Up until a couple years ago, I had assumed that working Europe on 160M via QRP CW was probably not in the cards for me. What I didn’t realize at that time was that some groundwork was being laid that would significantly increase the odds that my goal of working EU would be realized.
For most of the past decade, I considered my 160M dipole (up 75′) to be the best performing Top Band antenna that I would possibly be able to muster. I could work lots of stateside stations with the dipole and could usually work the nearby Caribbean island stations as well. I had heard quite a few Europeans, but none had ever heard me.
New insights were gained when a friend invited me to attend a local meeting of the PVRC (Potomac Valley Radio Club). Many of those guys were way ahead of me in terms of operating skill and contest experience, and they kick started me into a trajectory that helped me become a much better operator. I learned basic principles, from computer logging to rapid fire cw exposure during major contests. That was a great confidence booster.