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fi67

VOR Ground Stations?

75 posts in this topic

On an early morning hike I came across this strange structure today:

vor.thumb.jpg.72f25ae3d64860ba0e0a80164254672b.jpg

I was located alone on agricultural ground, far away from the next building or even street.

After some research I found out that it is was a VOR ground station.

Wikipedia explains us: "VHF omni directional radio range (VOR) is a type of short-range radio navigation system for aircraft, enabling aircraft with a receiving unit to determine their position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons. [...] Developed in the United States beginning in 1937 and deployed by 1946, VOR is the standard air navigational system in the world,used by both commercial and general aviation. By 2000 there were about 3,000 VOR stations around the world including 1,033 in the US, reduced to 967 by 2013 with more stations being decommissioned with the widespread adoption of GPS."

Is anyone interested? Are the any arguments against it? I know, technology related objects like this one did not have the best peer review results.

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Sounds interesting to me. 

Wasn't there a forum discussion about the same or a very simular topic some time ago? 

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You are right. I think I found it. Do you mean this one (not very similar, but somewhat related): Concrete Arrows?

They could be combined. I already suggested that four years ago.

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A VOR in France near Amboise in Loire Valley

 

vor.jpg

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I would support the category even though I do expect challenges with security around such sites.  Let us know if you go ahead with a group.

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2 hours ago, fi67 said:

You are right. I think I found it. Do you mean this one (not very similar, but somewhat related): Concrete Arrows?

They could be combined. I already suggested that four years ago.

I think there was a discussion of these types of radio for airplane navigation, some time ago. It lost momentum, because in today's world, it was deemed too dangerous to be approaching these stations because authorities might consider you a threat. They're usually fenced off and protected from unwanted visitors, similar to cell towers, because they are critical infrastructure. Attracting hobbyists to come to these could be unsafe and undesirable.

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I thought there were existing categories like antennas and transmitters where these could be waymarked already.

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2 hours ago, Manville Possum said:

I thought there were existing categories like antennas and transmitters where these could be waymarked already.

There are not. There are some categories that deal with certain specific types of broadcasting equipment or the like, but all of them are very narrow in scope and clearly defined.

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There are two of these big radars to serve DFW Airport in Dallas -- COWBOY and MAVERICK. Neither are located on airport property, and in fact are several miles away. 

I think there is a VOR in Wylie for Dallas Love Field, also many miles from the airport. 

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the location of these is public info. They are on aeronautic charts, so that pilots can determine which ones to use to get where they are going. US govt property (in the US) and will have Keep Out signs for the immediate area, but we would be taking pictures from a couple hundred feet away, anyway, to get the whole thing in the picture. I was thinking about these as a category just last week.

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I find this topic interesting as, when I was young and foolish (as opposed to old and foolish), I nearly got my private license before running out of money. Later, it I had any extra money, cars seemed to quickly eat it up. So, I got to know about VORs, VOR-DMEs, VORTACS and NDBs, not to mention ILS, RNAV and a zillion other acronyms one needs to absorb in order to make like a bird.

DougK's concerns are mostly moot, as VORs and NDBs are, as a rule, today just a fenced in antenna and transmitter well away from airports - nobody really cares if one drives up to one and shoots a few pix. Maybe this is a good time to Waymark both VORs and NDBs (Non Directional Beacons) as many are being decommissioned both here and abroad, due primarily to the development of GPS navigation. There will, however, be a (smaller) network of transmitters for many years to come, as they are looked on as effective backups to GPS in the event of equipment failure or sabotage.

Dunno if this is a viable category, but it is, to me, an interesting one. As well, online documentation of VOR and NDB stations can be found in many places, including coordinates of their locations.

Keith

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Here is something that I came across near the highest point in Kentucky. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I logged it on the benchmarking site here.

Radar Tower BM.jpg

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These things are listed in Australia including the co-ords so did a quick check. Near home the two are on the Naval Air Station so out of bounds. Armidale, Australia's highest airport has one but it's also out of bounds, Brewarrina (The Outback) dicey as near the airfield & Albury a fair sized city on the Victorian border & also out of bounds as within the airport grounds. You'd think it'd be logical to have them on airport grounds & that appears to be the case down here.

