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steveg

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Everything posted by steveg

  1. Tim, I have had this happen, also (two coins, screwy ID) but usually, there is an angle -- or sector of angles -- that as you rotate around the target, you get some indication in the audio that there might be two items present...like the machine (at that angle or sector) can't decide what it wants to report audibly so it kind of "reports both," and it has some semblance of a HIGHLOW or LOWHIGH blurb of tone. That's not always true -- especially if the coins are touching, or right on top of one another (then, it's often just a cleaner, single tone representing the "conglomerate" of the two coins). But often, I get this really weird tone -- hard to describe -- that I have come to recognize as co-located targets. Did you get any of that, or was the tone "clean," and indicative of a solid 12-30 ID? Steve
  2. Very good point, johnedoe. I have obviously read, and heard, several people showing a pile of nails, and a coin, and say "I dug out all these nails, and then finally the coin, at the bottom...my machine heard the squeaks of high tone to clue me in that the coin was down there." My question always was -- and how do we know that the squeaks weren't, in fact, just the nails falsing, and that it was just fortuitous that a coin was down there, too? I am sure that is not ALWAYS the case -- sure, you can pull a nail and a coin from the same plug, having had the machine see both targets. But when it's a handful of nails? How can you really know? I have dug more than my share of bent, rusty nails that sounded like there should have been a coin down there, only to dig the plug and find "nope, only a bent rusty nail." If I dig another similar-sounding target, and find a bent rusty nail, and then a coin two inches deeper, should I assume my machine heard the coin, or just the nail falsing (and the coin was a "nice accident") Steve
  3. au, I am NOT saying this is THE explanation, just A POSSIBLE explanation... Falsing off of the plough itself. Another, possibly more LIKELY scenario? Detecting and then mis-IDing (and thus allowing to sneak through the discrimination) the iron plough? Not uncommon at all, of course, for large iron to not be "discriminated," as the large size of the iron fools the detector into IDing it as non-ferrous... Steve is correct, detectors cannot see "through" iron. Steve
  4. Unmasking a tiny gold coin underneath a plough blade? Respectfully, J, I will not believe that until I see it with my own eyes. That does not only NOT match my experience, it does not make physical sense, either. Steve
  5. I hear you, khouse. Makes sense. Every move toward a lower number of iron reject, you will dig fewer nails, but also fewer "partially masked" coins. Every move toward a higher number of iron reject, you dig more nails, but also have a better chance at digging a few more partially masked coin. Anyway, like I said, a very, very good video. I learned a couple of things about the E-Trac (and probably SE Pro also) in your video. Thanks! Steve
  6. If only that were true, auminesweeper. Actually, Tom Dankowski would say the OPPOSITE is true. At some sites with heavy iron contamination, 99% of targets are actually SO masked, apparently, that even the very best, fastest "unmasking" machines are rendered entirely blind to those 99% of targets, by the iron. Dankowski would say that even our best machines are NOT truly "unmasking," we are nowhere NEAR that, technologically. The only thing we are actually doing is seeing "around" the iron -- I.e. we have gotten a bit better a "separation" -- seeing targets "adjacent" to iron. But iron SEE THROUGH -- i.e. seeing a target UNDER a piece of iron, is something that NO machine can do, period. Here is my opinion. We, as detectorists, are "misleading ourselves," in a way, by watching these videos where people put a coin next to a nail on the ground, and then test various machines' ability to see the coin. We are drawing the wrong conclusions at times, I think. That is NOT "unmasking!" While tests are valid, in terms of seeing which machines have the best "separation," that is NOT the same as unmasking. Coins in the same horizontal plane with nails (as all of these tests are) is a "separation" argument. YES, it helps us to see which machines are best at SEPARATION. But put those targets in a DIFFERENT plane -- with the iron in a plane a few inches above the coin, and see what happens. THAT is where masking starts to be a problem. Then, an even more extreme scenario, slide those coins (in that lower plane) UNDER the nails...THAT is "masked" target, and NO MACHINE AVAILABLE TODAY is going to find those. We are nowhere near there, technologically... And thus, to say you will get "99% of targets" with a fast recovery/single-frequency machine is entirely not true, in an iron-infested site. Steve
