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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 48
November 21, 2008


* + ARISS Celebrates International Education Week 
* + ARRL HQ Welcomes New Membership Manager 
* + The January Issue of QST Is on Its Way! 
* + Get Ready for the ARRL Triple Play WAS Award 
* + ARISS to Celebrate 25 Years of Amateur Radio in Space with Special
* + Nomination Deadline for ARRL International Humanitarian Award Fast
*  Solar Update 
      This Week on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + Larry Coyle, K1QW, Wins November QST Cover Plaque Award 
    + ARRL DXCC Desk Approves Three Operations 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,


With all the educational opportunities the Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station program (ARISS) provides
<>, it's no wonder that the
organization has captured the attention of the US Department of
Education (ED). According to ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White,
K1STO, the ED has been tracking ARISS's activities for a long time: "The
Department of Education invited ARISS to help celebrate the ninth annual
International Education Week (IEW) by coordinating three contacts with
the International Space Station (ISS) during IEW, November 17-21
<>. How could we say no?" International
Education Week is a joint initiative of the US Department of Education
and US Department of State.

To go along with the theme of this year's IEW -- International
Education: Fostering Global Responsibility and Leadership -- White
explained that the Department of Education requested ARISS's
participation through NASA. "Late last spring, JoAnne Livingston from
the Department of Education asked NASA if the ARISS Team could support
an ARISS radio contact in conjunction with IEW. The trick for the ARISS
Team was to have a successful QSO that tied together three school
communities from spots all over the globe into one 10 minute radio

The ED took the initiative of selecting three schools to participate in
the contact. Eventually, Enloe Magnet High School in Raleigh, North
Carolina, Poolesville High School in Poolesville, Maryland and Academia
Cotopaxi, an all-grade school in Quito, Ecuador, were chosen as the
three participating schools. "Because of orbital mechanics," White said,
"the radio contact was slated for Friday, November 14 at 15:02 UTC as
the 'curtain opener' for IEW."

To get these schools ready for their QSO, White looked over the ARRL
Affiliated Club roster, searching for clubs to help out the selected
schools. "I invited the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society to help support
the Enloe Magnet High School. The Goddard Amateur Radio Club, which has
many ARISS volunteers, agreed to assist the Poolesville High School."
With the help of ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave
Patton, NN1N, White searched for active Ecuadorian hams to assist with
the contact with the school there.

"The ARISS QSO is always the headliner for all ARISS activities," White
said. "The QSO, via WH6PN, the ARISS telebridge station in Hawaii,
allowed students to interview astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, the current
ISS commander. As community leaders and school administrators watched,
the radio contact occurred without a hitch, with students walking on air
as the day ended. In addition to attracting the eyes and ears of
educational organizations, three TV stations were on hand at the
Poolesville school to tell their ARISS/IEW story." A video, produced by
Gary Pearce KN4AQ, of Amateur Radio//Video News, is also available

White said that due to the IEW, the three school communities got an
education treat: "On November 18, students from all three schools tied
in to a videoconference activity held at the US Department of Education
auditorium. Students asked questions round-robin style to a panel of
experts from around the world. The panel was made up of astronaut Don
Thomas, KC5FVF; ARISS Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and other ARISS
worldwide volunteers and science leaders. Top-level staff from the
Departments of Education and State, as well as representatives from
educational associations such as the Sally Ride Science Club and the
head of NASA Education watched the proceedings."

Each panel member gave a short presentation and participated in a
question and answer session with all students. Aside from an overview of
ARISS, panelists spoke about unusual ARISS events that have happened in
their countries, space exploration and what ham radio activities are
popular in their countries. According to White, they also interjected a
little of the cultural flavor from their parts of the globe.

Students from the three schools and their lead teachers will not forget
their IEW 2008 experiences. Mark Curran, head of Poolesville High
School's Science, Math and Computer Program, said his computer students
are developing skills for programming a rover to investigate an
imaginary planet (Planet Falconia, named for the school mascot). The
Research and Engineering Class designed and constructed the rover to
successfully navigate hazards, sense differences in surface temperature
and recognize boundaries. The Earth Systems Science Class studied
planetary geology and remote sensing applications for Planet Falconia.
"Through ARISS," Curran said, "students gained insight into daily
challenges faced by current astronauts and the importance of the
communication efforts including ham radio. Students realized the need to
be able to communicate well in both written and spoken languages,
addressing the English and foreign language aspects of the curriculum."

