OK, after posting my questions and concerns on HowardForums I quickly received some extremely helpful responses. Using the advice given I removed Spb Pocket Plus 3.0, increased the microphone gain for all functions, and also switched the band from 900/1800 to 850/1900. I thought T-Mobile was on 900 and Cingular on 850, but think T-Mobile is on actually on 1900 and 900 will be used while traveling overseas. Please correct me if I am wrong here.
So far my concerns with volume seem to have cleared up and it looks like it was 3rd party software and not changing the default band that led to the volume issues. I haven’t tested out my Bluetooth headset because I left it in my truck. I don’t get any speakerphone notification icon in the top bar though when I switch to speakerphone mode and I swear I did on my other Phone Edition models.
The phone still does not ring or vibrate when plugged into the USB cable and into my Tablet PC though so if I leave it plugged in I miss calls. I’ll have to check it out in the cradle later.