  7. Excellent video, khouse. Really, really good. Main problem I see with that, in reality (out on a hunt in a trashy iron site) though, is -- how do you know how high to set the disc? Sure, setting the iron reject at 32 worked in that "controlled" experiment, with non-rusty, non-bent, same-sized nails. But in real-world scenario, in dense iron, that 32 iron reject would leave me digging TONS of nails, I am guessing. (And I'm "guessing," because I run an SE Pro, not an E-Trac, so I am not sure exactly how the FE numbers on nails translate over to an Explorer...I usually run my Explorer at Iron Mask 22, but I am guessing that 32 on the E-Trac would be something more like 26 or 28 on the SE Pro... Steve
  8. Indeed, Tim. I am one who has always shied away from the iron, instead tackling the challenge of the targets that have been missed due to being "too deep" for most. I have had good success that way, but it's time for me to expand my skill set, put a "new tool in the toolbox," so to speak. I am indeed willing to "work for it." I am really, really hoping the Equinox 800 turns out to be the perfect tool for the job... Steve
  9. Great post Steve, I learned something here about "reactivity." Enjoyed your "detector comparison" post, also... Steve
  10. Tim, As far as I can tell, the answers to your questions are yes, yes, yes and yes! This -- working in iron -- is where I need the most growth, as a detectorist. I have focused my efforts on "hunting deep," as that is where SOME of the remaining goodies are, in heavily hunted public spots; meanwhile, the REST of the goodies are masked (or partially so). I am not good at hunting in iron, but I intend to improve, and I'm hoping the Equinox will be a tool with which I can begin that improvement. According to Tom Dankowski Dankowski - Beneath The Mask, we would be shocked beyond belief if we knew how many targets are undetectable, due to masking (as he demonstrated in that "Behind the Mask" article Steve linked, and which I have read several times). He states that we cannot do ANYTHING yet, technologically, to allow us to detect truly "masked" targets. He says we are only barely making inroads (technologically, in terms of detector design) into finding targets that are CLOSE TO iron, through relatively recent advancements such as faster recovery, as well as apparently some different styles of presentation of audio/tones (i.e. revealing in a "more intelligible way" the presence of a good target next to iron). Whatever the case, I intend to learn this skill, as best as I possibly can, because I do think this is where a huge number of the targets we seek, that have yet to be found, remain hidden. I don't know if the Explorer would have done better; I tend to believe that when working in iron with FBS, you are starting off "handicapped" to begin with -- i.e. not the best tool for the job, as it has been explained to me (though others disagree). But I can't vouch for that either way, as -- like I said -- I am extremely "green" with respect to working well in iron. Whatever the case, yes...this was educational for me. I am well aware, intellectually, the difficulties of detecting in iron, and how targets are easily hidden by the presence of iron. But this REALLY drove the point home, in case I needed a reminder of just how bad we can be "blinded"... Those two nails were not huge, maybe 2" long, and rather thin...but they absolutely BLINDED the E-Trac. NO WAY POSSIBLE, with the E-Trac, do I ever find my ring, if I didn't KNOW it was down there, having just buried it... Steve
  11. Here's a story, that illustrates the masking problem quite well. Two days ago, I was asked to come try to find a wedding ring that a guy had lost. It was lost in a small 30'x30' area that, back in the late 90s when he lost it, was a pig pen. He was slinging food in for his two pigs, and the ring flew off. He lost it in the mud. So, armed with my friend's E-Trac (my Explorer is at Minelab for repairs), I set out to search for the ring. The gentleman who lost the ring was there with me, and I asked him several questions, about size, composition, etc. -- and about exactly how and where he felt he lost it. I then began hunting and in and near that 30'x30' area, but after a good hour or so, nothing. We talked about how the pen was always muddy, and with the pigs walking all around through the mud, their hooves working it pretty deep when it was real wet, we felt like the ring could possibly be as deep as 12" or so. SO, I hunted more slowly, listening for, and digging more "iffy" targets, including a few bent nails that were real deep, and that I thought had a chance. After still not finding the ring, I was about to give up. I was struggling a bit not only because it was a somewhat unfamiliar machine (haven't swung an E-Trac in years), but also because I was unfortunately without my headphones -- and with the wind, I couldn't hear threshold, etc. Just the tones. Anyway, I told him that it was my guess that if the ring was within 8" or so of the surface, it should be an easy