A few days ago I mentioned the importance of patience when working QRP. Today I took my own advice and stuck with it. I struggled to work very much at all for most of the day but didn't give up.
We had a BBQ lunch catching the last fine day of summer (well I expect it will be.) We returned home, I turned on the radio and started to work my way through a few stations. I started on 12m and had to turn up the power. N2UJN could not quite hear my 2w but did confirm he heard someone calling. I tuned the power up to allow us a short chat and explain the QRP challenge with my friends. The good news is I answered my own question about the amplifier. It is definitely not required, 100w was enough to work DX.
I moved on from QRO to work ON/PA5Z/P on 40m SSB with 2w, R1AN on 20m SSB with 2w, JW9JKA on 20m SSB with 2w but did have to crank it up to a full 5w to work CU7MD in the Azores on 12m SSB.
All in all a good day for some casual contacts even if I did have to use 100w for one, but, the spirit of amateur radio was there even so.
Finally today I had a huge breakthrough before going QRT for the evening. I popped the radio on to 30m and caught some nice slow morse. Not too slow, but I got it. I actually copied most of what was being sent. The challenge is on for me now to be brave enough to reply to a CQ, at the right speed, and have a basic exchange. I know that if I can do this well with SSB, I can certainly do well with CW.
Try turning the power down, it might just surprise you.