I want to get radios, preferably handheld, for emergency use, so I can talk to home from work, 12 miles away 50% farmland 50% city. Anyone have any suggestions? If handheld, how would I go about using existing repeaters if the distance is too great for handheld? Thanks for the help.
Short answer - you can’t. The range you want is unrealistic for radio to radio, and to use a repeater needs you to either fund one yourself, or become a radio ham, you and whoever else you wanted to communicate with. You also need enthusiasm for the learning process you need to carry out to get the licence, and even if you have the enthusiasm, does your friend/colleague - for something you may never have to use. The concept of emergency ONLY radios is fraught with danger - batteries being the classic one. Having fully charged batteries available 24/7 is a really tricky thing to do.