Originally Posted by Snowman9000
There certainly are some inexpensive Chinese units that have great user reviews on Amazon. BaoFeng? is the one I noticed. A person can get a good handheld for $30-50. Could I get 10-20 miles of range with simply a handheld? And then how hard would it be to carry and deploy a temporary antenna for longer range? And how much range? Again, I'm thinking about emergency RV use, not something permanent.
The inexpensive Chinese radios are great. Many people that I know have them and use them all of the time. As far as range goes, that one is a tough one to answer since so many variables go into how far a signal will travel. If you are on the top of a mountain or a very high ridge where your line of sight is not obstructed and you are connected to an external antenna (not the included rubber duck), you will get much greater coverage than if you are in hilly terrain using the rubber duck antenna.
Most Hams use their HT's (or handhelds) to hit local repeaters since repeater coverage, especially on 2 meters is very good. This, in essence, will kick your signal out to the range of the repeater and there are usually people monitoring repeater frequencies. Keep in mind though that with a handheld, it is much easier to wander into a remote area where the 5 watts won't be enough to hit a local repeater.
I usually always carry an HT when I am out, but I also have a mobile radio in the truck that packs 55 watts on high power for those times when the HT just cant cut it. As far as the 10-20 miles goes for the handheld, as long as you can hit hit a repeater, you can count on that range, however, by itself, you are limited to the terrain, antenna, etc. and while in the best of conditions you might be able to squeeze that out, in realistic conditions, I would not count on anything over 5 miles...maybe less depending on conditions. There are ways to boost your power with a handheld and you can help by connecting it to an external antenna mounted on your vehicle (when mobile) but it really all comes down to what you are looking for. Sorry for the book, but I hope this helped
Oh, yeah, as said up above...no need to think about it, just do it!