On the contrary, simplex has managed to turn screaming-at-each-other into smooth trips to the grocery store while caravanning, so I've gotten the utility out of GMRS I hoped for!
Diabetes leads to "hangry" turns quickly to domestic abuse. I've managed to defuse at least three screaming sessions because UHF, so I've gotten my money's worth. Still, I remember hurricane Charlie, and when Verizon was the only network with generators on their towers… since then they've given me two hurricanes worth of disappointment, and my family switched. T-Mo is still crap in a pinch, but at least they can be bothered to ring my phone when I'm home!
Okay, two big messages, I'll try to be thorough, but I appreciate the input!
I have to disagree with a good portion of this. Especially about the "purpose" of CB and GMRS. Depending on what service you are talking about, the purpose is non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, "radio sport", contesting, and emergency communication. Meaning, these services are provided for users to incorporate a common communications platform into your life and life activities, such as the aforementioned.
That's paraphrasing the FCC's justification for services. My justification is simple -- avoid getting screamed at. That's solved, but I could do better. (Though I've had to pull the Midlands out of service due to malfunction in at least one of them; one of the mag-mount antennas literally fell apart! I'm disappointed with customer service so far.)
If lack of radio contact is truly your experience, its not the bands or the service you are using. There is a very high likelihood that there are some significant flaws in your radio and/or antenna setup, and I will explain why.
Truly is. I have to scowl at your luck with CB on I-95 -- what channel are you on? I tend to prefer night driving to daytime, to dodge traffic, personally, but even day traffic is pretty silent. GMRS is silent, but the SARnet repeaters are lively, and are motivating me to get my ham ticket. (Close…) I'll try and join the UCF hamfest when feasible, but I just buried my grandfather and my time is an ugly mess lately, so club meetings are a distant fantasy for the next couple months.
Thing with ham is that the screaming diabetic family members are also dealing with "just buried my grandfather" and are short on "bandwidth" (and I quote). It'd be nice to be able to use the cheap radios, but I have some personal issues to deal with, and the rest of my family has more responsibility to the estate, so we'll see how it goes.
BTW, even if there were GMRS users in your area with the desire to talk to people on the same license, what makes you think they would or should want to talk to you?
Ouch. That stings!
I'm working on my ham ticket, but it's not likely that I'm going to inherit my grandfather's Japanese-built WW2 VHF gear. Florida seems to be all in on UHF, though, so no large loss.
I should add the Technician test is pretty easy. I personally, think I could of taken the test with about 3 days of study. Unfortunately, couldn't match any test times. Which resulted in a 3 week study time.
Agreed on all points, alas.
Thoughtful edit: If we sprung, as a family, for newer iPhones which supported the 600 MHz band, maybe we wouldn't have comms blackouts and I wouldn't have been screamed at for long enough to buy a radio license and hundreds of dollars of mobile and handhelds (MURS and GMRS) but then I'd never have discovered the amateur satellite field, which I'd be poorer for.
Also I can't change other people, but I still need to communicate with them. That leaves not a lot of high-performing options, and I think I can't afford an itinerant license on, say, Red Dot.