Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1777 – September 2 2011

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  1. WA6ITF

    WA6ITF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1777 – September 2 2011

    Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1777 with a release date of Friday, September 2, 2011 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

    The following is a Q-S-T. Amsat Oscar 51 appers to be failing as its batteries die. Also, the ARRL says that it opposes a rules waiver request filed by the Anchorage V-E-C, ham radio responds to Hurricane Irene, international cooperation removes CODAR from the 24 MHz band and a Dancing With The Stars judge teams with the BBC to produce a new documentary on the sinking of the Titanic with an emphasis on Morse code. All that and more on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1777 coming your way right now.

    (Billboard Cart Here)



    The ageing Amsat Oscar AO-51 may appears to be a dying bird. This, according to Control Station, Mark Hammond, N8MH reporting via the Amsat News Service weekly newsletter. Amateur radio Newsline’s Don Carlson, KQ6FM, has the details:


    In an update on AO-51’s health, Mark Hammond, N8MH, noted that since the failure of the first cell on the six-cell battery, ground controllers have been limited to simple commands for basic configurations. Hammond said that ground control stations have evolved basic control and management techniques for AO-51. These allow them to set power levels manually, change uplinks and downlinks and the like. However, features such as telemetry collection and the Bulletin Board are not functional at this time. If the satellite resets during eclipse these basic functions must be restored manually by a ground station.

    And now ground stations have discovered there is a second cell in the battery showing problems. Hammond says that the control team thinks that battery will be the next cell to go. If that happens the probable result that their limited manual mode of operation probably will no longer be an option, and the mission might be considered over.

    By way of historic background, AO-51 is the on-orbit name designation of a Low Earth Orbiting microsat previously known as Echo. It was launched on June 29, 2004 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan into a sun synchronous low Earth orbit.

    The AO-51 bird contains an FM repeater with both a 144 MHz and 1.2 GHz uplinks along with 435 MHz and 2.4 GHz downlinks. It also carries a digital subsystem that transmits telemetry on 70 cm and provides a complete PACSAT Bulliten Board System. It also features a 10 meter P-S-K uplink.

    As an FM satellite, AO-51 has always been easily workable with gear as simple as an VHF/UHF dual band hand-held radio, as long as a station knows when the satellites footprint is within reach. Transatlantic contacts have been made without much effort, as long as the satellite is approximately mid-Atlantic so that the edge of the satellites footprint is within reach on either continent.

    But since this past May, AO-51 has been experiencing problems with its batteries whiuch in turn as made the onboard repeater unavailable at times. While controllers are now back in basic control of the ageing bird, if one more of its batteries fail, Hammond seems to be saying that AO-51 could go perminantly Q-R-T

    For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Don Carlson, KQ6FM, in Reno, Nevada.


    AO-51 is currently operating FM with an uplink at 145.88 MHz on 2 meters and a 70 centimeter downlink at 435.15 MHz that uses left-hand circular polarization. Output power of the 70 centimeter transmitter is just under one watt. How long it will stay operational depends on how much longer its on-boards batteries continue to function in orbital space. (ANS)



    The American Radio Relay League has said no to a waiver request filed by the Anchorage Alaska VEC. One that asks that the FCC to grant a blanket waiver of Section 97.505 of the Commission’s Rules and to grant exam credit for test elements previously passed to those radio amateurs whose licenses have expired and are beyond the two-year grace period for renewal.

    The story really goes back to this past April when the Anchorage group filed a Petition for Rule Making designated RM-11629. As previously reported, that request asks the FCC to give permanent credit to radio amateurs for examination elements they have successfully passed. This would in effect create a license exam credit that would be valid throughout an amateurs’ lifetime and in essence create a United States lifetime amateur license.

