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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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KC9CWB Rating: 4/5 Dec 21, 2004 09:47 Send this review to a friend
This HT Works for Me!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this HT for about two years. I had just received my Technician ticket and wanted a radio and this was a recent model. It works well for when I participate on both the 146 Mhz and 444 Mhz local nets. The included weather channels are nice and reception is good. I have used it a lot and have had no problems. In hindsite, I would suggest a popular major brand radio that has been tried and tested and can be sent away for factory service. It was not long after my purchase that Radio Shack had them on clearance. I wonder if this radio can be sent in for service if the need arises. I hear that most standard HT antennas can be replaced for better performance, and someday I may decide to do this.
KD5BFF Rating: 4/5 Dec 17, 2004 11:27 Send this review to a friend
Nice for a Radio Shack Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this radio on a whim. I swore to myself that I would never by another Radio Shack radio again in my life (now that they don't sell ham radios anymore, this time I mean it). However, I am actually impressed with this one. As someone else said, about the time Radio Shack gets it right, they get out of the business.
Most of the problems I have with this radio have been personal preference. I would have liked to have dual receive, but at least you can program it to scan like a scanner. You just have to figure out how you want it to scan. I broke mine down to ham freq’s first then put public service, with a gap in between just incase and so they wouldn’t run together.
I think it would have been great if the weather alert would interrupt whatever you were listening to, go to the weather band on the VFO, and give you the information that you obviously want, or you wouldn’t have loaded the S.A.M.E. code.
The one problem that I have with the design is the antenna. I have seen a few others talking about it as well. I have gone through three factory antennas due to the center pin breaking. Every time it has happened, I had the radio on my belt. Now some might say quit putting it on your belt and it will quit breaking. Right, but that defeats the purpose of the belt clip. I have taken the advice of others and I am going to get one of the Pryme’s antennas. I think the main problem with the design of the antenna is that it is too rigid and the force applied at the top from wearing it on you belt goes down the weakest point in the antenna, the center pin (physics of a lever). If it was flexible as soon as it came out of the SMA connector, it should help this issue greatly.
Recently I have had reports that the audio quality of the radio isn’t very loud. I had this problem before. The solution that I have found is that if you don’t think about turning the radio off before disconnecting the battery, something in the radio doesn’t like it. I would do the hard reset (which meant I had to reprogram it), and the audio would come back. As if it isn’t good practice anyway, always make sure you turn the radio off before disconnecting its power source. I get in a hurry some times and forget my own rules, and wind up paying for it eventually.
Overall, I think Radio Shack put out a very nice radio (this coming from someone that doesn’t care for their products). The bad thing to owning one of their radios is that they depreciate so fast. You would be better buying a new car and turning around and selling it, than to try it with a RS radio. If you want one, make sure you do because you will never see a good return in selling it.
KG6NRM Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2004 14:06 Send this review to a friend
Works Great, but cant replace cracked display  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first (and only) HT, and I think it works great..the problem is that I just dropped it and cracked the LCD Display...RS tells me its a discontinued part, so effectively its now a small boat anchor (for want of a $5 part!). If you happen to have an old one floating around that you would like to sell, please let me know.
W2XOY Rating: 3/5 Jul 25, 2004 10:13 Send this review to a friend
LOW TRANSMIT AUDIO!!!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased 2 HTX-420 radios last year at the $129.99 closeout price. I wasn't going to until I saw the easy transmit modification. Overall, it's a very good radio EXCEPT for the receive and TRANSMIT audio. The receive problems have been well documented, but I'm surprised only one review mentioned the transmit problem. THE AUDIO IS LOW!!! Both of my units suffer from this, as well as the 3 or 4 other HTX-420's owned by local hams. You can get an acceptable audio level by talking LOUD and holding the radio 1/2 inch from your mouth. Otherwise, your audio is too low.
It's almost as if the HTX-420 was set up for 2.5 khz deviation, instead of 5 khz. The audio quality is good, it's just low. All the local units suffering this problem have serial numbers ranging from #1895 to #2064.
I use mine mostly on FRS/GMRS (where the standard is 2.5 khz), so it's not a total loss.

