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Experimental data on the behavior of superconductors under the application of RF fields of amplitude comparable to their critical fields are sporadic and not always consistent. In many cases the field level at which breakdown in superconducting RF cavities should be expected has not been clearly established. Tests conducted with very short ( s) RF pulses indicate that in this mode of operation fields close to the critical values can be consistently reached in superconducting cavities without breakdown. The advantages and disadvantages of the pulsed method are discussed compared to those of the more standard continuous wave (cw) systems.