dig. So to test that, I dug a round plug, which stayed in tact when I removed it, and dropped my OWN ring into the bottom, and pressed it down to a measured 8". I then put the plug back in the hole, and swung the machine over it, to see how well the machine would detect it. But, shockingly, NOTHING. I couldn't believe it. SURELY an E-Trac would hit my 8" deep 14K man's wedding band...so I switched out of Auto +3 to manual, maxed out sensitivity. STILL nothing. Not even a peep. I was shocked, and almost embarrassed in front of the guy (who knew nothing about detecting). So, shaking my head and mumbling about how I "couldn't believe it wouldn't hit an 8-inch ring," and how "that doesn't even seem possible," I dug the plug back out with my hands to retrieve my ring, and...no ring. So, I grabbed my Pro-pointer and stuck it in the hole, and got a signal on the side of the hole. Nope. Nail. SO, I checked the plug. Got a signal. Nope, another nail. Long story short, I finally found my ring in the loose dirt, just off to the side of the plug, so I filled the hole back in, hunted a bit more with no luck, and gave up and apologized to the gentleman. Stupid me, it wasn't until the drive home that the lightbulb went off, and then I felt like an idiot...DUH! The ring was MASKED by the nails -- I just didn't know it while running the coil over it because I couldn't hear the machine's threshold without the headphones (and thus couldn't hear the null I am sure I was getting, passing over those nails while trying to detect my ring)!! Moral of the story is, that was just another stark reminder for me of how much masking cripples our ability to find that for which we are searching, and suggestive of just HOW MUCH good stuff is still in the ground, even at "hunted out" places... Steve
  12. Mike, I understand that the Minelab control box can be removed from the rod, and placed on any rod configuration you so choose, so you could probably "put it in your pocket" just as you are saying with the AT series... Steve
  13. For what it's worth, one of my Explorer SE Pros went on the fritz last Saturday -- it showed an "overload," and was giving the overload tone like you get when detecting a large shallow metal item. But it was stuck in that "overload," it would not quit. I tried a million things (factory reset, disconnecting the coil, removing the battery and using a new one, etc.) but to no avail. So I emailed Minelab at service@minelabamericas.com, and early Monday morning I had an RMA number and an address to mail it to -- "Detector Center" in Alum Bank, PA. So, I FedEx'd my machine Monday, and they received it today; FedEx tracking showed it dropped off at 11:21 AM. At 12:07 PM EDT, I got a text message from Detector Center saying that they had my machine, gave me a ticket number, and said I would get updates "as they happen." I also received an email at 12:07 PM EDT. In this email, they outlined/summarized what I had written in the letter as being the problem I was having with the machine (to let me know that they understand the problem -- the "overload" I described -- that they were looking to troubleshoot). They said they would provide me an update as soon as they had diagnosed the issue, and to contact them if I had any questions. A short while later, I sent them an email, asking them to call me because I had something I wanted to mention to the repair tech. They called me within 45 minutes of me sending the email, with the machine already taken apart and in the hands of a Minelab technician on the bench; they said they'd let me know when they had diagnosed the problem. At 2:05 PM EDT, got another call from Detector Center. The detector was finished/repaired. Wow! They said they would be shipping it back out this afternoon via FedEx. Just over 2 1/2 hours from the time FedEx dropped off the machine, until the repair was completed? And back in the mail to FedEx on the same day it was received? I am impressed. Problem was with one of the coil wires inside the control box housing; it was rubbing on something on the PCB, either a small soldered-on component, or else a "sharp edge" of the solder joint itself. It rubbed all the way through the outer insulation of the wire, to the conductor itself. In any case, they fixed the wire issue and bench tested -- no more overload signal, all is working properly. They charged me only a labor charge ($37.50), plus return shipping cost -- total out of my pocket (a non-warranty repair), $60. Very, very impressive. Kudos, Minelab! Steve
  14. Good post, Steve. Good points. Like you, my F19 was sold a week ago, making room for this machine. I have seen enough to be confident that it will at LEAST replace what the F19 was capable of, and become my "complementary machine," to choose for certain sites/certain conditions/certain tasks. IF it proves to be SO GOOD that it can do EVERYTHING I need it to, and thus relegates my Explorer to "backup machine" status, well, although I'm not EXPECTING that, that would be OK, too!
