LadyHawke...West Marine has a pretty good overview on features and what is important here:
The WestMarine individual product pages have some customer reviews on specific radios which can help decide between a couple of models.
Frankly, I don't think you can go too far wrong with any of the major brands but I kinda like the Icom stuff myself.
One thing you might consider rather than a Wham Mic....is mounting the radio on your pedestal. You can then get a basic one for "downstairs" and for less money than a Wham...you have two complete radios which is a lot better in terms of redundancy. They can be run off the same antenna with a T switch.