It's hard to argue with the Wouxon or any of the Chinese radios. I'm not super enthusiastic that they often very closely copy the big Japanese guys, but at 1/2 or 1/3 the price they are tough to ignore.
A lot of people in the club have Yaesu VX-7R, so there's some built-in support for programming and use. We have a VX-6R and a VX-7R. If I had it to do over I would get the VX-6 again in a heartbeat, great little radio. The VX-7 is also a fine radio but I don't think the extra features are really worth the money. Although having dual RX is definitely handy, so I dunno.
I'd personally not spend a boat load at first, HTs get lost and broken so start simple and cheap. If you find you want more features, get something in the future. It's also never bad to have a cheapie to loan out, so it's not money wasted. I think it's best to start with a decent mobile, but an HT usually comes in a close second.
"Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?" -- Ron Paul