Archive for the ‘crossband’ Category

CQ – 630m Crossband Anyone?





A very beautiful QSL arrived in the mail last week, confirming my 630m crossband contact with Harry, WØLS, in Minnesota.



According to Harry's card, this was the first time he had ever listened on 630m and was very surprised to hear me, let alone complete the two-way contact.



Harry was transmitting on 80m CW while I was transmitting on 630m, on 473.00 kHz. It really does not take too much to be able to hear signals on 630m, especially if you are not overwhelmed with a high noise floor ... most low band wire antennas will hear pretty well down there, when pressed into service.

This week, the card from Jeffrey, KGØVL in Iowa arrived. This one also confirmed a 630m crossband contact. Both of these QSO's were made during the November's 630m activity night.


Jeffrey was transmitting on 160m while listening to my signal on 473.00 kHz with his 160m inverted-L.

It's not really necessary to wait for another activity night to have some fun, so ... if you would be interested in trying a crossband CW contact, I would be more than excited to give it a shot.

I can listen on 160, 80 or 40m for you, if you can listen on 630m for me! If we can arrange a sked, I could probably talk a few of the other local 630m VE7's into tagging-along so that you end up with a double or triple-header of VE7's in the logbook.

Please e-mail if you would like to try... ve7sl at shaw.ca

Saturday’s 630m Crossband Night – Reminder


This is a reminder of tomorrow's '630m activity night'. Highlights of the evening will see six different Canadian stations seeking contacts with other amateurs in North America via the 'crossband mode' as they call CQ on 630m CW but listen for replies on their announced (QSX) HF frequency. As well, there will be an increased level of on-air activity from many of the U.S. experimental stations, as they beacon or work each other on various modes including CW and JT9, the WSPR QSO-mode. The experimental stations are also seeking your reception reports.

More information may be found here regarding the activity night, including a detailed list of participating Canadians along with their respective transmitting and QSX HF listening frequencies.

As is often the case, old 'Sol is threatening to throw some junk our way over the next day or two, right on time for our event but please don't let that stop you from participating as often this can actually enhance propagation, especially on the north-south path.

We hope to see many of you tomorrow night!

November’s 630m Activity / CW Crossband Night!





Once again the 630m band will become a cacophony of CW and other sounds on Saturday night, November 12th! The actual motivation for the weekend event is a celebration of the November, 1906, Berlin Treaty ... making 500 kHz the International Distress Frequency for the next eighty years. It's also a great excuse for a lot of 630m diehards to get on the air and celebrate the band.






Three different groups will participate:

    U.S. Experimental Operators
    Canadian Amateurs
    Maritime Radio Historical Society

U.S. Part-5 Experimental Operators including WD2XSH stations and others will operate in the 472 – 479 kHz band. They will use CW transmissions for QSOs and beacons with special messages. There may also be some operation on 500 kHz itself.

Canadian Amateurs will be concentrating their efforts on providing two-way cross-band CW QSO's with other amateurs in the U.S.A. and Canada. They will be transmitting on specified frequencies (see below) and listening for replies to their 'CQ' on specified QSX frequencies within the 160, 80 and 40m CW bands.

The Maritime Radio Historical Society will activate its KSM/KPH transmitter at Bolinas, CA for a mini “Night of Nights” with special messages and bulletins.

Listeners are encouraged to send their reception reports to individual stations or via the LF/MF ON4KST chat page which should be very active during the event. Most experimental calls can be found via QRZ.com listings.

All amateurs are encouraged to participate in the cross-band activity by being able to listen on 630m but being able to answer on one of the specified HF bands.

So far this fall, propagation on the 630m band has been excellent and hopefully will continue well into November. Previous cross-band events have seen contacts made from coast-to-coast as well as west to Hawaii.

