When selecting your first radio, you must first decide what you want to do with it. Everything else follows that question. If you only want to communicate part time over long distances as a hobby,then you will want a HF base radio. If you want a more reliable way to communicate in your local area then you need a 2 meter or dual band 2 meter/70 cm radio.
2 meter is the closest thing we have to a common band for all area hams to communicat with each other. The equipment is fairly inexpensive, readily available. and in widespread use.
Check with your local ham club or repeater directoryfor the repeaters in our area. Most areas have plenty of 2 meter repeaters and some 70 cm.Buy a dual band if you can, as they are not much more expensive and 70cm repeaters are beign put up more rapidly. Cross band repeat is also a useful feature if your budget allows.
A decent antenna is a MUST! Even a slight amount of gain will make a big difference.
As time and money allow, expand or upgrade your system as your needs and interests dictate. Dont forget back up power for emergency use and grid power failures.
I like the Yaesu 8800 for mobile and base use. The Yaesu 70 is a good handheld dual band radio