    Then on July 6th, the Anchorage VEC followed up with its waiver request even though RM-11629 is still pending. After consideration, on August 11, the ARRL filed comments on the waiver request with the FCC, urging the Commission to dismiss or deny it. The League says that its decision to oppose is based on the fact that if the FCC grants such a waiver request, it would quite obviously prejudge the outcome of RM-11629. And if for any reason RM-11629 is denied or dismissed, those who re-obtained licenses during the term of any temporary waiver would either have been given a privilege not afforded others or else they would have their reinstated or renewed licenses revoked at some later date. In other words, the ARRL filing says that should the Commission grant the temporary waiver, it is equivalent to granting of the underlying petition.

    At this time, the ARRL says that it is not taking a position with respect to the merits of the original Anchorage VEC request in RM-11629. Rather, the League only opposes the waiver request because the Anchorage VEC has failed to justify the need for the interim relief that the waiver request seeks. (ARRL)



    Hurricane Irene is now a storm of the past and provided a good training and response exercise for hams from North Carolina through Canada. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is in the newsroom with what we know so far:


    Ham radio is always ready to respond in time of disaster. Its star really shines when all other means of communications fail. There were any hams involved in emergency communications who were well trained and fully equipped to respond when it was announced that hurricane Irene was headed to the United States eastern shores.

    Initial forecasts said that Irene could make landfall as a Category 2 or even 3 storm with the potential of raving a good part of Florida and other South-East coastal states before working her way northbound. Already the narrow Cat Island in the southeastern Bahamas taken the full force of Irene, and by this time, ARES and other groups from Florida’s northward through the Canadian Maritime Provinces were on stand-by alert for the devastation that many news outlets were predicting.

    But with the exception of some localized problems, most of what weathercasters were predicting never happened. This was mainly because Irene did not follow initial storm track predictions. Instead of heading directly toward Florida the massive hurricane veered a few degrees to the East, sparing Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Instead it made landfall in the outer barrier islands of North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane having lost a lot of energy in the cooler mid-northern latitude waters of the Atlantic.

    That said, the work of the Amateur Radio operators began many days before Hurricane Irene hit U.S. shores. That’s when several support networks were activated that relayed storm information to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.


    “…W6LMJ for the Hurricane Watch Net listening for stations in the path of hurricane Irene; specifically interested in stations at this time who can report on wind conditions above 70 mph. Any station experiencing wind conditions above 70 mph please call now…”


    As Irene’s winds began hitting the East Coast, more hams came on the air to provide weather spotting information to the National Weather Service’s Skywarn Program. The real-time, ground level reporting allowed the weather forecasters to make more accurate predictions and issue warnings. This is because the Weather Service’s Doppler radar cannot see what is actually happening at ground level and the reports from the ham radio observers were especially essential when tornadoes are possibly mixed into a hurricane’s winds.

    Several states including New Jersey and Vermont suffered significant damage, most from flooding. According to the ARRL, ham radio volunteers from surrounding regions were brought in at the request of Greene County, New York authorities. Greene County was one of the areas devastated by flooding following Irene. And as we go to air, radio amateurs are still aiding the American Red Cross relief efforts by providing technical expertise and working with the organizations communications staff.

    One area where Irene did not impact in way hurricanes usually do was to emergency and personal communications. A report in the New York Times said that wireless phone networks held up well despite widespread losses of power. Many people who lost electric mains power and wired telephone service were able to continue to communicate using e-mail and social networks using battery-powered mobile devices.

    Also, according to the FCC which activated its Disaster Information Reporting System, no 911 Emergency Response Center was out of service and that it had received no reports of public safety communications disruptions.

    In this case one could say that most dodged the bullet, but only because Mother Nurture chose to downgrade Irene before she made landfall. If she had hit as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds between 111 to 130 mph, much of the communications infrastructure that survived Irene would more than likely have been blown away. That would have been the proverbial “when all else fails” scenario and ham radio communications personnel would be out there right now helping in relief operations and damage assessment as has been the case almost since the day that the service first began.

    From the newsroom in Los Angeles, I’m Bill Pasternak , WA6ITF, reporting for the Amateur Radio Newsline.