  15. Steve, I'd like to reply to your above post, with some speculation. This is LONG-WINDED, but please bear with me, as I have been thinking about this a lot... I am NOT saying this is true, but just laying out a possibility... Consider the machines that have come out in the last decade, from companies like XP, Makro, Nokta, AKA, not to mention even the AT Pro/Gold/Max, Fisher F19/G2+, etc. With all of these machines, today, being available for a fraction of the cost of a CTX -- while at the same time offering VERY respectable performance (in some cases BETTER, in some applications, than the CTX), I think it is at least possible that Minelab found themselves in a "pickle." To elaborate; Minelab has almost CERTAINLY lost "market share" in the "hobby detector" category. Just the Deus alone is extremely popular, and extremely capable. And I think Minelab has perhaps been forced, by the realities of competition/capitalism, to have to stop and analyze the economic realities of the situation. So, what do you do, if you are Minelab, and your flagship "hobby" machine, albeit a VERY GOOD one performance-wise, is way heavy, it has had some reliability issues, and -- frankly, it has been challenged in terms of performance by a number of lower-priced competitors who have really gained a foothold in the market since the CTX's release? What do you decide, in a closed-door meeting, if you are Minelab? If it were me and I am the head of Minelab, here's what I do in response, if I want to re-gain market share, and reputation: 1. I go ergonomic/lightweight. No brainer. EVERYONE does that better than I do. 2. I also go waterproof and wireless. Again, no brainer. 3. I take my world-class team of engineers, look at what we do BEST (produce top-of-the-line performing machines), and I improve upon that, with a machine that out-performs all of my competitors in the hobby market. 4. I do all of this at a price that is at, or below, the price point where my competitors are currently pricing their units. If I can do all of these things, I KNOW I have a winner, and will be dropping a literal "atom bomb" into the fray...a game-changer. NOW, this seems like a great plan in order to make a very strong statement as an, if not THE, industry leader in hobby detectors. But, what problems exist with this plan? Well, in addition to the enormous engineering challenge of actually taking that "next step" in performance that will surpass the competition, AND doing at a price that is better than the competition, a BIG problem is that I am ALSO, in essence, competing with MYSELF. In other words, if I am successful with the above 4-step plan, I have done two things (WHILE surpassing the competition) -- ONE, I have likely surpassed MY OWN FLAGSHIP MACHINE in terms of performance, and TWO, I am pricing this unit FAR BELOW the price of my own flagship. UH, OH... So, WHY would Minelab do this? Again, it seems to me that they almost HAVE to produce a machine that at LEAST gives the CTX a "run for its money," because so many of the competitors are really pushing the envelope there. For the Equinox NOT to "surpass" the CTX in performance would mean, most likely, ALSO NOT surpassing the competition with enough performance to make people choose Minelab, over the competition. And, then Minelab almost HAS to sell this new machine at a VERY competitive price point -- probably equal to, if not lower than, the competitors, in order to grab back market share "stolen," to some degree, by the competition. BUT-- that leaves the marketing team in a tough spot. How do we HYPE this machine, and create enough excitement to get people to try the unit, but at the same time not make it BLATANTLY OBVIOUS that this machine may out-perform all of our OWN units? The answer, to me, would be to try and "straddle the fence," so to speak; to market it as "WAY better than the competition, and, also, better than our other machines IN SOME WAYS," but at the same time saying "but our other machines still offer other advantages." They almost HAVE to do that. IF the Multi-IQ technology, in the Equinox package, actually WERE going to be your best performer (and again, I think the competition is almost REQUIRING that it MUST be), you can't simply SAY "this will obsolete our entire line of other machines." Seriously -- what would they do with all the E-Tracs, CTXs, Safaris, etc. that are still out there, already produced and in need of being sold? So, they'd almost HAVE to suggest that this machine falls "below" -- in at least some ways -- their higher-priced units. Again, that tightrope...talk it up SO MUCH, compared to the competition, that you sell a ton of them and steal back market share, but at the same time talk it down JUST ENOUGH that you don't utterly massacre the sales of your higher-priced units you still have to sell... Now, I am not saying this IS the truth, but I am suggesting that it is quite possible, from my view. I don't think the