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The high quality sound programmes from AIR studio centres are normally transported to
the AIR transmitting centres with the help of Department of Telecommunications land
lines. These gave way to VHF-FM transmit/receive systems in some of the AIR centres.
Now, AIR has introduced the new generation microwave studio-transmitter link (STL) for
better reliability and quality.

AIR is having three types of STL called STL-01, STL-02 and STL-05. The numbers 01,
02 and 05 describe the number of base band (50 Hz - 15 kHz) channels that could be
transported. STL-01 is taken up for discussion, as it is existing at number of stations.
The description of the STL-01 system, the variations of STL-02 mainly in the base band,
interface units and the measurements are also described in this article.

General Description

The Studio Transmitter Link (STL) system consists of a transmitting system (STL-TX)
housed in the studio premises and a receiving system (STL-RX) housed in the AIR
transmitting centre. A low loss cable connects the STL TX/RX to the two-metre dia
microwave dish antenna usually mounted on a 50 m self-supporting tower at either end.
In addition, a VHF service channel in duplex mode is provided at both the ends for voice
communication between the AIR studio and transmitter ends through a multi-element
yagi antenna mounted on the top of the tower. The need for the service channel arises
from the fact that there is no RF monitoring facility of the transmitted sound programme
at STL-TX.

Fig. 1 and 2 show the front views of the STL TX-01. It may be seen from the Fig. 1 and 2
that the STL TX-01 and STL RX-01 have complete redundancy of the entire system
except for LO11 (logic card) and PCO2 (parameter control card) units. These two units
together ensure auto/manual changeover between the units.

The STL system is meant to operate unattended round the clock. The STL TX/RX is
powered by an external power supply unit kept adjacent to the STL rack with floating
batteries. This unit takes 230 V ; 50 Hz AC and supplier + 24 DC to STL Tx/Rx. The
service channel is energised by another external power supply unit placed over that of

Very little maintenance is called for. Only regular cleaning and occasional monitoring of
the front panel meter readings is required.
Induction Course (Radio)

Originally the STL was designed and developed by the manufacturer for multi voice
channel (6 to 120 channel) duplex transmission/reception in telecommunications.
Transmitter and receiver were then housed in the same rack. For AIR, the transmitter
and receiver are separated. It is for this reason lower half of the rack is blank. Besides
one may find wiring in some modules meant for both transmitter and receiver such as
TM 11, CM 01, AI 01, LO 11, PC 02 units.

I. Studio Transmitter Link - Transmitter (STL-TX)

The schematic diagram of STL-TX 01 is shown in Fig. 4.

The STL transmitter essentially consists of eight sections.

i) A single audio input transformer (LT 11) which splits the audio input into two
equal audio outputs for (1+1) system.

ii) The base band unit (1+1) consisting of a music amplifier AT 01, and a base band
interface unit GT 01 which is a 15 kHz low pass filter.

iii) The radio frequency unit (1+1) which generates the carrier, FM modulates and
generates microwave (RF) power. (L1 TR SR04 A/B).

iv) An antenna change over unit which selects one of the (1+1) RF outputs for
feeding to the antenna. (L1RF-Tx).

v) A low loss cable connected to a microwave dish antenna at suitable height above
the ground.

vi) Two identical (1+1) dc-dc power supplies. (DC-11).

vii) Two identical (1+1) monitoring (CM-01) and Alarm inter-face units. (AI 01).

viii) One each of logic (LO 11) and parameter control card (PC 02) which selects one
of the RF outputs to be connected to the transmitting antenna.

Transmitter Base Band Unit

The transmitter base band units of STL-TX-01 namely the music amplifier (AT 01) and
the base band interface unit (GT 01) are separate modules mounted as shown in Fig.1.

The audio input (0 dBm at 600 ohms balanced) to the STL-Tx is fed to the line
transformer (LT 11) mounted on the rear side of STL unit. This gives two equal outputs
across 600 ohms to feed two identical musical amplifiers (AT 01) of the 1+1 system.
Music amplifier has a switch by means of which pre-emphasis network is selected. It
may be ensured that 70 sec. Pre-emphasis is selected. A 3 dB and another 0.5 dB
step attenuators are incorporated in the two audio stages of the amplifier. The 3 dB
step attenuator (rotary selector switch) is brought to the front panel for control. This
rotary switch is kept normally in zero dB position. A VU meter is mounted in the front

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Studio Transmitter Link

panel to monitor the output level of the amplifier. The calibration of the VU meter has
been carried out with rotary switch at zero dB position.

