Programmable to cover GMRS frequencies, and amateur band (nice, but not required)
AES or DES (or equivalent) encryption
Keyboard entry for encryption key ideally (or an easy to find/cheap way of programming)
Full keyboard (DMTF)
AA Battery option
Small size (about size of Icom F21)
Water resistant (ideally submersible to 3ft for 30 minutes)
Broad selection of after market accessories (inductive headset / microphone )
New or used (under $600/radio)
I like Motorola (I have looked at 2500 &3000) for the reputation of rugged reliability, but I don’t like the cost, and expensive programming key loaders, and software… also what is the deal with these cryptic model numbers? OMG!
Does anyone have any suggestions? I have heard Yaesu/Vertex Standard makes a unit that might fit most of my needs but honestly I cant find anyone there (despite several attempts) that knows anything about encryption (or the radios for that matter – the literature says one thing, the technician says something else).
You might want to look for used Motorola Sabers on Ebay with DES or DVP. Then of course you will need a key loader. You can also try an Icom radio with one of their UT-110 slow-hopping split band scramblers. These are plug-in (and a few easy mods) and are programmable through the ICOM RSS. They are not nearly as secure as DES or AES however. But you can get them new with new compatible ICOM radio gear instead of used gear (EBAY). Vertex made a few inversion boards like the FVP-22, but I have see one only once.