220 had been fairly heavily used in the early-to-mid 80s in a few urban areas as a relief band to 2 meters. My personal experiences with 220 came after about 1982 when some of the guys from a local 2 meter group wanted to "break away." One bought a Maggiore repeater and put it up at his workplace. Another built a repeater out of strips. It represented the "alternative" to 2 meters. After a while, some people migrated to 440 because common user equipment, like Icom 3-AT, 03-AT, and 37A were no longer available, and "dualbander" radios were typically 2 meters and 440.
The chunk taken out in 1985 because UPS *HAD TO* have its own spectrum (and subsequently discarded it for CDPD and newer wireless technologies) also discouraged manufacturers from investing in R&D.
There's nothing wrong with the band. In fact, it works very nicely - a cross between the efficient propagation of VHF and the smaller antennas/less crowding of UHF. I still have an 03AT at home. Now, if I only had someone else to speak with, I'd very happily buy a new battery.
But that's just the hammie side of things.
Around the mid-80s, people were experimenting with ACSB - amplitude compandored sideband. That was SSB with a pilot tone and compression/expansion. It was less than desirable. They also experimented with 2.5 kHz narrowband, which is what public safety has compressed down to today. Up until the late 90s, 220 was used for the inland waterways systems for vessel tracking and telephone communication. But other technologies proved to be better. Likewise for trunking in metropolitan areas. iDEN kicked 220 SMRs collective behinds. So, those were gone in the 90s, too.
Now you see what's left. Use it or lose it.