One of the few things I actually took home from Pacificon 2018 in San Ramon was an Ed Fong “DBJ-2” Dual-band Roll-up J-Pole for 2m/440. A vendor was asking me if I needed a cool base-station 2m antenna (DBJ-1), and I said I already had one set up. I recognized the seller’s nametag and said, “But I do know your name… Do you happen to have any of your famous Roll-up J-pole antennas?” He had only a couple more.
In this video below, I demo hitting a repeater 45 miles away on 0.05w (50 milliwatts). No one gave me a signal report on that attempt, but I was able to get someone to confirm readability on another repeater 20 miles away on 0.05w, and “much clearer” on 1w.
So when you hear people with stock antennas on Baofengs complaining they cannot hit repeaters with their “HP” 8 watts, think about the antenna and its location, not on getting an amp or higher power mobile rig.