Whenever a thread comes up about communications, it usually turns into a Ham vs everything else contest. I'm not going to go there. I'm also not going to preach about how ham is the ultimate xxxx that solves everything for every body. What I'm going to list out is the radios I've collected and why. Maybe this will put things in perspective for non hams, and I'm curious to get feedback from Hams to my choices. First off, I've been a ham about a year and I've pretty much sold myself on Yaesu. Their menu systems on all of their radios are pretty much the same, they seem to have feature rich radios that are build well and resonably priced. All of those things are opinions http://www.yaesu.com/ My first radio was a Yaesu vx-7r. It is a handheld radio that's built very tough (claims to be submersible). Reasons why: -durable -extremely wide receive range (eliminates the need for a scanner) -decent power output. 2.5watts -removeable antenna, many battery pack options -Tri band (actually quad unoffically) 6m (50mhz) 2m (144mhz) 70cm (440mhz) -Wide band capable In regards to the last bullet. I'm not going to get into an argument about the legalities of transmitting on non ham freqs with a ham radio. My point is, the radio COULD transmit on vhf business band, marine band and other stuff in the 150mhz range, as well as UHF business band, FRS, GMRS and other stuff up in the 440mhz range. I picked this radio because it's able to receive CB, WX, FRS, GMRS, Biz Band, FM broadcast and a whole crap load of others, and transmit on most of them. If I had to only have one radio, this would be it, which is why it was my first. It also has dual tuners, so you can listen to two stations at the same time. If you're wondering about price, I think I paid about $325 for it http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0777.html I added a magnetic external antenna and a replacement tri band whip for about $60 total. My second radio is a yaesu ft-8900. It's a quad band 10m (28mhz FM only) 6m (50mhz) 2m (144mhz and 70 cm (440mhz) mobile radio. Outputs 30 watts I think? depending on band. Receive range isn't as wide as the 7r. What's cool about this radio is that it will do crosss band repeat and dual tuning. So, you can have one channel set to a repeater, the other set to a diff frequency and use your handheld 7r out in the field and use your vehicle as a relay station. Pretty slick. You can also wide band mod this radio (I've not done it yet) I got this radio because I wanted more power than the 7r, but I wanted multiple freqs (I'm big into multi use equipment). I also bought this because I got a screaming deal on it. They are typically about $500. The quad band antenna for it is another $100, a good mount is another $50 http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/0890.html My third radio is the FT-817nd. This is an emergency unit/backpacker radio. They sell it that way. The reason is, -It's very low power -it has an internal battery pack -it transmits on basically any freq you can think of from shortwave up to 440mhz in any mode (am, fm, USB, LSB, packet, digital, etc) -it has an antenna port on the front to stick up over your head in a backpack, and one in the back for mobile use. -its tiny. If I had to be stuck on a desert island, this would be the one. It's very low power output (2 watts max) but for shortwave you don't need much. I'm about to get an LDG-817 antenna tuner for it for another $120 which will allow me to use pretty much any piece of wire as an antenna (including shoving a coat hanger in the back). Hams use this radio with a 7ah lead acid battery for 2 day field day events no problem They are expensive, but eham.net and craigslist are your friend. Retail is just under $700, secondary market is about $500 http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1817.html My final radio was an impuse purchase, but had a reason. BAOFENG UV-3R 136-174 400-470 DU BAND POCKET SIZE http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220783360925&ssPageName=ADME:X:AAQ:US:1123 It's a cheap Chinese radio. Cheap meaning under $99 shipped. I bought it because -it was cheap -it will tx and rx on any band between 136-174mhz 400-470mhz -it has a removable antenna so I can use an external -did I mention it was cheap? This radio is going in my GHB/BOB. For $99, I don't care if it gets lost, broken or stolen, (like my 7r, at over $300, I'd be ticked). It will pick up the common vhf, biz band, gmrs, frs freqs and transmit back to them. If you had to have one urban radio and you're budget minded, this would be one to look at. It has an internal rechargeable battery, I'm working on a 3 AA external battery pack for it just in case. So there it is. I'm not really in the market for any other radios right now. These are the 3 that I've always wanted for SHTF, TEOTtWAWKI and normal daily use. I picked them for the functionality, and capabilities. I sure don't claim to be an expert on any of this, but if there are questions, I'll do my best to answer.