The output of this amplifier is fed to the base band interface unit (GT 01) which is
essentially an unity gain active 15 kHz cut off low pass filter. The output of GT 01 is
about -14 dBm across 75 ohms. The pot R8 in AT 01 may be used for this level
adjustment if necessary.

The frequency response at the output of GT 01 will be -14 dBm + 1 dBm at the audio
frequencies of 50 Hz, 125 Hz, 8210 Hz, 10 kHz, 14 kHz and 15 kHz with the pre-
emphasis out of circuit.

The base band output from base band interface unit GT 01 is taken to the RF transmitter
tray through an external cable as shown in Fig. 1. The schematic diagram of this tray is
shown in Fig. 5. The base band signal is routed through a dummy model BT 1(which the
manufacturers uses only for multiplexed telephone channel relay equipment) to the OT
11 unit, voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) operating on one fourth of the final carrier
frequency, which is maintained accurately by the reference oscillator PLL synthesiser
module (RO 11). The modulated output is frequency multiplied four times and amplified
in the "Frequency Quadruple and Pre-amplifier unit" (AT 31). This output is further
amplified in the RF power amplifier unit" (PT 31) to produce an RF output of 4 W
maximum. Finally a directional coupler unit (MT 31) is employed to monitor the forward
power before it is taken to the antenna change over unit (LT RF-Tx) mounted on a
separate panel on the top of the RF transmitter tray. A test circuit adopter unit (TM 11)
on the underside of RF transmitter tray provides the various circuits for visual monitoring
of the different parameters through a front panel meter (MT 01) in association with the
12- position selector switch.


Switch Indicates What ? Meter Reading Remarks

1. PRIM 2 For 24 V DC Input
2. - 12 V d.c. 2 - 12 V output from D.C.-D.C.
Power supply (DC-11) unit.
3. + 12 V d.c. 2 + 12 V output from D.C. D.C.
power supply (DC-11) unit.
4. + 24 V d.c. 2 + 24 V output from D.C. D.C.
power supply (DC-11) unit.
5. RFT (RF power 2 For 4 watts
output) 1.6 3 watts approx.
1.25 2 watts. Approx.
May be calibrated for 1 w to 4 w
by adjusting the control in the PT
31 unit and using through line RF
watt meter at the time of
6. PLL PLTL locked Normally 2 Locked VCO
0 VCO unlocked

STI(T) Publication 53 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)

7. PLT (PLL error volt) Normally 1 When locked 5 V d.c.

Less than 1 PLL unlocked (error voltage 2 to 5
V d.c.)
Greater than 1 PLL unlocked (error voltage 5 to 8
V d.c.)
12. PLL (VCO Normally 1 VCO correct frequency
frequency) 2 VCO below correct frequency
0 VCO above correct frequency

If output power is less than 1 W the RFT LEDs in CM 01 and LEDs in AI01 will glow. If
PLL is unlocked PLT LED in CM01 and LEDs in AI01 will glow. In both the above cases
action is initiated through logic card LO 11 to effect the change over of the units.

Antenna Change Over Unit LIRF Tx.

The layout of this unit is shown in Fig. 6.

AC 31 (two numbers) are microwave devices called circulators which pass RF energy
only in the direction of the arrow marked. RF output from each of the 1+1 RF trays are
connected to two circulators. This energy goes to the RF switch (AS 32) if it is closed or
to the dummy load (DL 31). At any instant depending on whether A or B system is
selected (either in Auto/manual/override modes), AS 32 will connect that unit to the
antenna filter. The dummy load is capable of safe dissipation of the fully rated output
power continuously round the clock. However, if it is not desired to dissipate the power
in dummy load, the U link for +12 V supply to quadruple unit can be changed. If,
however, this unit is selected either in auto mode or override mode, the supply to the
quadruple is automatically made through.

