I'm guessing you're not planning to continue using Tracphone - in any case, Tracphone does not allow its SIMs to be used on 3rd party phones, even unlocked ones. If you want to sign on to a 2-yr contract, you can usually get a locked phone discounted, but you may end up spending more on your plan than you currently do, and not all phones are available with all plans.
An unlocked Blackberry Curve 8310 can be had for ~$130 new and half that used. The nokia E63 can be had for ~$150 unlocked. Both have QWERTY keyboards.
You might also want to look at prepaid/pay-as-you-go phones. You can get a cheap prepaid Samsung for $80
from AT&T. You should ask around to see which provider has the best coverage in your intended area before signing on to a plan or getting a prepaid phone, however.
Since discovering the joy of Swype, I can't go back to T9 or even QWERTY, though.
Wind, Sand and Stars.