    More on ham radio and hurricane Irene as details are made available. (ARNewsline™ from various sources. Thanks to K3VR for providing off-air audio.)


    BREAK 1

    From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the KD1RJ repeater serving Fairfield, Connecticut

    (5 sec pause here)



    Two more amateur radio groups have announced 911 commemorative operations. The Pentagon Amateur Radio Club whose call is K4AF says that it will be operational on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday September 11th to honor all those lost on September 11, 200. This, with a special remembrance of the 184 people who lost their lives at the Pentagon and on board American Airlines Flight 77. Further information including QSL routing will be posted at during the event.

    And the Northeast Wireless Radio Club will take to the airwaves on Sunday, September 1700 to 2300 UTC using the call N2WC. This commemorative operation will be in the High Frequency General class bands on CW, SSB phone and several digital modes. No specific list of operating times or precise frequencies is known as we go to air.

    Already announced are groups in Pennsylvania, Nebraska and New York City that are planning on-the-air commemorative operations. These are listed on our website at (Via e-mail)



    The Codar High Frequency Radar operating on on 24920 to 25080 kHz from Northern Italy has gone off the air. This, thanks to a concerted effort by individual hams and members of various European Intruder Watch operations.

    A release by IARU Region 1 Intruder Watch Coordinator DK2OM specifically singles out DJ9KR, G4BOH and 9A5W for their assistance. It also thanks the British telecommunications regulator Ofcom and the German P-T-T for their direction finding assistance and other help.

    DK2OM says that he and his group will keep an ear on this spectrum in the hope that the CODAR signal will not return. He calls the entire operation to rid the band of CODAR to be a further example for an effective cooperation. (IARU R-1)



    The Los Angeles FCC Office has issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation to Willie Walton, of Santa Clarita, California. This for his alleged operation of an unlicensed transmitter in the A.M. broadcast band. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, has the details:


    According to a release from the FCC, it received information that an unlicensed broadcast radio station on 1610 kHz was allegedly operating in the Los Angeles suburban community of Santa Clarita, California. On August 11th, agents from the Los Angeles office confirmed by direction finding techniques that radio signals were emanating from one Willie Walton’s residence.

    The Notice of Unlicensed Operation stated that Commission’s records show that no license was issued for operation of a broadcast station on 1610 kHz at Willie Walton’s location. The notice then went on to warn Walton that operation of radio transmitting equipment without a valid radio station authorization constitutes a violation of the Federal laws and could subject the
    operator to severe penalties. This includes confiscation of the transmission equipment, substantial monetary forfeitures, and even criminal sanctions including imprisonment.

    Walton was told that he must cease the alleged unlicensed operations immediately. He was also given ten days from the release of the Notice of Unlicensed Operation to respond to it and instructed that he must also supplement his response to the on-scene notice issued to him on August 11th with any evidence that that shows he has the authority to operate granted by the FCC. Lastly the Notice of Unlicensed Operation stated that the Commission’s staff will use all relevant material information before it, including that provided by Walton to determine what, if any, enforcement action is required to ensure his compliance with FCC’s rules.

    You can read the full FCC action in this matter on-line at

    For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’, Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, in Los Angeles.


    And before you ask: Yes, Santa Clarita is the home of Amateur Radio Newsline but until now we never knew an unlicensed broadcast station was operating less than 5 miles from our studio location. Obviously, one never knows where these unlicensed broadcasters will show up. (FCC)



    The U.S. Department of State has posted a news item entitled, "Amendment to the U.S-Mexico Bilateral Agreement for the 700 MHz Band to Allow for the Timely Deployment of Fourth Generation Wireless Broadband Service."

    The news release says that on July 28th, 2011, the FCC and the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation concluded an exchange of letters to amend the 2006 Protocol for the 698 to 806 MHz band This, to increase the power limitations and facilitate increases in parameters when counterpart operators across the border from each other do not exist.

