One thing my first Elmer, Ed Reddington W4ZM (SK), taught me was to listen, listen, listen. That applies to human interactions, not just ham radio...but I was 13 at the time and did not understand the prophetic power of Ed's statement.
As it applies to our hobby, an obvious but often overlooked element is that the signal must be heard at a copyable level if the station is going to be worked. There are many barriers to effective reception: noise (on the air and from the barking dog in my shack), fading, directivity, and other propagation elements.
As I became more interested in 160 meters after arriving at this new QTH in 2009, I wondered how to combat the horrific static and man-made noise that I heard. I did a LOT of reading (and discussed it on this blog) on beverages and other receive-only antennas. Over the past year I have put up some shortened beverages and had some success with them; they certainly are less noisy than the transmitting antenna on 160 meters...my inverted L. I also recently acquired a small magentic loop for 80 and 160. Finally, I placed my 80-10 meter off-center-fed dipole at a lower height and am using it for receive only for the times when signals are coming in at high angles.
I went through (several times) ON4UN's book on low-band DXing. It is worth its weight in gold. Also read (several times) the sections on receiving antennas in the ARRL Antenna handbook.
The desired result is better reception and therefore more DX worked. I already have a fantastic rig in the Flex 3000. Let's see where this gets me. Stay tuned!
73 and good DX