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How far you can talk will also depend on the terrain, vegetation (trees) and buildings around you. Guys high up on a hill in the wide open desert will get way more range than someone in a hilly and/or forested area or urban areas. 

I live in central Missouri so I have a mix of terrain from fairly flat open farm ground to hills and river valleys with a lot of mixture of tree coverage. I can only reach out about 25 miles on UHF simplex and a little farther on VHF simplex. And I am using a 50 watt GMRS radio connected to a Comet CA-712EFC antenna with LMR400 coax, the antenna base is about 20 feet above the ground and 5 feet above my roof.

5 miles should not be any problem even with a 5 watt hand held radio with a decent antenna up high with good coax.

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Absolutely. Get a high gain antenna, mount it as high as you’re capable. It’ll result in vastly improved simplex range between that station and HTs around.

Repeaters are great, but they’re not yours. How they function or whether they function is ultimately out of your hands. I like best to control all of my own radio capabilities. Just remember height is might. Make use of your highest structure, and then put another 30 ft of mast on top of that 😂. You’ll be surprised what it’ll do even with a 5 watt radio connected.

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