I have to admit I have only read about much of this... my funds keep me from advancing further into HAM as just this minute I am experiencing a few expensive home repairs remodeling I find a bit excessive cost-wise. Not to stray to far off topic, but I see why contractors complain about gaps during dry spells of no work. With prices like this, the average guy is left shaking his head.
Back to Hamming it up! I originally became attracted to VHF as a means of communicating from mountain property/cabin as an 8500ft repeater is located about a mile or so above the place. The wife and I started with two Yesu Hand helds with mag mount ant on both vehicles and one mag mount atop our A/C unit of our home. Eventually I picked up a used Kenwood dual band at my first ham fest and setting that up as my home base. Still utilizing the mobile antenna on the AC unit.
It was really great at the time. Long before cell phones came to be this was my wifes and my only means of reliable communications, her at work, mall, market. Very handy. As I was in the Army Reserves as well as the County Search and Rescue we used them extensively there as well. As radios for main line units back then had FEW radios we average troopers improvised, adapted and overcame. Rescues in deep heavily wooded, even mountainous terrain had us totally reliant on FM as our heavy motorola type HT's just could not get a signal out, back then a receiving HAM station would put the telephone close to the speaker and we'd relay all radio traffic to the county dispatcher. Might sound crude by todays standards, but, believe me, if thats all you have, thats all you got, and we learned to live with what we had, because, that was all we had...
When I venture out these days I include my HT, spare cells, related area repeater list, Radio Manual, as I have never even attempted to download frequencies into my small radio. As I do not have the USB cable nor software etc etc.
I read now, the latest greatest is the personal spot communications medium. For $500 and a subscription fee, the user can send text messages along with his GPS coordinates to include using the unit as a trip ap, an online tracking source for your online viewers pleasure as they can follow along with you on your journey.
Then of course, I have investigated SATPhones... yet another pricy option one so inclined could add to his kit. Most certainly out of my league, but? Nevertheless is available to those so inclined seeking an immediate COMMS solution.
I must conclude, there have been moments while alone, with just my thoughts, campfire aglow, my belly full, adult beverage in hand, I have gone through a couple of batteries holding most interesting conversations with those either nearby, possibly hundreds of miles away, a reflection of modern mans technical ability to carry on with enlightenment, technological advances in the world of communications, but the exchange such Human Nature seeks.
Understanding, meaning, personal value, and service.