When I got my General License it was time to buy an HF Rig, but which one to get? I had only worked SSB, under a control operator, up to now so I really had no idea what other modes might end up of interest to me, so I needed a flexible radio that could do a wide range of things.I needed something portable and rugged because I could not put up an antenna at home, a problem still not permanently solved. Being involved in ARES also weighed in on my decision making portability that much more important and added the need for VHF/UHF capabilities also so no need to drag along multiple radios. Finally I wanted at least 100 Watts of power because I would often need to use sub-optimal antennas and a disaster is not the time to worry about band conditions.
Finally I decided on the Yeasu FT-897D and I have not regretted it to this day. Not only did it meet all of my requirements, but it had additional features like a carrying handle, optional built in power supply, and optional battery packs that made it even more portable.
I really feel this radio is the perfect first radio for any ham just getting into HF with 100 Watts of Power, Multi-Band, Multi-Mode, and a ton of accessories and options to add on as you grow. Yes there are radios out there better suited for many individual aspects of the hobby, have better noise filters, more power, etc.. but when you first start out you have no idea what will interest you, and as you grow into the hobby you can decide on a better radio suited to your particular aspects and interests. Plus you can still keep the 897 around as a Field Day, Special Event, Vacation, and Backup Rig.
Is the FT-897D the perfect Radio? No. And of course I hope to get a top of the line HF radio for the shack one of these days. But till that day comes the FT-897D works just fine as a all around good radio.