IMHO, not lighting up all of CO, when other options are available, would seem to be good amateur practice. But, as you said it is not that busy. I use local repeaters down here, similar to how you have described, when available.
To the other topic. Again, IMHO your group made three mistakes. 1) Illegal transmission 2) Use of profanity 3) Not apologizing. The others did not need to identify until end of transmission and every ten minutes. I know folks get lax in the boonies on simplex but when others are around I would identify. Amateur has a higher standard than CB and we need to police ourselves.
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