Ok, so I know NOTHING about ham radios beyond that I would have to pass a test and get a lisence to be legal to use them but have been considering looking into getting the lisence IF I can find equiptment that will fill my needs without breaking the bank. I work about 100 miles from my farm now and stay in the city for work a few days at a time. I have been wondering about being able to get a pair of handhelds or a handheld to have with me and a base for the farm in case of a SHTF where the cell towers and such were down. For the type of senario I want them for would also prefer to not have to rely on repeaters. Even if I were to use an external antena (i.e. appropriate roll of wire antena on string tossed over tree limb or similar), is this something thats realistic for ham handhelds and if so what kind of entry level price would I be looking at? For a bit more detail in expected uses, the farm is at some of the highest elevation in the county and it would mostly be for makeing check ins daily or some such if was reduced to bugging in to ride out a short term in the city or if was reduced to bugging home on foot where it would take some time. So they dont have to be able to do well from the bottom of a valley as I could make a point of choosing an elevated location to use them from. Top distance I regularly end up from the far may be up to 150 miles but mostly just under 100. Thanks in advance for any help.