Hi Remy777, welcome to the forum! Perhaps this will help answer your questions.
I understand if the radio is GMRS over 10 watts we need a license.
Any radio that operates on the shared frequencies of the FRS and GMRS services above 2 watts, has a removeable antenna and/or is repeater capable is considered a GMRS radio and requires a GMRS license. We explain the GMRS in simple, introductory terms in episode 113 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast starting at the 7:12 mark.
I would like to be able to extend reception with adding an antenna.
That would require a GMRS license, which is very easy to obtain.
I reside in Downtown setting with family living approx 15 miles away Rural.
That would be a tall order for any handheld radio on any service, as portable handhelds are designed for short range communications. It is possible to get 15 miles on a handheld at higher elevations depending on the terrain, but there are no guarantees. It is doable with a mobile or base station GMRS radio equipped with a high, properly mounted external antenna and favorable terrain, especially if there is a GMRS repeater or two in your area.
Here is an article explains GMRS range and helps calculate actual range with a GMRS handheld radio.
Anyone have recommendations for a portable radio that isn’t as involved or is BaoFeng easy to program?
If you are referring to the Baofeng UV-5R, UV-82 or similar models, those radios must be programmed. Also, they are not FCC approved for use on the GMRS.
However, there is a new high watt GMRS radio available that is ready to use out of the box and is type accepted for GMRS. It’s the Wouxun KG-805G.
Also where do you recommend purchasing from? (I do live in Downtown setting & travel rural) so my usage varies.
This forum is owned and operated by Buy Two Way Radios, so naturally my personal and professional recommendation would be to give our sales staff a call or visit our live chat on our website weekdays for help in figuring out the best way to go depending on your situation and needs. Unlike Amazon, our sales team knows radios and most are licensed radio operators themselves.