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A detailed experimental investigation of the regenerative properties of the four-wave mixing (FWM) for the conventional nonreturn-to-zero data format is reported. A key feature in the proposed scheme, and contrary to the conventional approach, is application of the ON-OFF keying modulation on the pump wave. Measurement of the static transfer functions of the FWM process in a semiconductor optical amplifier shows that certain operating regimes exist, mainly related to the power levels "one" and "zero" of the modulated pump, where a significant improvement of the extinction ratio (ER) can be achieved. This conclusion has been confirmed by dynamic measurements at 2.4 Gb/s, where up to 3-dB improvement in the ER has been observed.