Hey everyone, I'm new to the hobby and currently studying for my technician and general exam. I do have a few questions that I hope you all can help me with. I live out in the boonies surrounded by rolling hills and very tall pine trees. I did a search for repeaters in my area and the closest one is 10 miles away from where I live. I know you guys always recommend going to my local area Ham Radio Club but its over and 1 1/2 hour drive from where I live. From what I have read it would seem that the only way for me to be able to transmit and receive would be with a HF base station? So my questions are:

1. Is that the only way?
2. And if so how do I go about doing that, equipment needed etc...

PS. I programmed a Baofeng FH-FH8P using chirp and bought a named brand Nagoya antenna and I get nothing at all. I hope you all can help me as I'm loving this hobby more and more everyday.