Usually broken down on the side of the road
I don't say this to be a jerk, but your questions about HAM radio could all be answered by studying for and getting your license. I really mean this in the best possible way - your questions are good questions, but they are covered in the most basic license.I have been doing some reading and watching, and haven't quite found yet a 'good' site (well good in my mind anyway, OCD and picky I guess) that explains well the differences between other options as far as range goes, and how the wavelength transmission actually works within the atmosphere to be able to decide which one would be best suited for any given situation - which would dictate naturally where I start, since I want to learn with just one for now and then branch out.
By asking us to answer these questions for you before you get your license, you're asking us to cover a lot of basic ground that you can get by self study. Once you get your license, then it's probably a good idea to start asking the questions again with your newfound knowledge.