Congrats!! As for testing, I'd say basic test is plug in some known frequencies for simplex and repeaters in your area and "poll the listeners". Not uncommon and a very helpful hobby so your likely to get good response if done within the proper etiquette ;-) Some repeaters have a signal check (local to me has one) but other hams will tell you how it sounds etc... As for the details of every knob, light and feature, I don't have a good answer there...
As for antenna, I started with what has become the club standard for mobile rigs which i already forgot, ... Diamond, dual band, black NMO mount... solid choice. But when I relocated from spare tire mount (radiating into the rack) to mount off the side of the rack, I was told about the Comet SB1 http://www.universal...mantm/3914.html
16.5" tall rubber dicky type antenna. It has taken a few whacks and I bent and has come out just fine. As for range, It's plenty of range on the trail, I can hit Diablo from Menlo Park, etc... I don't think it has the range of my longer Diamond but for my use, it stays on the truck and the Diamond is IN the truck when range is needed.
one guys opinion.... Tom
NCLR Board Member
Director of Affairs
NCLR Vice President
'96 Discovery I, 122k, 5sp, RoverWare Bumper, Winch, ARB, BFGs, LEDs, OMEs, SD, etc...
On a slow transition from Carpool to Trail with the help of this Club
Y2K Toyota Land Cruiser Series 100; Cooper A/T3s, PacaSport, glitter, hair-bows, jolly ranchers and juice box stains...