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Mar 10, 2016
Category: General
Posted by: cmsadmin
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Saturday April 13th

Our 2019 Communications Academy theme is:

"COMMUNICATIONS RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS"

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08:00 Registration Begins

09:00 Welcome and Introductory Remarks

09:30 Keynote:

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Session 1 - Keynote Speaker: Michael F. O’Hare, Regional Administrator DHS FEMA Region 10

Topic - "Communications Responce to Catastrophic Events"

Description: Subject matter will include the various facets involved in successfully navigating the difficulties of different communications systems during catastrophic events, and probable solutions to those difficulties

Bio: Mr. Michael O’Hare was appointed as the Regional Administrator for the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 10 in December 2017. As the Regional Administrator, Mr. O’Hare is responsible for the direction and leadership of FEMA’s emergency management efforts in support of the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and the 271 Federally Recognized Tribes and Alaska Native villages within the region. These efforts include delivering FEMA’s preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation programs in concert with partners from all levels of government, volunteer and faith-based groups, and the private sector. Mr. O’Hare brings to the Regional Administrator position his experience leading emergency management, especially to rural communities with their unique challenges.

Prior to joining FEMA, Mr. O’Hare served nearly ten years with the State of Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs most recently as the Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. During his tenure as the Director, Mr. O’Hare determined policies and response operations with the Governor, the Adjutant General, Legislature, Congressional delegation and local jurisdictions. Mr. O’Hare also led Alaska in crisis management roles serving as State Coordinating Officer for state and federal disasters and multiple full-scale and functional exercises of national significance.

Mr. O’Hare previously also served the State of Alaska as Acting Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. His earlier career with the state includes serving as a Legislative Aide in the Alaska State Legislature and managing Information Technology in the State of Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency.

Mr. O’Hare holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Long Island University graduating from Southampton College in 1984. He is also a 2012 graduate of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Executive Education Program from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mike and his wife Valerie have two children and live in Chugiak, Alaska.

<info on keynote speaker>

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10:30 Break

10:30 - 10:45 - Van and Deployables Displays - Pouside in Parking Lots
Instructional Track:

10:45 Morning Sessions

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Session 2 - Bruce Richter:

Topic - "Disasters: Hurricanes, Volcanoes, and Lessons Learned from the November 2018 7.0 Eathquake in Anchorage, AK":

Info on topic:

Bruce Richter makes a return visit to the Communications Academy, this time to share lessons learned from Emergency Communications Regional Coordinators response to recent disasters in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska. I thought I was relatively earthquake ready, but in the aftermath of the November 2018 7.0 Anchorage Earthquake learned some preparedness lessons to share that may be of interest to anyone that lives along the “Ring of Fire”.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Bruce Richter - Region 10 (AK, ID, and WA) DHS ECD Coordinator

Speaker - Bruce Richter is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Emergency Communications Division (ECD) Coordinator for the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Based in Anchorage, Alaska; he supports efforts across all levels of government to build and improve emergency communications capabilities, provide feedback for further development of DHS services, and advocate for key Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) initiatives, programs, and activities. Bruce joined DHS in 2009 as the first Emergency Communications Regional Coordinator, and previously served as Deputy Director of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-Northwest, a National Institute of Justice program providing direct technology support to tribal, local, and State public safety agencies.

Richter retired from the Anchorage, Alaska Police Department as a Division Commander, where he managed a regional 9-1-1 emergency communications center and later supervised patrol and investigative divisions. Bruce began his emergency responder career as a National Park Ranger where he gained experience in wildfire response and wilderness search and rescue as a lighthouse ranger in the Apostle Island’s National Lakeshore, and as a backcountry ranger in Denali and Olympic National Parks. While in the US Army, Bruce graduated from Northern Warfare School at Ft. Greely, Alaska and also served with the 9th Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Washington. Bruce is a life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police. Bruce holds a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) General Radiotelephone Operator License. Bruce earned a MBA Degree from Alaska Pacific University, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin.

