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Radio Shack HTX-200
Factory Specs Modifications Extending Capabilities Links

         This is the smallest 2 meter radio I have ever seen. It looks like a toy, or like one of those little walkie talkies that children played with before they all got cell phones. Within it's capabilities, which are surprisingly broad for such a compact unit, this is a very good performer. The most serious limitation is the 200mw output power, which is all this little radio can muster under battery operation. When used with an AC adapter (9v@900mAh), the radio puts out 2 watts. There have been a number of very mixed reviews about this little radio, and Radio Shack has discontinued it. I picked this unit up at a local shop which was clearing them out at a cost of $50. Actually, Radio Shack has discontinued carrying it's entire amateur radio line, due to lack of sales. This is a shame really, as I remember this being one of the first chain stores to sell amateur gear. I got all of my initial study guides for getting my ticket here. Oh well, time moves on.
    The mixed reviews tend to be a result of the misunderstanding that some people have about the niche this radio was destined to fill. This is a tiny, but feature laden radio, which is as capable as any hand held, and many mobile units, but is limited to 200mw output. This limits the range to a few miles, though there are reports of getting 25 mile ranges, and better under ideal conditions - usually to a repeater or base. So we are talking local communication via repeater, or very short range communication out in the field. Within these limitations, this is a great little radio, particularly in some of the urban areas in which repeaters abound.
    Frequency is selected in user configurable steps of 5, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 25, 50 kHz, or 1 MHz, by use of simple up and down arrow buttons on the face of the unit. These may be cycled through manually, or scanned. Thirty memory locations are available for favorite frequencies. For repeater use, offset may be set from 0-8 mhz in 100khz steps. The unit is also capable of generating, and responding to a series of 47 subaudable continuous tones for repeater, call, or paging use.
    Standard convenience, and operation features include earphone and external microphone jacks, external power jack, back lit display, and key lock. During normal operation, the display itself shows the frequency, signal strength, status of the tone squelch, and offset, along with indicating transmit or receive function. It also displays a number of menus when the unit is being set up, and indicates the battery when the unit is first turned on.

     Because of the small size of the unit, everything must serve multiple functions. This can sometimes make navigating the menus and setting the unit up, a bit confusing. The best advice I can offer is to carefully read through the manual, and set the features up one at a time as you need them. Upon first working with this little radio, I tried to set everything up all at once, and managed to lose my audio completely. The radio would still transmit, and it would still show activity on the display for receive, but there was no audio no matter what I did. Finally, I simply had to entirely clear all of my settings (done by depressing the mo and func buttons while turning on). This restored my audio. I eventually discovered that I had set a tone for receive, as well as for transmit. What this did was blank out my audio unless a received signal generated a proper tone.
    I have no complaints about my unit. I have owned it for several months, and have never had a problem. I am told that the signal is clear, and crisp. The sound is good, and I have not yet found the need for using an optional mike, or earphone. It would be nice, if I could charge the batteries inside the unit, but you can't have everything. Regarding the use of rechargeable batteries, it is said that their slightly lower voltage will reduce the unit's output to a bit less than the stated 200mw, but that they are marginally usable.

     For those who want a bit more power, or don't care to constantly be providing a stream of batteries, an AC adapter can be used. The photo to the right shows the small size of the radio, allowing it to be mounted on top of a wall wart. The radio in the photo is actually the HTX-400; but the units are of the same size and design. Boosting the output to 2 watts, and with the possibility of an external antenna, this might even make a handy little fixed base unit.

     A little radio like this is nearly useless without a good local repeater network. Some of the better local repeaters are listed below. All are programmed into this unit. For those new to repeater use, a repeater is generally named for the frequency upon which it transmits. There are some repeaters that work on a single frequency (simplex), receiving a transmission, recording it, and then retransmitting; but this is rare. Most repeaters work in duplex mode, receiving on one frequency, and retransmitting in real time on another.  Standard offset (upon which the repeater receives, and the user transmits) is generally 600 KHz above or below the transmit frequency.
Repeater Transmit (user receive) Receive (user transmit) Tone Offset Location
MRC 146.910 146.310 127.3 600Khz - Milwaukee
MAARS 145.130 144.530 127.3 600Khz - Milwaukee
WARC 147.390 147.990 127.3 600Khz + Pewaukee
SEWFARS 146.820 146.220 127.3 600Khz - Wales
MRAC 145.390 144.790 127.3 600Khz - Milwaukee



Frequency Receive 136 - 174 MHz
Transmit 144 - 148 MHz
Frequency Stability +/- 5ppm
Operating Temperature 14 to 131 degrees F (-10 to 55 degrees C)
Power Source DC 3.0V to 9V
Modulation F3E
Impedance 50 Ohm
Dimensions 2-1/4 x 3-3/8 x 1-1/16 inches (85 x 58 x 26.5 mm)
Weight (without batteries) 4.2 oz (120 g)
Circuit Type Dual Conversion, Superheterodyne
IF Frequency (1st IF) 30.85 MHz
(2nd IF) 450 kHz
Sensitivity 0.22 uV for 12 dB SND
Selectivity 50 dB Min.
Spurious and Image Rejection: 60 dB Min
Intermodulation 60 dB Min
Distortion 10% Max.
S/N Ratio 40 dB Min.
Audio Output @ 10% THD 50 mW 16 Ohm, BTL
Power Output 200 mW, DC 3.0V/2W, DC 9.0V
Distortion 5%
Deviation +/- 5 kHz
S/N Ratio: 40 dB
Current Drain 400 mA

Mods, Tips, and Tricks

    There is not really much, in the way of modifications, which can be done to this little radio. There are a few tips and tricks though, including a very easy way to get extended transmit, and I have listed them below.
  • To clear a memory location, press MR and use the UP/DOWN buttons to select the one you wish to clear. Then press FUNC and MR simultaneously, MR will start blinking. Release all buttons, then press FUNC and hold it for a few seconds until the memory location displays all dashes.
  • Press and hold "SC" while turning radio on. This opens up Transmit from 142.000 to 149.885 To remove the mod just repeat the sequence..
  • If you hold down the Monitor Key (MO) while powering up the radio. First it does a display test and lights everything on the display. If you hit any key it sends you through a test mode that is almost like a game. Follow the directions on Screen. It doesn't effect Programming any that I can tell.
  • Both the Radio Shack HTX-200 and HTX-400 handheld radios use a push/pull audio stage that will short out if you connect either side of the External Speaker connector to ground.  the ground wire MUST be connected to the sleeve of the Mic plug
Radio Shack Manual for this radio eham reviews QST review.