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Old 02-14-2011, 9:02 PM
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Default EchoLink

Hey gang,

With my forthcoming Tech License, I was looking into some other ham subjects and I have been reading up on EchoLink. This looks really cool and cutting edge. I'm sure there are lots of purists out there who may not like the technology, however, I'm an apartment dweller and not able to erect any DX gear, EchoLink sounds like a good thing.

I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with EchoLink and if you think it is the real deal. As far as I can tell, a ham logs in with their callsign and a computer with a headset and start talking.

Ray
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:29 PM
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As a scanner listener, the computer to computer doesn't cut it with me. There are enough other non ham related computer chat software that makes me wonder about Echolink. As an RF to computer to RF link, I am all for it. Ham radio to me is about the "radio". Take that out of the equation and you no longer have ham radio, or for that matter, scanner listening. Just my purist view! I haven't looked around RR but I am sure this topic has been discussed before.
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Old 02-15-2011, 4:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmac View Post
As a scanner listener, the computer to computer doesn't cut it with me. There are enough other non ham related computer chat software that makes me wonder about Echolink. As an RF to computer to RF link, I am all for it. Ham radio to me is about the "radio". Take that out of the equation and you no longer have ham radio, or for that matter, scanner listening. Just my purist view! I haven't looked around RR but I am sure this topic has been discussed before.
As of 10:32 UTC on 02-15-11, there are 1,884 repeaters and 2,234 links. That's a total of 4,118 rf stations versus 684 PC users. (My link is included in that total as well.) That's not counting 243 nodes that are called conferences, which can also include links and repeaters.

Also take into account that not all PC users are talking to other PC users and you can see that RF communications, rather than PC to PC communications, is the predominant mode on Echolink.

Just trying to clear up a common misconception
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Old 02-15-2011, 5:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rbecker1963 View Post
Hey gang,

With my forthcoming Tech License, I was looking into some other ham subjects and I have been reading up on EchoLink. This looks really cool and cutting edge. I'm sure there are lots of purists out there who may not like the technology, however, I'm an apartment dweller and not able to erect any DX gear, EchoLink sounds like a good thing.

I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with EchoLink and if you think it is the real deal. As far as I can tell, a ham logs in with their callsign and a computer with a headset and start talking.

Ray
I use Echolink on a daily basis. Where I live, there are only 34 licensed amateurs in the county and hardly anyone ever gets on the air. HF, VHF or UHF. We didn't even have a repeater up until December. The only reason it's there now is because it was bought with grant money. Nothing but complete silence on it other than people stopping by to try it out once in awhile.

Echolink gives me the opportunity to talk to people and places that I otherwise wouldn't be able to. It can also go beyond the computer and the headset. There are simplex links and repeaters that are accessible as well. Myself, I have a simplex link set up that gives me coverage throughout the town I live in.

I also use other modes of communications, so Echolink isn't my end all be all, but I have found a place for it in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 02-15-2011, 5:50 AM
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I use it on the odd occasion, I too only have a 2m/70cm handheld rig so its good to catch up with mates from the home country

btw my call is VK4TAW
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Old 02-15-2011, 4:00 PM
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Here is a link to the local repeaters in my area.
The Punxsutawney area repeater is no online yet with the Echo Link as far as I know, and I talk to the president of the club most every day.
NEWS

I too only have a Scanner - a Uniden BC 890 XLT - connected to my Winegard 8200U home antenna, turned with a rotor, amplified with a Channel Master CM 7777 pre amp and fed with Belden 1829 AC quad shield coax wire - 100+ feet from the shed roof - 18 feet above ground to the house.

In one weekend, I have heard more Echo Link conversations and more technicians who have accomplished setting up multiple links for Nodes then Carter had liver pills.

I have logged 16 out of area or out of state calls in my log book - just with my rinky dink set up.
My opinion is that it gives the average Novice Ham radio operator the opportunity to talk long distances and communicate with more then just the local buddy group.
With this new set up - even a mobile with 25 watts can talk clear across the country - as long as his radio and the club repeater is set up right.
It's pretty neat to have a guy from Tennesee or Georgia or two truck drivers traveling down I 80 - that can talk with each other as they are driving down the road - and be able to talk with people from Ohio or Pennsylvania or Florida - even with a hand held.

