The one week later update.
As with all the other forums I post to, I do so because I am assuming I will be getting feedback from those who have been where I find myself at that time. This board has been no different, you all have been incredibly patient and helpful !!!
Starting back a bunch of posts I was told HF is the place to be. I read that in others too, and I took the advice to heart. I did sell that FT-450D but had read those posts prior to shipping. As I was packing up the radio, those posts rang in my ears. I was kicking myself, contemplated cancelling the transaction, but that wouldn't have been right either. I went ahead and decided to live with my decision. I investigated the local nets and found all but two are on 2m. So I was sitting here telling myself I made the right decision. Several times the past week I fired up the radio willing working on the computer, just to monitor some 2m. Sorry to report, wherever I picked, those frequencies were dead. Except for the random burst of noise, nothing was coming through. Last weekend I had monitored several of the local nets and my reception for them was quite good. So last weekend proved my radio and antenna work. Monitoring during the week proved there ain't nothing there to hear.
All during this that little voice is telling me "you shoulda kept the 450!!!"
I investigated the Kenwood 2000 some more and sometime yesterday I learned it was first introduced back in 2001. Learning the technology in it was 12 years old really put a damper on my enthusiasm for it. Then I checked how old my 450 was and that technology was about 9 year newer. I also began kicking around a few other used rigs but when I checked specs I noticed technology missing that the 450 had.
Now that little voice is screaming "you shoulda kept the 450, you goof !!!"
Along the way, KB2FCV posted he looked at my home and suggested a wire in the front. I was stuck on a vertical and never consider my front yard. I knew the neighbors would have a heart attack, along with the village officials. But a wire...... wait........ no one notices those !!!
Some form of a wire using all my property is the answer to getting something up and us on the air.
Then last night I am checking the used gear board and there's a guy posting a 1 month old FT-450D. The one I had was almost a year old. This would give me basically a brand new rig, for almost what I sold me other one for. UPS should be delivering my almost brand new 450D soemtime around Weds, maybe Thursday if they're slow.
But back to the VHF and UHF side of my questions. Between your help here and my experiences I am seeing I can receive upwards of 30-ish miles as I am now. I tried pulling in a net from approx 35-45 miles and all it did was break squelch with some noise. So I learned that even if I can hit that area, I am as was stated, an alligator..... all mouth and no ears.
Earlier today I also bought a used FT7800, the earlier version of the FT-7900 I was considering in the first place. I will put up this 2m rig and use that FT-7800 until I can locate the right buy on a Kenwood TM-V71A. What I will pick up on that Kenwood is monitor capabilities for a huge range of spectrum, including 1.2 ghz. There is only one 23cm repeater here so my assumption is 23cm is going to be as dead or deader than what I found here on 2m. If I am right, I will still have a great dual bander. If I am wrong, I will know for sure before buying a rig to work it.