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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Radio Shack HTX-420 Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack HTX-420
Radio Shack HTX-420 Reviews: 77 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $270
Description: Dual Band 144/440 MHz Hand Held Transceiver with 5 watts, WX Alert, Compass, more
Product is not in production.
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KI4AMD Rating: 3/5 Mar 4, 2008 17:57 Send this review to a friend
Minor Problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
The HTX-420 was my first radio. I purchased it right after I took the test and spent the days that passed between taking the test and receiving my callsign programming the radio for the local repeaters. Overall, I was quite happy with the radio. It is indeed tough, and I've torture tested mine to its limits.

It has survived being strapped to my belt as I push through thick underbrush in the woods, transmitting for short time with the antenna removed and has served faithfully as an APRS radio. When I recruited a friend into amateur radio, I loaned it to him until he purchases his own radio.

If you home-brew any kind of audio interface device for this radio read the manual. The output audio "ground" cannot be connected to the input audio "ground." In my APRS setup I used an isolation transformer to prevent a DC connection between the two.

* After some time in rough service the nut on the antenna connector loosened up. It was very difficult to tighten and eventually the moving of the antenna connector broke its connection to the PC board. After a little troubleshooting and opening the radio it was easy to repair with a soldering iron.
* The 0, 8, and 5 buttons get confused. On my radio if you press one of those 3 buttons the radio seems to pick at random which button it will give you. This is very frustrating when programming the SAME codes.
KC9DUF Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2008 15:55 Send this review to a friend
Can't beat it for my use  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this HT for about 3 years now and have no problems at all with it. I hit our local repeater with no problems and with the hand mike/speaker it sounds excellent when receiving. I get excellent reports when Txing and the compass and weather freqs are cool perks. I use this radio as a base in my upstairs bedroom with an external power supply and a 144/440 combo antenna and it does it's thing without a hitch. I am completely satisfied with its performance and is a great little radio for ragchewing on 2m
N4FDG Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2008 13:03 Send this review to a friend
Solid Handitalkie  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a very solid handitalkie. Simple to use and rugged.
SFD301 Rating: 4/5 Oct 22, 2006 05:30 Send this review to a friend
Impressed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been in the market for sometime to add a dual band HT to the shack, except it was something that I wanted, not needed. A fellow ham needed some cash, and I grabbed this from him for $20. Full working order except the channel knob is missing.

Easy to program, rugged with the metal case and I love the out of band transmit since I am a career firefighter. I don't plan on using it, but hey you never know. A little light on power with only 3w, but fits the bill okay for my purpose. I want to crossband while I'm at work in the winter,or at camp in the summer. This should be right in line.

Rx audio tends to distort when turned up, and I'm no fan of SMA antenna connectors. PTT can be a little tricky, but you can adapt by using a larger portion of the thumb.

I'd give it a thumbs up if the price is right, and mine certainly was./ BTW, the guy also sold a FT817 for $100!!!! Missed that by a few mins.
KA3SEI Rating: 4/5 May 8, 2006 19:55 Send this review to a friend
Good for cross-banding!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this radio for one use only: to operate cross-band from my home. It fits the bill perfectly. With only 3 watts out, I can access my Yaesu ft-8900r from anywhere in my neighborhood, and I can relay out to my club repeater with 50 watts! I even drove to my church, over a mile away, and was able to get in from the soccer field there. The battery life is excellent, and the receive is superior to my other, more expensive HT's.

If you want an HT that will really get out - this ain't it! However, if you want one for good, reliable short range work and/or cross-band, then this is the one.
W3DBB Rating: 4/5 Apr 18, 2006 05:25 Send this review to a friend
heavy-duty construction  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased a HTX-420 almost three years ago and am impressed with this rugged little transceiver. With the internal battery pack, the rated output power (3 Watts) is a bit on the low side, otherwise I would rate this handheld 5 out of 5.

I believe these were manufactured for RadioShack by Maxon, the radar detector people. The quality of contruction strikes me as top notch. This rig's case is some kind of (heavy) die-cast alloy. Most impressive!

I live in the wilds of Central Pennsylvania and don't have the potential for intermod issues users in more congested areas may face. The receiver is free from overload when connected to my Cushcraft AR-270B dual-band Ringo (146/440 mHz, gain 5.5/7/5 dB) and tuned to a local repeater a short distance away.

