I agree with keeping contests off the WARC bands. While I generally consider
myself a contester, I found myself looking for safe haven one time when I was
running a demonstration station at a Scout event. It was a weekend in early
October, and after several very nice QSOs on 15 meters introducing scouts to
ham radio, the California QSO party and Worked All Germany contests both took
over the band. They are not the same weekend this year, but they were that year.
Contest QSOs are wonderful things, but unfortunately poorer demonstrations of
radio than long-distance ragchews.
I retreated to 17 meters, where I spent most of the day making some great demo
QSOs with 100 watts, an open-wire-fed 80M dipole and tuner.
It gave me a new perspective on the anti-contester sentiment.
The idea of "activity periods" may have merit, although DXpeditions seem to
generate plenty of activity on those bands. If an annual week-long (or
month-long) event is created, it would spread out the activity. A week is 168
hours...if you think going 48 straight is tough, try that! Maybe it could even
be a weekday-only event. That would be interesting, and keep the weekends free
for casual ops. On occasions when I am home on a weekday, the bands (all of
them) are pretty quiet.
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