I'm waiting for my Technician ticket to be issued this week. I live in a renovated 100 year old warehouse with southward facing views of Jersey City and downtown Manhattan. I have no balcony or roof access, but I do have very high ceilings and 10 ft tall windows at about 160 ft above sea level.
Up until now, I've tinkered with HTs including a Yaesu FT-60r, a Wouxun KG-UV9D, and a Baofeng UV-82HP. I've done the replacement antennas including a Diamond SRH77CA and others. The Wouxun UV9D seems to have the best receive and transmit with the SRH77CA, at least on GMRS where I can legally transmit, from inside my apartment.
My goal is to do HF/VHF/UHF from one or two radios. In addition to my HTs, I'm thinking of these options:
1. Semi-portable -- Buy something like a Yaesu FT-897 (used) or FT-991 (new) that's not a full size base for living in a shoebox apartment. I like the FT-897D because it has the option for built in power. But maybe these are overkill because of my height and safety issues of running high power inside? If I get this, I'd have to rely on the Wouxun KG-UV9D HT for when I travel or something else.
2. Backpack portable - Get something like the Yaesu FT-817 and figure out something for an antenna that doesn't drive my wife crazy ("honey, think of it as an art installation!"). This would be the kind of rig I could see myself taking on trips and setting up outside at my destination. Would easily fit in my carry-on bag.
3. Boost the power on an HT when I'm home - I guess I could get a linear amp for my Wouxun, but I think it could get tedious using the HT interface for working.
4. Software defined radio - I keep seeing stuff about the Elecraft KX3. SDRs are very interesting to me being a techie.
5. Pay for a repeater rig / antenna on a skyscraper in Manhattan that I can control remotely. Somehow I feel like this might be more than a $5K investment, which makes it less likely I'd spring for it.
Thanks in advance for your feedback!
P.S. - If using an HT with accessories solves some of my woes, I'd love recommendations on an antenna or amp, whatever might make it more formidable for repeaters. I don't want to be that guy on an HT hitting a repeater that nobody wants to talk to.