First, let us get this out of the way so this thread doesn't degenerate into a HAM license BS fest as other threads have: I am working on tech license and as part of the study group, I have an opportunity to get 'cheap' radios. With that out of the way, please NO dragging this thread away from brands, etc. Use: I've got two potential trail rigs(one almost ready, one is progress) that I'm going to run in the Sierra on trails like Rubicon and Fordyce. My house is also out in BFE of Sierra(10 miles outside of Georgetown) so I'm considering adding HAM radio to it also. I believe the house already has antennas already setup for HAM and just need to rerun of coax/controller. Now onto the questions: Is the Yaesu brand worth a damn? I've seen mixed reviews so I'm a bit leery of it. But it is the brand being offered at a discount. Hand held somewhat makes sense to me so I can have one radio for three 'uses'(two cars and house) plus security of not leaving it in a rig. But can I use an external antenna with them? What is the downfall of this route compared to fixed? For handheld, we are being offered two choices: Yaesu FT-60 and FT-2D. For fixed, we are offered: FT-8900 and FTM-400. From quick scanning, FTM doesn't appear to be vehicle friendly. But any opinion on all four? Are there any brands I should consider beyond Yaesu? I'm a firm believer in buy once, cry once.