For the past 3 years I have been trying to build an HF station. It hasn't gone well. I started out with an Eico 753 that drifted so much you couldn't make a contact. After that I bought a ts520 s. I only ever heard one or two s-5 signals whenever I turned on the rig. 10 antennas later I am in the same position. My setup now is a ts520 going to a 20 meter dipole, and Ive made very few contacts. I need advice as to what I should do next because I have run out of options. I have made very few contacts and really want to get on the air. (Keep in mind I am a young ham and have very limited funds)
Just some general thoughts, without knowing everything you have tried or your technical knowledge/expertise:
20 meter dipole? How high off the ground? Should be roughly 35 ft up. While you can use a 20 meter dipole for other bands, it really works best at 20 meters. If the antenna is less than 35 ft up, you are probably sending most of the energy up at a high angle and exceeding the maximum usable angle/critical angle for 20 meters, so you are sending most of the energy into space. 20 meters doesn't do well for NVIS mode.
Dipoles are broadside antennas, so the wire should be strung perpendicular to the direction you want to talk. IOW, if you want to talk to the southwest, your wire should run northwest to southeast.
Have you trimmed the antenna for the frequency band? Remember that dipole calculations are meant to get you in the ballpark, so cut long and trim to tune.
If you are using a standard unbalanced coax to dipole center feed unit, use some coils of coax or a common mode choke to get rid of unwanted RF on the shield. Or, use a balun or balanced feed line, depending on your rig/tuner.