It's not true DX - because there is no antenna requirements and no power limits - due to the internet picking up the signal and going with it from there.
Me personally - I need to hit the books tonight and get my license as soon as possible.
I have a really good HAM radio on the way which will transmit on all the lower bands - but will be restricted to the 2 meter and the CM bands until I can get my licenses.

It kind of sucks - because you think that just because you passed your tests that you will be able to talk on the ham radio - but that isn't true until you get up into the technicians class and beyond.
Some of those tests has little to nothing to do with actual communications and is more like a quiz to actually keep all the stupid people off the radio.
I don't see how knowing what a Pecowatt or how things works actually has to do with operating a radio.
I mean come on - there is billions of drivers on the road and very few of them actually knows how a internal combustion engine works under the hood or how to repair it if it blew up.

This stuff doesn't seem fair, when you consider I have a GMRS license and had a CB radio license and you don't have to take any tests to get either of those licenses - and yet they are just as fine of a mode of communications as is the 2 meter band.

For anyone that doesn't understand what I am talking about, just get out a old programmable police scanner and hook it up to some type of antenna and listen to what these people are talking about - when you can get them on the air.
They use the repeater - only to group up, then they switch over to a regular channel, then you usually have a bunch of old guys in the morning that sits there and uses the radio like a telephone and I heard a real interesting conversation the other day for about an hour - from some guy that bought a bag of bird seed at tractor supply and took the seeds out and cleaned them and threw away a half a bucket of junk that was in with the seeds.

To me it wouldn't be worth my time, let alone spend half a day doing it and a hour talking about it.
Some of these people don't have a life in my opinion.

The funniest thing about Echo Link is that it isn't new.
It has been around for a while, just that no one perfected it until now.
Not that it is perfect or anything - just that they are finally figuring out how to make it work.

All I am trying to say is that it is going to expand a persons range with their two band radios and it is going to sell a bunch more radios and computers - because the memory in my computer is full and I don't have enough room in my computer for Windows 7 or VISTA and so even when I do get my radio - after I get my license - I will still need a internet connection that works and a new computer to run it with.

But after I have it, it will be like as if I am using a 20 meters radio with a beam antenna and a 200 watt linear amplifier - even with just 25 watts and a mobile.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:07 AM
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I use echolink on the RF side. I have a link up on simplex that i can get into from anywhere in my town and I also use it when i sitting outside with my HT. I will connect link to link and my buddy and I will have nice qso's were both on radios but computers in the middle and were 650 miles apart. Works great for us.
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Old 02-19-2011, 1:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbecker1963 View Post
I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with EchoLink and if you think it is the real deal.
I am not quite sure what you mean by the "real deal"?

But yes, I have used EchoLink both on my PC and my iPad. No, you are not eligible to win any contests or awards, but if you enjoy talking to people all over the world (Why else would you get an amateur radio license if you didn't want to talk to people?), then you will most likely have a great time with EchoLink and that is real enough for me!
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Old 02-19-2011, 1:55 PM
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Some people say Echolink is not a mode, but I use it from my Droid. It is great to be able to get on and talk all over the world on repeaters. You never know who you may run into out there.
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:00 PM
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I don't use EchoLink. Living in a apartment don't have HF at home, but have set it up mobile. Would rather try my luck on HF and don't find EchoLink is the primary reason for my getting on ham radio.

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Old 02-20-2011, 1:17 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

I prefer IRLP myself, but both are fun. It's a blast talking around the world on a HT.
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Old 02-24-2011, 4:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbecker1963 View Post
Hey gang,

With my forthcoming Tech License, I was looking into some other ham subjects and I have been reading up on EchoLink. This looks really cool and cutting edge. I'm sure there are lots of purists out there who may not like the technology, however, I'm an apartment dweller and not able to erect any DX gear, EchoLink sounds like a good thing.

I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with EchoLink and if you think it is the real deal. As far as I can tell, a ham logs in with their callsign and a computer with a headset and start talking.

