I've owned the 817 and 703. For a base radio I would choose the 703. It is a 10 watt radio (80-10 mtrs + 6 m) has an excellent receiver. It's the same size and layout as the 100 watt 706. It does not have the vhf and uhf capabilities of the 817.
The 706 and 7000 are good radios also, but more expensive.
I've been in their store a few times, and started buying from them years ago because my Dad did. I had a problem with what I thot was slow delivery and they installed the 2 filters I bought with the radio ordered for free. I shop by price too, but I buy from Universal whenever I can. Good Folks.
Another couple of good choices would be the Elecraft KX-1 (3 band capability, CW only, built in tuner option, keyer, partial LED readout, etc. 4 watts on batteries and extremely small) the ICOM IC-703 which has SSB capability, tuner, now incl. 6 meters.
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