In amateur radio you have a few different users.
- Commercial radio users
- Amateur radio users
- Homebrew radio users
For instance take the VX-6r a tri-band handheld, 144 MHz, 430 MHz, 222 MHz. The first two bands are the most popular VHF/UHF Amateur bands in Southern California. This radio has tons of different features that I enjoy having. Many of them are listed Here which shows full specs and features for the VX-6.
Some, but not all, options are as follows:
- Mic gain control
- Password protected
- Submersible for up to 3ft for 30 mins
- 24 memory banks
- Memory bank continuous scanning
- CW training feature
- Very bright white LED light
Commercial radios are very good as well. They have excellent audio quality, they are built sturdily, strong signals, and they are cheap. The only problem I have with Commercial radios are thus:
- A lot are limited to certain "channels" or memory presets. If you want to go to 446.400 MHz and it is not programmed into you radio's channel then there is no way to get there, without hooking the radio up to a computer and programing in that frequency.
- Many do not have display screens.
- Because there is no display screen you must memorize which freq is in any given channel.
- You can not change the power level without hooking the radio up to a computer and programing the power level for that frequency on a certain channel.
- Many have an MDC or equivalent tone burst at the beginning or end of every transmission, this can get annoying, it can be turned off, but only if you hook it up to a computer.
Homebrew radios are another world. You can customize, program, and make them the way you want to. They tend to be larger, and more simple than Amateur radios, and Commercial radios. They are made by the Ham so they are what you want them to be, but you have to have a lot of technical experience, and you must own a lot of equipment, some of it fairly expensive.
In the end it all depends on the Ham who is looking for the radio. They are all great radios, it just depends upon your tastes.