The amateur radio VHF (Very High Frequency) band is a collection of bands.  

The VHF bands in the amateur service cover frequencies above 30 MHz and below 420 MHz.

This span of frequencies covers the 6m band, 2m band, and the 1.25m band in the amateur radio service.

Since I got my Tech+ license in 1997, I have used only two types of omni directional 2m band antenna at my QTH. The vast majority of the time since 1997 I have used a home brew J-Pole.  This type of antenna is very simple, and rugged.  It is easy to build, and provides performance few commercial omni directional antennas surpass.  The tools and materials to build such an antenna are available at most hardware stores.  Special things like RF connectors are available from many web based amateur radio suppliers or your local Radio Shack.  Many towns also have a local electronics supply house where all manner of electronic components can be found.  It is worth looking in (or searching) the Yellow pages in your area for such a local supply house.  If you don't offer them your business they wont likely stay open much longer.  Such are these web/Internet times.

My home brew J-Pole used the amateur literature as a starting point.  From there I modeled the antenna using EZNEC, and came up with some more accurate numbers.  In this way it took less trial and error to build the antennas.

For VHF work I have the following radios:
I also have a Yaesu  FT-847.  Although VHF capable, It spends most of its time pulling HF duty.  I bought it for its ability to work satellites.  Unfortunately AO-40 blew its brains out when its fuel system let go, and that took some of my satellite motivation with it.  Thus the FT-847 has been relegated to HF work.

Packet Radio

Packet radio (Packet Radio - TAPR, Packet radio - wikipedia) is a form of digital communications over radio.  Like the Internet data is sent in packets composed of numerical values, which are coded and decoded by microprocessors at each end of the communications channel.  That's about all the similarity the two share though.  Packet is by design far simpler than Internet TCP/IP.  Some of the same character encoding is used but otherwise the two are quite different beasts.  Googleing packet radio will generate quite a few hits.

In packet radio there is usually a hardware layer between the computer managing the data, and the device that converts the data into signals a typical amateur radio station uses to transmit signals.  Such a device is often referred to as a TNC or Terminal Node Controller.  Modern computers, with sound cards in them, can bypass this additional hardware layer, and connect directly to the transmitter, if they are equipped with appropriate software.  Alternatively  a stand alone TNC can be used.  For packet radio I use a Kantronics 9612 Plus TNC.  With the expansion of the Internet in the 1980s, and 1990s, the impetus for packet radio more or less vanished.  The once almost national network, international if Canada, and Mexico are included, has dwindled to regional or local networks.  I may be overstating packet radio's demise but it certainly is not as active as it once was.  A derivative of  packet radio is APRS or rather APRS uses the packet radio protocols.

I was, and remain, primarily interested in packet radio as a technical exercise, and a means of collecting OSCAR (amateur satellite) telemetry.  I learned enough about packet radio network operation to log into the local networks, and setup an APRS or two, but my real motivation was for learning how it worked.  Secondly I wanted to have something to use on the PacSats (OSCARs implementing the Packet Radio protocol).  At any given time there is usually at least one amateur satellite which is capable of handling packet radio signals.  Some use packet radio type protocols for telemetry only, others can store messages sent from ground stations for retrieval later.  In this way the satellites are said to be "store and forward" packet radio satellites.  Packet Radio is just one of the digital modes used on OSCARs.

Packet Radio References

Your Packet Companion, Steve Ford,  (ARRL)

Practical Packet Radio,  Stan Horzepa (ARRL)

AMSAT Digital

The AMSAT-NA Digital Satellite Guide, compilation from 1994 (AMSAT-NA books)

Amateur Satellite Resource Guide