I love my 706mkII and IIg, great rigs, made contact all over. One is in the shack and the other is in my truck.Went to the hamfest at Rich mt. Ar. near Mena last w/e and bought an Icom 706mkIIg and antenna wire.
Just finished a 2meter/70cm J-pole and should have it going tomorrow
Should have a base station and a mobile to learn and enjoy.
Best way to find out about long distance communications is to go where the hams are. They are happy to help you.