Hey dallas, there are days like that when the temps just won't steady out.... maybe if you give us a little more info we'll be able to help out. Couple questions for you since I only know a bit about your smoker.
1. Are you running all wood, charcoal and wood, or charcoal and chunks?
2. Are you having trouble keeping temps down or up?
3. Are you sure your thermo is accurate?
4. Does your smoker have any type of baffle between the fire box and smoking chamber?
5. Does your smoker have tuning plates?
6. How are you trying to control temps?
As for the charcoal basket, they definitely make life easier and yes you will want air space below the basket but if you don't have a baffle between the fire box and smoker chamber and you plan to raise the charcoal basket, you'll definitely want to look into fab'g a baffle.