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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 48
December 5, 2003


* +ARRL BPL engineering study ready to roll
* +Logbook of the World tops a million QSL records
* +Expedition 8 crew may be on for special event
* +ARRL says cooperation best approach at 2390-2395 MHz
* +New General question pool released
* +Ham antennas no danger to migratory birds, ARRL says
* +Michigan hams win antenna victory
* +ARRL member turns 100!
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications Course registration
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Survey seeks opinions on ARRL Continuing Education Course offerings
     Stephen E. McCallum, W2ZBY, SK
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award
     W4B to commemorate Wright Brothers' flight centenary
     Turtles vexing TO4E DXpedition
     Ed Giorgadze, 4L4FN, now active from Angola

+Available on ARRL Audio News



An ARRL-sponsored independent engineering study to accurately quantify the
interference potential of Broadband over Power Line (BPL) is set to start
in the very near future. In addition, the League soon will elicit
interference reports from amateurs in communities where BPL trials are
known to be under way.

"We're contracting for an independent measurement of potential interaction
between BPL and Amateur Radio," said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. The
study--to be conducted under the auspices of certified professional
engineers--not only will examine and document how BPL might affect HF and
low-VHF amateur operation but how Amateur Radio operation could affect BPL

The ARRL-sponsored engineering study should be completed within a couple
of months, Sumner said. The ARRL anticipates that the FCC could issue a
Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the proceeding (ET Docket 02-104) early
in 2004. The FCC's Notice of Inquiry in the matter, released last April,
has attracted more than 5100 comments--many of them from the amateur

At this point, while some BPL system trials are operating under existing
Part 15 rules for unlicensed devices, other systems have secured FCC Part
5 experimental licenses that permit them to use higher power levels. In
either case, however, FCC rules require BPL operators to cease operation
if their systems result in harmful interference.

In a related initiative, the ARRL will be contacting amateurs in about a
half-dozen US communities where BPL field trials now are in progress. The
League will ask amateurs to listen on the air for any increase in noise
level that might be related to the BPL trial. Sumner says it's most
important that hams in trial areas who detect noise first verify that it
is indeed caused by BPL before they document and report their observations
to the FCC.

"It is important that each interference complaint be a valid case of
actual harmful interference," an attachment to Sumner's letter says. "It
is possible to misidentify other noise sources as BPL." Sumner says
amateurs must carefully avoid "crying wolf" by filing invalid reports of
BPL interference. The League suggests amateurs receiving the solicitation
letters enlist the support of "a technically qualified observer"--an ARRL
Technical Coordinator, Technical Specialist or local club interference
committee--then submit a recording of the interference to the ARRL
Laboratory for review and analysis.

The ARRL's solicitation includes a form to document suspected instances of
harmful interference from BPL. Sumner says the League hopes the effort
will result in a "body of technical evidence that will protect the Amateur
Service from this source of potential interference."

In a related development, a California technology company this month wrote
the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology to refute ARRL assertions
that BPL necessarily poses a severe interference potential. Corridor
Systems <> says its "breakthrough" BPL system,
operated under existing Part 15 rules, uses frequencies in the 2 to 20 GHz
range, will not interfere with HF and low-VHF reception and can provide up
to 216 MB per second throughput.

"Corridor Systems has demonstrated a BPL technology which is completely
compatible with the Amateur Radio Service and, indeed, with all users of
the HF-VHF spectrum," Corridor's Chief Technology Officer Glenn Elmore,
N6GN, said in the "open letter"
<> that was copied to ARRL.

Sumner pointed out in responding to Elmore that ARRL only first became
aware of Corridor's work in mid-October and that the League's comments
were appropriate within the context of the FCC's definition of BPL systems
operating in the 2 to 80 MHz HF and low-VHF spectrum. "The Corridor
Systems approach deserves to be distinguished from the spectrum-polluting
HF and low VHF systems, not only because of its much lower interference
potential but also because of the higher data rates it can support,"
Sumner said.

Additional information about BPL and Amateur Radio is on the ARRL Web site


The ARRL's Logbook of the World secure contact-verification database
continues to grow. So far, reports ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne
Mills, N7NG, nearly 5000 users have uploaded logs containing some 25.4
million Amateur Radio contacts. This has resulted in more than 1 million
QSL records.

"The key is participation, and it doesn't cost a thing to get the software
and upload logs," Mills pointed out. "We're encouraging all hams to
participate in Logbook, whether the ham is a casual operator, contester,
ragchewer or DXer." To further expand the database and generate more
confirmed contacts for all LoTW users, Mills is calling on everyone to
sign aboard and submit as many logs as possible.

