnetic
indices should be quiet to unsettled. The Next peak in solar flux is
projected around October 22 or 23. Flux values are expected to rise above
200 after October 14 and above 250 after October 19.

Sunspot numbers for September 27 through October 3 were 279, 234, 233, 230,
289, 236 and 196, with a mean of 242.4. The 10.7-cm flux was 269.5, 284.5,
239.5, 235.8, 216.5, 200.9 and 191.7, with a mean of 234.1. Estimated
planetary A indices were 10, 13, 21, 17, 50, 43 and 53 with a mean of 29.6.



* This weekend on the radio: The TARA PSK31 Rumble, the Oceania DX Contest
(SSB), the Arkansas and California QSO parties, the EU Autumn Sprint (SSB),
the QCWA QSO Party, the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest (SSB) are the weekend of
October 6-7. The 10-10 Day Sprint is October 10, and the YLRL Anniversary
Party (CW) is October 10-12. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL International EME
Competition, the 902 MHz and Above Fall Sprint, the Oceania DX Contest (CW),
the EU Autumn Sprint (CW), the Pennsylvania QSO Party, the FISTS Fall
Sprint, the Iberoamericano Contest, and the North American Sprint (RTTY) are
the weekend of October 13-14. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, and for more info.

* Texas ARES/RACES teams activate following bridge collapse: Disaster struck
in South Texas early on the morning of September 15 when a 240-foot section
of the Queen Isabella Causeway between South Padre Island and Port Isabel,
Texas, collapsed after barges slammed into the bridge supports. The mishap
sent several vehicles plummeting into the water 80 feet below and claimed 11
lives. The Texas Department of Public Safety contacted John Teer, AK5Z, to
request Amateur Radio assistance with communications, because all phone
lines between South Padre Island and the mainland had been severed. "I
called around to get volunteers to place on the Island EOC and the Port
Isabell EOC," Teer reports. The DPS provided boat transportation to the
Island for an operator. "We provided 2-meter communication for government
and Red Cross officials on Saturday and Sunday until landline telephone and
cell phone communications could be re-established," Teer said. Participating
in addition to Teer were Pat Patterson, N5SLI, Virginia Scarth, KC5SAM, Ed
Scarth, W8AHU, and Gregg Sargent, KA0ARS.

* FCC to dismiss filings submitted on outdated Form 605: The FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau has announced that, starting Monday, October 15,
it will dismiss all submittals it receives on Form 605 Quick-Form
Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and
Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Service that bear edition
dates prior to March 2001. This change does not affect applicants filing
on-line via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). WTB encourages applicants
to use ULS to speed application processing and to have access to the other
information available via the ULS. The FCC advises that amateurs can avoid
problems by submitting on-line application via the FCC's Universal Licensing
System Web site, <>;. To obtain a current copy of
Form 605, visit the FCC "Forms" page,
<>;. Paper copies of Form 605 also
are available from the FCC Forms Distribution Center, 800-418-3676.--FCC

* W1AW completes installation of AO-40 antennas: Maxim Memorial Station W1AW
is now 100% AO-40 ready. XX Towers Inc--the ARRL tower service
contractor--recently completed the installation of satellite antennas and an
az-el rotator atop the center tower on W1AW's antenna farm. The array
consists of a 2-meter 20-element crossed Yagi, a 70-cm 15-element crossed
Yagi, a 23-cm 23-element Yagi and a 13-cm 17-turn helix. W1AW Station
Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, says he's been able to copy downlink telemetry but
has yet to make a QSO via AO-40, primarily due to conflicts between the
station's bulletin transmission schedule and the availability of AO-40.

* Antenna articles sought: ARRL Antenna Compendium Editor Dean Straw, N6BV,
is seeking additional, fresh antenna articles for volume 7 of the
Compendium. The popular Compendium book series features previously
unpublished articles dealing with antennas, transmission lines and
propagation. The deadline to submit manuscripts is January 31, 2002. For
more information or to submit article manuscripts, contact Dean Straw, 5328
Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94121; 

