Have you thought about obtaining an amateur radio license? It is Very Easy to do, and costs only $17.00 to take the test.
Radios such as the 5 watt, 2 meter Yaesu VX150 are MIL spec and cost anywhere from $65.00 - $120.00 (US); and they work exceptionally well. I have used this little hand held for several years and have been able to talk up to 65 miles away, using an external 1/4 wave antenna).
If you visit QRZ.com QRZ.COM
you can learn more about amateur radio and take practice tests…