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Reviews For: Radio Shack HTX-202

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Radio Shack HTX-202
Reviews: 114MSRP: 199 c.1995
2 Meter Hand Held HT
Product is not in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N1DVJ Rating: 2013-04-04
Good basic HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a couple of these units, and they really deserve 5/5 ratings. They are tough basic radios, going on 20 years of service with some people. I still use mine. With a few caveats, you can keep them going for years.

Older HTX-202 units are marked Realistic and have date code stickers on the battery plate from 1992 or so (1A2 for example). Newer HTX-202 units are marked Radio Shack and have date code stickers from 1994 or so (i.e marked 11A4). There are two main differences. One is how the 12v is routed from the top jack to the battery pack (I'd have to go find schematics to check on the difference though). The other is the older units reset to 144.200 while the newer units reset to 146.000 Other than that, I don't believe there are any functional differences.

The internal lithium battery will go dead in 5-7 years. Most users just 'wire in' a new battery. Buy a CR2032 at Wal-Mart to solder in and wrap it with tape. You can also use a CR2023, since it will be thinner.

Another Caveat. The screws are soft and easily destroyed. ALWAYS use a good screwdriver to take the 4 corner screws out of the back case. Don't use the cheap salvage store $5 jewlers screwdriver sets or you can easily strip out the head of the screw. Be patient and be careful taking out the screws. Also, when you take off the battery plate, be careful not to loose the plastic tab that releases the battery pack. Finally, when you put the unit back together, make sure the threads on the long screws are clean of debris. And ALWAYS turn the 4 long screws CCW (to the left) while pressing lightly on the screw. When you feel it 'pop', then start turning the screw clockwise and the screw will chase down the previous thread that was cut in the plastic instead of trying to make new threads. Makes it a LOT easier to put the screw back in and also makes the threads and the screws last a lot longer. The screws are so soft and easily destroyed that RS used to have a 'screw kit' for the HTs but that's long gone from any parts store. Just be careful with the screws. (Using the thread chase method is always a good idea when you put ANY screw into plastic!)

As mentioned, ALWAYS use the belt clip, it is a required part of the heat sink! If you use the radio in a car with 12v, it's also a good idea to make sure there is airflow around the belt clip and back of the radio. And it's almost always necessary to use an external antenna when running higher power off of 12v.
WB8ICU Rating: 2013-01-09
what's not to love? Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had this HT for almost 10 years now. Granted, I don't use a portable all that much, but the battery pack lasts a long time between charges. I have NEVER had an err2 message. I love it because it is simple, the same reason I stick with cw over ssb on hf. I have never needed more than 5 memories, so that's no problem. It has never given me a problem as far as the ht itself.
The one problem I did have was the battery pack would sometimes get loose and not make contact. Turned out to be the pack itself. After getting a new one, no problems.
KB0MPG Rating: 2012-05-21
Awesome rig! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My 202 was my very first Ham rig after I was licensed back in 1994. I used it every day until I got a Yaesu FT-2200 mobile rig. I put it away, bringing it out from time to time. It sat in my toolbox in my Garage for nearly ten years till I dug it out yesterday, intending to sell it. I put fresh batteries in it, turn it on, and got the dreaded ER-1 message. I've got it apart on my bench right now, waiting for a button battery holder. Still need to find a replacement mic element for the built in microphone. I loved that Handheld, an when I'm done restoring it, I may just keep it.
KE4VVF Rating: 2011-11-08
Bury Me WIth This HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is the best radio I have ever owned. I got it as a Christmas gift in the mid 90's. The HTX-202 is ultra reliable and super rugged. Amazing audio, great Rx and Tx, it has every thing that you would ever need in a 2 meter HT. It even has all the sub audible tones for repeater use.

Very powerful output when compared to modern HT's. Depending on the input voltage it will Tx at 2.5, 4, 5 or 6 watts and has a low power button to cut those in half if needed.

Fairly easy to program. It's 16 memory slots are about all I can fill and I live in a city with plenty of repeaters. Hook it to a J-Pole or Slim Jim and it will hit repeaters 60 miles away. It even works superbly in a vehicle pushing 6 watts into a 5/8 wave mag mount. I couldn't ask more of a portable radio.