Transmitting antenna and Feeder

The output from the transmitter is fed to the parabolic dish antenna of 2 metre diameter
with a low loss RF cable. The gain of the antenna is approximately 26.7 dB. The
antenna can be used either in horizontal or vertical polarization. If the ribs of the
antenna are horizontal, it is horizontal polarization and if they are vertical, it is vertical
polarization. Both the transmitter and the corresponding receiver dishes should be of
the same polarization for maximum antenna coupling. Normally horizontal polarization is

If a number of links are operating from a given site to either same site or sites in close
direction, different polarizations may be used to avoid interferences between links. If
repeater stations are involved, the receiving and the transmitting polarization could be
arranged to be different.

Small length of this RG8AU cables are used at either ends of the low loss feeder to
enable convenient bending for connection at either ends.

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Studio Transmitter Link

Carrier Monitor (CM 01), Alarm Interface (AT 01), Logic Unit (LO 11) and Parameter
Control Card (PC 02).

The carrier monitor card essentially monitors the functioning of the PLL loop (PLT) and
the RF output power level (RFT). Two LEDs red and yellow are provided for each of the
parameters RFT and PLL. If the phase lock loop fails or the RF out power falls below
one watt, the corresponding red and yellow LEDs in this unit will glow. The alarm
interface unit flashes red (alarm) and yellow (status) LEDs for any one individual faults of
RFT/PLL or both.
The red LEDs in CM 01 and AI 01 glow only as long as the fault persists. If the fault is
removed by some process, the yellow LEDs only glow till manual resetting is done by
pressing the RESET button in AI 01 unit. This is to help us to know that the fault had
occurred but has been removed of its own, so that in case of repetitive faults, some
action could be taken.

The alarm interface unit AI 01 also initiates action through logic unit (LO 11) to switch
over the other unit from hot standby condition to change over for transmission.

The mimic diagram of PC 02 unit is shown in Fig. 7. Green LEDs marked A & B show
that systems A & B are powered. LEDs (1) or (2) lights depending on if system A or B is
connected to the antenna. Pressing any one of the manual buttons enables connecting
that system to the antenna and simultaneously Manual LED glows. If Auto switch
pressed, the auto LED glows and the system A gets connected to antenna if both
systems A & B are healthy, otherwise selects the other healthier unit. Simultaneously
Man LED goes off.

The screw driver switch marked N with 4 slant lines on its side together with LED
marked over is meant for over-ride control. This control over rides the manual and auto
modes. Normally this switch is against the position marked N so that manual/auto
functions operate normally. Override control is useful, if the logic card develops a fault.

However, if this switch is rotated to positions, the system can override the
manual/auto functions. The table accompanying the mimic diagram in Fig. 7 explains
the various functions of the system in the 4 override positions.

DC-DC Power Supply (DC-11) Unit

Each of the system has its own switch mode d.c.-d.c. power supply. This unit requires
+ 24 V d.c. input to give + 12V, -12V and +24 V d.c. The front panel screw driver
control in this unit can be adjusted to give + 12.1 V in the +12 V output pin of this unit
under load conditions. By this setting other output voltages (-12 V and + 24V) gets
automatically set for correct voltage. This unit incorporates over voltage and over
current protections. External supply unit operating from mains supply provides + 24V
d.c. to the DC-11 unit with floating batteries.

II Studio Transmitter Link Receiver (STL-RX)

The schematic diagram of STL RX-01 is shown in Fig. 8.

The STL receiver essentially consists of the eight sections similar to STL transmitter.

STI(T) Publication 55 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)

i) 2 m dia microwave dish antenna mounted on a tower of suitable height and a

low loss cable connects the received RF power into the receiving system.

ii) Antenna filter and RF hybrid divider unit.

iii) The radio frequency receiver unit (1+1) which recovers the base band signal
from the modulated RF carrier.

iv) The base band unit (1+1) consisting of base band interface unit (GR 01) and
the music amplifier (AR 01) and the muting switch (AS 11) which disconnects
audio under squeltch operation.

v) A single audio line transformer which provides the audio output.

vi) Two identical (1+1) DC-DC power supply units.

vii) Two identical (1+1) monitoring (CM 01) and alarm interface units (AI 01).

viii) One each of Logic (LO 11) and parameter control card (PC-02) which selects
one of the audio outputs.