competition -- who is producing in many cases machines that are nearly as good as (and better, in some applications than) the CTX, at a much lower price -- can be ignored, to the extent that Minelab could risk putting out an inferior machine at a higher price. To sell the Equinox and take market share from the competition, I think the Equinox will have to be a superior performer, at a superior price. I think this is a largely true statement, and I'd presume that Minelab KNOWS this. So, while I do not EXPECT the Equinox to out-perform the CTX or E-Trac, I would not be, after thinking deeply about it, surprised AT ALL at this point if it actually does (even while Minelab almost HAS TO say that it "won't do as well as our flagship.") They have to walk a real tightrope here, in my view. Talk up the Equinox LIKE CRAZY, in terms of its performance, so as to get people buying it instead of a Deus, or Impact, or Racer2, or AT Max, BUT don't talk it up SO much that people stop buying your CTXs and E-Tracs... Again, don't know if I am correct with all of this, but I am thinking I am not too far off, and the early videos we have seen showing glimpses of the Equinox prototype's performance so far, seem to lend support to this hypothesis... Steve
  16. To me, that second video posted, by Cabin Fever, the one in Russian, is -- not to use too overboard of an adjective -- stunning... For that machine to "bang" that hard on that deep of a coin, in the dirt? I realize it's not a perfect test; the hole was still "open" on the one side, and I don't know for sure how that affects detectability of the target. On the other hand, that coin obviously didn't sit in the ground long enough to "help" detectability (which some describe as "halo," though I don't know if that's quite correct, but...) Still, at that depth, with at least SOME dirt/mineralized material atop the coin? I am definitely impressed... Steve
  17. I am really looking forward to some field reports from trusted sources, SPECIFICALLY with regards to how the multi-frequency mode performs in a coin-hunting scenario. This machine looks like it will be "good," and very solid competition with several single-frequency VLF-type units. If that proves to be true -- if it entirely "holds its own" against units like the Deus, etc., then Minelab has done a nice job. But, what would pull me in and make me a buyer is the in-ground performance of the MULTI-FREQUENCY mode. How well this mode performs (depth, and ID accuracy at depth) is what would push this machine, for me, into a class above all other single-frequency units, and thus seal the deal for me in terms of becoming an 800 owner. Can't wait until this real-world, in-the-field information starts coming in... Steve
  18. The Minelab Pro-Find 35, which is about to be released, is apparently a two-tone pinpointer -- one tone for iron and one for non-ferrous... Steve
  19. Yep, you are right. Probably letting my excitement cause me to jump the gun a little bit... :) I will have to wait patiently for some more information... Thanks! Steve
  20. No doubt, Tim. Totally agree with both you and Steve, that if a machine finds coins that are "shallow," but that other machines miss due to trash density, it is worth standing up and taking notice. Again, though, my HOPE is that this unit can do both -- essentially, an improved "Deus" when running single frequency, and an improved "Explorer or E-Trac" when switching into multi-frequency. If it can do both of these things, then it's a big-time game-changer for me... Steve
  21. Steve, I saw that comment from Brandon Niece, about his CTX being relegated to "second tier." I wonder what context he used that in -- ability to hunt in iron, or ability to ID at depth? Or, both? Which leads to the larger issue. I totally agree with you about FBS's weakness being recovery speed in trash, and the Deus (and other similar units) weakness being target ID, especially at depth. This is why -- just as you said about your trips to Hawaii -- turf coin hunters need (at least) two machines, or -- at least HAVE needed two, up until now. I also totally agree with you in your last paragraph, discussing how there is "more going on than just sheer depth." Absolutely. And yes, the Equinox will likely "slay the CTX in dense trash." I totally agree with you. But, the problem is this -- the Deus, for example, also "slays the CTX in dense trash." YES, that's a very important part of coin detecting -- dense trash hunting. But it's only HALF of it. Depth, and ID with depth, is the "other half," and it's why my Explorer is, thus far, far from being "obsolete." To elaborate further...obviously, I am hunting public spots that have been HAMMERED, for the last 40-50 years. The cherry-picking of easy, old coins is largely over. If you want to find old coins in the vast majority of public spots, as I see it you have to be either A.) better at hunting "deep" than the other guys have been, or