VE3OT QSL and coverage from previous crossband event


Confirmed Canadian stations include:

Station:  VA7MM (Mark) CN89 Coquitlam, B.C.
Time: 0400Z – 0800Z (Saturday night Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 475.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1801 kHz / 3574 kHz / 7062 kHz

Station: VE7BDQ (John) CN89 Delta, B.C. November 2016
Time: 0300Z – 0700Z (Saturday night Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 474.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3555 kHz

Station: VE7CNF (Toby) CN89 Burnaby, B.C.
Time: 0300Z – 0800Z (Saturday night Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 476.5 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1836 kHz / 3558 kHz / 7031 kHz

Station: VE7SL (Steve) CN88 Mayne Island, B.C.
Time: 0200Z – 0700Z (Saturday night Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 473.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3566 / 7066 kHz

Station: VE7CA (Markus) CN89 North Vancouver, B.C.
Time: 0200Z – 0700Z (Saturday night Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 477.5.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1820 / 3550 / 7048 kHz

Station: VO1NA (Joe) GN37 Torbay, Newfoundland
Time: 2130Z – 0130Z (Saturday night Nov 12 Z – Sunday Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 477.7 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3562 kHz

Station: VE3OT (Mitch) EN92 London, ON.
Time: 0000Z – 0400Z (Saturday night Nov 13 Z)
TX Frequency: 477.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3563 kHz / 7058 kHz

Several US Experimental stations also will be in operation throughout the band, in two-way QSO mode with each other, using CW or JT9. Some stations will also use WSPR and QRSS CW beacon modes.

The success of this event largely depends upon the participation of as many amateurs as possible.

Hopefully you will be able to participate in the two-way cross-band activity by being able to listen on 630m and then able to switch over to HF to transmit. This could involve the use of a separate receiver / transmitter or can often be easily implemented via your transceiver's 'A/B' switch.

No antenna for receiving on 630m? Don't let that stop you from taking part in the fun. Surprisingly good results can often be had by using a low band wire antenna such as a dipole or inverted-L for listening on 630m ... the antenna does not necessarily need to be resonant. In fact, often times, a non-resonant receiving antenna can provide a better overall S/N ratio than one which is resonant, as these often gather more noise along with signals.

You may want to experiment before hand by listening to many of the numerous U.S. experimental stations operating nightly, mostly in the WSPR mode, between 475.6 and 475.8kHz. Most operators provide a CW identifier following their WSPR transmission but a better way to decode these signals is by installing the latest WSPR software, WSJT-X (freeware), at K1JT's website here. The software works extremely well and is easy to install and get working. If you set the software to 'upload spots', you can share your nightly catches with dozens of other listeners throughout the continent on the WSPRnet website.

courtesy: KB5NJD's 630m Daily Blog
I'll be sending out a few more reminders as the 630m activity night gets closer but please mark your calendars and make a date to participate, by either sending in your 'heard' reports or by getting on-the-air and working some of the Canadian cross-banders.


If you have further questions, please contact myself or John Langridge, KB5NJD / WG2XIQ.

630m Midwinter Summary




Friday and Saturday evening's 'Midwinter 630m Activity' event was an interesting demonstration of the band's capability and, by most accounts, a real success.


At first-glance, the propagation gods appeared to favor Friday night but I'm not really so sure as both nights were quite different.

Friday night's extremely high winds and pounding rain played havoc with most of the west coast antenna systems, producing fluctuating SWR's and scopematch traces dancing crazily for most of the night. Geomagnetic conditions were playing tricks on both evenings as well, with the K-index varying between '1' and '4' ... but the sudden dip to '1' on Saturday night was immediately obvious out west. Stations that had struggled to hear any signs of the CQ-ing VE7's suddenly reported aural reception and several quick contacts were made before calling it a night at around 0700Z. Some of the lower ERP stations were never able to crack the Saturday night, generally high, K-curtain, making for a less interesting night.

courtesy: NOAA and http://www.solarham.net/planetk.htm

The highlight of the event was assuredly the activity from Canada's most recent arrival to the band, Mitch (VE3OT) in London, Ontario. A veteran 2200m operator, Mitch recently modified his system to add 630m capability and after a few setbacks, managed to provide a lot of excitement for the crossbanders back east. I'm sure that Mitch's participation has resulted in many eastern amateurs making plans for 630m in the months ahead.

