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no luck w/ voice contacts

I'm not sure if my antenna is no good or if I'm just expecting this to
be easier then it is. I've tried about 10 different passes of AO-51
and a few ISS  passes on field day with my homemade dual band yagi
(arrow like, 3 elements on 2meter 7 elements on 70 cm).  I use two
handhelds so i have full duplex, a yaesu vx-5r and a vx-7r.

On the ISS passes i could hear it for probably 5 mins of the 10 min
passes. It was loud and clear, sounded like a local repeater. But i
couldn't hear myself at all, even when there was a couple seconds of

On the AO-51 passes I've tried both QRP and the regular FM. I only
hear it for maybe 1 min on good passes, over 60 degrees. Usually i
don't hear enough to make out one call sign, On one pass i could hear
it for maybe 2 mins but i couldn't hear myself at all.

So how long does a pass last when listening with an arrow atenna? Is
this going to take months and months of trying to get lucky on the
perfect pass to get one contact, or am i doing something horribly

I think the antenna works, low swr on 2m and 70cm, and i can get to
repeaters that i can't get to with the whip, so it has at least some
gain. One repeater is at least 45 miles away.
But I have nothing to compare it to except the stock whip, so its hard to say.

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