B.) better at hunting in thick trash (especially iron, where coins are partially masked) than the other guys have been. Ideally, you should be able to do BOTH of these things better than those before you. And yet, to do BOTH of these things, it has required two different machines (and, of course, two different skill sets). I already ACCEPTED, as you have, that the Equinox will have the "hunting in trash" part well-handled. That's why I was primarily focused on the "depth/ID at depth" issue. Ideally, what I would like would be NOT to simply replace my "fast recovery, better at hunting in iron and other trash" machine with the Equinox. I would like it to replace BOTH -- my Explorer included. And so, since I am already convinced it will be a great machine in trash, I am MOST interested in the "accurate ID at depth" part of the equation. If this machine can hunt in iron like a Deus, and at depth like an FBS unit, then I am ENTIRELY SOLD. But, this is where I remain skeptical...I have to see this machine meet or exceed FBS (or hear it from trusted sources) before I believe it. THANKS for your reply! Steve
  22. Hi, all. I haven't posted often, as I really don't do much gold hunting with a detector. I have a friend who has a few gold claims in Colorado, and on occasion I will accompany him, swinging a machine on the bank while he dredges. That was the reason I originally joined -- trying to learn to use a Gold Bug Pro in that environment, from Steve and others who are truly "top notch." However, I'm primarily a coin hunter -- specifically, old, deep coins from largely hunted-out public spots. For this task, I am very strongly convinced (through experience) that the very best machines available for that application are Minelab's FBS/FBS2 machines (Safari/Explorer/E-Trac/CTX). Reason being -- they have UNPARALLELED ability to accurately ID targets (visually, on screen, and audibly, through their multi-tonal output) -- through the entire depth range of the units. The FBS machines are not necessarily the DEEPEST machines, in terms of "raw depth." BUT, they are unmatched with respect to their ability to ID targets all the way to the fringe depth capability of the machines, in a variety of soil types. They accomplish this with a degree of accuracy that no other machine I've ever used/tested is capable of. SO, my long-winded question is this, for anyone "in the know." The "multi-frequency mode" on this machine is NOT FBS, it is apparently called "Multi IQ," and is being called "state-of-the-art" technology. My question is -- SPECIFICALLY as it relates to deep, old coin hunting in turf -- WILL THIS UNIT'S MULTI-FREQUENCY MODE EQUAL OR EXCEED the performance we Explorer/E-Trac/CTX users get from the FBS platform, specifically as it relates to accurate ID through the entire depth range of the unit. I absolutely LOVE the "rest of the package" here. User-selectable single frequencies, lightweight, wireless, prospecting mode, waterproof, fast, etc. -- but for me, the KICKER, the one thing that will push me over the edge, and finally cause me to lay down my Explorer, will revolve around the performance of this unit in "multi-frequency mode," as this is the mode I'd use most often for my style of hunting. Can anyone give me the straight scoop, at this point, on this SPECIFIC aspect of the machine -- Multi IQ technology? If not at this point, then anyone who eventually tests this unit and is permitted to comment at a later time, I'm all ears... Steve
  23. Keith -- EXCELLENT video! VERY interesting. A question...I have a Fisher Gold Bug Pro right now; the one thing I like about the AT Pro and Gold are that they are waterproof -- thus no worries when hunting in the rain. But -- that's not enough of a reason for me to switch machines at this point. In your opinion (Keith, or Steve, or whomever else has used both), is there any advantage to me switching from the GB Pro to the AT Pro or AT Gold in terms of performance in iron? I will be doing only rare/occasional gold prospecting with the machine; occasionally, I'll use it for coin hunting in a park-type setting, though usually that's where I use my Minelab Explorer. Most often, though, where I use the Gold Bug Pro now (and where I'd use the AT Pro or Gold) would be in a relic site, trying to unmasktargets in the dense iron, along the lines of what you are showing in the video here. Is there any advantage to the AT Pro, or the Gold, vs. the Gold Bug Pro? I think these units all do alot of the same things; that being said, one of the best "iron hunters" I know personally, hunts with the AT Pro and he does REALLY well pulling non-ferrous targets out of thick iron. He continually impresses me when we hunt together; some of it is his many more years of experience as compared to me, but I wonder if the machine gives him an edge over my GB Pro, as well, in terms of unmasking... Thoughts? Steve
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