Once LoTW programming is complete, users will be able to redeem credits
for ARRL awards without having to go through the expense and trouble of
obtaining hard-copy QSL cards. Mills emphasizes that LoTW is not meant to
replace paper QSL cards but supplements traditional QSLing.

Signing up as a new LoTW user is simple. Visit the Logbook of The World
Web site <> and read the "Getting Started"
document, Mills said. He advises new users to print it out to have the
instructions handy.

The "Getting Started" page offers step-by-step instructions for getting a
secure digital certificate from ARRL and preparing and uploading logs.
Mills noted that most new user problems result from failing to
specifically follow the instructions outlined on the "Getting Started"

Amateur Radio software developers are starting to include direct support
for Logbook of The World in their programs. Most logging software allow
users to export a log in ADIF format, which LoTW will accept. A few
programs incorporate the ARRL's TQSL file-generation and digital
certificate code, which simplifies the process of digitally signing logs
and exporting them in a separate e-mail.

For more information, visit the Logbook of The World Web site


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International
Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says a "very challenging schedule" kept the
Expedition 8 crew from getting on the air November 29-30 for the ARISS Roy
Neal, K6DUE, commemorative special event. Bauer says Crew Commander Mike
Foale, KB5UAC, may attempt to be on the air from NA1SS on Saturday,
December 6.

"He requested that we make it clear that he would like to try again this
weekend--on Saturday only--but not to get your hopes too high that he will
be there," Bauer said. "He requested a single pass over North America and
over Europe." Also onboard the ISS is cosmonaut Sasha Kaleri, U8MIR. Foale
and Kaleri both were active on Amateur Radio during their tours of duty
aboard the Russian Mir space station.

ARISS has provided pass information (ISS pass times, below) to NASA to
communicate to the crew. Bauer said ARISS put its list of passes in
priority order starting with those offering the greatest ground coverage.
He noted, however, that the top-priority North American pass occurs just
about the time the crew typically retires for the day. "So it is not clear
if this is a viable pass," he added. "We included it because it was a
superior pass for North America."

Among other distractions last week was a peculiar "crushing" noise heard
November 24 in the Zvezda Service Module--the crew's quarters. Another
onboard problem involved what Bauer called "serious issues" with the
treadmill the crew uses to keep fit in zero gravity.

Bauer expressed hopes that the crew would be able to be on the air from
NA1SS this weekend as part of a month-long special event in memory of
Neal, who served as SAREX/ARISS Working Group Chairman. Neal died in

ARISS has requested that special event participants keep all contacts
short to give as many stations as possible a chance to work NA1SS. Those
contacting the ISS by voice (NA1SS) or packet (RS0ISS) through the end of
December will be eligible for a special anniversary event certificate.

Bauer advised those working NA1SS for the event to not request a
certificate until ARISS releases QSL instructions. ARISS
<> is an international project with participation
and support from ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.

ISS PASS TIMES IN PRIORITY ORDER: Saturday, December 6, (all times
UTC)--North America: 1. 2128-2150, 2. 1953-2014, 3. 1818-1839 and 4.
1646-1703. Europe: 1. 1348-1415, 2. 1525-1554, 3. 1701-1726, 4. 1836-1854,
5. 2012-2026 and 6 1213-1235.


The ARRL has told the FCC that it can support Amateur Radio sharing of
2390 to 2395 MHz on a co-primary basis with flight test telemetry
stations. The Amateur Service has 2390 to 2400 MHz on a primary basis.
Earlier this year, in a Fourth Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in ET
Docket 00-258, the FCC proposed permitting federal government aeronautical
mobile and non-government aeronautical flight test telemetry to operate in
the first 5 megahertz of the band. In reply comments in the proceeding
filed December 1, the League told the FCC that it's agreed in principle
with the Aerospace and Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC)
<> to develop coordination procedures.

"ARRL believes and continues to believe that this will result in a
harmonious arrangement that will not significantly disrupt ongoing and
developing amateur operations," the League's reply comments said. The
allocation shift is part of the FCC's efforts to accommodate users
displaced from other bands reallocated for Advanced Wireless Systems.
AFTRCC initially had called on the FCC to preclude "any new amateur use"
of the 2390 to 2395 MHz segment and grandfather any existing usage on a
secondary basis. At the time it commented, however, AFTRCC was acting on
the presumption that amateur use consisted only of ATV. The ARRL noted
that amateurs also are developing wideband data systems for the spectrum.

In its comments filed November 3, the ARRL expressed confidence that the
co-primary allocations envisioned for 2390-2395 MHz will, in the end,
prove compatible, provided the FCC affirms the need for cooperative
frequency coordination. The ARRL reiterated that position in this week's
reply comments.