Mitch managed twenty-five two-way crossband contacts, all along the eastern seaboard and as far south as Texas, with his well-heard 200W and 340' backyard loop ... proving once again that you don't need to live in the country with several acres to have a ton of fun on 630m!

VE3OT's Crossband Coverage courtesy: https://www.google.ca/maps
'Backyarders' in VE7 land also had fun, with VE7BDQ, VE7CNF and VA7MM working crossbanders across the PNW and down into California, Utah and Nevada. Although my own system can also fit into a backyard (with kindly help from the neighbours!), it doesn't quite qualify for such description as my antenna is mounted almost over the ocean, with an unobstructed seawater horizon looking towards the rest of North America and to the north.

An interesting observation, noticed during previous events and reconfirmed once again, is the ability of the smaller and lower antennas used by some of the city stations, to propagate much stronger signals into closer regions such as Washington, Oregon and northern California.

On more than one occasion, my signal was reported as 'unreadable' or 'just above the noise floor', while the other backyarders were reported with, sometimes, 'booming' signals. I can only surmise that these antennas offer more high-angled (NVIS-like) radiation compared with my high seaside inverted-L, which likely has a lower takeoff angle ... Saturday night's activity tended to back up this observation. When it comes down to it, I think that all amateur 630m antennas are basically NVIS radiators due to their small size and low height but some are just a tiny bit 'less NVIS' than others!

As conditions enjoyed a short spike late on Saturday evening, NO3M and WA3TTS, both in Pennsylvania, reported good reception of my CQ's and crossband QSO's were quickly completed with both stations, as well as with KB5NJD in Texas. During the short propagation lift, ABØCW, in Colorado, also called in for a quick exchange, indicating that my previously unheard signal had quickly built from nothing to a 549.

Another highlight of the night was a report from Paul, K7CW, from his quiet receiving location in Tahuya, Washington. Paul reports reception of both VE3OT and VO1NA, with the latter being a 'first' from the west coast!

Hi Steve,

Here is my report of things I took part in or observed tonight:

0204Z - Worked VE7SL 473/3566 kHz RST 559.


0209Z - Worked VE7CNF 476.5/3558 kHz Pretty fast QSB RST 529 to 559.


0214Z - 0409Z WG2XSV 476.1 Beacon RST 559. Announced QRT and QSY at 0409Z.


0219Z - Heard VO1NA 477.4 kHz Weak with QSB. I could get or or three characters now and then. Too weak to attempt a QSO. Signal faded to nothing after about 15 minutes.


0225Z - Heard VE3OT 477.0 kHz Weak but much better than VO1NA. Also with QSB fading to nothing. I called several times, but couldn't tell if he came back to me. Strong enough to make a hopeful try. Also disappeared after about 15 minutes.


0241Z - Came across WD2XSH/20 RST 599+ in QSO with WH2XGP RST 589. 474.5 kHz.


0300Z - WD2XSH/20 472.0 599+ now in beacon mode.


0400Z - VE7BDQ 474.0 kHz RST 539 showed up and called CQ twice. I responded on 3555 kHz, but he did not call me back. He then disappeared from the QRG. There was a strong birdie on 475 kHz, but I don't think VA7MM came on.


0409Z - WG2XSV 476.1 Beacon interrupted by announcement of QRT and QSY.


0434Z - Came across VE7BDQ 474.0 kHz again calling CQ. He worked VA7JX, but apparently couldn't hear me.

With that, I took one more look for VO1NA and stopped.

Another interesting night.

73, Paul K7CW


Thanks also to AI8Z in Colorado and W7OIL in Washington for submitting  reception reports!