Ray
Well, I don't know what you mean by "real deal," but Ihave used Echolink in sysop mode -- meaning any ham in the neighborhood can use it 24/7 to talk around the world if they want to. It is of tremendous benefit for the snowbirds who visit Arizona during the winter and like to communicate with their friends and fellow hams in their home towns. I have talked to a female engineer in Jakarta, two or three Aussies down under, and I have a regular schedule with a friend who lives in a rural canyon 90 miles from me who can't get HF out of the canyon for that short range, and can't get VHF or UHF out at all. As long as you use a radio with it, and are talking only to licensed amateur radio operatgors (a requirement, btw), then yes, it is ham radio.

Now I'm trying to get my Echolink software to work on Windows 7 with SignaLink USB. It works Single-user mode (no radio or TNC) but won't work in sysop mode with the radio ... well, it will, sort of, but only outbound -- i can't get the VOIP signal to key my transmitter, although Echolink says the PTT is engaged.
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Old 02-24-2011, 4:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel_Boone View Post

(snip)

It kind of sucks - because you think that just because you passed your tests that you will be able to talk on the ham radio - but that isn't true until you get up into the technicians class and beyond.
Some of those tests has little to nothing to do with actual communications and is more like a quiz to actually keep all the stupid people off the radio.

I don't see how knowing what a Pecowatt or how things works actually has to do with operating a radio.
I mean come on - there is billions of drivers on the road and very few of them actually knows how a internal combustion engine works under the hood or how to repair it if it blew up.

This stuff doesn't seem fair, when you consider I have a GMRS license and had a CB radio license and you don't have to take any tests to get either of those licenses - and yet they are just as fine of a mode of communications as is the 2 meter band.

(snip)
Spoken like a true, dyed-in-the-wool appliance operator. Here is a suggestion: If all you want to do is "talk on the radio," stay on CB, CB-uhf (MURS), or FRS. A lot of hams really objected to the loss of the Morse Code requirement because we knew it was certain to inundate the amateur bands with appliance operators, and to some extent they were right. The old-timers call them "lids, kids, and space cadets" -- ex-CB'ers wo think the song "Convoy" is their anthem. I have to say, however, that the old-timers weren't entirely right: A lot of the lids, kids, and space cadets cleaned up their act and started sounding like ordinary human beings after someone took them aside and suggested they start talking on the radio the same way they talk to someone standing next to them in the grocery-store line, instead sounding like Captain marvel wagging his cool.

You have to understand the number one purpose of ham radio is to provide emergency communications in times of disaster when normal emergency channels are overwhelmed. The number two purpose of ham radio is to encourage the study of electronics and the development of trained technicians and engineers for industry, emergency communications maintenance people, and national defense. Ham radio is a recreation, an avocation, but it has a serious purpose, and it behooves us all to understand that serious purpose and accommodate when necessary, if not actually train to participate in it as a volunteer.

A lot has changed in ham radio since the electronics industry discovered the real radio market and began building very high-tech radios for that market. 45 years ago I built my own 2-meter AM transmitter, modulator, and power supply, and THAT is why the test asks you if you know what a "picowatt" is. In a major emergency, a ham radio operator is expected to be able to repair a radio if necessary, or build one given the parts, or know how to put together a working antenna resonant on the band used by the radio, and he should know whart band is necessary for the communication needs of the moment. In other words, we are not appliance operators: We are radiomen.
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Old 02-28-2011, 6:09 AM
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Spoken like a true, dyed-in-the-wool appliance operator. Here is a suggestion: If all you want to do is "talk on the radio," stay on CB, CB-uhf (MURS), or FRS. A lot of hams really objected to the loss of the Morse Code requirement because we knew it was certain to inundate the amateur bands with appliance operators, and to some extent they were right. The old-timers call them "lids, kids, and space cadets" -- ex-CB'ers wo think the song "Convoy" is their anthem. I have to say, however, that the old-timers weren't entirely right: A lot of the lids, kids, and space cadets cleaned up their act and started sounding like ordinary human beings after someone took them aside and suggested they start talking on the radio the same way they talk to someone standing next to them in the grocery-store line, instead sounding like Captain marvel wagging his cool.