* Vertex Standard donates loaned gear to Virginia ARES: Vertex Standard
(Yaesu) has donated several pieces of Amateur Radio gear to Virginia ARES.
The manufacturer had arranged to loan an FT-7100 transceiver with power
supply and the three VX-5 hand-held transceivers during the Virginia ARES
response to assist the Salvation Army at the Pentagon attack site. When
Virginia SEC Tom Gregory, N4NW, e-mailed to thank Vertex Standard and to
inquire about returning the equipment, Vertex Standard Executive Vice
President Mikio Maruya, WA6F told him that Virginia ARES was welcome to keep
it on hand for future emergencies. "We hope it will provide you with long
and lasting use for all your emergency needs," Maruya said. "We were happy
to assist in this emergency effort." Gregory said the Vertex Standard gear
"allowed us to meet the needs of providing continuous Amateur Radio support
to the Salvation Army." The Woodbridge, Virginia, Ham Radio Outlet store
cooperated in providing the Virginia ARES team with the needed equipment on
September 13.

* Wisconsin antenna bill clears Assembly: The pending Wisconsin Amateur
Radio antenna (PRB-1) bill, AB-368, was approved by the Wisconsin Assembly
October 2 on a voice vote. There was no debate. The measure now heads to the
Wisconsin Senate. Many Wisconsin hams reportedly had called or e-mailed
their Assembly representatives prior to the vote. The bill's Senate sponsor
is Sen Fred Risser. The measure will be referred to a Senate 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,
<>;. A copy of the pending legislation is on the
Wisconsin Legislature Web site,

* Hosts sought for 2002 USA Amateur Radio Direction Finding Championships:
The final call has been issued for clubs, club councils and non-club groups
interested in hosting the second USA ARDF Championships in 2002. "This call
comes now, because the event must take place in the spring or early summer,
in order to serve as a qualifying event as Team USA forms for the 2002 ARDF
World Championships in Slovakia," explained ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell,
K0OV. One proposal already been received for a "weekend championship" next
April. Other proposals are welcome, and preliminary indications of intent
should be submitted by October 15 via e-mail or US mail to Joe Moell, K0OV,
PO Box 2508, Fullerton, CA 92837; The first USA Amateur
Radio Direction Finding Championships were held August 1-3 in Albuquerque,
New Mexico <;. For more
information on Amateur Radio Direction Finding, visit Moell's Homing In Web
site, <>;. 

* Clarence E. Sharp, K5DX, SK: Internationally known DXer and contester
Clarence E. Sharp, K5DX, of Highlands, Texas, died September 3 following a
long illness. He was 80. First licensed in 1946 as W5NMA, Sharp--who became
known by his last name--soon was chasing DX with homebrew transmitters and
antennas and a military surplus receiver. His welding skills--developed from
his years as a machinist--came in handy when he built his own 80-foot
freestanding tower from scrap steel pipe. Later antenna designs involved
multi-element, multi-band cubical quads and towers up to 140 feet. His
antenna farms of the 1950s and 1960s are the stuff of legend in DX and
contesting circles. An ARRL member, Sharp was on the DXCC Honor Roll with
379 entities (mixed). Sharp also was an accomplished contester on SSB and
CW, plying his skills in various operating events. Survivors include his
wife, Irma, and three sons. 

* AMSAT-NA Symposium to feature special event station: Special event station
W4O will be on the air from the 2001 AMSAT-NA Symposium and Annual Meeting,
October 5-7, in Atlanta. Conference Chair Steve Diggs, W4EPI, says W4O will
be active on HF, satellite, local FM voice and APRS. Kenwood National Sales
Manager Paul Middleton, K4NUH, will speak at the Saturday night banquet on
October 6. The subject of his presentation will be "Amateur Radio--Hobby and
Industry." Additional details about W4O and the 2001 AMSAT-NA Symposium in
Atlanta, Georgia, are on the AMSAT-NA Web site,
<>;. Proceedings of the AMSAT-NA 19th
Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting are available from ARRL for $20.
Visit the ARRL Products Catalog, <>.

* New URL for ARRL Northwestern Division Web site: The ARRL Northwestern
Division Web site has a new address, effective this week. The new Web
address is Glenn Moore, N7VBW, is the Webmaster. 

* ZK1NDK North Cook Island operation now good for DXCC credit: ARRL DXCC
Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, has announced approval of ZK1NDK, North Cook
Island, for DXCC credit. Documentation now has been reviewed and okayed for
DXCC credit. Those who submitted ZK1NDK previously and were denied credit
may contact DXCC <>;, and have their records updated without
having to resubmit cards. 

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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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.

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