THE LOGS

From Mitch, VE3OT, in London, ON:

Friday night:

NØFW (OH)
WA3TTS (PA)
KB5NJD (TX)
K4LY (SC)
K3OO (PA)
VE3MM (ON)
N4PY (NC)
WA9ETW (WI)
K9LA (IN)
NO3M (PA)
N2TK (NY)
KK8X (MI)
N2ZK (NY)
N8RR (WV)
VA3SC (ON)

Saturday night:

WD8DSB (IN)
K3UL ( PA)
WB2QMY (NJ)
AA1P (MA)
W2JEK (NJ)
WA3LAB (PA)
K3PA (KS)
NF4C (NC)
W1VD (CT)
WØJW (IA)

From Joe, VO1NA, in Torbay, NF:

N1CGP (ME)
VO1FOG 
VO1BQ
reception reports from around the province, almost all reporting
a positive reception. Also got reports from DF6NM and PAØRDT


From John, VE7BDQ, in Delta, BC. (a description of John's station as well as other VE7's, can all be viewed here):

KGØD/7 (WA)
KU7Z (UT)
VE7KW
WØYSE/7 (WA)
VE7BGJ
W6RKC (CA)
WB2AWQ (NV)
VE7CNF
VA7MM
VE7SL
VA7JX


From Toby, VE7CNF, in Burnaby, BC:

Friday night:

KU7Z (UT)
WØYSE/7 (WA)
VE7KW
VE7BGJ
KGØD/7 (WA)
W6RKC (CA)
VE7BDQ
VA7MM

Saturday night

K7CW (WA)
N7BYD (MT)
WØYSE/7 (WA)
VE7SL
VA7MM

As well, Toby was copied on QRSS3 mode in Illinois, late Saturday night.

From Mark, VA7MM, in Port Coquitlam, BC:

Friday night: 

VE7KW
KU7D (UT)
VE7BGJ
WØYSE/7 (WA)
W6RKC (CA)

Beacon copied: WD2XSH/2Ø 472 kHz

Report of my signal received from N6SKM


Saturday night:

VE7BDQ
VE7SL
VE7CNF

From myself, VE7SL, on Mayne Island, BC:

Friday night:

VE7KW
KU7Z (UT)
W6RKC (CA)
VE7BGJ
KB5NJD (TX)
NO3M (PA)
KGØD/7 (WA)
VA7MM
WØYSE/7 (WA)
WB2AWQ (NV)


Saturday night:

K7CW (WA)
VE7CNF
VA7CNF
VA7JX
K7SF (OR)
VE7BDQ
KB5NJD (TX)

N7BYD (MT)
WØYSE/7 (WA)
NO3M (PA)
ABØCW (CO)
WA3TTS (PA)
VA7MM


For an even more detailed description of the weekend event, see KB5NJD's 630m blogs here.

Thanks to all participants ... you have created another successful 630m operating event. Hopefully U.S. amateurs will have access to the band before next winter, allowing all of the two-way activity to take place within the band itself ... how different that will be! Otherwise, another crossband weekend will be in store for the fall of 2016!

Upcoming 630m Crossband Weekend Reminder



This coming weekend will host the "Midwinter 630m Operating Activity", an event that will have the 630m band no doubt sounding very crowded.



Not only will there be a dozen or more U.S. experimental stations in operation, but also six Canadian stations working crossband with other amateurs in both the U.S. and Canada.

Hopefully you will be able to participate as well, by listening for the 630m Canadians and then give them a call on their HF listening (QSX) frequency. Although specific HF QSX frequencies will be part of their CQ, the list below will provide further details regarding where and when the Canadians will be transmitting.

This event should be particularly interesting for amateurs from the central states eastward, as well as the southern states. For the first time, a mid-continent Canadian station will be on-the-air for both nights.

Mitch, VE3OT, will be looking for crossband contacts from his London, Ontario location and looking at the results of his past few weeks of CW beaconing, his 630m signal is being well-heard throughout the eastern half of the continent. For the north-easterners, VO1NA in Newfoundland will be also looking for two-way crossband contacts.

