Wow. I’m eternally grateful for all the responses. I’m still in the soaking-up-information stage. In a sheer fit of irony and at the strong suggestion from a few folks, I was able to get a great deal on a barely used KX2 that FedEx is in the process of rushing to me. Hopefully, by this time next week, I’ll be on the air…not SOTA, but on the air. I want to get to know the radio where I can fiddle with creature comforts before I head into the hills. I’m planning on going with a 35.5 ft random wire and 16 ft counterpoise since the KX2 I’m getting has the internal tuner.
Thankfully, except for a few knobs, most of the ‘peaks’ around here are wooded. I’m still trying to finger out how I want to go for a portable mast. I had a 20 ft collapsible fishing pole, but it really only collapses down to 47”/1.2m and weighs a heavy 22 oz/620g. It’s not the best thing for backpacking.