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Posted (edited)

19 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:

Here is something that I came across near the highest point in Kentucky. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I logged it on the benchmarking site here.

Radar Tower BM.jpg

Looks like  weather radar to me (which has a category).

Edited by vulture1957
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2 hours ago, Manville Possum said:

Here is something that I came across near the highest point in Kentucky. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I logged it on the benchmarking site here.

Radar Tower BM.jpg

That looks like a doppler weather radar dome to us :) 

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A good question. What would they be surveilling?  Waymarkers creeping up to the fence to take a photo perhaps.  In sensitive areas here they combine Surveillance Radars with Drones. As an example a waymarker entering a sensitive area is picked up on the radar & a drone dispatched which takes high resolution photos. It hovers above the intruder & transmits his or her position to security - there is no escape.   ;)

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Benchmark Blasterz said:

Will Airport Surveillance Radars be included?

Not sure what "Airport Surveillance Radars" are, but I assume you are referring to Air Traffic Control Radar. If so, then I would say a definite NO.

I would envision this category as being more viable if only VORs and NDBs away from airports were included. Better that we don't mess with airports. Air Traffic Control Radar, to my knowledge, is always on the airport grounds.

Keith

Edited by BK-Hunters
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6 minutes ago, Tuena said:

A good question. What would they be surveilling?  Waymarkers creeping up to the fence to take a photo perhaps.  In sensitive areas here they combine Surveillance Radars with Drones. As an example a waymarker entering a sensitive area is picked up on the radar & a drone dispatched which takes high resolution photos. It hovers above the intruder & transmits his or her position to security - there is no escape.   ;)

Possibly you're confusing RADAR with other technologies - video, IR, etc.

Keith

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, BK-Hunters said:

Not sure what "Airport Surveillance Radars" are, but I assume you are referring to Air Traffic Control Radar. If so, then I would say a definite NO.

I would envision this category as being more viable if only VORs and NDBs away from airports were included. Better that we don't mess with airports. Air Traffic Control Radar, to my knowledge, is always on the airport grounds.

Keith

The ASRs can also be well off airport grounds - we have one in Wylie, Texas, 30 miles from DFW and 16 miles from DAL. They're more frequently on airport grounds, but I have nevertheless been able to photograph them with no problems. Some are US benchmarks.

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Tuena said:

A good question. What would they be surveilling?  Waymarkers creeping up to the fence to take a photo perhaps.  In sensitive areas here they combine Surveillance Radars with Drones. As an example a waymarker entering a sensitive area is picked up on the radar & a drone dispatched which takes high resolution photos. It hovers above the intruder & transmits his or her position to security - there is no escape.   ;)

I hope you waved and blew them a kiss while taking a photo from a place you were lawfully allowed to be. If you were not in a place where you were lawfully allowed to be, then I totally get why you got buzzed.  

Recently I had security guards roar up on me at the Seagoville Federal Prison, where I was taking a photo of a badly-placed Texas historical marker at the front gate to the prison. I showed the very polite and professional guard my photos (the only photos I took were of the marker, not the prison), and went on my way.  http://www.Waymarking.com/waymarks/WMWCPF_Seagoville_Enemy_Alien_Detention_Station_World_War_II

Laws in other countries will vary.  In the US, I can take a photo of anything I can see from any place I am lawfully allowed to be, even if the subject of the photo is behind a fence or in a restricted area. As long as it's visible from a public place, I can take as many photos of it as I want, and I don't have to delete any of them. Trained law enforcement and professional security guards know this. It's the untrained security folks I have had the most trouble with.  

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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So far, it looks like there is some interest and - except for some security related reservations - no real opposition.

This is a good start, but I am far from being an expert in this field and still a bit dizzy from all those acronyms. I think, it's a good idea to let the whole thing mature for a few days and give other people the chance to add their ideas.

If and when this is going to be a category what should be included?

VORs, NDBs (both active and decommissioned, as long as there is still a visible structure)?

Old lit beacons and concrete arrows?

Anything else?

Only locations that can be accessed and photograph by the public without any risk?

