This is my first post here. I'm an IT consultant who also tinkers with Arduino, coding, amateur radio and other things, so as you might imagine I'm interested in building rather than buying.
After doing a lot of reading and video watching today, it seems that one of the best ways for me to ease into this hobby will be with one of the builds in my post title. I want to keep my initial cost down to around $600, but I will be doing additions and upgrades over time. I have a few too many expensive hobbies at the moment, and just got my ham radio license and HF transceiver. My wife has been looking at me a bit sideways... haha!
Anyway, it seems a lot of people around here recommend building with the Flame Wheel 450 kit. I thought the ArduPhantom I saw here was very clever too, and of course 3DR is good stuff. As an outdoorsman, I will be taking this quad out into my local desert and mountains for photography and other things. I'm also joining my local CERT (volunteer emergency response) and so later on one of my goals is to get into applications for SAR and related missions (with better craft, obviously).
What I really want to do here is start with gear I can upgrade and build into for a while. I don't want to buy something that may be obsolete or limiting (my fear of the Phantom), and regret it a few months after making the investment.
I also saw that the pixhawk is coming soon, but I don't know if that is a successor to the APM 2.6 or what. Again, worries about buying the wrong hardware if something new is coming out.
Any advice you can give on which gear and where to start would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!