You have to understand the number one purpose of ham radio is to provide emergency communications in times of disaster when normal emergency channels are overwhelmed. The number two purpose of ham radio is to encourage the study of electronics and the development of trained technicians and engineers for industry, emergency communications maintenance people, and national defense. Ham radio is a recreation, an avocation, but it has a serious purpose, and it behooves us all to understand that serious purpose and accommodate when necessary, if not actually train to participate in it as a volunteer.

A lot has changed in ham radio since the electronics industry discovered the real radio market and began building very high-tech radios for that market. 45 years ago I built my own 2-meter AM transmitter, modulator, and power supply, and THAT is why the test asks you if you know what a "picowatt" is. In a major emergency, a ham radio operator is expected to be able to repair a radio if necessary, or build one given the parts, or know how to put together a working antenna resonant on the band used by the radio, and he should know whart band is necessary for the communication needs of the moment. In other words, we are not appliance operators: We are radiomen.
Well said!!

As to the OP, I have used EchoLink, but very sparingly.

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Old 02-28-2011, 7:42 AM
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(snip)

Now I'm trying to get my Echolink software to work on Windows 7 with SignaLink USB. It works Single-user mode (no radio or TNC) but won't work in sysop mode with the radio ... well, it will, sort of, but only outbound -- i can't get the VOIP signal to key my transmitter, although Echolink says the PTT is engaged.
I started over from scratch, carefully performed each step in sequence and made meticulous notes so that if I succeeded, I would know how I got there and be able to duplicate it. Well, it didn't work, but what I wound up with was a conviction that I had done it right -- therefore,obviously, it was a compatibility issue between the Echolink software and Windows 7.

I found the Windows 7 Compatibility Trouble shooter and ran it, answered a few questions -- in this case the answers were all "other," since it didn't ask if everything loaded properly but didn't run properly -- and it told me to load the program and see if it worked, and it did. All I had to do was tweak the levels a little bit to avoid overmodulation. Then it claimed it encountered an error and wasn't able to store the settings, so I figured I would have to do the whole thing over the next time I load Echolink. But, as it turned out, I didn't. So the Compatibility Troubleshooter fixed the problem, since Echolink was written for Windows XP Service Pack 2.
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Old 02-28-2011, 7:57 AM
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What a load of first class outrageous horse hockey! These guys are trying to tell the OP that he is not a "real ham" if he uses EchoLink. Nice way to welcome this guy into the hobby! Personally, I got into amateur radio to please myself and my enjoyment is the ONLY thing I am concerned about... period! I don't live my life or judge my value to a particular hobby according to anyone else's standards and neither should you!

If anyone ever tells you that you are not a "real ham", show them your license and tell them to kiss your butt!
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:02 AM
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Angry And we wonder why the hobby is dying...

We should be glad anybody shows an interest in electronics, let alone RADIO communications. Heck these days most people won't even buy a cell phone with an antenna! It's 2011 and you can't easily home-brew radios with surface-mount chips and microprocessors in the shack. Hams are supposed to be innovative and embrace new technologies. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a manufactured radio and operating digital modes or Echolink/IRLP, just as there is nothing wrong with appreciating the history and choosing to use analog tube-type gear in AM mode.

Am I just an "appliance operator"? I operate several broadcast transmitters that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were purchased from a manufacturer. I have no trouble keeping them operational in an emergency.

I recently put up an IRLP node in our city and amazingly revived some interest in ham by local techs that were discouraged. It's no fun for a newbie to be put in his place and/or hassled by the local self-appointed kilowatt cops.


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Old 02-28-2011, 1:09 PM
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What a load of first class outrageous horse hockey! These guys are trying to tell the OP that he is not a "real ham" if he uses EchoLink. Nice way to welcome this guy into the hobby! Personally, I got into amateur radio to please myself and my enjoyment is the ONLY thing I am concerned about... period! I don't live my life or judge my value to a particular hobby according to anyone else's standards and neither should you!

If anyone ever tells you that you are not a "real ham", show them your license and tell them to kiss your butt!
I hope you aren't referring to me, or if you are, you will go back and read the message you are referencing. I wrote the message about "appliance operators" and I don't believe the word "Echolink" appeared in that message. I am a "real ham;" I am not an "appliance operator," and I use Echolink all the time -- in Sysop Mode. In fact, because I am not an appliance operator, I just got it working on Windows 7 when it was never written for Windows 7 and refused to work.

