I hear what you're saying (Pun Totally Intended!)
Ive been continuing my research. I believe what you're talking about is repeater desensitization? I have found a few references of people keeping ant's more than 15' apart hoz and on different vertical levels. some of that can be minimized? True?
I've looked at some DIY repeaters and it looks like some of the features make them larger than they need to be. Some seam to also have dual ant hook ups when not using a duplexer. How do they get this to work with out problems? If i have to i can make two runs up mtn or use a friend to help in transport. I have about 35-65 lbs of extra payload i can carry, this must include fuel, tent, stove, batteries, radio gear, food, water.... This is why i wanted to use the HT's