Over the weekend I finally got the new antenna up for my repeater setup! I had ordered a Tram Amateur Dual Band Base Antenna from Amazon because, after scouring ham radio forums, this one was the most often recommended for repeaters. Before it could be set up, my mom & I had to rent an auger to dig a pretty deep hole (2 feet) for the mounting pole, then we added concrete to it to keep it stable. Then we had to run the cabling and get it run into the house. I used some standard coax cabling, then I had to get female coax to male UHF adapters for the ends to connect to the radio and the antenna. After we got it up, my mom attached the cable to the pole with zip ties, and some wickets to hold it to the ground between the pole and the house, and then used U-staples to attach the cable to the side of the house. This will keep my clumsy self from tripping over it, as well as keep the rural critters from getting tangled up in it. Afterward, I connected it to my Baofeng radio to test and was able to connect with someone out at Lake Georgetown (about 18 miles) with no static on either end.
The next step is going to be connecting the Kenwood radio to the computer I have dedicated for the EchoLink repeater and getting everything configured, but that will come after I clean up the desks in my office-I've just been plugging things in and there are cables everywhere, which just looks messy. Pictures will be forthcoming after the cleanup, and hopefully I'll have a good SOP started for configuring my EchoLink repeater.