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----------------------------------------------------------------------------Radio Shack Introduces A 2 Meter Handheld by Hap Holly, KC9RP On August 2, Radio Shack introduced a fully synthesized 12-memory

handheld for the 2 meter amateur market, scheduled for nationwide distribution in late September. According to Ed Juge, W5TOO, Director of Market Planning for Radio Shack in Fort Worth, Texas, the HTX-202 is a 2 meter only radio. "It has 12 independently programmable memory channels, a calling channel and three priority channels, 5 watt output on 12 volts DC with 1 watt on the low-power setting, and a battery saver. It uses the same type of battery you find on the Icom IC32AT series of handhelds. It isn't a big unit. If you put a six 3511 alkaline pack on it and another on the Icom ICW2A (which I own), the radios are within 1/16 of an inch of being the same height. At their widest point, there may be a quarter of an inch difference." The HTX-202 is not a stripped down radio for its $259.95 price tag, says Juge. "It's one of two handhelds on the market today that use true FM, not phase modulation." It comes with a separately programmable encode and decode PL tone board. Of course, there's the touch tone pad for DTMF dialing, but also a selective paging feature using a five digit personalized paging code programmed into the radio via the tone pad. In the autopatch memory dialer, you can store five autopatch codes having up to 15 digits each, or DTMF paging codes. The handheld will scan for an active or vacant channel. It scans in steps of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 or 100 kHz. In addition, there are upper and lower scan limits. According to Juge, "it scans pretty quickly. It's like 25 channels per second-about the same speed as our scanners which have what we call HyperScan.. You can select the priority channel scan interval to scan every 4, 8, 12, or 16 seconds." Juge adds, "The resume scan can be set to happen 10 seconds after it stops, stay on the channel as long as a carrier is there, or stay on a channel once it finds a carrier." One of the most intriguing features for windbags like me is the transmit time-out timer. After a preset delay of 30, 60, or 120 seconds is programmed into the talkie, it will alert you with a beep that it's time to unkey, thereby resetting the time-out timer on the repeater. No more getting the raspberries from your friends-or from the repeater controller! There is a one-year parts and labor warranty. In addition, according to Juge, there is an optional five-year extended warranty available for just under $40. I believe this is a first in amateur radio. Imagine being able to buy a handheld and a five-year warranty (instead of just a 12-month one) for around $300! Intermod and front-end overload is chronic in urban areas. The Radio Shack HTX-202 appears to have been designed to handle such problems, states Juge. "We're in a very RF-rich environment here in Fort Worth, Texas. There is a tremendous amount of intermod. I never used an HT on a mag-mount antenna on a vehicle that was usable within two miles of downtown Fort Worth. This unit is usable anywhere in the area."

Juge uses an Icom mobile rig. He reports having intermod trouble on occasion on his Icom mobile in the car on a 5/8-wave whip, where his Icom could not pull out the desired signal due to front-end overload. His HTX-202 was able to on several of those occasions, however, using the same 5/8 whip on the car. Says Juge, "The Icom is one of the cleanest radios l've ever been able to find for use in this particular area." Juge believes the new Radio Shack handheld is less susceptible to intermod products because of its design. "The designers were given a specification that said (in so many words), 'We don't want it to work outside the band at all. We want you to build the tightest front end you can build-as intermod proof as it's capable of getting.' " Juge adds, "It will hear intermod, but it appears to perform better in the presence of intermod than any HT I've ever seen, and it appears to perform as well as the best of the mobile rigs. I think that's probably the best feature of the whole thing." In this era of dual-band radios that can receive and transmit outside the amateur bands, some may consider the Radio Shack HTX-202 a disappointment since it covers 144-148 MHz only. What are the chances of some hot shot somewhere finding a way to expand the radio's coverage? Not likely, according to Juge. "I'm sure somebody's going to figure out a way to do something, but I'm told it's impossible to make it transmit outside the band." Consequently, those looking for MARS or similar out-of-band modes should forget it' Juge remarks that if someone were to somehow get the radio to go very far out of band, "you're not supposed to receive anything." Just how accessible will the HTX-202 be for the blind ham? For one thing, there is no voice synthesizer for it. Unfortunately, as I've not had hands-on experience with this radio, I'II have to reserve comment for now. For some, this handheld may be a surprise due to its size. lf you want to stick two of them in your shirt pocket or purse, you can't. Why isn't the HTX-202 pocket-sized like other state-of-the-art handhelds today? "Well," Juge replies, "If you design it too small, I'm not sure you can put everything in it you need to in order to do the filtering on the front end of the receiver that you want. Part of the problem is we were trying to make it a very reasonably priced machine, but miniturization is exceptionaliy expensive-the smaller they get, the more expensive they get as a rule." With this handheld being available through 7,000 Radio Shack stores, what is the likelihood of their being purchased for illegal activity? This has been an overriding concern expressed by many hams, and Juge anticipates the question before I even ask it. "The question about people being able to buy this radio at Radio Shack stores is the same one we heard when we announced the HTX-100 10 meter radio. I answered 15 or 20 letters, even a petition that specifically asked us not to sell it through all Radio Shack stores, or if we did, to require proof of license. "The world did not come to an end on 10 meters. We didn't ruin 10 meters. . . . I don't think that I've heard anybody that I could identify or that anybody's told me they've heard someone using one illegally. The fact of the matter is, you can walk into any ham store in the country and buy anything you want without showing your license. They might ask you what your call letters are, but those are easy to make up. You can tell them you're buying this for your brother for Christmas but that you don't remember his call sign. Even if it's a Henry 3-K linear amplifier, they're not going to argue with you." Juge continues: "I think we've done more to try to insure that these things are not used illegally than anybody else in the business. Twice in the