The last time this event was run, dozens of two-way crossband contacts were completed between the 630m Canadians and amateurs on HF. Canadians on the west coast worked as far as KH6 to the west and W3 to the east. With even better propagation looking very probable this coming weekend, the crossband activity could be very exciting!

Canadian Station Schedule

Station: VO1NA(Joe) GN37 Torbay, Newfoundland
Time: 2130Z - 0130Z both Friday night (Feb 5 - 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 6 - 7Z) plus QRSS3 / 12 WPM Beacon from 0130 – 1000Z
TX Frequency: 477.7 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3562 kHz

Station: VE7SL (Steve) CN88 Mayne Island, B.C.
Time: 0200Z - 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 473.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3566 / 7066 kHz

Station: VE7BDQ (John) CN89 Delta, B.C.
Time: 0330Z - 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 474.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3555 kHz

Station: VA7MM (Mark) CN89 Coquitlam, B.C.
Time: 0500Z - 0700Z Friday night (Feb 6Z)
          0400Z - 0800Z Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 475.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
1801 kHz / 3574 kHz / 7062 kHz

Station: VE7CNF(Toby) CN89 Burnaby, B.C.
Time: 0300Z - 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 476.5 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
1836 kHz / 3558 kHz / 7031 kHz


Station: VE3OT (Mitch) EN92 London, ON.
Time: 0000Z - 0400Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 477.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3563 kHz / 7058 kHz

In addition to the crossband activity, the numerous U.S. experimental stations are also seeking your reception reports. These can be either sent to the individual stations (via their qrz.com info) or to myself, for forwarding and posting in the event summary. Several of the old high-powered Californian Maritime stations will also be in operation on CW, just below the 630m band.

More information regarding the weekend's event can be found here in the initial announcement as well as on the ARRL News page here.

As in past events, many of the participants will be found on the ON4KST (2200-630m) Chat page, allowing realtime updates to keep you in the loop ... the more the merrier.

If you are getting ready for the arrival of the 630m band in the U.S., this weekend's event offers a good opportunity to get a 'feel' for the band as well as to participate in the two-way activity with the 'VE' amateurs ... we hope to work many of you this weekend!

The 1st Annual Midwinter 630m Activity Weekend






Following late fall's very successful 630m Activity / CW Crossband Weekend in November, several enquiries were soon received asking "when's the next one?" I'm happy to announce that the 'next one' will be held on the first weekend of February and will follow a similar format. 

Here is the formal press release describing the event published in the ARRL News:


     *****************************************

US and Canadian radio amateurs and experimenters will join forces in February for the first Midwinter 630 Meter Activity Weekend. The event will get under way on February 6 at 0000 UTC (Friday, February 5, in US time zones) and run through 2359 UTC on February 7.

“This event is being undertaken because of the new and quickly growing interest in present 630 meter activities, both in the US and Canada,” said  ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group (WD2XSH) Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR. “Much of the interest is in response to the strong likelihood of US amateurs receiving access to the band in the near future, while Canadian hams are eager to learn more about the present level of Amateur Radio activity on their newest ham band.” The activity weekend comes on the heels of a special event operation over the November 13-14 weekend that included participation by US and Canadian radio amateurs.and the Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS).

Raab said the two activity nights will offer interested amateurs in both countries an opportunity to experience the 630 meter band and, through cross-band activity with Canadian amateurs, to take part in activity in the MF spectrum. “Our hope is to see this activity become an annual operating event, to be held very winter on the 630 meter band,” Raab said. “For those who may be building for future 630 meter operation, this event will provide an opportunity to test your ‘receive’ capabilities on MF.”

Operation will be from 472 kHz to 479kHz in various modes. The two-way crossband work will be undertaken by several Canadian stations, all on CW. Canadians will operate on a schedule and listen for callers on specific QSX frequencies in the US ham allocations.

