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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
N2RRA Rating: 2006-07-03
Awsome! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
What can I say that hasnt been said already.

This was my first ht-new when I came into the hobbie 14 years ago and going strong. Funny! first three years used, and abuse this little, not so little guy. Moved out my parents home in 1995 where it was forgotten and last seen.

My father had it locked up till just last week where where it made it back into my hands going strong. Get your hands one you wont regret it.

W3STX Rating: 2006-06-09
Nice 2 meter radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Very good piece of equipment, as others have attested to. A couple things I would mention that I have not seen in any other reviews:

- Within a few months of purchase (new), radio stopped receiving (and transmitting, I assume). Turns out the BNC antenna connector had detached inside and had to be re-soldered. Doesn't seem to be a common problem, but I did wear the rig on my belt a good bit so it may just have been normal wear and tear (early rubber duck antenna was very stiff; my father purchased this same rig later on and antenna was more flexible).

- Regarding the Er1 error (internal battery failure), I would mention that the radio still works properly even if you get this error each time you turn it on. If you hold down the proper keys (F+D, I believe), it will reset the internal memories and then let you use the radio as normal. The problem is that, since it doesn't retain any of the memory info, you will have to re-enter any repeaters/offsets/PL settings each time you turn it on. Somewhat of a hassle... but in an emergency situation it is still very much a workable radio.

This was my first radio after getting my license, and I would recommend it to anyone. They seem to show up on ebay fairly regularly, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one.
KD5UGS Rating: 2006-05-19
Great HT,Built tough! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just recently acquired the 202 & I gotta say that I'm very impressed with all the options.
Great rig!
KC7CJO Rating: 2006-02-15
Great radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've read a number of the reviews on this little jem and agree, whole heartedly!

Some have commented about the final problem. The issue here is to NOT, repeat NOT use the battery pack or have it connected to the radio when using EXTERNAL power (Car power).

Running the radio with external power and the battery connected creates a conflict between the Zener Diode, which regulates the battery voltage to 7.2 VDC and external power of 13.8 + VDC that a car will produce.

The Zener Diode will heat up and since it's butt up against the final transister, creates more heat than the transister can dissapate, causing failure! I KNOW this from experience and by what other people have told me!

The final replacement isn't expensive nor difficult (about $5.00, depending on where you get it from). But it IS a pain to have to take the radio apart and does cause unnessary wear and tear on the radio! IF it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Just take the battery off the radio before connecting to external power and your radio will last a VERY long time!


Earlier 5-star review posted by KC7CJO on 2002-07-12

I picked one up for $25.00 and yes, it's simple, but I don't have to carry around the stupid manual to figure it out! The transmit audio is second to none. The receive audio is a little week, but then you don't need to irritate the neighbors either! Overall it's a great little, inexpensive HT. I have a Yeasu HT-207R and the HTX-202 out performs it hands down!
KF6HCD Rating: 2005-09-06
"Best Brick" Award Winner Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Best (not so) little HT I have ever owned... I have gone through quite a few other HTs, but none have matched the '202 in terms of utility, longevity and ruggedness. I have dropped it more than once, and other than having to reinitialize the radio, no ill effects. It's dinged up, scuffed and all-around ugly (read:"Radio Shacky"), but it just goes and goes. Only times I had intermod problems were when I had an antenna above 30 feet, which seems proper; others have told me this would be an issue with ANY HT configured thus. I have owned this specimen since October 5th, 1996... That was the day after I received my license.

Receive audio: excellent. The loud audio is a treat when mobile or pedestrian.

Reports have told me that transmit audio is well deviated... this could be a factory QA item as I have spoken to other '202 owners on-air and have heard much variation in dev.

Display is fully readable in all sufficient light levels. The display light is well illuminated.

Fit and finish: not much to that... it's a brick and the buttons still work after all this time. With the optional speaker/mic connector in place the volume and squelch pots are difficult to operate. For me, though, NOT a deal breaker. Covers for the speaker/mic jacks no longer fit, though, and will not stay in place. Belt clip/heat sink is a real belt grabber, and does not interfere with comfortable hold, but... the construction of said belt clip is such that it has no "belt lock"... Too slick for full utility; it WILL become dislodged from your belt if displaced vertically from the bottom of the unit. For me, though, NOT a deal breaker... In my estimation, this unit would be ill-suited for a search and rescue worker for this reason.

I have worn out the battery pack on this one, but I find that alkaline pack works just fine for my operating style/needs.