owner's manual we tell people they have to have a license to transmit on [the rig]. At one place in the manual we say, 'Don't even think about transmitting on it unless you have an FCC license.' I think every ad we've ever run (even in the ham mags) on the HTX-100 [states] that an FCC license is required to transmit. "Our store personnel are under a direct order from senior management; if they know or even suspect that any customer is going to buy a product of ours with the intention of using it illegally, they're to turn down the sale flat, as they could be subject to diciplinary action, including termination. If appropriate, they could be subject to criminal porsecution for violation of that rule. That having been said, I will say that with 7,000 stores out there, I'm sure we'll find somebody greedy or has misunderstood the rules who will sell to somebody that shouldn't use it. But, as we explain in the HTX-202 manual, you're going to be working mostly through repeaters; the hams on the repeaters aren't going to play games with you. THey'll make a game out of finding out who you are and where you are." Juge comments further that if the problem of selling ham gear for illegal purposes does exist, "it exists with all those little electronic shops up and down Fifth Avenue in New York that sell the entire Kenwood and Icom line, including the verylatest dual band gear. They tell people that nobody -including the FCC-cares. That's where the problem lies... not with Radio Shack, where we've got 75 hams in Tnady Center and several hundred out in the field that we know about!" It should be abundantly clear by now that there is no law against selling a ham transceiver to a non-licensee. Ed Juge feels that's the way it should be. "A lot of people who are waiting for their licenses are going to buy radios to get familiar with proper operation by listening, which certainly is desirable. Also, a lot of hams won't believe this, but there really are people out there who buy gifts for their spouses that are ham radio related." A few final notes about the new Radio SHack HTX-202 2 meter handheld. Contrary to rumor, it's not being manufactured by Marantz Japan, Inc., whose communications division includes the internationally recognized Standard label. Juge won't say who the manufacturer is. The only clue he gives is that "our product manager wrote specifications, and it's being quality controlled to Radio Shack standards in the Orient." Accessories that come with the HTX-202 include a wall-type battery charger, battery (six alkaline pack batteries not included), belt clip, rubber duckie antenna, and wrist strap. A speaker mike is available separately for $19.95 that, according to Juge, is compatible with Yaesu and Icom transceivers. I've already mentioned the optional five-year warranty. And, says Juge, you cna finance the handheld for $15 a month. When you add it all up, Radio Shack may have finally come of age in the ham shack. (Radioscan Magazine September 1991)

