Don't ask me to sell you my Radio Shack HTX-202 because it isn't for sale! Sure, it's big and heavy and it looks a bit beat up from years of service but it's still favored over any other HTs. When I leave the house, the 202 goes with me and the others stay at home. Radio Shack may be called to task in many respects but this 2 meter handy talky is definitely a great radio.
The Tandy Corporation conscripted Maxon in Korea to build them a radio based on a design they had previously purchased from Icom. The result is the Realistic HTX-202. It has few bells and whistles but what it lacks in features, it makes up for in longevity. Over the years, my 202 has been used as a base station with an amplifier, an APRS portable positioning unit, the usual belt clip communicator and recently a radio link to the IRLP network. There is something very satisfying about working Europe on 1 watt with a radio that has a cash value of about 50 bucks.
The bottom line being, if I drop it over the railing of my boat, I'm only out a fraction of the price of one of my other radios. (That's only one reason all the others stay safely at home.) The "mil-spec" rating given to many other handy talkies is almost laughable when compared to the robust construction of the venerable HTX-202.
Before you go out and spend big money on a new HT, you would be well advised to spend considerably less for a used 202 and to then use the savings on something else that you'd like to have for your station. There are just a few things to keep in mind:
Don't operate the HTX-202 without the belt clip. (It performs double duty as a heat sink for the final amplifier transistors.)
Don't operate on auxiliary power without removing the battery pack. (This will protect the Zener diodes from excessive heat.)
Don't buy a 202 with the intent of hacking it to increase its frequency range, as it doesn't lend itself well to such modification. (A good thing.)
Don't walk away from a good deal because the original battery pack has died. (The NiMH replacement cells will make this great radio even better!)
Here are a couple of links to find a replacement battery pack for your radio:
Here is a list of Radio Shack links for support documents:
If you have any other good 202 support sources, please share them with us. Some other equipment that has favorably impressed me include:
Ten Tec 538 Jupiter HF base transceiver
Ten Tec 555 Scout HF mobile transceiver
AmpKeyer interface from the Heathkit Shop
B+K Precision 1692 40 amp switching power supply w/digital meters
MJF 249 HF/VHF SWR analyzer