I remember well Wayne Williams – he was also the local purveyor of crystals – those things you needed two of for every repeater you wished to talk on (one transmit, one receive). At something around $8 or $10 apiece, it got real spendy real quickly to rock up even a six channel radio. These youngsters today don’t realize how good they have it with their synthesized radios. 😉
Hmmm…Separate run to the shack, to a sub panel that can kill power to the entire shack. Locate the panel jut outside or inside the shack entrance. 220v line to the shack, if you think you might EVER put in an HF amp. More outlets than “standard”.
Well, when the manufacturers (automobile and amateur radio) specify to connect positive and negative direct to the battery, people will tend to do that. Before load monitoring in the vehicle negative lead became common, potential voltage drop under high currents as well as elimination of noise from possible ground loops were the driving reasons for doing so. See http://www.k0bg.com/wiring.html for a detailed discussion on the topic.
Hook your brother up with Will, AI4VE if he’s interested in the Flex 1500. Will had one for a short time, and parted with it pretty quickly. However, Will’s primary interest was CW – which the 1500 has issues with, as I recall.