My HTX-202 has been dropped off a 25 ft roof with only one small scratch to show for it. After 10 years, the only issue I have ever had was the button battery that keeps the memory ran out of juice. One hour with a soldering iron and it was back on the air.
VE6AGE Rating: 2011-09-03
Built To Last Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had mine like close to 15 years or even more. Still going strong and I'm just in the process of adding it in my mobile to get on APRS. Just love this little radio.
N3WSO Rating: 2011-09-02
One BRICK of a hand-held that is built like a TANK! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had this RS HTX-202 unit since early 1996 when I purchased it new. It's been a trooper without any issues or errors at all for the duration. I used the unit for many years connected to my vehicle with the RS HTA-20 30w FM amp feeding my 2m mag mount antenna. The combination has been nothing less than a true performer. I believe the secret has been to utilize the huge belt clip that I eventually discovered was also being utilized as a massive heat sink for the voltage regulator keeping the chipset intact for use with the external 12vdc.

It's just time to put it away for a rainy day when my newer HT's "bite-the-dust"

K9ZF Rating: 2011-01-23
Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Cheap and practically indestructible.
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269 Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!

VO1XH Rating: 2011-01-23
A classic Indeed!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
After 20+ years since Radio Shack produced the HTX-202, there are a lot still showing up on the air and it was a first 2m handheld radio for many new no code hams who write their ticket and with the ink still wet on the license,walked into Radio Shack and purchased the radio.I have had mine for about 7 years,still in good condition and very rugged and reliable.Right out of the box,the rig was ready to go with features like CTCSS built in and DTMF squelch paging.
Used it in a second vehicle with 12v power,glass mount antenna and the Realistic speaker mike and it perfomed as good as any mobile 2m radio.To bad that it was not capable of being modified to work the MARS/CAP freq,but a minor drawback.I also own the 70cm HTX-404, and it is also a steller performer.
These radios are compact enough and yet rugged and have the feel of a "real handheld",not like some of the rigs now which are a little larger than the remote key fob that are used by the auto manufacturers to unlock your vehicle,hi.IN my opinion,one of the best economy handheld radios that was ever made.73,Don.VO1XH
KF5IKN Rating: 2011-01-17
Good product for starting out Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
For the price, I paid on beat I an very glad for it, had some issues with the mic when the battery runs low, but using an icon mic it works well.
SWL377 Rating: 2010-12-23
The ultimate 2M BRICK Time Owned: more than 12 months.
These HTX 202 bricks are nearly bullet proof if you run them on internal batteries. The user interface is clumsy, but you'll eventually figure out how to use the slightly confusing keyboard functions. Clear audio, good front end, and rugged as hell. The receiver is more sensitive than my much more modern Icom HT and has better intermod immunity. It's BIG, it's HEAVY, but hey, that's part of the BRICK experience. I got mine for $20 at a swap meet which turned out to be a great value. I dont worry about using it in the rain, scratching it, tossing it in the trunk etc. Its nice to have so little $$ invested in a radio. You worry and fret less. Maybe I ought to get rid of all my expensive pristine stuff, but functional cheap older rigs and enjoy ham radio more. Now there's an idea.

Earlier 5-star review posted by SWL377 on 2009-06-28

I got my 202 at a local ham swap meet at the end of the day for $20. It sat all day on this seller's table marked at $25. It isn't mint, but it looks OK. The seller said it worked when he last used it but he hadn't used it for at least 5 years. He said it would probably need a new nicad battery.

Wow, it not only works but it works very well. It is hard to program (need to refer to manual). It is big. It is heavy. It only has two handfuls of memories. But... how can I complain? I only paid $20. Even the old battery is good and holds a strong charge.

I get better transmit audio reports from the 202 than I do from my Icom IC 91AD when I do A-B comparisons! The 202 receiver can hear anything the Icom can. The Icom cost around $400.

I like my 202, a LOT! If you find one at a reasonable price, buy it. They are old school HTs that remind me of the Motorola Brick Cellphones. Hefty, solid, substantial.