Enloe Magnet High School teacher Samuel Wheeler developed special
lessons for 11th and 12th grade students in his AP Physics, Honors
Physics and Physical Science classes. Enloe is currently ranked 73rd in
Newsweek's list of the top 100 United States high schools. Enloe
students have exchanged communications with high schools in China,
Germany and Turkey through videoconferencing.

Kathy Beahn at the Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador, led the effort
for pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. Recommended by the US Embassy
in Quito for the ARISS QSO, the school teaches an American curriculum.
According to White, space-related and ARISS studies were integrated into
the Conceptual Physics Course for 11th and 12th grade students, and
students in grades 2, 7 and 8 also took part in the ARISS radio contact.
"We began the year learning about waves in general, including basics
about the electromagnetic spectrum," Beahn said. "This helped students
understand ham radio technology. We studied planetary motion and
astrophysics topics including special relativity and black holes."
Alfredo Caviedes, HC1HC, helped out with the QSO and Rick Dorsch, NE8Z
-- a Michigan ham who has been to Quito many times and is friends with
Caviedes -- provided translating assistance.

White said that the Department of Education was so impressed with ARISS
and with what students learned before, during and after the contacts
that ARISS has been invited to participate in next year's International
Education Week. IEW 2009 is scheduled for November 16-20. 


The ARRL is pleased to welcome Membership Manager Diane Petrilli,
KB1RNF, to the Headquarters staff in Newington. Petrilli's key areas of
responsibility include programs and activities that directly affect
membership growth, engagement and retention. Petrilli is taking over the
position from Katie Breen, W1KRB. Breen left in October.

Petrilli, who earned her Amateur Radio license on her fourth day at ARRL
HQ, comes to the League with more than 15 years of experience in
marketing and membership management, including nine years with the
Connecticut Bar Association. "In my years with the Bar Association, I
started out recruiting attorneys to do pro bono work and had the chance
to design membership mailings, as well as write for our quarterly
publication," she said. "I also designed and managed numerous databases
and eventually stepped up to become their Marketing and Electronic
Communications Manager." While in that position, Petrilli directed
advertising, sales promotions, public relations and electronic media

Petrilli said she is excited to be working at ARRL Headquarters: "I am
happy to be here and have been made to feel very welcome. I am looking
forward to being part of the ARRL family and getting to know our
members. While I have quite a bit of experience working in an
association setting, I am new to the field of Amateur Radio and so I may
be reaching out to many of you in the upcoming weeks. I will be
graciously asking for your help -- to share your knowledge, your ideas
and passion for the Service. I look forward to meeting you all. As ARRL
Membership Manager, I will draw on my experiences in marketing,
membership recruitment and retention to build a stronger ARRL."

According to ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R,
Petrilli has an extensive background working with association members.
"She also has a great deal of relevant experience in recruiting, working
with volunteers and developing member benefits," Inderbitzen said.
"Diane will join our efforts to serve and grow our vibrant national
association. And, there's no better time! Amateur Radio continues to
enjoy a resurgence of interest from among prospective and new licensees
since license restructuring in 2007. There's a tremendous amount of
opportunity for all of us that support ARRL and the Amateur Radio

Inderbitzen said that the ARRL Membership Manager supports regular
contact with members, and is also responsible for attracting new
members. "All of us here at ARRL Headquarters have a responsibility to
get to know our members, to listen to them and to effect positive
change," he said.

ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, concurred: "We are
pleased to welcome Diane to our staff. With her extensive background in
membership organizations, I am sure that she will make a major
contribution in providing excellent service to our members. Diane has
many years experience in membership organizations. I am confident that
she will continue to provide a high level of customer service to the
ARRL membership."

Petrilli holds a BS in business administration from Alfred University
and an MBA from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in
marketing. Calling herself a "fanatical" water skier, Petrilli and
husband Christian enjoy swimming, reading (she rates John Steinbeck as
her favorite author), gardening, snow skiing and attending concerts.