What are the objective reasons against Air Traffic Control Radars? (I feel, there is a basic difference, but I don not have the expertise to create a substantial definition.)

How could the category be named? My first idea was something like "Air Navigation Support Structures Then and Now". Does this properly cover the topic and is there a better way to say it?

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2 hours ago, fi67 said:

Only locations that can be accessed and photograph by the public without any risk?

 

Specifically what risk?

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3 minutes ago, elyob said:

Specifically what risk?

 

I'm sorry, but just like your concern about the danger of Waymarking traffic circles, there are small risks in Waymarking. Like geocaching, Waymarking can be dangerous.

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Posted (edited)

29 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:
31 minutes ago, elyob said:

Specifically what risk?

 

I'm sorry, but just like your concern about the danger of Waymarking traffic circles, there are small risks in Waymarking. Like geocaching, Waymarking can be dangerous.

You can expect from an adult to take responsibility of the normal risks of life, while Waymarking or not. That was not what I meant.

I thought about the risk of getting in trouble with the authorities. Depending on time and place, this might not be an obvious risk.

Edited by fi67
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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, fi67 said:

You can expect from an adult to take responsibility of the normal risks of life, while Waymarking or not. That was not what I meant.

I thought about the risk of getting in trouble with the authorities. Depending on time and place, this might not be an obvious risk.

This would depend on the laws of each country.  The US Constitution protects my right to take a photograph of anything I can see from anyplace I am lawfully allowed to be -- other countries may have a different view.  The only risk I have encountered is untrained private security (Texas City Port Authority -- looking at y'all), but once we deleted our "offending" yet perfectly legal pictures, we were free to go about our merry way. If I had gotten into it with the 18-year-old clueless guard, I may not have had to delete my photos, but I also may have spent an hour of my life with equally clueless upper security, unless I wanted to call Texas City PD and wait for THEM, which would have made us miss lunch with hungry kids in the car.  So that was the sum total of my risk. 

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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from my experience (20 years Air Force Air Traffic Control communications) most of the Air Traffic radars are located alongside the runways. Very secure area. Yes, you may be able to get a picture from outside the fences, but it would probably not meet most reviews for image quality (you'd get a big field with some little gizmo). Now, the beacons and VORs, etc, you can get within maybe 50-75 feet. Great picture. And more often outside the airfields by a mile or two.

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Applying a bit of hindsight, I can't now find a good reason for proscribing ASRs from the list. (Back in the day ASRs, at least here, went by a different name and a different acronym, but I can't for the life of me think of what it was.) We have taken many pix in many airports, large and small, without being harassed. But, as the Vulture pointed out, getting good pix of airport sited radar would be, for the most part, a fruitless task.

Fi67 mentioned "Old lit beacons". Most of these that I can recall seeing, when on a tower of any height, were most likely NDB towers in the vicinity of small airports. Even older ones would be legacy beacons from the days of the lighted airways of the '20s and '30s, along with their attendant concrete arrows. I can see them (the concrete arrows, at least) surviving until today in unoccupied parts of the desert, but not in less remote areas. It would be interesting to know if any of the beacon towers actually still survive.

Answering my own query: (from Wiki)

...the State of Montana continues to maintain several [Airway Beacons] as navigation aids in mountainous terrain. One beacon is preserved for historical purposes in Saint Paul, Minnesota at the Indian Mounds Park on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Recently, the beacon at Grants, New Mexico was restored for historic preservation, using original items found at other nearby sites.

Then there are approach lights, some of which extend outside the bounds of an airport, though this is somewhat rare. Smaller airports sometimes have various tower mounted identifier lights and beacons, too.

Keith

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I have no idea what you all are talking about. :-) VOR, NDB, ASR, "Old lit beacons" ??? Anyway, I did a little research and there is an NDB thing in my hometown. So, even if I don't know what the difference between all these is, I totally understand that others will find them interesting and therefore I wouldn't vote against it. But a few (links to) explanations (for non-techies like me) would be nice.

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On 10/3/2017 at 6:27 PM, PISA-caching said:

I have no idea what you all are talking about. :-) VOR, NDB, ASR, "Old lit beacons" ???

