I got a brick today, meaning a Mirage BD-35 VHF/UHF amplifier I bid for on eBay. Fist thing, I wanted to see it worked! So I connected my tiny Yaesu VX-2 to my collinear antenna, something I've never done so far and I was really surprised by how well the radio worked with that antenna. All of 1.5 watts and with that antenna, I was reaching quite far, without the amp. So let it be a lesson, it is not the watts you put out it is what you do with those watts in the antenna system! This is something I've learned over time, but never experimented with and now I have a solid proof for it! Makes me happy!
Now with the amp, I could reach even farther repeaters and 1.5 watts was enough to drive the amp on VHF. The 1W I got out on UHF gave me only 10W out of the amp (still 10x improvement), but then I switched radios, put my VX-8 on line and now I got full power out of the brick.
My idea is to save buying another APRS rig for the RV and use my VX-8 with the brick, giving me the same output as any mobile radio and for the price I got the brick on eBay, I could not even come close to another APRS radio! Do I need the power? Well with the through the glass 1/4 wave antenna I have on the RV (I certainly did not want to make it any taller/higher than it is), I can use some help, so where the gain is low, the extra watts will hopefully help.