Petrilli can be reached via e-mail <>;. 


The January issue of QST -- our annual vintage issue -- is jam-packed
with everything today's Amateur Radio operator needs. From product
reviews to experiments to contesting, the January issue of QST has
something for just about everyone

Our annual vintage issue features an article by Bob Shrader, W6BNB,
"When Radio Transmitters Were Machines." Go back to the day when some of
the most powerful radio transmitters were RF alternators. If you've ever
wanted to build your own vintage radio, be sure to check out "Building a
1927 Regenerative Receiver" by Brian Mattson, K8BHZ. Before the advent
of the superheterodyne receiver, the regenerative receiver was all the

Have you ever had an urge to explore Antarctica? If so, be sure to check
out the article by Adam Brown, K2ARB. His "Antarctic Experience" as a
communications officer at one of the coldest regions on the globe will
be sure to warm you up. If Antarctica is a little too close to home, how
about Mars? In her article "DXpedition to Planet Mars," former ARRL
Youth Editor Andrea Hartlage, KG4IUM, and fellow hams from Georgia Tech
experienced a simulated Martian encounter in the Utah desert. While it
won't qualify for the Elser-Mathes Cup (given to the hams who complete
the first two-way Amateur Radio contact between Earth and Mars), journey
with Hartlage as she undergoes life on the red planet. 

If you're in the market for a new rig, you don't want to miss January's
Product Review of the Elecraft K3/100 HF and 6 meter transceiver.
Reviewed by ARRL Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, the K3 in any of
its available configurations, Hallas says, "provides a high performance,
modular and expandable transceiver that can fill the needs of almost
anyone looking for an HF and 6 meter transceiver for home or portable

If you've been hankering for a new award to proudly display in your
shack, look no further than the ARRL's Triple Play Worked All States
Award. You will receive this award when you have confirmed contacts (via
Logbook of the World) with all 50 states in each of three modes: CW,
voice and digital. Look for more information on this new award in this
edition of The ARRL Letter. 

Of course, there are the usual columns you look forward to in the
January QST: Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Old Radio,
Hamspeak and more. Look for your January issue of QST to arrive in your
mailbox soon. QST is the official journal of ARRL, the national
association for Amateur Radio. QST is just one of the many benefits of
ARRL membership. To join or renew your ARRL membership, please see the
ARRL Web page <>. 


As of January 1, 2009, the ARRL will offer another award: The Triple
Play Worked All States Award <>.
This new, exciting award is available to all amateurs who confirm
contacts with each of the 50 states using three modes for each state:
CW, phone and RTTY/digital. All 150 contacts must be made on or after
the starting date and must be confirmed via Logbook of the World (LoTW)
<>. All bands -- with the exception of 60
meters -- may be used in pursuit of the Triple Play Award.

In their July 2008 meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors decided to
implement this new award. Based on a suggestion by former ARRL Dakota
Division Vice Director Hans Brakob, K0HB, the League's Programs and
Services Committee referred the award's parameters to the Board where it
received enthusiastic approval.

According to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, the Triple
Play Award is a one-time award -- once you have made the required 150
confirmed contacts via LoTW, you're done. "Even so," Sumner writes in
"It Seems to Us" in the January issue of QST, "there are many possible
variations on the theme. You can try to be the first (or at least the
first on your block) or you can set your own pace. Think it's too easy?
Limit yourself to QRP while operating your favorite mode (or all three).
Maybe you prefer to be the quarry; it will quickly emerge which states
are the most difficult to find, offering opportunities to earn the
gratitude of your mates by activating the ones you can get to with your
portable or mobile rig."

The Triple Play Award is not a contest, but Sumner points out that the
ARRL RTTY Roundup <>
takes place the first weekend in 2009, with the North American QSO Party
(CW and Phone) <> following soon
after. "Contesters are among the most loyal devotees of LoTW," Sumner
writes, "so participating in these three events should take care of all
of the easy states, as well as some of the more difficult ones." He
warns that it can be addictive once you begin making your contacts for
the Triple Play Award!