Station: VO1NA(Joe) GN37 Torbay, Newfoundland
Time: 2130Z - 0130Z both Friday night (Feb 5 - 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 6 - 7Z) plus QRSS3 / 12 WPM Beacon from 0130 – 1000Z
TX Frequency: 477.7 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3562 kHz

Station: VE7SL (Steve) CN88 Mayne Island, B.C.
Time: 0200Z - 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 473.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3566 / 7066 kHz

Station: VE7BDQ (John) CN89 Delta, B.C.
Time: 0330Z - 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 474.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3555 kHz

Station: VA7MM (Mark) CN89 Coquitlam, B.C.
Time: 0500Z - 0700Z Friday night (Feb 6Z)
          0400Z - 0800Z Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 475.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
1801 kHz / 3574 kHz / 7062 kHz

Station: VE7CNF(Toby) CN89 Burnaby, B.C.
Time: 0300Z - 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 476.5 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
1836 kHz / 3558 kHz / 7031 kHz


Station: VE3OT (Mitch) EN92 London, ON.
Time: 0000Z - 0400Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 477.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency:
3563 kHz / 7058 kHz

Several US Experimental stations also will be in operation throughout the band, in two-way QSO mode with each other, using CW, PSK31, JT9, and QRSS modes. Some stations will also use WSPR and QRSS CW beacon modes.

“The success of this event largely depends upon the participation of as many amateurs as possible,” Raab said. “We hope that you can find a few hours to participate in this unique midwinter event.” Submit reception reports via e-mail to the respective operators or via the ARRL 600 Meter Experiment website.
   

*************************************
Hopefully you will be able to participate in the crossband activity by being able to listen on 630m and then able to switch over to HF to transmit. This could involve the use of a separate receiver / transmitter or can often be easily implemented via your transceiver's 'A/B' switch.

No antenna for receiving on 630m? Surprisingly good results can often be had by using a low band wire antenna such as a dipole or inverted-L for listening on 630m ... the antenna does not necessarily need to be resonant. In fact, often times, a non-resonant receiving antenna can provide a better overall S/N ratio than one which is resonant, as these often gather more noise along with signals.

You may want to experiment before hand by listening to many of the numerous U.S. experimental stations operating nightly, mostly in the WSPR mode, between 475.6 and 475.8kHz. Most operators provide a CW identifier following their WSPR transmission but a better way to decode these signals is by installing the latest WSPR software, WSJT-X (freeware), at K1JT's website here. The software works extremely well and is easy to install and get working. If you set the software to 'upload spots', you can share your nightly catches with dozens of other listeners throughout the continent on the WSPRnet website.

courtesy: KB5NJD's 630m Daily Blog
I'll be sending out a few more reminders as the 630m Activity Weekend gets closer but please mark your calendars and make a date to participate, by either sending in your 'heard' reports or by getting on-the-air and working some of the Canadian crossbanders.

Another New VE on 630m!

courtesy: https://www.google.ca/maps



 Another new Canadian station has been activated on 630m ... VE3OT, Mitch, in London, Ontario.




For many years, Mitch has been running his QRSS 'MP' beacon on 2200m, using a large E-W wire loop and about 200 watts.

The move to 630m uses the same transmitter with a retuned loop and new output LPF. Although the antenna tuner still needs a capacitor swap and a new toroid to perfectly resonate the loop, Mitch has been getting many good 'audible' reports from eastern stations as well as from the central states and as far south as Texas.


Present testing is in the QRSS6 CW mode on 475.0 kHz. Unfortunately, since moving up to 630m, E-W propagation has been hit and miss and although I can copy his QRSS6 CW signal, I have not had aural copy as of yet ... maybe tonight.

courtesy: http://www.solarham.net/
Hopefully when the geomagnetic field calms down again, Mitch can work some of the VE7's out this way on CW ... wouldn't that be a nice way to start the New Year!

***************************************************
Another 630m CW crossband activity has been planned for early February and I will have more details shortly. If you missed the last event, here is another chance to get in on the two-way crossband fun ... please stay tuned!

***************************************************

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