I'm a former 1.2GHz repeater owner (I moved and sold the repeater) and I've been active on FM/SSB/CW on the band on and off over the years. I am planning on putting up the first repeater in my area in the not too distant future.
10-15 miles should be no problem with a good mobile unit and a decent mobile antenna if the repeater antennas are up at a reasonable height (say over 100'-150'). There are excellent rigs for 1.2GHz both on the new and used market.
One particularly good source for reasonable used gear is Rodney Tom, KH7L, who is now in Japan. 23cm is the single most popular repeater band over there and he often finds good deals on used gear and sells them to U.S. hams. His passions are QRP (especially Mizuho gear), VHF/UHF weak signal (also QRP), and 23cm, so that's what he gets. You can either buy direct from him or through one of his eBay auctions (user ID: hiauctions). Usually direct is a better deal, but not always. See: http://www.qsl.net/kh7l/rigs.html
Rod is very fast to ship, 100% honest, and an all around great guy to deal with. I've bought from him on a number of occasions and have always been fully satisfied. You'll get your equipment typically within a week of him receiving payment (PayPal or international money order) via Global EMS. Don't be afraid of importing through him. He's got a fantastic track record and a well earned reputation.
Good choices for recent vintage used gear are the Icom IC-1210 or IC-1200 and the Yaesu FT-2312R. The Kenwood TM-541 is overpriced, IMHO, and is prone to display failure. There are also good multiband mobile rigs that can include 23cm as an option. I believe the Kenwood TM-741A is on closeout now, but my feelings about it are the same as about the TM-541A. Other choices (used only) would include the Icom Delta-100, IC-901A, and IC-900.
You can, of course, also go with multimode base gear. If you are at all interested in doing satellite work or VHF/UHF contesting in the future this is unquestionably the way to go and you'd still have your FM capability. This is, of course, expensive. The TS-2000 is one possibility. The Icom IC-910H is another, perhaps better, choice. A used Yaesu FT-736R, Icom IC-1271A, IC-970H, or Kenwood TS-790A are things you can find on the used market that would do a great job for you.
The key to everything, of course, is the antenna. Comet, Diamond, Maldol, and Larsen all make good mobile antennas for the band, either single band or in combination with 2m/70cm, just 70cm, or 13cm. Base antennas can be loop yagis (Down East Microwave), coventional yagis (M2), quads (Shimizu), or part of a log periodic covering many VHF/UHF bands (Create, KMA, Cushcraft), as well as omnidirectional verticals (Comet, Diamond, Maldol) in either single band or multiband configurations. Shimizu makes a very small 7 element quad, the SA-231, which is ideal for rover work as well, and I believe Diamond and Comet have similar small yagis.
Whether you are doing a base or mobile installation you need to remember that feedline losses can be pretty awful at microwave frequencies. Even losses from connectors matter. Go with good quality N connectors whether mobile or base. Comet and Diamond both sell extra low loss small coax for this application in short lengths with connectors on for mobile installations. For a base installation you probably want hardline, though in a pinch you can get away with Times LMR-600, LMR-400, or even Belden 9913 if the run is short. Keep the run as short as possible to the tower, use the absolutely best feedline you can afford, and don't ever patch together two pieces using a barrel connector.
In other words, you have a ton of options out there. Do some homework and choose the best for you. I've already decided on a Shimizu SA-231 quad. Which radio or transverter I'll end up with this time still isn't clear.