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Session 3 - Scott Honaker, N7SS

Topic - "Installing Coax and Network Connectors":

Info on topic:

Everyone needs coaxial and network cables. Sure, you can order them from Ham Radio Outlet and Amazon but what if you want a custom length or need one today? You can also save a bunch of money assembling them yourself. Learn how to select the right coaxial cable, prepare the cable and install various types of crimp, clamp and solder type connectors. You’ll also have an opportunity to assemble and test a network cable.

The number of tools required, and cost of materials makes hands-on assembly of coax cables impractical during the class. It is possible to show the different types of coax, tools, coax preparation process and proper assembly of the various connector types. Network cables are simpler and don’t take too long to assemble. It’s also not terribly expensive to supply lengths of network cable and connectors. It is also helpful to have some assistance facilitating the cable assembly which I can supply.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Scott Honaker, N7SS

Speaker info: Scott has always been interested in electronics, and worked at Radio Shack and ABC Communications during college. He got his ham radio license later while working for Microsoft and became active in digital and VHF weak signal communications. He was a charter member of both the Pacific NW VHF Society and MicroHams and later became president of both organizations. He was also Chair and current Vice-Chair of WWARA. In 2005 Scott began volunteering with Snohomish County Emergency Management and was later hired as the County Communications Coordinator. Scott is also the author of the digital chapter of the ARRL Amateur Radio Handbook and chair of the MicroHams Digital Conference.

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Session 4 - Scott Currie, NS7C:

Topic - "Winlink System Overview":

Info on topic: This presentation is an introduction to the Winlink radio email service. It will cover capabilities and usage of the system, hardware and software requirements, and basic setup information.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Scott Currie, NS7C

Speaker info: - Scott Currie, NS7C works for the City of Auburn in the Emergency Management office as an assistant to the Emergency Manager. At the city, Scott works in the Emergency Operations Center during activation's, drills, and exercises, and also provides public education on disaster preparedness, ICS, CERT and First Aid/CPR/AED. He also maintains and upgrades the communications equipment at the EOC. Scott has been an amateur operator since 1981 and holds Amateur Extra class license NS7C. He teaches amateur radio license classes and enjoys mentoring new hams. Scott also serves as the ARES Emergency Coordinator for the Auburn and Maple Valley emergency communications teams.

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Session 5 - Andy Ruschak, KK7TR

Topic - “LTE Technology from a Land Mobile Radio perspective”:

The future adoption of LTE technology and AT&T FirstNet by public safety and governments brings with it a new host of terms, technology, acronyms, and wireless design & engineering methodologies that LMR professionals will need to understand.

This presentation gives a broad technical overview of the key elements of the 3GPP standard that applies to LTE wireless technology, with a focus on the similarities and important differences between Land Mobile Radio (LMR) – specifically digital trunked LMR, and the typical broadband cellular LTE user device and Radio Access Network (RAN).

Instructional Track:

Bio: Andy Ruschak, KK7TR

Andy Ruschak, KK7TR, has been involved in the LMR and communications industry for more than 25 years and was first licensed as an amateur novice in 1978. He is currently a Wireless Technology Consultant with Stantec in Seattle, WA, and is involved in the design, engineering, and procurement of public safety LMR systems, and the design, planning, procurement, and carrier coordination for Public Safety and cellular Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS).

Andy is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, has lived and worked abroad, and settled in the PNW with his family in 1996. He is a graduate of San Jose State University with B.S in Industrial Technology, former US Naval Nuclear Field Electronics Technician, retired Naval Reserve Officer, holds an FCC GROL with Radar Endorsement and Extra Class Amateur Radio License. He is active on the PNW DMR network and enjoys keeping up with the latest evolving wireless technologies.

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Session 6 - Beginners' Track #1 - Carl Leon, N7KUW

Topic - “Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio”:

A Series of six classes designed to take the new radio operator from buying your first radio, how to program it, how to use it, and how to join the Amateur Radio community and Emergency Communications:

  1. 1)   Session #6 Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio – Carl Leon, N7KUW
  2. 2)   Session #11 Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? – Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN 
  3. 3)   Session #15 Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners – Jon Newstrom, KL7GT 
  4. 4)   Session #22 Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone – Alan Jones, KD7KUS 
  5. 5)   Session #27 Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next? - Don Marshall, KE7ARH 
  6. 6)   Session #31 Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here? – Carl Leon, N7KUW

The Beginners' Track is both a series of six individual classes, each containing a lot of information, but it is also designed to be a cohesive collective experience offering more than just six classes. There will be a special simplex radio net for members of the beginner’s series to monitor and participate in to help get experience with, and become comfortable with, using their radios, and there will also be a separate workshop area where people can drop by at their convenience for help programming their radios either from the front panel/keypad, or by using a computer and software.