"The need for active frequency coordination is especially compelling with
respect to non-government flight test telemetry," the League said. The
ARRL asserted, however, that 2395 to 2400 MHz "must remain an exclusive
amateur primary allocation.


The Question Pool Committee (QPC) of the National Conference of Volunteer
Examiner Coordinators has released a revised and expanded Amateur Radio
General class (Element 3) question pool into the public domain. The new
question pool becomes effective July 1, 2004, and must be used to generate
all General written examinations administered on or after that date.

"The pool has been expanded to 432 questions," said ARRL VEC Manager Bart
Jahnke, W9JJ, a member of the Question Pool Committee, who notes that all
subelements grew slightly. "The largest increase in questions this time
around was in our Operating Procedures and Amateur Radio Practices
subelements," he said. The General class question pool does not contain
any diagrams or symbols.

The new Element 3 question pool is available on the ARRL Amateur Exam
Question Pools Web page <> in Adobe
PDF and ASCII text format. It includes all questions and answers relating
to Element 3.

The Question Pool Committee now is turning its attention to developing an
outline for an updated Amateur Extra class (Element 4) question pool,
which will be revised over the next 24 months, Jahnke said. It will go
into effect July 1, 2006. The deadline to submit input to the Amateur
Extra question pool syllabus is May 1, 2004.

In addition to Jahnke, members of the Question Pool Committee are Chairman
Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, Fred Maia, W5YI, and John Johnston, W3BE.
Commenters may address specific Element 3 questions as well as inputs to
the Element 3 syllabus and question pool to the Question Pool Committee
via e-mail <>;.


The ARRL has asked the FCC to specifically exempt Amateur Radio antennas
and support structures less than 400 feet tall from routine environmental
processing relative to their impact on migratory birds. In reply comments
filed December 1, the League said there is no scientific evidence that
antenna structures below that height contribute significantly to migratory
bird mortality. An FCC Notice of Inquiry, WT Docket 03-187, released in
August seeking information on the effects of communications towers on
migratory birds, drew more than 250 comments. The League told the FCC that
the migratory bird issue often arises at municipal land use hearings and
in the drafting of ordinances regulating antenna structures.

"At public hearings before city, town and county authorities, those who
are opposed to communications antennas for aesthetic reasons typically
raise issues such as migratory bird mortality as one of several arguments"
against permitting antennas or limiting their placement," the ARRL
comments said. "ARRL's research into the scientific literature reveals
that communications towers below 400 feet are almost universally
considered not to be contributors to bird mortality."

The League said typical ham radio fixed antennas and support structures
are located mostly in residential areas and range from 50 to 120
feet--although some may go as high as 200 feet. The ARRL said amateur
antenna installations rarely go any higher than that because of FAA
approval, painting and lighting requirements, not to mention cost and
siting restrictions.

"The comments in this proceeding to date support the conclusion that
communications towers less than approximately 400 feet do not contribute
substantially to migratory bird kills," the ARRL said, adding that no
regulatory action is justified beyond what's already in place for aviation

The ARRL also pointed to FWS guidelines released in 2000 that urge
communications service providers to utilize towers less than 199 feet
above ground level. The FWS concedes, however, that "tower height alone
may not necessarily be a critical issue that results in mortality" and
that bird kills documented at tall TV towers might be due to the effects
of tower lighting rather than height.

Based on the record, the League concluded, "unlit Amateur Radio antennas
cannot be considered candidates for regulation under any circumstances."


Amateurs in Troy, Michigan, scored a major victory for that community's
hams November 24 after convincing the Troy City Council to reject the city
planning commission's restrictions on the height of Amateur Radio antennas
and antenna support structures. A Detroit suburb of some 70,000
inhabitants, Troy boasts an amateur population of more than 225.

"When the time came for a vote, the original proposal of the planning
commission was not even considered," reported Hazel Park Amateur Radio
Club Director of Instruction Jeff Albrecht, N8WR. Instead, the council
voted unanimously to accept the proposal drafted by Mayor Matt Pryor and
HPARC President Phil Ode, AA8KR, that calls for an exemption of city
regulation for structures up to 75 feet and compliance with federal
preemptions regarding Amateur Radio.

The planning commission had proposed to increase allowable antenna and
antenna support structure height from 20 to 25 feet but wanted to impose
additional requirements and final say on any application.

Local hams originally banded together in August 2002 after HPARC First
Vice President Murray Scott, KE8UM, was denied a variance to construct an
antenna support structure. The amateurs convinced city council that the
planning commission's restrictions would violate PRB-1, the limited
federal preemption of local statutes that directs municipalities to
"reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication with respect to
ordinances regulating antennas and antenna support structures.

