Have you ever considered a Spider Beam ?
I've actually built nested Moxon's - which are really great wire beams, and one for 20 and 15 might be what I go for as we start going down the cycle in a couple of years. I could keep something like that up 55'.
I especially like the Optibeam Wire Beam, but its way too expensive.
Lots of options - and I love designing and building my own antennas - never a dull moment here.
I Hear You, loud and clear Brother!
In fact, designing and building our own antennas are about all a Ham can do to improve our situations. I certainly lack the technical capacity to build a better transceiver then I can buy. I guess building a monster amplifier could be done, if one we so inclined, but that would not be me, and still does not address the receive gain possible with a gain antenna.
Man, I can clearly remember giving life to my very first Yagi. It was for 10 meters, and had 3 fairly wide spaced elements (.2 wavelength). I spaced elements equally wide apart on the boom, and cut the elements 5% longer for the reflector, and 5% shorter for the director. I "cheated" a bit, and ordered a Gamma Match from Kirk Electronics in Ohio, owned by W8FYR.
Tom Baker (SK) W8MMM, turned me on to Dr Aaron Self (W8FYR), and Kirk Electronics. They made and sold a lot of neat stuff, including Cubical Quad stuff.
I will never ever forget loading up my Drake TR 4 and calling CQ on my home made 10 meter monobander. I lived up in Detroit at the time, and the antenna was on a chimney mount of a 2 story home. The band was wide open, so I swung the little beam NE, and called CQ. To my great surprise, I soon had several Europeans coming back to me! I was sooo excited!
There was no computer modeling back then, there was the ARRL Handbook. It clearly said "experience has shown that these element lengths and spacings will work" and guess what ? They did!
I suppose I "got lucky", because my very first home made Yagi, had pretty darn good front to back as well! Because of the relatively wide spacing I used (.2 wavelength), it also had pretty good bandwidth!
My home brew 10 meter monobander could beat the Mosley 3 element tribander of one friend, and it also just destroyed my other friends Hy Gain TH 2.
Man, I was BIT by the home brew antenna thing! Then, a guy named Jim Lawson W2PV had the famous Papa Victor Yagi design, and I got hold of the National Bureau Of Standards Yagi Design sheet. I dreamed all winter long of what I would build, next!
So, here I am, nearly 30 years later, STILL into antennas, LOL
Right now, I have a Hy Gain Explorer 14, but my next project will probably be the spider beam.
Yes, the wire Opti Beam looks awesome too, of course.
One thing I noted from what you said about your top antenna in the stack "being at 55 feet" is this. I think that the effective height of a stack is determined by BOTH antennas. The radiation is from the middle of the stack I think ?
So, you are not really "up at 55 feet" if what I have been told is true.
I am quite familiar with the Force 12 antenna you speak about.
It does not have the WARC Bands, but because it has no traps, it is said you can work them, w/o fear of popping a trap, and even has a bit of gain on 12 and 17!
I hear them on 17 all the time, being used with a tuner.
I do not think the Force 12 C 3 will equal one of your 2 element 17 meter monobanders, much less 2 of them in a stack.
But as far as a being your only HF Band antenna, it could turn out to be a winner for you, vs the old Cush Craft A 3.
Unlike the old A3, you can run it on 17 with power, and it may provide you enough antenna on 17 for those DXCC contacts you need:)