Distant repeaters come in surprisingly well with the supplied antenna, and I only noticed a very slight improvement when I switched to a Comet SMA24 (146/446 mHz, gain 2.15/3.5 dBi). That supplied antenna looks wimpy but really does the job! This rig is my first experience with SMA connectors, which perform well considering their small size, and are not bad to work with. Amphenol's website provides detailed instruction on their installation and use.

With all of the above stated, the transceiver hears better than it transmits, due to the 3 Watt ouput power (using the supplied 7.2 Volt lithium-ion battery pack). The HTX-420 will produce 4 Watts output with a 13.8 VDC power supply. A battery case for four AA batteries is included with the HTX-420.

I guess I got a good one. The receive audio is surpisingly loud from the small speaker, and I've never had a bad report on it's transmit audio.

On a moderate length QSO at 446 mHz using high power (3 W) the die cast case becomes warm, something I've not noticed transmitting on two meter simplex.

RadioShack discontinued these some time back, along with just about everything else Amateur-related, too bad for us, and really the subject of another thread.


Doug Burlew, KA3TGV
N4CQW Rating: 1/5 Apr 17, 2006 19:37 Send this review to a friend
Good but needs some serious TLC to keep it going.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi all,

I have owned this radio for about 3 years or so, I still have it and still use it.

The biggest beef I have is the antenna jack just out right S*CKS to say the least. Even using the stock antenna, which is joke of a antenna, the locking ring has to tightened up constantly or the antenna wobbles. THe jack has not broken lose from the board yet but I am just waiting for it to happen. The audio is another thing that is poor at best. If you use the mic on the radio (the front) you have yell at it to be heard and then it's still a poor report back. The exterenal mic seems work better... but as know they stopped making those so if you have one hang on to it otherwise your out of luck. One other thing the RX is odd, almost like it has grounding issuses. IF you hold it i works great but place on a desk or table forget it it losses the NWS... I can see the tower from the front porch... pick up take the antenna off and still full scale... replace the antenna with a aftermarket set it down and samething happens ...nothing.

The plus is the same weather radio feature, this is and WILL always be a great feature. That is the reason I still keep it. The addtion of the alkaline pack makes it nice for those of us in SKYWARN and other activities.

73, Moe N4CQW
KG4COQ Rating: 4/5 Apr 17, 2006 14:27 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio  Time owned: months
Bought this radio at a hamfest from a friend.With the exception of "Out of band " signals comming in on recieved repeater signals,This radio for me foots the bill very nicely. Although it has some age on it,it does well on 2 meters and 70 cm. I have also programmed the local Tampa PD and Fire freqs into it and performs very well there too. I also like the dualband recieve option.
The manual for the radio is easy to understand also. But why did they not tell you what the power output of the 3 stages (low,mid,hi)are?
Over all I find this rig ,although old to be a very good radio. I have read of others of whom had had trouble with it but things happen to all brands and makes of rigs.
KF6HCD Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2005 19:28 Send this review to a friend
Tight!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got this unit second hand. Other than a few spots where the paint had chipped off (easily conceled), it was in great shape. Aluminum case gives the unit a solid feel, but I would not drop ANY HT, because of possiblity of damage (but that's just me). Immediately started working 2M repeater in area. Great transmitted audio reported. Intuitive programming. Won't use compass, but nice feature. Weather band with SAME is especially useful as during this time of year there are many flash floods in the area. Received audio does best it can due to small speaker. Kind of "crackly" at high levels. Laws of physics seem to have precedence here.

PTT button needs a certain direction of push or it will cut out, but I figured that out right away, and now no problem. Keyboard well layed out. Good action on buttons. Battery indicator is nice feature. AA battery case (included) good backup. Li Ion battery seems to last a good long time (at least for my operating practice) and recharges quickly. Too bad RS discontinued this fine little unit. I would buy more even at retail. I have used Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu and other dual band HTs, but this one will go with me wherever I go.
KA5SGS Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2005 21:18 Send this review to a friend
Great Handheld Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had very few problems operating the HTX420. I especially like the fact that I can monitor my local police department's frequency at the same time I'm listening to 2 meters. I had the opportunity to field test two of the production models that were lent to Radio Shack employees before they were available to the public. 1 had an issue with power output but the second one worked great.
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