All in all, if I could find another '202 as a backup, I would buy it and keep it in reserve. But I cannot imagine needing a backup for this "bulletproof" radio... But I would buy it anyway.

I cannot nominate another mono-band VHF radio which I would purchase over this basic "workhorse"... The '202 has made me happy enough to not look further-it does what I need.
DY7MTX Rating: 2005-08-09
CLASSIC Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I'm Vincent from Cebu,Philippines.I had this rig for
more than 6 months now..I bought this from a friend around $40(a steal!) brand new,in mint condition.

RX and TX are just absolutely amazing! my friends just can't believe im operating on a duckkie as well
as other hams (we call modulators here) when I had my QRK,and i'm about 15km from them QSOing on SIMPLEX,though most of them are having porta-base rigs and external antenns ranging frm 1/4 wave to yagis..they often tease me to have it swapped for an Icom 28H which I refused..based on the reviews here this must be the Humvee of HTs..and especially the article the one who mentioned that this baby is bulletproof..damn! that I gotta try..hehe (just kidding!) :-)
N0XMZ Rating: 2005-07-27
Great Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is the first ham radio I ever owned. Someone else called this baby "bullet-proof". I agree 100%. It doesn't have expanded RX, but in return you get a radio with a very tight front-end that prevents any overload from nearby pager transmitters. It's packed with features but keep in mind that it only has 16 memories (it was made in the early '90's after all).

This radio usually sells for about $50 on ebay. Well worth it.

It's a real shame that Radio Shack ditched the ham radio business in favor of cellphones. I recently read a news article about how they're hurting because phone sales have slowed. SWEET!!
W6SWO Rating: 2005-07-23
Easy and reliable radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned a 202 for 14 years since licensed and it's been great. Easy to program and operate. Hits all repeaters on low power in every city I've ever operated in and that's been several. I've had none of the problems mentioned by some of the others. Mine took a fall from a six foot shelf onto a tile floor but still works great. Can't think of a reason to get rid of it. Would definitely buy it again.
N9THH Rating: 2005-07-23
Unbeatable Starter Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was my first rig, purchased in about 1992 when I worked for Radio Slack. Would never even entertain the thought of selling it.

In general, I agree with what has already been written so I won't "re-invent the wheel" here... but I will re-iterate what I feel to be the major points. My comments would be:

- I have never had the "err2" problem (knock on wood)
- I have never had to replace the internal battery (knock on wood)
- The rig's resistance to physical damage is not being overstated here; it really is built like a tank (and shaped like one, and weighs like one...)
- Famous for its recieve characteristics and 7W out when on car power.
- You *do* need the manual for this rig, as the menus are all codes and abbreviations. When using CTCSS (aka PL) you have to both program the tone and then turn it on as a separate menu item. This is true for both send and receive.
- The only problem I ever had with this unit is that after years of use, the alkaline battery pack developed a crack which quickly led to complete failure of the pack (the plastic is brittle when it gets old and will just shatter when you are trying to install new alkalines in a cracked pack).


1) Replace the rubber duck antenna! Use a 5/8 whip if mobile. I used an "electrician's J-pole" at home and *routinely* (not just under optimal conditions) worked a repeater 30 miles away on the 13V full-power setting. When portable, I replace the duck with a homebrew 1/4 wave -- 19 inches of air vent control cable from an old Chevy soldered into a BNC connector.

2) I cannot over-emphasize that as another reviewer has stated THE BIG BULKY UGLY METAL BELT CLIP IS YOUR HEAT SINK. In the car on 13V, the belt clip will actually become uncomfortably warm during transmit. If you get this rig new-in-box, install the belt clip before you even put the battery pack or antenna on, and don't ever remove it. Ever. The belt clip is probably what has saved me from the "err2" and "blown finals" problems that a few reviewers have noted.

3) When (not if) your original NiCd pack dies, Batteries Plus can rebuild it into a Ni-metal-hydride pack for under $15.

N9LCK Rating: 2005-06-27
Old Faithfull! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was the 2nd radio I bought when I got my ticket 12 years ago. It is now grungy, dusty, worn, beat-up, dropped, stomped, lost, found, and has suffered many other indignaties as well. But through it all, it has been rock solid. I've worn-out an Icom, a Yeasu, and a Kenwood. The HTX-202 has been the one radio that is still there and working well. Sure it's heavy and doesn't have the tone scan, or auto repeater shift, but it never fails to perform.

I only wish other radios were as reliable.