The receiver has a threshold sensitivity of the order of 80 dBm. But it is advisable to
use the system at 40 to 60 dBm.

Receiving Antenna and Feeder

A 2m dia parabolic dish antenna having a gain of approximately 26.7 dB is usually

mounted at a suitable height on a self supporting tower. The mounting of the antenna
should be such that it matches with polarization of the transmitted signal. It is exactly
identical to the transmitting dish. The receiving parabolic dish antenna must be carefully
adjusted to look into the transmitting dish at the time of installation and subsequently a
watch may be kept on its mounting. The low loss cable takes the received signal from
the antenna to the STL receiver unit housed close to the tower.

Small length of RG8AU cables are used at either ends of the low loss feeder cable to
enable convenient bending of the feeder for connection at either ends.

The IF level can be used to, approximately, evaluate the RF signal level received at the
input of the wide band filter. The meter readings at switch position 9 (IF) is made to read
2 when the RF input is 40 dBm. By feeding the various level of RF input signal from
the signal generator, one can calibrate this meter, so that it would provide an indication
of the RF signal input. Following are the sample calibration:

RF Input TM 11 Reading at RF Input TM 11 Reading at

switch Position 9 switch Position 9
- 20 dBm 2.1 -60 dBm 1.25
-30 dBm 2.05 -65 dBm 0.9
-40 dBm 2.0 -70 dBm 0.6
-45 dBm 1.9 -75 dBm 0.45

STI(T) Publication 56 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Studio Transmitter Link

-50 dBm 1.8 -80 dBm 0.4

-55 dBm 1.4 -85 dBm 0.35

Test Meter Card (TM 11)

The test meter circuit (TM 11) is identical in transmitter and receiver as both contain the
circuitry meant for transmitter and receiver. However, in the AIR supplies only those
relevant to the transmitter or receiver sections are wired. The various parameters that
are taken up for monitoring are PRIM, +12 V, -12V, PLR, PLRL, OSCR, IF and PLL. In
the receiver switch positions 1,2,3,8,9,10,11 and 12 only are used. These are indicated
in the front panel near the rotary switch of the receiver. The normal deflections in the
meter have been standardized to either (2) or (1).

The various details of the parameters monitored are summarized below :

Switch Indicates What ? Meter Remarks

Position Reading
1. PRIM 2 24 V D.C. Input
2. - 12 V 2
3. + 12 V 2
8. OSCR 2 Local oscillator output
9. IF 2 For 40 dBm input. (This reading can be
used for knowing the approx. RF input
level to the STL if calibrated as described
in the text.
10. PLRL 2 PLL locked
0 PLL not locked
11. PLR 1 PLL Locked (voltage 5 V d.c.)
<1 PLL not locked (voltage 2 to 5 V d.c.)

>1 & < 2 PLL not locked (voltage 5 to 8 V d.c.)

12. PLL 1 VCO-Rx correct frequency
(VCO Freq.) 2 VCO-Rx below correct frequency

0 VCO-Rx above correct frequency

Alarm Interface Unit (AI 01)

The alarm interface unit OR s individual alarm conditions RFR or PLR. If anyone or
both are set, the summation LED in this unit are lit. The red LEDs glow only as long as
the fault persists, the yellow LED registers the status of the fault till it is manually reset
with the reset switch in this unit.

Logic Unit (LO 11) and Parameter Control (PC 02) Units

The logic unit is a microprocessor based card that monitors the failure of the phase lock
loop (PLR) or the poor S/N ratio evaluated in (CM 01 Rx) unit and takes action for auto
changeover. The parameter control card serves to display the various operation
condition of the 1+1 STL receive system through a mimic diagram.

STI(T) Publication 57 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)


In STL 02, the music amplifier AT 01 of the transmitter and AR 01 of the receiver are not
present. Instead, a unity gain card EK 11 is provided to match coder/decoder to the
base band interface unit GT01/GR01. Base band equipment is a stereo coder/stereo
decoder made by Rhode and Schwarz for the transmitter/receiver respectively. These
have no redundancy. The cut off frequency of the low pass filter in the base band
interface unit of the transmitter (GT 01)/receiver (GR 01) is 250 kHz instead of 15 kHz in
STL 01.