    The release says that the changes were necessary to accommodate the advanced technologies employed for 4th Generation wireless broadband service. The amendment became effective this past July 28th. It applies to both sides of the entire common border area with more on the agreement posted in the at (CGC)



    Steve Schwarm, W3EVE, in Boston says that hams are needed for the Sunday, September 18th for that city’s Jimmy Fund Walk. Amateur radio operators who volunteer will be assigned duties on transport busses and at first aid stations. Deployment times run from 5 AM to 7 PM Eastern time and Steve notes that there are still some half day assignments for the morning.

    All communications will take place 2 meter FM. An HT with a good antenna and extra batteries is what is needed for those assigned to the First Aid Stations. A mobile antenna is needed for the buses.

    Drop an e-mail to w3eve at arrl dot net if you can help. Please be sure to put the words Jimmy Fund in the subject. (W3EVE)



    Three director positions on the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio board of directors are now open for nomination. The three positions that are up for election are currently held by Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, Steve Bible, N7HPR, and Darryl Smith, VK2TDS. Nominations close with the call for nominations from the floor the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio Membership Meeting to be held on September 17th in Baltimore, Maryland. An online vote will then be held from September 24th to October 7th. To submit a nomination please takes your web browser to (TAPR)



    And final preparations are in progress for the 30th Annual ARRL and Tucson Amateur Packet Radio Digital Communications Conference slated for September 16th to the 18th. This year’s venue is the Four Points by Sheraton at B-W-I Airport in Baltimore, Maryland. More information on ths happening is on line at (TAPR)



    Some names in the news. The Radio Society of Great Britain says that ham radio’s legendary Mr. Audio, Bob Heil, K9EID, will be attending the U-K’s National Hamfest. There, he will be demonstrating his new Genesis and Elite microphones and providing one of his always well received lecture presentations.

    The press release says that not only does K9EID make communications headsets but he was the person who brought proper sound reinforcement to many rock bands for stadium concerts as far back as the 1960’s. It notes that K9EID is also the inventor of the famed 'Heil Talk Box' used by performer Peter Frampton on the song “Show Me The Way.” (National Hamfest PRO)



    Bob McQuarrie, ZL3TY, of Greymouth, New Zealand reports over the Zed-L VHF Contest Reflector that he is now the proud recipient of 2 meter DXCC certificate number 69.

    ZL3TY notes that all but one of the QSOs was made by moonbounce. The lone exception was a meteor scatter QSO with VK0MT. Also that all but a few were made using WSJT digital mode. He says that WSJT has revolutionized VHF DXing and made EME possible for small stations such as his.

    The certificate Bob received from the ARRL was dated June 22nd. What makes this rather special is that it’s believed to be a first for New Zealand, for Oceania and possibly the entire Southern Hemisphere. (NZART)



    And Hap Holly, KC9RP, tells us that this week’s Rain Report features a rather in-depth interview with 2011 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year, Kaitlyn Cole, KS3P. You can hear it right now on-line by taking your web browser to (KC9RP)


    BREAK 2

    This is ham radio news for today’s radio amateur. From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline with links to the world from our only official website at and being relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio amateur:

    (5 sec pause here)



    We have said this before and sadly we must say it once again. The changing of the guard in ham radio continues with word of the sudden passing of noted broadcast engineer Earl F. Arbuckle III, K6EFA, of Secaucus, New Jersey. According to a note from Kent Peterson, KC0DGY, in the early morning hours of Monday, August 29th, K6EFA was taking the trash out but failed to return. Shortly thereafter his wife found him face down on their driveway. While there is no medical confirmation yet, a heart attack is believed to be a possibility.

    At the time of his passing, Earl Arbuckle was the Vice-President of Engineering for Fox Television Stations group. This is the owned-and-operated stations division of Fox Entertainment Group, which is a part of the News Corporation. His responsibilities included strategic planning and execution of new technologies for the stations in the group. Under his direction, all Fox owned stations were converted to digital transmission and most also upgraded to high-definition studio news production. Just prior to his passing, Earl Arbuckle had worked through the weekend of August 27th and 28th on hurricane Irene contingencies for the Fox owned stations in New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts.

