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We present an experimental and theoretical study of nonresonant detection of subterahertz radiation in GaAs/AlGaAs and GaN/AlGaN heterostructurefield effect transistors. The experiments were performed in a wide range of temperatures (8–300 K) and for frequencies ranging from 100 to 600 GHz. The photoresponse measured as a function of the gate voltage exhibited a maximum near the threshold voltage. The results were interpreted using a theoretical model that shows that the maximum in photoresponse can be explained by the combined effect of exponential decrease of the electron density and the gate leakage current.