As Nietzsche said “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” You have an activation under your belt and it was probably very revealing about what it’s like activating. You probably have loads of ideas from this to incorporate into your next activations. That’s a huge part of the fun, learning what not to do next time, figuring out how to make things easier to set up, how to do it when it’s wet & windy and you have gloves on, how to ensure you don’t forget things etc.
On top of that as you’ve been off the air for a while there’s learning the revised landscape of which bands are busy etc. Also we’re on the way to the bottom of the solar cycle, so HF bands can be fairly bad most of the time. There is a huge amount of info on here where people describe the gear they use and the issues they have overcome. The problem is filtering it due to the sheer volume of info.
So now it’s time to plan activation no. 2. You can go back to this hill and try again as you have not earned the points yet, Or you can try another hill. I wouldn’t give up on the loop yet, there’s plenty of people using them, but probably it will be better on the higher bands.
Finally, welcome aboard. You are about to discover that the damage is done and you will find what a terrible addiction this nonsense of taking radios up hills is! It really is terribly addictive and once you start having wee pileups calling you then that addiction gets worse. Just ask the long time addicts