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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
KC5NDR Rating: 2004-08-20
Bullet proof! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Seriously bullet proof! I have had my HTX-202 since 1995, and it has lasted longer than any other radio I have owned. In fact, after I have had Yeasu's, Icoms, Kenwoods and Even a Hallicrafters. The HTX-202 is the only one still working! Now here's the funny part: Once when I was at the shooting range, a misfire shot a .22 round into the unit. I was never effected!
Yup, solid and BULLETPROOF!!
KC5KTO Rating: 2004-07-12
Great performance, sucky NiCd packs Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the HTX-202 in late '94, after getting my license.

First, the problems.

I had a problem with it about two years into the extended warranty where the squelch would randomly open and not close. Sent it off for repair and it's been fine since then.

The NiCd battery packs that came with the radio are junk. Their service lifespan is (was) incredibly short, and they can't be top-charged off the HT. They're rebuildable, though, but I never bothered. I wound up just using the AA battery pack instead, sometimes with rechargeables, sometimes with alkalines.

Programming the radio isn't intuitive at first, but chronic button-pushers will figure it out eventually. There's a certain logic to its logic....

The much-discussed birdie at 146.76 really annoys me, because we have an area repeater on that frequency. Supposedly a cap across the keyboard circuitry mitigates the effect, but I haven't tried it yet.

Having said that, the actual performance of the HT is great. I ran mine for years semi-permanently mounted in my old Ford Festiva, using the Radio Shack speaker-mike and pushing a Radio Shack 2m amp out to the matching Radio Shack 5/8-wave mag-mount antenna. (Amp was good, speaker-mike was flimsy, but those are other reviews.) I had no problem hitting distant (50-70 mile) repeaters in near-ideal terrain, and its receive is much, much more sensitive than any of the scanners I own. The volume out of the HT's speaker was loud enough to be heard at speed (Festivas are quite wind-noisy), though the speaker-mike clamped to the shoulder belt helped out. Performed flawlessly when we used it for packet during Field Day.

On another Field Day, I used it to make a serendipitous contact with another FD expedition in a neighboring state on our group's simplex talkaround frequency, at a range of nearly 100 miles at 5W! Granted, this was mountaintop-to-mountaintop, but they heard us fine, and vice-versa.

The older Bianchi cordura radio holsters fit this unit nearly perfectly. Great for hiking, hunting, Field Day or other outdoor activities where the original belt clip just won't cut it.

I always thought a battery graph using the signal strength bars would have been nice, though, as well as the ability to scan CTCSS tones for a given frequency, or even top-charging the battery pack, but the Shack had to keep costs down somehow, I guess.

Some of the newer hams might balk at the size, but it's like Will Ferrell said in a Saturday Night Live skit a few years ago, "Haven't you heard? Big is the new small!" It's definitely old-school, and if I were a new ham again I'd still buy it.
KQ6EA Rating: 2004-07-10
Just Keeps Going, And Going, and Going... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Like a lot of others here, this was my first radio when I got back into Amateur Radio after a 25-year layoff. I got the radio, two battery packs, and the charger, from a friend for $50 back in 1995. I bought a much better replacement antenna for it from Antennas West (Remember them?), and have since replaced both of the 660mAH NiCad inserts with 1300mAH NiMH packs from The NiCad Lady. This thing has NEVER given me one lick of trouble, and served well as my primary HT until I won an FT-50 at my club's Christmas raffle. I've used it for packet and APRS, and it's now my back-up HT, and will probably go to the grave with me, along with my TS-850! You could throw this thing against a concrete wall, and maybe scratch the case, but it would keep working. Maybe I've been lucky, but I've dropped it off ladders, off the stairs to my apartment, and even off the roof once, and it just keeps chugging along. It doesn't have a lot of memories, or an alpha display, or any of the other bells and whistles a newer HT does, and it can be a little cranky to program, but what it does, it does exceptionally well. A good, solid, reliable 2M HT. Truly a "Golden Oldie" from when Radio Shack actually sold radios!
KF2VA Rating: 2004-07-05
Err2 Aaaaagh!!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my first HTX-202 in late 1993 and it was my first 2-meter rig. I liked it so much that when my wife got her license in the spring, I bought one for her.

