the forum software suggested I collect my responses, so forgive any confusion it may cause...
Your amateur radio license gives you permission to experiment with your radio.
So the higher than 4w setting is yours to abuse.
There are numerous "mods" available for all kinds of amateur radios.
These are legal for ham radio ops to experiment with.
I already noted that I expected it to be hacked. And I'd welcome trying out some PSK-31 on 2M but the transmitter hardware is mostly likely FM only, so no SSB, etc. That's not a hackable software aspect.
So if protecting the amateur radio bands seems so futile,
I have to ask why the Avation band isn't on here?
Surely it'd be very useful to be able to use those, talk to those flying overhead in time of emergency.
What about the Marine band?
Near water, those bands can reach pretty far and get help faster than 2m as there already is an emergency channel set aside on the marine bands. There are several frequencies set aside for public correspondence.
Heck, why not the police band, if it's really for emergency use?
(I'm being facetious here.)
My point is, why choose to include capability on frequencies that require passing a related knowledge test with the FCC and being assigned a federal license? And then why choose the amateur radio bands? And then, why work so hard to use the 2m bands (with such a tiny antenna) as opposed to the 70cm bands which are in the same 400 Mhz range as everything else the radio section in enabled to use? Simpler and more efficient antenna design.
Earl is going way out of it's way to enable and distribute what is otherwise fairly restricted capability.
The likelyhood of the average outdoors person going to a ham radio store (or online) and picking a capable HT, then programming it, and then bringing this extra hardware with them in the field is WAY less likely than the thousands of people who get Earl playing around with transmitting on the bands that are built into their back country Android tablet.
If you've ever tried to use an FRS radio at an amusement park, you realize that it's very hard to get through with so many people playing around on the air. Heck, turn it on in a populated neighborhood and all you hear are goofballs making their FRS radios do the ringtones, etc.
I do not want that to happen to 2m. There are protocols for transmission and communication that none but the slimmest minority of Earl users will use. So rather than poo-pooing my concern, how about supporting the protection so that those who DO get their license, like Rick here (PMR) can use the 2m bands as they were intended.
I actually think that activating the 2m band would be the first thing that an active licensed ham radio op would do when they got Earl. We are generally a prepared group of people. Extra batteries, frequencies programmed, and most certainly a better antenna than that tiny rubber duck.