You should consider getting a GMRS license. The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed radio service that uses channels around 462 MHz and 467 MHz. The most common use of GMRS channels is for short-distance, two-way voice communications using hand-held radios, mobile radios and repeater systems. Using a repeater can allow you to talk to people 50+ miles away. Although a license is required to use this service, there is no test, making it a perfect way to enter the radio communication hobby. Additionally, a GMRS license not only gives you access to this service, but your entire family as well. The license costs $70 and lasts 10 years.
Arizona has an amazing repeater network that covers the entire Phoenix Valley. The system is provided by the Arizona GMRS Repeater Club (AGRC), a non-profit organization. For less than $3/month you and your family will be able to access their repeaters, and communicate with other club members like me. Have your GMRS license and want to see if you are covered by the repeater? Every Tuesday AGRC allows non members to use the repeater for free. Just tune your radio to 462.550 RX and 467.550 TX with a PL tone of 141.3, and you can take it for a spin.
Here are links to getting your GMRS license, and to the AGRC to become a member.
Linx Aether - www.phxdragon.com
Desert Fox - www.etsy.com/shop/FoxApproved
Matrices - www.matrices.net
Sparky - SparkyPics.com