This little radio works very, very well when it is working. A QST review around that time showed that it had less intermod than any of the competition, as I recall. It was a bear to program though, but beyond that there really wasn't anything to dislike about it. Then, I got my first "Err2" lock-up. That was frustrating and off to RS I went for service. The fellows there, knew I only had it a month or so and they immediately gave me a new one. Great! But two months later my wife's went "Err2". We had purchased the 5-year service agreement for both of these and I am so happy that I had. While her radio was in the shop, my second unit got the "Err2". Over the course of five years, my radio went to the shop four times and my wife's five times. A few months after the service agreement was up, they both suffered the "Err2" breakdown and it was then time to look for a couple of new HT's.

Additional problems with the HTX-202 through this period was poor battery packs. The little NiCad recharge units didn't seem to have a long life and gradually decayed over a three year period until they no longer functioned at all. The AA cell package worked pretty good, but gradually developed cracks in the case (the batteries fit very tight) and eventually, they too failed. I was able to buy new AA packs though should I ever decide to repair the two radios.

The thing of it is though, my wife and I really liked these two radios. They were a bit large by today's standards but when they worked, they worked great. With the battery pack removed, the radio sat perfectly in the center tray of my Miata and using an accessory power cord and a hand mike, it was perfect for local contacts. Today, my wife still wishes I'd get one of these working because it is still her favorite radio. I prefer the IC-T2H units that I bought, but still feel it would be great to have the HTX-202 units available. Hmmm, maybe it's time I looked into getting them repaired.

VE3SWF Rating: 2004-04-20
Excellent HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The 202 was my first radio, and I've kept it since. It is a very stable, rock solid HT that keeps going and going. This radio has been drenched in water many times. All I have to do is open it up, let it dry out, and it is good as new! Runs great for my packet setup as well. I would definately recommend this radio to someone looking for an HT that won't quit on them. Just one thing: remember to change your internal battery!
KD7ZRO Rating: 2004-04-14
Great Starter Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This litte radio is my first radio and works wonders! It has CTCSS tones, DTMF pageing, DTMF squelch, ect. I got much more that I was accualy looking for when I bought this radio off of eBay! This radio must be pre-RadioSlack days!
K9MQ Rating: 2004-02-05
Very Good Basic Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It does't have a lot of features like extended receive, but if you want to just listen and operate on repeater inside the ham band, it works great! It seems to be very durable.
AD6KB Rating: 2004-01-22
GOOD BASIC RADIO BUT... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bought my first 202 in 1994 when I was first licensed. It immediately developed the dreaded "err2" problem, but I discovered that using a new aftermarket battery (not from Radioshack!) solved that problem as did operating with AA battery pack. Bought a second one on ebay for $90 plus with 2 batteries and wall wart. That particular radio has never displayed the err2 msg. On the whole I agree that it is a fairly well made, sturdy radio that has taken quite a lot of abuse in my local races/ares operations. Have never had to replace either memory battery yet.... Good radio for the money. But some seem to be afflicted with poor quality control. I guess I got two good ones.
KC0JTC Rating: 2004-01-22
Heck of Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The owners of a restaruant I frequented new that I was a ham. The gave me a radio that mom had bought at a flea market thinking it was a scanner. A free HTX-202, I have replaced the lithium battery that keeps the memory and replaced a set of nicads with Ni-MH's. A piece of cake. I added a 404. They are great back up bricks. The 404 stays in the truck because I don't have a mobile uhf rig. I am planning to use the 202 for aprs as soon as the tinytrak3 arrives and I can put it all together.
KI4DPR Rating: 2004-01-22
One tough radio. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I was about to check in to the local 2 meter net one night about a week ago. I had stopped for gas and grabbed a cup of coffe when I went in to pay for the gas. As I got back in the car the net was just starting. My intention was to pull away from the pump, wait for a break, chek in, then go on down the road. As I reached for the door to close it, I felt the sides of the cup colapse. The bottom had completely burst dumping 20oz. of piping hot coffe (complete with cream and sugar) directly on top of my HT-202! The radio immediately began chirping, and squawking, even before I could grab it to turn it off. I dried it off with a towel I had in the car, and drove home in silence, fuming mad. On the way home it occured to me that the inside of the radio was completely soaked anyway, so why not open it up rinse it out and use the XYL's hair dryer which is exactly what I did. Ileft it opend on top of one of the hvac vents overnight. Next moring I reassembled the radio, attached the battery and have been using it since. The up side is that this radio is cleaner inside and out than it has been in a long time. One tough little radio.