Alright, so I did some of those things, and... It works. Just programmed my Baofeng for most of the Colorado Connection repeaters and a few others around the area (in addition to the Rising Sun simplex frequencies and 146.520). I have a new antenna on the way from Amazon and hopefully I'll be in business shortly.
Now, as for the next step: I want to install a Kenwood TM-D710 in my truck... Because go big or go home, right? So, I want to put the Antenna (Larson NMO 2/70) on the driver-side fender. Can anyone recommend a good mount for that? One that is known to work in a Tacoma? I want it to mount to the fender and be able to open and close the hood w/o having to remove the antenna.