I got my answer fairly quickly by a Net10 person who asked to correspond via Live Chat. I tried that several times and essentially got cut off before anything was accomplished so went back to using private messages (PMs). I spent most of yesterday dealing with several people (mainly because of the Live Chat failures) and in the end all that happened was the cost of a text message doubled and I was told I will have to call their 800 number within the next 2 weeks.
For the heck of it I pulled out my old LG 220c flip phone and turned it on. After being turned off in a drawer for months it still had power and better yet bars, which my LG did not. It's an old CDMA network phone so I figure that might be better up here for now.
This morning I did some research and ordered a reconditioned CDMA phone for $9.99 plus shipping. I figure if it doesn't work I'm only out $15. It's a Samsung s380C, looks a lot like my LG, has a keyboard and is only a semi smart phone. A few things I read about it claim it uses something called 1X network instead of Edge that my LG uses. Net10 didn't have much that wasn't a smart phone and those seem to require one of those $50 per month cards and I don't need that. I'm spending $200 a year with the pre-paid instead of $600, makes a heck of a lot more sense to me.
So we'll see what happens when it gets here.
Oddly, shortly after ordering the phone, my signal seems to have been restored. Figures.