My DXCC totals have inched up over the years and usually take bigger lurches forward whenever I make a substantial change to the station (i.e. New Amplifier, better / higher antennas, more time to operate, etc..). As such, I'm at the point now where the "All Time New Ones" -- we'll call it ATNO now just to invent a new acronym -- are few and far between. Long gone are the days where I might add 3 or 4 new ones over a weekend -- now its more like a new one over months, maybe years of effort! I know a few DXers that are down to the last one -- say North Korea for example -- and can't wait for the day to join that epic sized pileup.
So -- its really exciting when I am able to snag the proverbial ATNO, especially when it is pretty much unanticipated. This happened to me last night after coming home late from a business trip and turning on the rig to listen to 30m while I wound down. The band was solid into Europe and I quickly worked a string of stations. I copied a 9X0 prefix on 10.105 -- couldn't believe it -- and rotated the antenna a bit farther to the east to peak the signal...solid 579. Nick, 9X0NH, was on simplex for the first few contacts, and I snagged him early with a quick exchange; the pileup instantly went ballistic, and he then switched to split. Awesome to get him in the log! I'll get a direct card in the mail to him at his home base in the UK as he's leaving Rwanda very soon.
Although Rwanda is not considered super-rare -- it's just never been one that has been active when I was also active. It also helps to have entities active on a band like 30m, where the competition is just not nearly as fierce as on a band like 20 or 40. A little luck, patience, and decent antennas come together in a nice way every now and then!