If somehow it works out that I can receive a clear signal and hit the repeater, I think I will get the IC-2200H transceiver (2 meters), the Astron SS25M power supply, and some kind of 1/2 wave antenna. I've asked so many people for help and advice, but I still feel really anxious about getting everything to work out.
I fret when I think about upgrading to HF someday...but CW calls me! :)
Edit: Today a new ham friend of mine offered to let me borrow his old 2 meter handheld radio. I am so excited! This way, I can listen to the repeaters and pick up amateur radio lingo while at the same time testing the space for the purchase of my base station. I think it might all work out, after all! :)