@DrGene, I've never looked at the hobby of amateur radio before, but I've been researching it lately and it looks like it's something I may want to pursue.
My goal, though, is to get to the roots of amateur radio. I'm not interested in purchasing a cheap handheld to talk on 2m, nor am I interested in spending several hundred dollars on a top-of-the-line HF base station./Several hundred dollars? On a top-of-the-line HF base station? Better multiply that figure by 15-20 at least?