    Prior to 1996, K6EFA had been employed for 18 years by Tribune Broadcasting. 16 of these were spent at New York City’s WPIX and 2 years as corporate engineering manager. He joined News Corporation in 1996 as Vice President of Engineering for American Sky Broadcasting where he was part of the core team that designed and built the huge Arizona digital broadcast center, later sold to EchoStar. In late 1997 he moved to the Fox Television Station Group where he began the digital transition. There he launched the first three Fox Television digital stations in 1998, and completed the remaining stations ahead of FCC deadlines.

    Earl Arbuckle was a veteran of the US Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. He was a registered Professional Engineer in the State of New Jersey, an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey as well as Chairman of the Mahwah Township Planning Board. He was also a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

    A native of southern California, Earl Arbuckle, K6EFA, held a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of California at Irvine. He is survived by his wife Pat, his daughter Jennifer and his parents. At airtime memorial services were pending. (KC0DGY, others)



    Edge of Space Sciences will be flying a rare three balloon cluster for NOAA on Saturday September 10th. The launch will take place at 6:50 a.m. Mountain Time from Windsor Colorado. These will be heavyweight payloads of up to twenty pounds flying NOAA Aircore gear. More information including technical data and frequencies is on-line at



    A second call for papers for papers to be presented at the 2011 AMSAT Space Symposium has been issued by the events planners. Proposals for formal papers, symposium presentations and poster presentations are invited on any topic of interest to the amateur satellite community. A final copy must be submitted by October 1st for inclusion in the printed proceedings. The symposium is slated for Friday, November 4th through Sunday, November 6th at the Wyndham San Jose Hotel, in San Jose, California. Abstracts and completed papers should be sent by e-mail to n8fgv (at) amsat (dot) org. (N8FGV)



    News reports on Friday, August 26th say that Russia may delay the next manned launch for the International Space Station. This, after an unmanned space vessel crashed into Siberia instead of reaching orbit to rendezvous with the ISS.

    Interfax-AVN, the specialist military arm of the Interfax news agency, quoted a source in the rocket and space industry as saying that the planned September 22nd launch could be delayed. Hiis, to give engineering teams time to work out the precise cause of the crash of the Progress cargo vehicle. The Soyuz-FG booster that is due to take the astronauts into space uses the same third stage motor in the Soyuz-U rocket which failed to put the Progress spacecraft into orbit.

    The planned return to Earth from the ISS of two Russians and an American astronaut on September 8th may also be delayed. One possibility is to delay the landing from September 8th to September 22nd and the blast-off the Soyuz-FG from September 22nd to October 6th.

    Current ISS residents Russians Andrei Borisenko, RW7LFG, Alexander Samokutyaev and American Ron Garan, KF5GPO had been due to return to Earth on a Soyuz TMA-21 capsule on September 8. Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin and American Dan Burbank were then due to fly to the ISS on a Soyuz TMA-22 capsule on September 22. (Published news reports)



    Dave Clingerman, W6OAL, reports over the VHF reflector that the KA0CDN slash B
    Colorado 6 Meter Beacon was brought back on the air on Monday, August 29th. The new beacon hardware runs 50 watts output on 50.065 MHz to an older model HyGain 6 Meter omni antenna. The physical location of the beacon is just east of Denver near the intersection of Interstate 70 and I-225 in Maidenhead grid square DM-79OS. More information on the history of the Colorado Beacon can be found at (VHF Reflector)



    In DX, IC8ATA, will be active as 9H3AT from Malta through September 5th. His operation will be holiday style on the High Frequency bands, SSB only and a focus on 17 and 12 meters. QSL via his home callsign, direct or via the bureau. For more details is at

    JF2QNM will be active portable 9M6 from East Malaysia during the CQWW DX CW Contest November 26th and 27th. QSL via JF2QNM.

