I don't know about your area, but here in western NC, you could call forever on simplex vhf or uhf and never be heard. There is apparently very little activity on vhf simplex elsewhere also. Went all the way to New Orleans and back monitoring 146.52. Never heard a soul on simplex, but plenty of repeater activity. CB might be an option if you are close to a highway but if in the middle of nowhere I wouldn't expect an answer there either. And no one monitors channel 9 anymore. I wish ARRL would push hard for members to monitor simplex vhf-uhf as well as repeater frequencies but I don't see that happening. It's a shame. VHF/UHF simplex could be a lifesaver if cell service is unavailable.