The noise unit monitor filter (BPF) NF 42 in the carrier monitor unit CM 01 Rx used for
evaluating S/N ratio of the received signal has a bandwidth of 100 kHz in STL 01 and
STL 02.

STL 02 Coder

The stereo coder operates in the time division multiplex (TDM) mode with soft switching
over 14 stages, the switching frequency itself being 38 kHz. In effect therefore the TDM
is at 532 kHz. This technique produces spurious signals only above 500 kHz which can
be easily suppressed. The pilot carrier is at 19 kHz derived from a 4.256 MHz crystal.
Mono and stereo outputs are available.

The main features of this unit are extremely high cross talk attenuation, very low
harmonic distortion, high S/N ratio. The built-in high amplitude stability and low
harmonic distortion AF oscillator at 500 Hz can be used for measurements. Signal
lamps in the front panel provide various indications such as absence of pre-
emphasis/pilot tone and the operating mode selection. Modulation of the coder and its
functions are indicated by the built-in peak voltmeter. The entire coder is built in a single

Stereo Decoder

All the attributes of the coder enumerated above are equally valid to the decoder also.

The stereo decoder uses the TDM decoding technique. The stereo multiplex signal is
connected alternatively at the rate of 38 KHz to the left and right channels. A phase
locked loop ensures right switching conditions in the decoder. The input/out are
balanced. The entire decoder is contained in a single PCB.

IV. Service Channel (RT 33)

The service channel is mounted at the top of the transmitter and receiver racks. It is a
VHF (68-88 MHz) trans-receiver. The transmitter output power is 15 watts. Yagi
antenna mounted at the top of the towers on either end is used for the service channel.
This antenna may be used both in horizontal and vertical polarizations. Normally vertical
polarization is used. The hand set with a press to talk (PTT) switch is employed at either
end for voice communication. These units can be removed from the racks and kept at
any other convenient location at either end. M/s Meltron has developed an interface unit
with which telephone facilities can be extended to the transmitter site with this service
channel without the use of land lines.

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Studio Transmitter Link

V. External D.C. Power Supply for STL TX/RX.

The external d.c. power supply unit from IMEC, Ahmedabad operates from the main
supply to provide regulated 24V d.c. output at 5 to 7 A. This can change a set of floating
batteries besides supplying the STL Tx/Rx for which suitable terminals are provided at
the rear of the unit. The performance can be monitored. The current drawn can be
boosted between 5 and 7 A with the help of a potentiometer etc. fuse provided can take
care of the battery. Buzzer alarm sounds if battery draws more current.

VI. Measurements on the Link

The basic minimum measurements that are required to be made on STL links are :

- Frequency response
- Harmonic distortion
- Signal to noise ratio
- Linearity check (level response)

These are not new to the AIR installations. But in the STL links, none of the above can
be carried out at the transmitter in isolation. However, it is possible at the receiver end.
In such a case for STL-01 one would require equipment like audio oscillator, DNL meter
etc. which are normally available in AIR stations besides a microwave signal generator.
To carry out such measurements on STL 02/STL 05, one would require microwave
signal generator with stereo/PCM modulation capabilities. Therefore, the simplest way
in the practical station situation is to take overall measurements from the studio centre to
the transmitting centre. This will require co-ordination with the studio end.

Normally, when the system is handed over after installation, manufacturers have already
made certain adjustments in various units. One is therefore not required to make any
specific adjustments during the measurements. However it is worth while to mention
them here.

- Input at the LT 11 audio input transformer 0 dBm across 600 ohms at 10 kHz

- Output of GT 01 (Tx.) Front panel attenuator at 0 dB 14 dBm across 75 ohms.

- RF signal level at receiver input shall be better than 60 dBm.

- Input to GR 01 (Rx) 20 dBm across 75 ohms.

- Output of audio output transformer 0 dBm across 600 ohms Front panel
attenuator at 0 dBm position.

