Here is a good idea for you to consider.
If you happen to have some useable old antennas lying around...consider trying to find a local ham who has a 706 or an FT-100, and could possibly be weak-signal-enabled by your kind donation of an antenna. There are a lot of potential 144/432 SSB/CW stations out there, who don't yet realize how much fun it is to work guys on 70cm. Give somebody a break and give them a spare antenna. Who knows, you might even get a few contest QSOs out of the deal...or better yet, your new friend may even want you to tell him tall tales about getting on 903, 1296, and beyond.
Be a sport...strike a blow for VHF es above weak signal operation!
Tnx es 73,