I, too, have the 2730. Only for a few months, mind you, but I like it so far. Have one in my truck and one in wife's Tahoe. "Manual of arms" isn't that bad, and the little gimmicks are usable. Icom provides a pretty good software program, and the cable can be DIY'd pretty cheap. My only issue is I came from an old Yaesu rig, and am getting used to another philosophy of the interface. Ha! I have no first hand experience with CCRs, other than the veritable and infamous UV-5R, but I personally won't try one anyway. Not a big fan of the human-machine interfaces. With the price limit you have, getting DMR from the "big four" - Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood, Alinco - may not be possible. Look around your locale, you may find enough digital hotspots to make it worthwhile. I have no personal interest in it, yet, so it wasn't a deciding factor. If there's an upside to the hobby, it can get as deep as you're willing to go. A UHF/VHF rig is good for a casual user, but it is common to delve deeper from there. Having studied for your Tech, you should have a pretty good grasp of the fundamentals - repeater operation, split operation, simplex, duplex, modes, etc. - so the real effort is finding a radio with the right options for you.