I checked in on psk reporter and was being heard by a few stations in the UK and a couple in France!
1/ Log onto the ON4KST site. This is a free reflector with most of the stations on. You can see who is calling etc and arrange skeds: http://www.on4kst.com/chat/start.php
2/ YouTube is your friend! When I first started there wasn't a great deal of info available - now there is stacks load.
I suggest having a look at the following :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8coTrJOJQE (MS for beginners by Lynn GW8JLY)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBTi2nzYOw0 (RSGB Tonight@8)
3/ Get yourself a beam!
Then my hopes were shattered (I joke I kid!)
Now I realise why you called me. I suppose you weren't hearing a huge amount of stns on vertical!
(he is) Running 400w to 4 * 9 OWLs with 25db LNAs - I can hear a mouse fart sometimes...
France would have been tropo or Aircraft scatter - and living in Staines?????. Due to the mechanics of MS anything under 500km will normally be tropo. Anything over 2000km either tropo or SpE. However, these are rules of thumb....
So there we go I need to beg borrow or buy a 2 meter beam and use my 200 watt amplifier and see if I can achieve some results. Hopefully more soon