I do not think that you understood what you just wrote - else you wouldn’t have wrote it.
All signals reduce at the square of the distance away - period.
When you look at the PART 95 - you will understand that there is two seperate types of users for the FRS and GMRS.
The Family Radio Service by nature is the Family Radio Service.
If a manufactuer came out with a transceiver that produced more then one half of one watt of power, produced a transceiver with a detachable antenna - they would be in violation of the Part 95 sub part 15 which is the testing standards of most radio services.
With GMRS - there is two seperate enteties, the one being the little Motorola Talkabouts - where Motorola - if that is what you want to call them, makes a little bubble pack radio, which you can transmit on both the GMRS and the FRS frequencies, with one half of one watt on FRS or a full one watt on GMRS.
Do you understand line of sight communications?
Line of sight - if you stood at the edge of the earth and looked forward, gives you anywhere from 1000’ feet to 10 miles of decent coverage with just one watt - depending upon if you were in the middle of Lake Erie - while standing at the top of the mast of a tall ship - free space, or were in the middle of the Allegheny National Forrest.
As long as you cannot remove the antenna and replace it with a antenna that has more gain, or of a different design that increases it’s length, it isn’t going to talk far enough to matter to most people.
The only people I know that legally has a repeater on GMRS is those individuals that already had a licensed radio before the change of rules - that were grandfathered in - and those individuals that participates in REACT…
Because GMRS is a type of buisness radio - you cannot work it as a hobby.
You cannot call CQ and the people who are licensed for GMRS usually won’t talk to you if you don’t belong there.
They will ignore you until you go away…
Now - when you get into duplex conversations that uses a repeater, or a radio that produces more then one watt - then you need a license.
You can buy a GMRS / FRS basestation radio that produces about 5 watts and uses a external antenna. Posted directly on top of the radio inside of the package is a license application and the rules.
If you stick the antenna more then 25’ above the ground, if you use more then the 5 watts, if you use a amplifier - someone is going to hear you and someone is going to know and someone is going to tell.
Beyond that - when you get into Amateur Grade Equipment and buisness radios - most of them will do 30 - 50 watts with no problems.
But the people that sells those radios will not sell those radios to you - or at least should not sell those radios to you - unless you have a license.
Even if you order something from AES or HRO - the first thing they ask you is what is your call sign?
Anytime when you take a radio from one radio service and use it on another radio service, it still has to be part type acceptable.
The FRS / GMRS walkie talkies that you are talking about are not narrowbandable. Hence by their design - they are illegal to begin with.
There are Prepper forums out there that is telling people how to build their own gmrs repeaters and how to link them to their cell phones.
Without a license or a call sign - this is illegal.
When the antenna is at more then 25’ above average terrain, when the transmitter produces more then one watt and when the repeater uses two frequencies - split - to operate - it is illegal to operate without a license.
The government does not prosecute anyone unless you violate a rule and unless you cause harmful interference to someone that is licensed.
The State of Pennsylvania had a problem about two years ago.
A Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Production company put a digital automatic reporting system on one of their wells, or on one of their towers - which was on the same frequency as the dispatch frequency as the Pennsylvania State Police for McKeon county - I belive.
All VHF communications in McKeon County for dispatch of the State Police was disrupted. You could hear the signal 50 miles away or more.
A call went out to the amateur radio community.
They gave the frequency and a simple set of instructions - take the transmitter off the air - use any means necessary. The state police will not prosecute you. Within about 6 hours, someone had found it and had disabled it - smashed the radio and cut the feed line with an axe.
It was taken off the air.
A second similar situation happened near Bigler PA in a construction zone.
A radio transmitter was put up, without first checking with a frequency coordinator and it blocked essential communications for a licensed radio service - state police, and it was found and taken off the air.
Every little iota of the band spectrum is spoken for.
With the exception of the FRS - it is illegal to operate a transmitter anywhere without a license, with the exception of a portion of the 900 mhz which is being used for automatic reporting meter reader systems.
I took one of those off the air last year because it caused harmful interference to my amateur radio equipment.
It was perceived everywhere from the commercial AM broadcast band the whole way up into the GHZ - XM radio.
The manufacturer turned up the transmit power to make it transmit further, and it had spurrious emmissions everywhere!
The Electric company spend thousands of dollars trying to get me to shut up about it. It was cheaper for them to replace some items such as transformers and insulators - which needed changed anyways - then to fix the problem, which would have involved scrapping the entire system and putting in a different auto reporting system.
In the end, I contacted the manufacturer - and they refused to get involved, so I called the FCC and within about a week, I had no more problem.
You have to compare apples to apples here.
1 watt vs more then 1 watt.
The life expectancy of one of those bubble pack radios is less then 10 years.
When the batteries goes dead, most people throws them away.
Eventually something better will come along that is cheaper and more powerful and on a higher frequency range and the GMRS / FRS will be forgotten. The same as the old 49 mhz cordless telephone and the VHF baby monitors.