So I got my tech in February after a buddy gave me pair of Baofengs, and showed me the basics of what they can do. I was hooked, studied up, tested, and passed. I quickly realized I would out grow my tech privileges as the local 2m/ 70cm stuff was pretty tedious (i.e., same local net, same local crew that only wanted to talk to the locals they new, and my buddy that got me into it is only on JT65 anymore.) I played with IRLP and signed up for Echolink (still haven't used it though). I am pretty active out doors (climbing, mtn biking, mountaineering, back packing) so I quickly found APRS useful and tried the baofeng with mobilink TNC2 (quickly purchased a KW TH-D72a). Next I learned about satellites and the ISS. As of tonight (4/12) I finally got my first APRS contact through the ISS, but have yet to make a contact through "the birds". I just took and passed my general exam. I thought I had it all figured out, until my buddy threw a wrench in it. I was planning on getting my feet wet on 20m with a dipole and FT-450d. However, when I was over picking up his "loaner" rig (an old kenwood and his first 20m dipole) he was saying 20m is dead, everyone is on JT65, poor propagation from solar cycle.... So long story short, I am kind of discouraged. I have his old kenwood, I threw the dipole (1:1 balun and coax) up between my deck and a tree about 12 feet up, and was able to hear voices, but had a hard time getting them clear. Ultimately my question is, is 20m still a good starting point (should I go 40m?, Both?). I am pretty convinced on the FT 450D, but should I look into an analyzer since it has a tuner built in to help optimize the dipole. BTW I am kind of fixed on a dipole for now as it will be easy to hide (HOA) unless there is a good end feed multiband option. Sorry for the long intro, and may be wrong forum. All the help (and encouragement) is appreciated P.S. I am also in no way technologically oriented. This hobby is way out side my comfort level. I learned to solder to build a tape measure yagi for satellites, no computer programming in my blood.I can install the latest version of office, but thats about the best at this point.