Batteries for HT-220 Slimlines

by Ed Fong

Some have asked about batteries for the slimlines. A new pack from W and W or Battery Networks is about $35 and volume discounts is still about $30. When you include shipping and handling, the cost can get prohibitive if you order like 4 or more. This is just a hobby, not an investment.

Here is my solution. The new metal nickel hydride 9v now can be bought for about $2 at swap meets. They are certainly more common that HT220 batteries. Their capacity is 200 mah which is the same as the orginal HT220 battery, but not as high as the present HT220 nicads which are at 250mah. Solder two 9 v clips into the battery compartment and not only do you reduce the weight of the battery by more than half, the cost is just a fraction of a new battery.

You do have to be careful charging Nimh batteries since they do not have the same charge cycles as nicads.

Also, if you want a VERY long life radio for backpacking or emergency use, you can replace the two 9 volt NimH with alkaline or better yet Li Ion 9 volts. With two Lithium 9 volts (which are rated at 2 amp hr) and the HT220 draining 3 ma (no PL), the radio last for about 600 hours (that’s 25 days) if you do not transmit.

I actually modified a set of these radios for a group in Nepal that needed long lasting medium range radios. They had no AC, no solar, and there requirement was that they would go out 2 weeks at a time. They needed a rugged radio, so cheap Icom’s and Yaesu’s were out of the question. I reduced the transmit power to 1 watt which reduced the battery drain to 200ma. This is easily done by retuning the transmitter with a watt meter and amp meter in line. These radios did fine for the 2 week treks. They never turned them off and had short transmissions for check-ins 3-4 times a day.

The radios were still working fine after the 2 weeks. The last I heard is that they wanted two more radios from Motorola and yes, they choose me to do the modifications. No present Motorola radio can meet the low current drain on both receive and transmit as the HT220. Not even after 30 years. Tell me these engineers without modern PC’s, software simulators, etc. weren’t sharp.

Well, if you guys hear of any more good HT220 stories, please share it with us.

Ed Fong

Editor’s Note: If anyone has questions, email Ed at edison_fong @

Feedback is desired (suggestions, comments, errors, gripes, whatever) Michael Wright,

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