The rules for the Triple Play Award state that two-way communication
must be established on the amateur bands with each state on each mode
(the District of Columbia may be counted for Maryland). There is no
minimum signal report required. Contacts must be made from the same
location, or from locations no two of which are more than 50 miles
apart. Club station applicants must include their club name and call
sign of the club station or trustee on their application. The Triple
Play Award will be issued on sequentially numbered certificates,
starting with #1, as determined by the time stamp of the electronic
application as submitted via LoTW. There are no endorsements for this

Contacts made through repeater devices or any other power relay method
may not be used for WAS confirmation (a separate WAS award is available
for satellite contacts). All stations contacted must be land stations;
contacts with ships, anchored or otherwise, and aircraft, cannot be
counted. The only exception to this rule is permanently docked
exhibition ships (such as the Queen Mary) and other historic ships will
be considered land based.

Triple Play Award applicants who reside in the US must be ARRL members
to be eligible to receive the award. DX stations do not need to be ARRL


Twenty-five years ago this week, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, made history by
being the first Amateur Radio operator to talk to hams from space. His
historic flight on STS-9 on board the space shuttle Columbia was
launched on November 28 and landed on December 8, 1983. Garriott's ham
radio adventure on that mission ushered in a host of what Amateur Radio
on the International Space Station (ARISS) Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,
called "outstanding outreach activities that continue today with the
ARISS program."

Bauer said that many hams still remember that first set of contacts and
downlinks with Garriott: "Those first contacts allowed each of us to
share the excitement of space exploration through Owen's first-hand
eyewitness accounts. Owen's ham radio legacy enabled space travelers
that have flown on the space shuttle, the space station Mir and now the
International Space Station (ISS) to share their journey of

Just last month, Garriott's son Richard, W5KWQ, became the first second
generation Amateur Radio operator to travel in space and speak with hams
<>. "What other hobby,
except Amateur Radio," Bauer wondered, "could or would open the
communications lines of space travelers beyond that of the space
agencies or international heads of state?"

To celebrate 25 years of Amateur Radio operations from space, ARISS has
planned a set of special event opportunities for December and part of
January. According to Bauer, a special certificate will be available for
those who communicate with the ISS, either two-way direct (with the ISS
crew, the digipeater or cross-band repeater) or one-way reception of
SSTV or voice downlink. "Several 'surprises' are planned over the
month-long celebration," he said, and will be announced soon.

Bauer said that in addition to school contacts and APRS digi-operations,
ARISS will configure the radio system for cross-band repeater operations
to utilize the standard U/V operations in low power mode during the
first week of December. According to Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK, "U"
refers to the 70 cm band used for the uplink to the cross-band repeater,
specifically the 437.800 MHz FM frequency (+/- for Doppler), while "V"
refers to the 2 meter VHF band used for the downlink, specifically the
145.800 MHz FM frequency.

Starting December 7, ARISS will then run a test of 9600 baud packet
operations on 145.825 MHz."Given that PCsat should be in full sun
starting December 9," Bauer explained, "we will switch to 1200 baud
packet on 145.825 on December 14-19 to support double hop opportunities.
At times, especially during the weekends, you might see some SSTV
operations if the crew is available."

Bauer reminded hams that due to ISS flight requirements related to
spacewalks and vehicle activity, the radio onboard the ISS may be off
for some portion of this schedule. School contacts and general QSO
opportunities by the crew will also preempt this schedule for short
periods of time. "But remember that if you hear these," Bauer said, "you
still qualify for a commemorative certificate!"


Nominations are open for the 2008 ARRL International Humanitarian Award.
The award is conferred upon an amateur or amateurs who demonstrate
devotion to human welfare, peace and international understanding through
Amateur Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize
Amateur Radio operators who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary
service to others in times of crisis or disaster

A committee appointed by the League's President recommends the award
recipient(s) to the ARRL Board, which makes the final decision. The
committee is now accepting nominations from Amateur Radio, governmental
or other organizations that have benefited from extraordinary service
rendered by an Amateur Radio operator or group. Amateur Radio is one of
the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the
world from all walks of life to meet and talk with each other, thereby
spreading goodwill across political boundaries. The ARRL International
Humanitarian Award recognizes Amateur Radio's unique role in
international communication and the assistance amateurs regularly
provide to people in need.

