Well, enough whining already. I've now installed a brand new ham duty rotor and managed to push my mast up to 40 feet, placing the 20 meter wires around 45-46 feet. It now clears the roofline of my house and I'm beginning to feel better about its performance. The noise level has dropped dramatically, although there are still certain directions that are quite a bit noisier than others. Thankfully the interaction with my roof and gutters seems to have diminished. And its now as quiet as my wire antennas are - for the most part. And some signals are 3-4 S-units louder on the hex. My SWR has dropped as well, although I never felt as though I could complain much about that when it was lower, it fell within claimed specs.
But despite all the improvements, there are some realizations too. This weekend I could hear a fellow ham who lives in the same county working stations in the Asian contest that I couldn't even dig out of the noise. I could hear some - and even worked a few - but not many. Most were unintelligible. Clearly he could hear them (and they could hear him). Switching to other antennas, however, revealed that the hex was at least making those I could copy much louder. Without the hex, I wouldn't have heard hardly any Asians.
The realization is that he has a monstrous Force 12 yagi at 100 feet and I have a small antenna at 45. But it's still a step in the right direction. And not bad, especially considering how tough this continued low point in propagation has proven to be.
If I had it all to do over again, I think there's a good chance that I would have gone in another direction. But in fairness to the hex, I am able to work almost anything I hear in Europe and most of the Middle East and Africa. And the problem until recently has been actually hearing the DX. I don't anticipate doing anything to change the setup until the next sunspot cycle kicks in. By then I may be quite pleased with my little antenna.