Based on comments and new information I have rewritten this question entirely: I need advice on a simple, inexpensive, and non invasive (no holes being drilled in walls) way to talk to repeaters in my town from indoors. I have a solid HT, I am not buying another radio to solve this issue, as I would need to resolve this antenna issue first either way. I am gravitating towards coaxial run under a few doors to a “slim jim” j pole I can throw over a tree branch out front.
My radio is an FT-60R new out of box, bought it from HRO so I doubt very much there is anything wrong with it. This afternoon I was able to make an echo link contact with someone who was kind enough to help me test my radio. According to my counterpart in Britain on the other end of the echo link I sounded alright even when indoors near a window. This makes sense since I can see the repeater from my house, its on top of a mountain 10 miles away.