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Title : Radio Shack's HTX-202 2-meter HT Keywords: RADIO SHACK RS 2-METER HT HTX-202 Radio Shack HTX-202 2-meter HT comments from Ed Juge, W5TOO, Radio Shack This weekend, August 10-11, 1991, Radio Shack store managers will receive the first copies of the 1992 Radio Shack catalog. On page 68 is listed the Realistic HTX-202 (Cat. No. 19-1120), the "rumored" 2-Meter Amateur HT. The HTX-202 has 12 independently-programmable memory channels, plus one calling and three priority channels. It comes with continuous tone squelch encode -AND- decode. Power output is 5 watts minimum (7w typical) with 12 VDC supply, 3 watts @ 9 VDC or 2 watts @ 7.5 VDC. Low power setting provides 1 watt output. A power saver circuit with programmable 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, or 1/16-second duty cycle. Batteries are compatible with larger ICOM (IC-2AT/IC-32AT) series HTs. Repeater offset can be adjusted from 0 to 4 MHz in steps as set by the scan frequency step selection (5, 10, 20, 25, 50 or 100 KHz.) Memories store any offset, and any combination of continuous tone frequencies. Size is 65 x 117 x 37 mm. To put this in perspective, with alkaline packs on the 202 and my ICOM W2A, both are the same thickness. The 202 is maybe 1/4-inch wider (at widest part), and 1/16-inch taller (it's hard to compare because of the irregular shapes of HTs.) The HTX-202 does give the impression of being a "mid-size" HT until viewed up against something like the little W2A, which actually has three different "widths." Supplied with Ni-cad battery, charger, 6-cell alkaline battery case, antenna, wrist strap and belt clip, the HTX-202 is catalog-priced at $259.95. Now, the good stuff... * True FM modulation (not phase modulation) for outstanding transmit audio and best performance in packet service. * Continuous tone squelch transmit and receive tones are independently programmable. * In addition to DTMF dialing, there is 5-digit DTMF selective paging (DTMF squelch). * A five-number memory dialer that stores 15-digit sequences for autopatch use or DTMF paging. * Scan for either active -- or vacant -- channels, with programmable scanning step of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 or 100 KHz, and upper and lower scan limits (for VFO scan.) * FAST, 25 channels/second scanning. * Selectable priority channel scan interval, every 4, 8, 12 or 16 seconds. * Multi-function scanning lets you scan standard memories, priority freq. memories, or a frequency range. Resume can be after 10 seconds, when carrier drops, or remain on channel (don't resume.) * Transmit timeout... if you frequently time-out your local repeater, this circuit will stop transmitting after a preset delay (30, 60 or 120 sec.) and sound a beep. In effect, it forces you to reset the repeater before the repeater times out. Of course you can disable the timeout circuit. * The HTX-202 carries a 1-year parts and labor warranty. Subjectively, this HT has exceptionally strong, un-distorted receive audio you'll really appreciate when walking around the local (noisy) hamfest. You

won't believe the sound is coming from an HT! Transmit audio is crisp, clear and strong. I put a 5/8-wave mag mount on my car, and used the 202 in the very intermodrich downtown Ft. Worth, TX area. I've never been able to use an HT on an outside antenna within 2 miles of downtown Ft. Worth before. This one performed magnificently. My ICOM 2400PfUBl-band mobile gets less intermod than any other radio I've used in this environment, and the HT stayed with it, toe-to-toe. When the ICOM heard intermod, the 202 heard it, but when the ICOM was quiet... SO WAS THE HT!!!! Even more impressive, the HT heard signals through the intermod, when the IC-2400 could not pull 'em out! Reason is probably because we purposely limited coverage to ham band ONLY! It can't be modified for out-of-band receive. The design objective was to build a specialized ham radio product that does the best possible job on the ham bands, and that includes the tightest, most intermod-free front end we could design into an HT! The published spec says intermod attenuation is 60db minimum. Spurious response and adjacent channel rejection are also 60db. The HTX-202 will be available at participating Radio Shack stores and dealers, nationwide, around the end of September, 1991. I have posted a separate file (Lib 0 [search on Radio Shack HT]) with comments that will hopefully allay some of the fears (again) about RS selling ham gear. Here is some additional information... Page 2 of the manual states: "NOTE: You must have a Technician Class or higher Amateur Radio Operator's License and a call sign issued by the FCC to legally transmit using this transceiver. Transmitting without a license carries heavy penalties..." Page 6 of the manual states that to transmit, you need an FCC license, Technician Class of higher. In bold print, "Do not even think of transmitting until you get your license." It goes on to say, "This is very important. Transmitting without a license is a violation of federal law that can lead to severe penalties. Also, ham operators take the FCC rules very seriously and want nothing to do with bootleggers -- their term for people who operate without a license." It goes on to suggest where one can locate classes, and includes the ARRL address for more information. The ARRL staff helped prepare this section of the owner's manual. <end of file>