My setup is going to consist of the following items, some which I have, some which I dont have yet. I'll be connecting them to some sort of computer, and I'll probably run Xastir. If I can find a cheap enough mini I might get one of those just to have a mac in my shack running Aether. Plus Xastir has a ubuntu VM already made for VMware which would require minimum setup on my part.
Items I haveIcom IC-28H - This unit will transmit 5/45W, I'll just be running on 5w given the antenna proximity to my shack. I picked this up from a guy on QRZ for a song. It's a damn solid and fun rig.
Aston RS-20M - Picked this up again from a guy on QRZ for a mere $70 bucks. At it's cheapest new it's a 130 dollar American made power supply. Right now it's clipped direct to the 28H but in the near future I'll be connecting all my stuff to a RigRunner.
Copper Jpole - The KB9VBR Jpole was about as cheap as I could make it myself, and I didn't have to make it myself. Great omnidirectional performance as well. I can peg repeaters in Marshalltown and Pella on 5W and still come in moderatly perceptable.
Items I need yetComputer
Terminal Node Controller: This has been a point of contention for me. For a while I was considering a RigBlaster which offers lots of options for various modes but I'm not sure about the software TNC setup for APRS. I was considering a Kantronics KPC3+ but 200 bucks plus min 20 bucks for a cable was too much for a project I'm trying to do on the cheap. After talking with Byon at Byonics I've settled on the TinyTrak4. This should allow me to do what I need to do with it in KISS TNC mode. And it won't cost me my left nut to do it. With 8 pin cable for my radio it should only run me 90 bucks tops.
After this project I'm going to try and get into some 2 meter SSB action. Frankly I like the VHF bands, I dont need 60 foot antennas to get my signal out there. The question is what SSB radio. All mode 2 meter radios are expensive and hard to comeby anymore sans the MFJ-9402X. While this radio is neat, and simple, and has a nice old school charm to it I may put the SSB project on the back burner for a year or two to save up for an Icom 706. We'll see I got time.