John - The save as default configuration does save the labeling defaults so they are used on startup of every new drawing. But they are not saved in a template drawing, which is for CAD only. Both are valid but independent of each other but work well with each other.
You are not doing anything wrong - in fact saving the labeling defaults so they are there for every new drawing is exactly how you should be working - it is just not in a template drawing. The labeling defaults are actually saved to a file called INCAD.CFG which is automatically read when you start a new drawing.
Discussion of MicroSurvey CAD related issues and questions.