Frequency Response

Feed 0 dBm across 600 ohms to the input of the transmitter and measure the output at
the receiving end at various frequencies like 50 Hz, 125 Hz, 820 Hz, 1 kHz, 6.3 kHz, 14
kHz and 15 kHz. The frequency response shall be within + 1 dB.

STI(T) Publication 59 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)

Signal to Noise Ratio

Feed 820 Hz at 0 dBm across 600 ohms at the transmitter input. Read the output of the
receiver with a selective level meter. Switch off the signal and measure the noise. The
signal to noise ratio should be better than 60 dB.


Feed 820 kHz at 0 dBm across 600 ohms at the input of the transmitter. Measure the
distortion at the output of the receiver, it should be less than 1%.

Cross Talk

Feed normal level at studios on 1kHz and note the output level of any wanted channel.
Remove the tone from this channel and feed it in any other channel. Measure the noise
level in the wanted channel. Determine the cross talk level in the wanted channel below
its normal level. This should be better than S/N ratio. Repeat the same with tone in all
the other channels. Four such measurements indicate the cross talk of other channels
on any one wanted channel. Repeat the same at any low and high frequencies also.

STI(T) Publication 60 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Studio Transmitter Link

Fig. 1 Studio Transmitter Links TX. Terminal (Front View)

STI(T) Publication 61 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)

Fig. 2 Studio Transmitter Links RX. Terminal (Front View)

STI(T) Publication 62 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Studio Transmitter Link

AT01 GT01 BT61 OT11 AT31 PT31 MT31

Base band Frequency RF Directional
Interface Dummy VCO Multiplier & Power Coupler
Unit Preamplifier Amplifier


0 dBm I/P
Audio Line
600 Transformer Antenna Change To
Over Unit Antenna

0 dBm Audio Line
600 Transformer
LT12 From

AR01 GR01 BR61 IA31 IF72 AR31

Base band IF Amplifier
Music IF Frequency
Interface Dummy &
Amplifier Filter Multiplier &
Unit Demodulator





Fig. 3 Block Diagram of TX. RX.

STI(T) Publication 63 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)

L1TR SR04A DC 11

RF Unit (Tx A) GT 01 AT 01

Ref. Fig. 5 CM 01 AI 01
Change Over

LO 11 PC 02
Ref. Fig. 6

RF Unit (Tx B)
CM 01 AI 01

Ref. Fig. 5 GT 01 AT 01

L1TR SR04B DC 11

Fig. 4 STL-01 Transmitter A & B)

Audio Input
Rotary switch Power RF Amplifier

Monitor Dummy

OT11 RF Coupler
Reference Monitor
1.7v MT31
& + 36dBm
Preamplifier 50 ohm

Maximum 4W

Fig. 5 Transmitter SR04 A/B Tray

STI(T) Publication 64 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Studio Transmitter Link

From L1TR MT 31 From Control Unit LO11 To Antenna

L1RF AF 31 Antenna Filter
RF Switch

CS32 Circulator Circulator

Control switch

AC31 AC31

DL31 DL31

Dummy Dummy
Load Load

Fig. 6 Antenna Change Over Unit

Fig. 7 PC02 MIMIC Diagram for STL-Tx.

Condition of Led s for Various Positions of OVR Switch


STI(T) Publication 65 004/IC(Radio)/2004

Induction Course (Radio)


L1TR SR04 A DC 11

L1RF-Rx RF Unit (Tx A) GR 01 AR 01

Load Ref. Fig. 9 CM 01 AI 01




Divider LO 11 PC 02

RF Unit (Tx B)
CD31 CM 01 AI 01

Ref. Fig. 9 AR 01
GR 01
L1TR SR04 B DC 11 Switch

Fig. 8 STL Receiver

IF Amplifier & Demodulator - 26 + 3dBm

75 ohm


IF Filter

Test Monitor
IF72 To GR01 (Base
TM11 Band Interface Unit)

Ref. Osc. RO11

1427-1660 MHz
Max.- 3dBm

50 ohm

Frequency Multiplier
and Preamplifier
Osc. Monitor

Fig. 9 STL Receiver

STI(T) Publication 66 004/IC(Radio)/2004

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