While these topics are covered to some extent in the classes, there is rarely sufficient time to meet all student’s needs, which is why the additional resources are being made available. The workshop area will have experienced instructors from the beginners’ series to help students with whatever unique or individual questions they may have as a supplement to actual classroom time.

Instructional Track:

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12:00 LUNCH - Door Prize Drawing - Brockey A & B

13:00 - 13:45 - Van and Deployables Displays - Outside in Parking Lots
Instructional Track:

13:45 Early Afternoon Sessions

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Session 7 - Charles (Chuck) Wallace

Topic - "Earthquake Early Warning System":

Info on topic: Does 10 seconds truly matter? What if you knew the violent shaking from a potentially damaging earthquake would impact you 10 seconds from now? What would you do? How many lives could be saved, and injuries prevented? What would happen if you could slow a train, or shut down a hazardous chemical facility, or prepare school children for the event by providing notice of an earthquake before it strikes, and all could be in protective Drop, Cover and Hold on positions? This presentation will center on the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System along the West Coast of the United States and specifically Washington State. We will discuss what happens when an earthquake occurs, how the notifications are detected and how they are sent to local users of the product, what they could possibly do with the information they receive and where we stand in our ability to notify the general public.

Instructional Track:


Bio: Charles (Chuck) Wallace, WA State Coordinator for Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW).

Chuck Wallace is the Washington State, ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning Coordinator working for the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW).

He served as the Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Grays Harbor County from 2009-2018. He is a Past President of the Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA), and currently chairs the WSEMA Legislative Committee. Chuck was influential in the planning, marketing and dedication of the Ocosta Elementary School, in Grays Harbor County, Washington, the first Vertical Evacuation, Tsunami Engineered, Safe Haven Building in North America.

A veteran of over 34 years of fire service, Chuck retired from the Philadelphia Fire Department in 2007 and upon relocating to Washington State, remained active in firefighting as the Chief of the Grayland Volunteer Fire Department until retiring in December 2017. Chuck holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College and is active in the American Society of Public Administration as an Evergreen Chapter Board Member.

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Session 8 - Rob Salsgiver, NR3O

Topic - "HamWAN 2.0 – Megabits, Microwave, and EMCOMM":

Info on topic: Where HamWAN’s been and where it’s going, natural fit between HamWAN and EMCOMM, and how to get started.

Instructional Track:


Bio: Rob Salsgiver, NR3O

(Robert when he is in trouble) is the founder and owner of Granite Systems. His passion is building productive, reliable systems and solving real-world problems. Rob has spent over 35 years in the technology and engineering fields including aerospace, automotive, medical, retail, security, tech, and nuclear power fields. His most recent accomplishment was as a key architect, engineer, and minority owner in growing a local startup from $3000 in sales to $10 million in just 7 years.

Like a toddler trying to reach a forbidden object, Rob must have a problem in front of him to solve at all times. Whether a Fortune 500 global mail system conversion, developing control systems and machinery products for a new market, or assembling talented individuals to build a new department or division, there always HAS to be a mission. There are other likenesses to toddlers and children that probably shouldn’t be discussed in a public.

Rob lives in Granite Falls with his wife Shelly, 3 miniature wiener dogs, a spastic springer spaniel who thinks it’s a wiener dog, 4 cats, 5 horses, cows, and assorted wildlife that shows up from time to time. All of which conspire to create additional problems to solve, keep him busy, and out of the bars at night.

When that doesn’t work he’s usually behind in solving problems for one of the Ham Radio groups he’s involved with – either as a board member, technical resource, or just the village idiot who can’t say “no”. This is precisely how he wound up being a speaker at the 2019 Communications Academy.