I do neither have an idea what I am talking about. :unsure: It all started with a "WTF is that?" moment. So I did some research and learned that these things do have names, although complicated acronyms, what they are used for (more or less) and that there are quite a few them of around, spread all over the globe. And I thought that it might become a valid category.

It looks like we have some experts here in the forum, but I am not one of them and I think that I am a member of the majority in this respect, so I would like to keep the whole thing as simple as possible and not require any technical knowledge I do not have myself. I think this can be done, because many of these locations can be found in comprehensive official lists, that can be a starting point for the waymarkers out in the fields as well as for the officers.

Currently, I am thinking about a category that includes all sorts of permanent air navigation support structures that are not located on airport property. This includes current and  obsolete structures that send or receive different types of electromagnetic waves, e.g. (Please imagine a huge and scary list of weird acronyms here, but I don't want them to be too important). Then there exist a few relics of the early days of optical flight navigation in the 1920s and 30s. In the US, they had huge concrete arrows (e.g. in deserts) to help the pilots to find their way, and there were lit beacons (basically nothing else than lighthouses for airplanes), I don't know if there was anything similar in other countries, but these would be welcome as well.

Some of these structures are on airport property, which is a problem for Waymarking them, but many are not and these are often easily accessible. So I would like to limit the category to stand-alone structures off airport grounds.

Is this a sensible plan?

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That sounds like a sensible plan to me. 

I will ask the next annoying question: how would we define off airport grounds?  Would it be a certain distance from the end of a runway, for example?  Off airport grounds might be anywhere on the safe side of the No Trespassing signs? 

For the record, checking for candidates in my region, all VORs and NDBs are off airport grounds but on dead-end roads secured by No Trespassing signs and beyond camera range.

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I'm not sure we would have to say "off airport grounds". What it should say, like many of the other categories, would be "publicly accessible". I drove by a local general aviation airport (not for the commercial airlines) and there seems to be some sort of "beacon" where I can drive openly to within about 15 feet of it, and saw nothing to seem to limit me getting even closer by foot. The problem I would have right now is finding out exactly what kind of gizmo it is to write up the long description! I'm betting I can go to the airport office and get someone to give me the needed info. (And, I would go there first, let them know why I was there so they wouldn't call the police first and ask questions later!)

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Seems logical. I checked a few more navaids in Australia  (VOR & NDB) & if they weren't on airport grounds, they were in farm paddocks & other types of private property so out of bounds regardless of any signs. One was close to a cemetery so depends on what is defined as suitable photographs.   

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I think installations on airport grounds should be included because those are also able to be photographed, maybe more easily than locations in private property off airport grounds 

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On 9/30/2017 at 8:49 PM, Manville Possum said:

Here is something that I came across near the highest point in Kentucky. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I logged it on the benchmarking site here.

Radar Tower BM.jpg

Dunno, but I don't want to be around when whatever teed up THAT golf ball comes back to address THAT ball ....  FORE!!!!!  LOL

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You should see all the warning signs on the fence.;)

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Fine, not off airport grounds, but accessible.

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It's been a while since I had time to move on with the idea, but now I have come up with a first draft. I have tried to chose my words as simple and neutral as possible.

Please have a look at it and tell me your thoughts.

 

Ground Based Air Navigation Support Structures

Widely unknown to the broader public, there are thousands of stations all over the world that help airplanes to safely find their destination. This is the place to record them.

Expanded description:

Air navigation has gone a long way since the first motorized flights. With the growing number of airplanes, many navigational technologies have been invented, introduced, and later replaced with more advanced ones. Most passengers entering a plane have no idea how many ground based structures there are, that are (or were) involved in air navigation.

We want to collect information about those structures, active or abandoned, no matter what technology used, as long as the explicit purpose is air navigation. Some of those systems are located in restricted areas, often airport grounds, but many are miles away only behind small fences. Please, limit your contributions to locations that can be legally accessed and photographed! The distance should be close enough to clearly identify some details of the structure.

In the first years, there was only visual flight, but even then, things were built to help the pilots find their way. Examples of this era are the concrete arrows in the American mid-west and lit beacons, some of them have been preserved and still exist. The first radio navigation systems were introduced as early as 1907. Many different systems have been in use since then. Frequent current systems are VOR and NDB. Some of their precursors were ADF, LFR, VAR and many more. Today, there is a shift towards satellite based navigation, but ground based systems will still be around for many years.

