I have started using AA9PW's study guide and will likely have my license before the end of summer (if no more craziness arrives.)
My primary interest in HAM is "local" communications. Have been reading up on NVIS and its functionality for 0-200mile radius communications.
With this in mind I have been look at two radios, as they both seem to be able to handle that as well as more traditional HAM pursuits.
One is the Yaesu FT-897D and the other is the ICOM IC-7200
I like these radios as they can be used as a base and mobile.
My questions. Which one is the easiest to use? I tend to dig into a new hobby very deeply and then slack off to where it is a fun activity, not an obsession. So I need something that I can scratch my head a few times and recal how to operate. Which one is the more durable? As I want to mount this in a vehicle for use while offroading as well.
I have used an FT-897, it is a perfectly good radio, but, to be honest I hated it, the odd thing is that I cannot give a reason why. Afraid these things tend to be a matter of personal preference.
I have no experience of the IC-7200, but I have an IC-7000 which is a great radio, it really is tiny for the facilities and bands it has built in, it has digital signal processing, which means that you won't need to purchase additional filters, also as with the 897 covers topband to 70cm. My only issue with the IC-7000 is it's performance when running on batteries, when the battery voltage drops below around 13 - 13.5V the power output drops dramatically.
If you are interested in relatively short range working you should consider a radio with VHF and UHF, assuming that your license will allow their use (afraid I am not up on the US licensing system).
Best of luck with the exam and hope to work you in the future.
Have spoken to 3 people, plus you, that have run both radios. No complaints in function, but several comments like your. Some like the ICOM and others seem to prefer the Yaesu. So I guess I will see which one I can score first and hope it is the one that I like.