My message was not about him using Echolink; my message was about him objecting to the test questions because all he wants to do is yammer away at a microphone. If yammering is all he wants to do, he can do it better on Citizen's Band. Ham Radio is a Public Service, and ham radio operators would like to maintain it as a public service performed by radiomen, and not let it descend into the flame war crap and juvenile jargon that goes on constantly on CB.
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Old 02-28-2011, 1:30 PM
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I did not use anybody's name in my "horse hockey" post.

If all he wants to do is "yammer", why not?

You said --

Quote:
Originally Posted by K7FFN View Post
You have to understand the number one purpose of ham radio is to provide emergency communications in times of disaster when normal emergency channels are overwhelmed. The number two purpose of ham radio is to encourage the study of electronics and the development of trained technicians and engineers for industry, emergency communications maintenance people, and national defense. Ham radio is a recreation, an avocation, but it has a serious purpose, and it behooves us all to understand that serious purpose and accommodate when necessary, if not actually train to participate in it as a volunteer.
While the #1 purpose of amateur radio might be to provide communications in times of disaster, events of that magnitude are extremely rare. If we all waited around for the next hurricane or earthquake in order to communicate on the amateur frequencies, this hobby would have died a long time ago!

99.826% of what is heard on the amateur frequencies is useless drivel that no one who might be eavesdropping on the bands really cares about. But that's OK since by law, the nature of our communications must be of a technical nature or personal remarks of relative unimportance.

While it is a very noble and glorious purpose to think of amateur radio as that type of communications that gets through when all else fails, what do you propose we do while we wait for the next disaster to strike?
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Old 02-28-2011, 1:40 PM
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We should be glad anybody shows an interest in electronics, let alone RADIO communications. Heck these days most people won't even buy a cell phone with an antenna! It's 2011 and you can't easily home-brew radios with surface-mount chips and microprocessors in the shack. Hams are supposed to be innovative and embrace new technologies. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a manufactured radio and operating digital modes or Echolink/IRLP, just as there is nothing wrong with appreciating the history and choosing to use analog tube-type gear in AM mode.

Am I just an "appliance operator"? I operate several broadcast transmitters that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were purchased from a manufacturer. I have no trouble keeping them operational in an emergency.

I recently put up an IRLP node in our city and amazingly revived some interest in ham by local techs that were discouraged. It's no fun for a newbie to be put in his place and/or hassled by the local self-appointed kilowatt cops.
KG0S
If you are able to keep your equipment on the air when something goes wrong, then -- at least to the extent of that aspect of the definition -- you are clearly not an appliance operator. You don't discuss the purpose of ham radio or how important that purpose is to you, so I have no way of answering your question in regards to that aspect of ham radio.

I'll put it to you squarely: I don't apologize for my comments because my objective was not to reject a "newbie," but to inform the "newbie" that he has a mistaken view of ham radio and he is not going to be much appreciated by ham radio operators if he maintains that CB'er attitude -- *****ing and moaning about the test; about having to put forth some effort to achieve something worthwhile. Obviously he doesn't think much of ham radio or what it means to be a ham radio operator. He doesn't think much of being a radioman. His attitude is exactly why the majority of ham radio operators objected to losing the Morse Code requirement; they knew it would mean we would be inundated by hordes of appliance operators to whom the purposes of ham radio meant nothing -- quite aside from the fact that it meant a whole bunch of ham radio operators would not be able to communicate in the worst of emergency conditions, when nothing will get through but CW. And now we have that situation, and I am pleased we are gaining members, because huge numbers of ham radio operators is what it takes to maintain our bands and frequencies from government and commercial interests who think they have a better use for them than we do. I am also pleased that while we do encounter ham radio operators who think ham radio is just another CB band, the ones I have encountered have been reasonably responsive to being taken aside and having the facts of life explained to them. Those that haven't been responsive have either dropped out for lack of interest or been slapped with major fines for illegal conduct. Ham radio is pretty much a self-policing hobby, and to be self-policing you have to put forth some effort -- the more significant the better -- and you have to believe what you are doing, and what you are capable of doing, is of value to the community, and not just a throw-away hobby for personal pleasure.
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