We do neither want to bore nor frighten you with all those acronyms. You do not need to know them and you do not have to be an expert to participate. But you will have to prove that your submission is indeed an object that is or was primarily used for air navigation. For this purpose, you HAVE TO provide a link to a web site, where this station is listed. (http://worldaerodata.com is a good example, but there are plenty of other resources.)

Posting Instructions:

COORDINATES must be obtained by a personal visit to the site and should be taken as close as legally possible.

PHOTOS: Please provide at least two photos, one close up photo of the structure and one photo which shows it in its surroundings. More pictures are always welcome.

DESCRIPTION: Provide as much information as possible. Location, dates, current status, etc. A long description is required and it has to cover the specific structure of the submission. A general text about the system and how it works is not what we are looking for in the first place.

WAYMARK NAME FORMAT: The name of the waymark MUST follow this format: Name of the structure - City, State/Province or Country. If it is not within a city or town, then please use another regional designation such as county, borough - whatever best identifies the location.

SPECIAL NOTE: While the details outlined in our category description, and the requirements listed in the posting instructions, cover the MINIMUM elements and standards for all waymarks in this category, each waymark will also be evaluated by a volunteer reviewer for overall quality and appropriateness. If a reviewer deems that there are deficiencies in some aspect of the waymark, the waymark may be either declined or accepted with request for changes and/or additions in either content or format.

Each waymark will be evaluated on its own merits. We will endeavor to be reasonable and flexible while maintaining the quality standards for the category. If there is a disagreement, try to work it out with the evaluating officer, or appeal to the group leader, but we reserve the right to accept or decline a waymark based on our best judgement.

LANGUAGE NOTE: We recognize Waymarking as a global hobby and welcome waymarks from all countries. Because of our international scope, we also acknowledge ENGLISH as our lingua franca. English will create the highest level of accessibility globally. All waymarks must have at least a short description in the long description section in ENGLISH. We encourage bilingual and multilingual waymarks, but one of the languages must be English.

Instructions for Visiting:

1. The waymark coordinates must be personally visited.
2. Give the date and a description of your visit.
3. Post at least one photo taken at the time of your visit.

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Well done.  There are no variables, correct?

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As the older technology is retired, the web sites documenting their existence might become stale.  Some relevant text from the linked web site should probably be included (and source cited) in the long description.

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57 minutes ago, elyob said:

Well done.  There are no variables, correct?

One. An URL that confirms the location.

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The description is great and easy to understand. Thanks.

Maybe it would be a good idea to suggest to include the type (VOR, NDB, ASR, ...) in the waymark title or maybe as an optional variable?

Edited by PISA-caching
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On 16.10.2017 at 6:55 PM, elyob said:

As the older technology is retired, the web sites documenting their existence might become stale.  Some relevant text from the linked web site should probably be included (and source cited) in the long description.

Good point! But most resources I know are basic tables with coordinates and other technical data but little to none real text to cite. The URL is required primarily to help the officers to decide if the structure is a valid entry. It does not really hurt when it goes offline later.

Edited by fi67
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5 minutes ago, PISA-caching said:

The description is great and easy to understand. Thanks.

Maybe it would be a good idea to suggest to include the type (VOR, NDB, ASR, ...) in the waymark title or maybe as an optional variable?

Yes, I will include it.

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I think the description to include a waymark is complete and very understandable

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What category would this be in? Technology?

I have my first waymark for this category started as an unclassified. Just need the pictures.

Edited by vulture1957
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3 hours ago, vulture1957 said:

What category would this be in? Technology?

I have my first waymark for this category started as an unclassified. Just need the pictures.

My choice was under Technology / Communication, but sometimes Groundspeak decides to place a category somewhere else when it is approved.

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6 hours ago, fi67 said:

My choice was under Technology / Communication, but sometimes Groundspeak decides to place a category somewhere else when it is approved.

that's what I was thinking, also. But may go to Structures, but Tech/Comm seems a better fit.

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