    SQ8X has announced that the JX5O DXpedition to Jan Mayen Island has been successfully validated at the ARRL DXCC Desk and has received a DXCC credit. He also says that the JX5O log has been uploaded to Logbook of the World.

    Germany’s special event station D-R-16-B-E-N-E has been on the air since July 1st, and will continue through October 31st. This to celebrate the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Freiburg at the end of September. Operations are from the club station D-K-Zero-F-R on 80 through 10 meters using SSB and PSK31. QSL via DL7BC.

    Lastly, SP5DRH will once again try to activate Pigeon Island between October 8th to the 21st. His main target will be Europe on 160 meters plus 80, 15 and 17 meters. QSL via SP7DQR only. For
    more details and updates, watch



    Dancing With the Stars judge Len Goodman has paid a visit to Lisburn in Northern Ireland to learn about Morse Code. This for a new BBC documentary to be released in the spring of 2012. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Norm Seeley, KI7UP, is here with the details:


    Len Goodman is well known for his appearances on the hit United States television competition series Dancing With the Stars and it’s British counterpart known as Strictly Come Dancing. Now comes word that Goodman is in the midst of filming the three part video documentary for the British Broadcasting Corporation titled “Titanic and Me.” The purpose of the new serirs is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the then newly minted luxury ocean liner.

    For the sake of accuracy, Goodman wanted to learn about the Morse Code and how the radio operators on the Titanic may have use of it to summon help. So he turned to the Lagan Valley Amateur Radio Society, which is based just outside the town of Lisburn, Ireland and club member Jim Henry, GI0DVU. This, to teach him about the Morse code and how the radio operators on board the Titanic might have used it as the disaster unfolded.

    At the time it went down, the Titanic was the worlds largest passenger liner. It sank on April 15th, 1912 while on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, after hitting an iceberg in the North Sea. 1,517 of its passengers and crew were lost.

    The documentary that Goodman is a part of is expected to reach television screens in the United Kingdom in April of 2012. After that there’s a likely chance for it to show up on an educational or adventure television network here in the United States.

    For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Norm Seeley, in hot and dry Scottsdale, Arizona.


    The complete story on ham radios involvement in the three part BBC documentary series is on-line at (Ulster Star, KL2A via Facebook)



    With thanks to Alan Labs, AMSAT, the ARRL, the CGC Communicator, CQ Magazine, the FCC, the Ohio Penn DX Bulletin, Radio Netherlands, Rain, the RSGB, the Southgate News and Australia's W-I-A News, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline™. Our e-mail address is Newsline (at) arnewsline (dot) org. More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's™ only official website located at You can also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio Newsline™, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350

    For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors desk, I’m Jeff Clark, K8JAC, saying 73 and we thank you for listening.

    Amateur Radio Newsline™ is Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
  2. AI6DX

    AI6DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    1) Thank goodness for the ARRL saying "no" to the waiver request by the Anchorage VEC..... If ham radio rules and testing requirements
    get "watered down" any further, we might as well not have ANY testing whatsoever to begin with! Hey, isn't that called "C.B." anyways???

    2) For those that are interested, here's a neat link to check out some photos about Titanic's radio equipment and "horse power" they actually had on board the ship. Also, old photos of the radio operators from the Titanic.
  3. WA8LGM

    WA8LGM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ttitanic Web page. Must see item

    Just took a look at the Titanic Pages. If you read this, you gotta take a long look at it. fascinating stuff.
  4. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You didn't actually read the article, did you. What the ARRL was opposing was not the "watering down", but merely a possible procedural problem that would occur if the temporary waiver request were granted while the underlying petition is still pending.

    In other words, the original petition, giving lifetime exam element credit, and that would in effect create a lifetime ham license for the USA, is still alive.

    Quoted from the article: At this time, the ARRL says that it is not taking a position with respect to the merits of the original Anchorage VEC request in RM-11629. Rather, the League only opposes the waiver request because the Anchorage VEC has failed to justify the need for the interim relief that the waiver request seeks.
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