I was in Sydney on Thursday afternoon and was offered a bargain price on the Sydney Harbour bridge, with an Opera House thrown in. I bought one last time I was in Sydney so I turned it down.
Re the cheap HTs I think the point is that while some of them work fine, others don't. This is usually referred to a quality control failure.
But the underlying architecture is the main problem. A radio that can receive and transmit on any frequency from just above DC to just below daylight does not have tunable tracking filters on its front end and a 10kw TV signal will dominate the attention of the front end and the mixer, more to the point. It saturates and the gain on the desired frequency is severely reduced.
And the big three brands are not blameless either.
From Black Mountain in Canberra, where the TV and FM broadcast transmitters are located along with a zillion other services, there are only a few HTs that can withstand the local interference, most of which is on either the FM band or the digital TV band somewhat further up the spectrum (but not on half of 1296).
With various Yaesu and Icom HTs having been tested there, as well as the Baofeng and others, the results are a mixed bag. Mostly, a stubby helical is the best antenna to use, its built-in 10 to 20 db of attenuation helps remove some of the big local signals. The other thing that's worth doing there is to tip it over so the antenna is horizontal and get the other station to do the same. Not particularly directional but best signal when broadside to the other station.
At the same site, the ft817 does fine...
I think my Icom V85 comes next and the Yaesu VX5 is the least interference-tolerant of my HTs. Haven't taken the ICQ7A out for an excursion for some time. (It is resting, but not in the same sense as the famous parrot. )
73 Andrew VK1DA VK2UH