I finally was able to make my first contacts. Saturday was a contest day, and this meant that there were plenty of HAMs looking for contacts. I worked the 40 meter band for about half an hour and made three contacts.
My antenna is simply a 1:1 balun hooked to an 80 foot long piece of wire that runs out the window and through the trees, and the other side of the balun is hooked to the downspout of the gutter. I made contacts with this in Miami, Bradenton, and New Orleans. I will take what I can get for now.
On the down side, the tuning dial on my rig has a bad encoder after only a week. I bought it at AES, I called them, and they said that I could return it for another.