Don't buy one unless your primary use is FRS/GMRS, or you have a BIG mouth & close talk the microphone.

Bill, W2XOY
KC8YBW Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2004 14:16 Send this review to a friend
This is a good HT  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got the last HTX420 at the local store. I also bought the optional antenna connector cable.Its six or seven feet long. I connect it to the dual band Diamond antenna on my motorhome and generally use it there when we travel. The Diamond is up in the air about 13 feet. It really works well when its set up like that. It doesn't do well at all with the supplied duck.
KD5WPX Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2004 10:40 Send this review to a friend
Great HT  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first HT, but I liked it enough that I went out and got another. My first one had the common problem with the antenna lead inside the case failing (I've read of several others that had the same issue). I've been told that the 17" Pryme antenna was the cause, but that antenna is a definate improvement over the stock rubber dummy load (at least 3db, probably more). I went back to the stock antenna and use the Pryme when I need the extra reach, the antenna lead has survived. This radio is easy enough to program that I don't need to keep the manual handy, unlike many others. One of my radios goes back and forth to work daily and is used daily (to check in to a local net), the LI battery pack normally lasts about two weeks, which I think is pretty good life. The other runs at home in the evenings and travels with me. One interesting "feature" is that the external power jack doesn't affect the battery pack, which means that I can't cook the LI pack when I use it as a mobile with a Mirage B34, that's a good thing in my mind, but it does make replacement LI packs product specific and a little more costly. All in all I'd buy 'em again. The worst feature is that RS has discontinued these radios and parts are going to become an issue somewhere down the road.
SWANMAN Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2004 02:04 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic HT  Time owned: more than 12 months
GREAT 2/440/FRS/GMRS HT! This HT is simply built like a tank folks, and's made of METAL! No cheap Yaesu crap with this HT. I've NEVER had any problems at all with my 2 year old HTX-420. Radio Shack did GOOD with this one.
KG4GSC Rating: 3/5 Apr 8, 2004 10:07 Send this review to a friend
Fair HT but long term issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had several, and repaired several. One problem is the internal antenna connection coming loose...if you lose receive and xmit on both bands, pop it open and check the connecting wire from the SMA to the board...I've seen two which have failed this way, as well as one with a failed SMA connector. No aftermarket batteries, either....but the cells used in the LiON battery are the same as the cells in a StarTac cellphone. If you can get the case open and can get good StarTac batts, the cells transplant without too much difficulty. Not a "bad" radio, but it is not my Yaesu FT530. I carry the one I currently own while riding on my motorcycle...if it gets dropped, no big loss. I use the Comet SMA dualband antenna...helps immensely!! Nor is it a good HT where there is lots of RF, as it is NOT intermod-proof. Not a bad "kickaround" radio, tho, if you can get one cheap.

73 de N4ABA
KB0WIZ Rating: 2/5 Apr 8, 2004 00:31 Send this review to a friend
Disappointed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchesed my HTX 420 Jan. 15, 04. First couple of months it gave satisfactory service then the transmit and recieve dropped off drasticly. had to run the squelch down to 1 & 2 to recieve then that finally didn't work. Didn't like the fact that you couldn't clear channel #1. The battery is a hugh improvement over the older batterys. Battery voltage doesnt stay on long enough. SMA connector was loose in the body with auxalliry ant. Don't know whether my experience is typical of all of their radios or not but that is the reason for the 2 rating. Returned the radio for a refund.
W5GNB Rating: 1/5 Mar 26, 2004 15:18 Send this review to a friend
SERVICE ???  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
As usual, You have QUESTIONS and Radio Shack DOES NOT have answers!!
I have a HTX-420 that lost the final on the 70-CM side of the transmitter. The unit was sent in for repairs and it was promptly returned as "UNSERVICEABLE".
With nothing to loose, I repaired the radio myself for a small cost.

I recently had the very same problem with another Radio Shack Ham transceiver. My advice is to not buy ANYTHING from these folks if you might require any kind of service in the future on the product.

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