I want to thank everyone for their comments and the awesome discussion. I’m still very much in the soak-up-information-like-a-sponge phase (as I hope I’ll always be). I hadn’t thought of an 817/818 with a linear amp as a base station option. I saw 891 as a compromised middle ground.
As far as the HT goes, I do feel a bit better about it. I finished making a ladder-line j pole for it, but haven’t tested it out yet. I’m waiting for some double digit temps before I step out of the hermetically sealed house into the Hades beyond today. I also found some plans for a 2m yogi using music wire and a fiberglass arrow shaft, so I’m going to try my hand at building that too.
I don’t quite qualify as “ultralight” myself, but I always aim for that mentality. It keeps me from killing my back. Happily sitting under 14 lbs/6.3kgs base weight though. To me, radios are a great reason to break those pesky UL rules though.
The areas I’m heading to in CO in August has about 4 separate peaks that are along my route. I have a good feeling I’ll be attempting to activate a couple of them at least. N0MAP hooking me up with the NASOTA group will help a lot too.