OK, tonight I put the second one together... I was a lot more careful with this one and got all the lengths as perfect as I could for 146.460.
I noticed I soldered the connector on the old antenna backwards... the shield to the main element. Also, for the new one I used electrical solder and flux. one of the websites said not to use plumbing stuff since it does not work well when an electrical current passes through it.
I also noticed that I didn't have the CTCSS tone set right on my vx-7r. I set it right and was able to get the 145.310 CCON repeater to work from my house. The smaller HT mounted antennas still didn't work, but again the J-Pole allowed me to at least get the repeater to respond when I "kerchunked". Tomorrow I'll key up and try to see what the signal strength going into it is by trying to transmit.