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Session 9 - Scott Honaker, N7SS

Topic: “Building a Portable Radio Kit ”:

Info on topic: Making your emergency radio gear portable is not only valuable for supporting emergency communications and events but it can make a clean and compact shack at home as well. Come see the huge variety of possibilities and learn how to design an appropriate power system, manage weight and volume and consider some antenna options.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Scott Honaker, N7SS

Speaker info: Scott has always been interested in electronics, and worked at Radio Shack and ABC Communications during college. He got his ham radio license later while working for Microsoft and became active in digital and VHF weak signal communications. He was a charter member of both the Pacific NW VHF Society and MicroHams and later became president of both organizations. He was also Chair and current Vice-Chair of WWARA. In 2005 Scott began volunteering with Snohomish County Emergency Management and was later hired as the County Communications Coordinator. Scott is also the author of the digital chapter of the ARRL Amateur Radio Handbook and chair of the MicroHams Digital Conference.

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Session 10 - Joe Blaschka, WA7DJZ

Topic: “Understanding Receivers: Performance and Specifications”:

Info on topic: This presentation will discuss the theoretical aspects of receiver performance such as noise figure, sensitivity, and bandwidth as well as practical application of the specifications and what matters in the real world in different operational scenarios.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Joe Blaschka, WA7DJZ

Speaker info: Joe has been in communications engineering for over 40 years and has engineered hundreds of communications systems. He is the principal at ADCOMM Engineering Company.

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Session 11 - Beginners' Track #2 - Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN

Topic - “Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? ”:

A Series of six classes designed to take the new radio operator from buying your first radio, how to program it, how to use it, and how to join the Amateur Radio community and Emergency Communications:

  1. 1) Session #5 Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio – Carl Leon, N7KUW 
  2. 2) Session #11 Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? – Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN
  3. 3) Session #15 Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners – Jon Newstrom, KL7GT 
  4. 4) Session #22 Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone – Alan Jones, KD7KUS 
  5. 5) Session #27 Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next? - Don Marshall, KE7ARH 
  6. 6) Session #31 Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here? – Carl Leon, N7KUW

The Beginners' Track is both a series of six individual classes, each containing a lot of information, but it is also designed to be a cohesive collective experience offering more than just six classes. There will be a special simplex radio net for members of the beginner’s series to monitor and participate in to help get experience with, and become comfortable with, using their radios, and there will also be a separate workshop area where people can drop by at their convenience for help programming their radios either from the front panel/keypad, or by using a computer and software. While these topics are covered to some extent in the classes, there is rarely sufficient time to meet all student’s needs, which is why the additional resources are being made available. The workshop area will have experienced instructors from the beginners’ series to help students with whatever unique or individual questions they may have as a supplement to actual classroom time.

Instructional Track:

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14:45 Break

14:45 - 15:30 - Van and Deployables Displays - Outside in Parking Lots
Instructional Track:

15:30 Late Afternoon Sessions

Session 12 - George Thornton, AE7G

Topic - "The Law in a Disasters: Shifting and Uncertain Footing":

What happens to our laws and legal system in the event of a disaster? analyze some basic tenets of our existing legal structure, discuss some of the current disaster law statutes and describe how our legal rights and legal system changes when normal government and court function is interrupted.

Instructional Track:

Bio: George Thornton, AE7G

George Thornton, is an Attorney in private practice for Thornton Mostul, PLLC, was awarded Superlawyer designation; graduated Columbia University cum laude in economics and University of Pennsylvania Law School; active in amateur radio since 2000; past Board member Mike and Key; Pop Brown award recipient; Seattle ACS leadership team; RAMROD director.