Nominations should include a summary of the nominee's actions that
qualify the individual (or individuals) for this award, plus verifying
statements from at least two people having first-hand knowledge of the
events warranting the nomination. These statements may be from an
official of a group (for example, the American Red Cross, The Salvation
Army or a local or state emergency management official) that benefited
from the nominee's particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations
should include the names and addresses of all references.

All nominations and supporting materials for the 2008 ARRL International
Humanitarian Award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL
International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.
Nomination submissions are due by December 31, 2008. In the event that
no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine a
recipient or decide to make no award. The winner of the ARRL
International Humanitarian Award receives an engraved plaque and a
profile in QST and other ARRL venues.


Tad "Autumn's Sun so warmly gleams" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: This
was another quiet week; the geomagnetic indicators hovered around zero
and there were no sunspots. There was another unusually quiet period
this week on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (, similar to November 11,
November 14, and November 18-24. Sunspot numbers for November
27-December 3 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm
flux was 68.2, 67, 68.2, 68.4, 68.1, 68.9 and 69.2 with a mean of 68.3.
The estimated planetary A indices were 7, 4, 2, 1, 0, 0 and 4 with a
mean of 2.6. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 3, 2, 1, 0, 0
and 4 with a mean of 2.1. Right now on Friday morning, there are one or
two sunspots trying to break through. The magnetic activity at our Sun's
surface in this area is not quite at a level to indicate a visible spot.
For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL
Technical Information Service Propagation page
<>. To read this week's
Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin
page <>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought
to you by John Clare's "Autumn"



* This Week on the Radio: This week, the ARRL 160-Meter Contest on
December 5-7. The TARA RTTY Melee and the Wake-Up! QRP Sprint are
December 6. The TOPS Activity Contest is December 6-7 and the NAQCC
Straight Key/Bug Sprint is December 10. Next week is the ARRL 10 Meter
Contest on December 13-14. The NA High Speed Meteor Scatter Winter Rally
is December 11-15. The MDXA PSK DeathMatch is December 13-14 and the
SKCC Weekend Sprintathon is December 14. All dates, unless otherwise
stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<>, the ARRL Contest Update
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info. Looking
for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Event
Station Web page <>. 

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, December 21, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, January 2, 2009: Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 1, Radio Frequency Interference, Antenna Design and
Construction, Technician License Course, Analog Electronics and Digital
Electronics. Each online course has been developed in segments --
learning units with objectives, informative text, student activities and
quizzes. Courses are interactive, and some include direct communications
with a Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a particular session
that may be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the course) and they may
access the course at any time of day during the course period,
completing lessons and activities at times convenient for their personal
schedule. Mentors assist students by answering questions, reviewing
assignments and activities, as well as providing helpful feedback.
Interaction with mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is no
appointed time the student must be present -- allowing complete
flexibility for the student to work when and where it is convenient. To
learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page
<> or contact the Continuing Education
Program Coordinator <>;.

* Larry Coyle, K1QW, Wins November QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of
the QST Cover Plaque Award for November is Larry Coyle, K1QW, for his
article "A Modular Receiver for Exploring the LF/VLF Bands."
Congratulations, Larry! 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 on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web
page <>. Cast a ballot for
your favorite article in the December issue by Wednesday, December 31. 

* ARRL DXCC Desk Approves Three Operations: ARRL DXCC Manager Bill
Moore, NC1L, reports that the following operations have been approved
for DXCC credit: Wake Island -- WA2YUN/KH9 (for operations commencing
2007); Willis Island -- VK9DWX (2008), and Andaman and Nicobar Island --
VU4RG (2008). "If you had cards rejected for the Wake Island operation,
please send an e-mail to the ARRL DXCC Desk and you will be placed on
the list for update," Moore said. 

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the
American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the national association for Amateur
Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax
860-594-0259; <>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general
news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site
<> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
updates. The ARRL Web site <> also offers
informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
<> is a weekly "ham radio newscast"
compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a
podcast from our Web site.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole
or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be
given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly
from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for
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ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site
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The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these

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Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

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Outlook 2007

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Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

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