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I've found that it is typical for a BJT NPN transistor to exhibit current gain \$h_{FE}\$ which varies up and down as \$I_C\$ increases. The reason is probably trivial, but for some reason intuition tells me that \$h_{FE}\$ should decrease monotonically with \$I_C\$.

This image is taken from a 2N3904 datasheet.

enter image description here

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