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Session 13 - Fr. Charles Barnes

Topic - “Self-Care in Catastrophic Events: How to Maintain Emotional and Spiritual Health":

One of the most neglected areas of crisis response are those responsible for communications in the event of disaster. This includes Dispatchers, HAM radio operators and others who relay information and sometimes have to deal directly with crises experienced by the general public. This talk will first discuss the mechanisms of traumatic stress and its effects on body, mind and spirit with a focus on those who experience this trauma vicariously by communicating with victims and families. We will then discus the effects of repeated exposure to trauma and how it leads to compassion fatigue and burnout. Lastly, we will focus on effective coping including techniques for self-care and resources available in the community to assist in mitigation of trauma focusing both on effective processing and maintaining or recovering resiliency.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Fr. Charles Barnes

Fr. Charles Barnes is a Catholic Priest and member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and has worked at VA Puget Sound since February 2015. He has a Master of Divinity from Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, a Master's in Healthcare Ethics from Loyola University Chicago and a Master's in Health Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. His specialty area is trauma spiritual care and crisis management. He co-leads the Hospital's Critical Incident Response team, and teaches courses in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Pastoral Crisis Intervention and also has been working on spiritual interventions for Veterans and others with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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Session 14 - Carl Leon, N7KUW

Topic - “Short-hop Microwave”:

Establishing and operating Ethernet/IP connections using microwave links over relatively short distances (hundreds of feet up to a mile or two) using low cost commercially available equipment on Part 15 and Part 97 frequencies. Or, how to share your HamWAN or internet with your friend/associate a few blocks away.

Instructional Track:

Bio: Carl Leon, N7KUW

Carl Leon an Amateur Extra, is Deputy Director of Seattle Auxiliary Communications Services, and has worked with the HamWAN Puget Sound Data Ring (PSDR) installing and maintaining equipment, and has established short hop microwave connections to extend HamWAN service to nearby locations that do not have the necessary line of sight to a HamWAN site.

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Session 15 - Laura Goudreau, KG7BQR, Regional Emergency Communications Coordinator for FEMA Region X

Topic - “Planning for Cascadia Rising 2022”:

Instructional Track:

Bio: Laura Goudreau, KG7BQR, Regional Emergency Communications Coordinator for FEMA Region X

Laura Goudreau, KG7BQR Laura Goudreau has worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency since March 2010 and has deployed to support 30 disasters nationwide in multiple different roles including Logistics Section Chief, Operations Section Chief, Disaster Emergency Communications Group Supervisor, and Staging Area Group Supervisor. Laura served as the Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) Logistics Section Chief for 6 years and is currently the Chief of the Disaster Emergency Communications Branch within FEMA Region X supporting emergency communications and Geospatial Information Services (GIS). She also is the facilitator for the Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Workgroup (RECCWG). Prior to working for FEMA, Laura Goudreau spent 5 years working logistics for the Washington State Emergency Management Division and 6 years in the US Army as a Communications Officer.

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Session 16 - Beginners' Track #3 - Jon Newstrom, KL7GT

Topic - “Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners”:

A Series of six classes designed to take the new radio operator from buying your first radio, how to program it, how to use it, and how to join the Amateur Radio community and Emergency Communications:

  1. 1) Session #5 Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio – Carl Leon, N7KUW 
  2. 2) Session #11 Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? – Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN 
  3. 3) Session #15 Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners – Jon Newstrom, KL7GT
  4. 4) Session #22 Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone – Alan Jones, KD7KUS 
  5. 5) Session #27 Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next? - Don Marshall, KE7ARH 
  6. 6) Session #31 Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here? – Carl Leon, N7KUW

The Beginners' Track is both a series of six individual classes, each containing a lot of information, but it is also designed to be a cohesive collective experience offering more than just six classes. There will be a special simplex radio net for members of the beginner’s series to monitor and participate in to help get experience with, and become comfortable with, using their radios, and there will also be a separate workshop area where people can drop by at their convenience for help programming their radios either from the front panel/keypad, or by using a computer and software. While these topics are covered to some extent in the classes, there is rarely sufficient time to meet all student’s needs, which is why the additional resources are being made available. The workshop area will have experienced instructors from the beginners’ series to help students with whatever unique or individual questions they may have as a supplement to actual classroom time.

Instructional Track:

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Instructional Track Key:

- Track #1 - Emergency Management, Leadership Topics
- Track #2 - Advanced Technical Classes
- Track #3 - Practical Communications Techniques, Applications, etc.
- Track #4 - Basic Introductory Classes, Beginner's Track, Radio Basics
- Track #5 - Digital Communications Classes
- Track #6 - Optional classes and demonstrations

*Note: Some classes fit into multiple Instructional Tracks

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