Gear and gadgets

Radio Shack HTX-202

IMG_2701When the Radio Shack HTX-202 first appeared in the RS catalog in the early 90s I knew I had to own one. I also knew I would have to finally get my ham ticket. 

I pestered the poor guy at the Carlyle Avenue, ‘Shack for months and finally bought the first one to hit the store.

It was my constant companion for several years. I loaned it to a new ham and never saw it again.

Never really gave it much thought, but here, 30 years later, I ran across an eBay listing for a near mint HTX-202. I used all my “bid-fu” to snag it for $76.00. Along with the radio was the original antenna, wrist strap, belt clip, a speaker mic,  and some photocopied documentation.

The seller did not have the Ni-Cad battery pack or wall charger, but sent along three AA battery holders.

I put batteries in the holder, turned on the radio - it came alive. In honor of the old PRIME/KN9G days I immediately programmed in 145.110. 

I forgot what a chore the original manual programing was. Jeez, we’re so spoiled by Chirp and RT Systems now… 

The radio has 16 memories, 1 Home channel and 3 priority memories. Power is selectable from 1 watt to 6 watts. The manual boasts the radio has "True" FM modulation.

The belt clip is a big piece of bent steel. Although not mentioned in the manual, it serves as the heat sink for the final transistors. Most of the radios I’ve seen online do not have the clip. 

Along with the manual was a document with technical information saved from a thread on CompuServe from 1995. That brings up even more memories.

The HTX-202 was built for Radio Shack by Maxon. It was based on a the Icom 02AT. So accessories and batteries for the Icom will work just fine on the ‘202.

It was designed by Radio Shack to be locked on the ham frequencies only. It cannot be modified to transmit on any other frequency.

After the introduction of the HTX-202, Radio Shack released the 70 CM version, the HTX-404. 

Now that I’m feeling nostalgic, guess I need an HTX-100, 10 Meter rig, and a copy of Now You’re Talking.

Computer gaming headsets and ham radio

Yamaha CM500 Headset with Built-In Microphone

Are inexpensive (or not so inexpensive) gaming headsets suitable for amateur radio applications? The de facto standard is the Heil Proset. But hams on a budget may may have more choices. James Richards - K8JHR, has done all the testing and research:

K8JHR -HEADSETS I HAVE TRIED, LIKE, OR RECOMMEND with Various and Sundry Observations Tossed In at No Extra Costs


Foot switches


I've been thinking of trying a foot switch here in the shack. John VE7TI has a nice run down on all our options over on The Communicator Digital Edition.

He recommends a heavy piano style musical instrument sustain pedal like the one above. These petal are not prone to sliding around on the floor and have a solid feel with a distant clicking on/off mechanism. Many of these pedals have a switch to choose from normally open or normally closed. For Amateur Radio use the switch that can be set to normally open (NO) to trigger the PTT when the pedal is depressed otherwise the radio would transmit constantly except when the switch is depressed.