In their presentation, 10 hams from HPARC and the Utica-Shelby Emergency
Communications Association used ARRL's "Antenna Height and Communications
Effectiveness" study
<> and
ARRL's Amateur Radio Today CD presentation as part of its testimony. Troy
Fire Chief Bill Nelson, KC8IWQ, also testified to the importance of
Amateur Radio to his department's preparedness plans.

Council ordered the city manager and city attorney to report back at the
December 15 council meeting with an ordinance that would codify Pryor and
Ode's proposal. Council further ordered that the ordinance not be subject
to planning commission review or alteration.


The ARRL has conveyed its congratulations and best wishes to League member
Cliff Fay, K7BQ, of Peoria, Arizona, who turned 100 this week. Arden
Nelson, KA9WAR, reports that K7BQ still is active and recently checked
into the Door County (Wisconsin) Amateur Radio Club net on 10 meters.

"He belongs to the DCARC, and for many years has spent his summers on
Washington Island," Nelson said. Although the big day was December 2,
Fay's family reportedly celebrated the event November 29--the Saturday
after Thanksgiving.

NBC Today show weatherman Willard Scott included Fay among his list of
centenarians December 2 and mentioned the fact that Fay was a ham radio
operator and considered himself an active DXer. He's also a regular
participant in the Lions Club's annual Hunting Lions in the Air contest.

First licensed as 9ARG in 1919 when he was 16 and living in St Louis, Fay
has held his ham ticket continuously since then. That means he's been an
Amateur Radio licensee for 84 years! He's been an ARRL member for more
than 35 years.--ARRL thanks Arden Nelson, KA9WAR, and Bob Reed, W2CE, for
this information.


Solar sage Tad "That Lucky Ol' Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Geomagnetic conditions have been quite stable this week. As a
result, HF propagation has been good. Right now Earth is entering a solar
windstream, and that could trigger auroras. The interplanetary magnetic
field is currently pointing south, which means Earth is vulnerable to the
effects of solar wind.

The current forecast is for geomagnetic indices to rise over the next few
days. Predicted planetary A index for Friday through Monday, December 5-8
is 20, 35, 25 and 20. Predicted solar flux for those same days is 115,
110, 105 and 105. Solar flux values are predicted to run between 105 and
110 and then reach a slightly lower minimum around December 12, then rise
again toward a short-term peak around December 18-22.

Petr Kolman, OK6MGW, is predicting active geomagnetic conditions for
December 10-11, unsettled to active on December 5 and 9, unsettled
conditions on December 6 and quiet to unsettled conditions on December

Conditions this weekend during the ARRL 160-Meter CW contest will be
affected by any geomagnetic disturbance. Check WWV at 18 minutes after the
hour (or check the WWV text on the Internet
<>) at 0018, 0318, 0618, 0918,
1218, 1518, 1818, and 2118 UTC for the latest mid-latitude K index. If the
value is 3 or less, conditions should be good.

Sunspot numbers for November 27 through December 3 were 154, 185, 177,
178, 159, 119 and 100, with a mean of 153.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 174.7,
167.7, 165.9, 152.8, 143.3, 139.3 and 123.8, with a mean of 152.5.
Estimated planetary A indices were 10, 10, 9, 10, 10, 9 and 7, with a mean
of 9.3.



* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL 160-Meter Contest, the QRP ARCI
Holiday Spirits Sprint, the PSK31 Death Match, the TARA RTTY Melee and the
TOPS Activity 80-Meter Contest are the weekend of December 6-7. JUST
AHEAD: The ARRL 10-Meter Contest and the Great Colorado Snowshoe Run are
the weekend of December 13-14. See the ARRL Contest Page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications Course registration: Registration opens
Monday, December 8, 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0501 UTC), for the Level II
Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-002). Registration remains
open through the December 13-14 weekend or until all seats are
filled--whichever occurs first. Class begins Tuesday, December 23. Thanks
to our grant sponsors--the Corporation for National and Community Service
and the United Technologies Corporation--the $45 registration fee paid
upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the
course. During this registration period, approximately 50 seats are being
offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn
more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE)
<> Web page and the C-CE Links found there. For
more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan
Miller, K3UFG,, 860-594-0340.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004) course opens Monday,
December 8, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC). Registration will
remain open through Sunday, December 14. Classes begin Tuesday December
16. Those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing
Education (C-CE) course in the future can sign up to receive advance
notification of registration opportunities. To take advantage, send an
e-mail to On the subject line, indicate the course name
or number (eg, EC-00#) and the month you want to start the course. In the
message body, provide your name, call sign, and e-mail address. Please do
not send inquiries to this mailbox. To learn more, visit the ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) <>
Web page. For more information, contact Certification and Continuing
Education Program Department

