I passed my foundation amateur radio exam in August 2018 at South Nottingham Amateur Radio Club (SNARC) and was allocated the callsign of M6PIU. This is a great club and a very friendly bunch of people. If I was more social I'd go every week. I've not really planned to take my intermediate exam yet.
Kenwood TH-D74E - 2m/70cm
The first morning I got it, I went for a very cold bike ride and connected to a Dave's and Simon's mailboxes. Of course, a flask of tea is needed, and the laptop provided the ax25 connection via KISS. I'd like to be able to do this from my phone, but I've not seen any terminal apps which will do the ax25 and KISS encapsulation.
Kenwood TM-V71 - 2m/70cm
This was the first radio I bought. It was second hand off eBay and I like it a lot. It has a dedicated port on the rear for connecting up to a TNC. One of the nice features of this radio is that it has dual receive, regardless of whether you want to use 2m or 70cm at the same time or not. You can also configure the radio to use either side, which means you can hold a voice conversation and only briefly be interrupted by packet :).
The n-type antenna connector was slightly damaged or had been stressed in some way prior to me getting it. I ended up replacing this with a SO-239 connector which I prefer (although I've heard may not be as suitable for UHF).
I have this hooked up to a Diamond X30 2m/70cm antenna which is in the loft. Unfortunately my house is surrounded my metal buildings and I can't quite get enough height, so my reception is quite poor.
Baofeng UV-5R - 2m/70cm
To the left is a photo of me operating the UV-5R from the top floor of Tower Building at the University of Nottingham with an external quarter wave whip antenna. Nice and high - not sure if the wired windows did me any favours though.
I actually ended up buying a second Baofeng to record a Computerphile about packet radio.
Yaesu FT-450D - all HF bands and 6m
Terminal Node Controllers (TNC)
I was after a second TNC so I can experiment alone with some TCP/IP stuff. Mine came with a firmware 5.0 ROM. I ended up flashing 8.2 onto a new ROM although not yet played with any of the extra functionality.