Years ago I bought some FRS radios that advertised 2 mile range. I found that even in line-of-sight situations the best one could really hope for was about 1/4 of a mile.
Yesterday I bought a pair of GMRS radios advertised at 20 miles range. I tried them out first on the FRS channels and got about 1/4 of a mile, and when the signal started to break up, we switched to one of the GMRS channels and were able to get about 1/2 mile. I mean, I knew the advertised "20 miles" was never going to be achievable, but I was hoping for at least 2 miles. Its pretty sad, really.
I bought these to keep in my emergency kit that I'm putting together for my car. My hope was, if I was stranded somewhere, and the cell-phone service was out (due to tornadoes, earthquake, etc.) that I'd be able to reach somebody by trying all of the channels. However, that appears to have been a waste.
Is there some other type of radio that would be more useful to have in such a situation?