I did a LOT of research on this topic and, after looking at the all the top brands about 6 months ago I decided on the Icom IC-4008A. Very feature rich, much to lengthy to go into here. Has standard mic and ext spk jacks on top that allow me to use my Maha external spek/mic, as well as earbud/mic combos. Great range, runs on 3 standard AA cells. IMHO these are built very well, sound great, check them out at www.icomamerica.com/frs
. Bought mine from www.bills2way.com
, great price, service and advice.
BTW, this first pair I bought were so cool I bought four more for the kids and grandparents! 73s, John