* Survey seeks opinions on ARRL Continuing Education Course offerings:
ARRL's Certification and Continuing Education program (C-CE) is asking
members' opinions on a variety of new course topics via a members-only
survey <>. The course
topics in the survey are based on suggestions from members and
participants in the current courses. Possible topics for future courses
include troubleshooting, test equipment, basic electronics, computer
software, Morse code proficiency, station grounding, radio design, APRS
and operating procedures and etiquette. A short description of each course
is offered, and survey takers can rate the likelihood that they would take
the course. "As a result of input from members in a similar survey conduct
ed in late 2002, Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009) and RF
Propagation (EC-011) will soon be available for student registration,"
said C-CE Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR. Courses on RF Interference and
an operating course called VHF/UHF: Beyond the Local Repeater were added
to the catalog of available courses this past year, he said. Beta testing
for EC-009 has been concluded, and EC-011 beta testing will begin early in
2004. An on-line Technician Licensing course (EC-010) is currently being
tested. "The survey is very important as it provides us with direction
from our members," Robins said. "It guides us into developing courses our
membership wants and helps us prioritize our efforts, making the new
course development process as efficient and responsive as possible." The
survey will be available for 30 days. Information on all C-CE offerings
can be found on the Web <>.

* Stephen E. McCallum, W2ZBY, SK: Former ARRL Kentucky Public Information
Coordinator Steve McCallum, W2ZBY (ex-K4URX), of Lexington died November
30. He was 91. An ARRL Life Member, McCallum was first licensed in 1947
following a stint as a US Coast Guard radio officer. Following graduation
from the University of Missouri, McCallum worked mostly as a journalist
for newspapers in Missouri and New Jersey. During his years with General
Electric, he edited the bi-monthly GE HAM NEWS. Former ARRL Southeastern
Division Vice Director Evelyn Gauzens, W4WYR, said that when McCallum was
K4URX and living in Key West, Florida, he always made himself available to
help the League. "When he departed the area, he left large shoes to be
filled," she added. Said ARRL Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy,
N1TDY, "Steve was very enthusiastic about Amateur Radio public relations,
and nothing seemed to slow him down. The League has lost a very dedicated
volunteer." There's more information on McCallum on the Kentucky Amateur
Radio Web site <>.

* Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for November is Ron D'Eau Claire, AC7AC, for his article "The Simple
Superhet." Congratulations, Ron! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque
award--given to the author--or authors--of the best article in each
issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each
month on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page
<>. Cast a ballot for your
favorite article in the December issue of QST. Voting ends December 31.

* W4B to commemorate Wright Brothers' flight centenary: The North Carolina
Special Events Group is operating special event station W4B December 12-17
(UTC) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first
flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. One station will be on 14.260 MHz
continuously as propagation permits, while a second station will alternate
between SSB and CW. For more information, visit the NCSEG Web site
<> or contact Robert Hamrick, WA4RH <>;.
The North Carolina Special Events group is a nonprofit organization that
promotes historical and other events via Amateur Radio to increase public
awareness of ham radio. Orville Wright was at the controls for the first
successful flight December 17, 1903. The 120-foot flight lasted just 12

* Turtles vexing TO4E DXpedition: The Daily DX <>
reports the Europa Island DXpedition team was "a bit tired" after taking
part in the CQ World Wide DX Contest (CW) the weekend of November 29-30.
Operating as TO4WW for the contest, the crew put some 5 million points
(and 4000 QSOs) in the log. DXpedition Co-organizer Rafik Djandji, F5CQ,
reports that protected sea turtles have been a nuisance for the TO4E
operation. Lowband antennas are installed on the beach, and each night,
the turtles knock them over and destroy the radials on their way from the
ocean to the top of the beach to rest during the night. This means the
team then must repair and reinstall the antenna systems on a daily basis.
The Clipperton DX Club is sponsoring the Europa operation. There's more
information on the Europa 2003 DXpedition Web site

* Ed Giorgadze, 4L4FN, now active from Angola: Ed Giorgadze, 4L4FN--who
made ham radio history with his P5/4L4FN operation from North Korea now is
active from Angola as D2PFN on RTTY and SSB. QSL manager for D2PFN and
P5/4L4FN is Bruce Paige, KK5DO. More information and an on-line log will
be available on Paige's Web site <> (click on D2

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
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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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