So my brother-in-law and I both got our ham license recently and we have been messing around with the 2 meter band. I can talk to him directly at his house (13 miles of woods and hills) if he drives to a high point in his neighborhood but not in his house. We can talk through repeaters but we are not sure how well they would be powered in an emergency situation. Also, we think the repeaters would probably be extremely busy in an emergency situation if they were online. He is using a QYT 35w radio and I am using a TYT MD 9600 50w radio and I can almost always hear him but he cannot always hear me. I have tried different antennas but the results seem to be the same. We are using them in our vehicles, I am in the process of setting one up in the house with a base station antenna and I am hoping I have better luck with it. I'm starting to think the 10 meter band would be better for what we want to do. I have been looking at the Yaesu FT818 but wow that thing is expensive, I need to find a cheaper option. It has been fun anyway, its nice to not be stuck in the 70cm band. I think I am going to study and get my general license now. I am a computer nerd so once we get the voice communication down I want to investigate data communication.