Programming a Baofeng UV-5R

By Andy Ludlum-K6AGL

Many hams have found the low-priced radios from China like the Baofeng UV-5R hard to resist.  Seriously, who doesn’t have room for one more HT if it costs less than $30?

The delight of having a new radio to play with quickly turns to despair when you take a look at what passes as an owner’s manual.  Programming a frequency into one of the memories is not easy, because the procedure is not described in the manual.

With most of the radios you own, to program a repeater into the memory, you simply set all the necessary parameters and then enter them into the memory only once.  With the UV-5R, you do it twice!  The receive frequency is stored first, then you store the transmit frequency in the same memory channel.

Most people throw up their hands at all of this and choose to use programming software on their computers.  Baofeng’s software can be just as challenging as the manual for many people.  However, many hams are using programs such as CHIRP with great success.

But I’ve always liked to at least know to how program my radios, especially if I have to make an addition or correction in the field.   With a little research and some trial and error I managed to put together ten steps to successfully program a Baofeng UV-5R.

  1. Press the VFO/MR key to enter the frequency mode.
  2. Enter receive frequency. In this example I’m going to use the BOZO repeater, 147.885.
  3. Press the MENU button, then press 2 to set the transmit power, TXP. Press the MENU key again.  Select HIGH or LOW power using the up or down arrow keys.  Press MENU again to confirm.
  4. If you work quickly the radio is still in the MENU mode, just press 25 to set the offset direction, SFT-D. Press MENU key again. Select -, + or OFF.  For BOZO it is – . Press MENU again to confirm.
  5. Press 26 to set the OFFSET frequency. Press the MENU key again, set the offset using the numeric keypad.   Use 000.600 for 2m, 005.000 for 70cm.  In this example you want the 2m setting. Press MENU again to confirm.
  6. Press 13 to set the tone frequency, T-CTCS. Press MENU, then enter the tone frequency using the numeric keypad. In this example I’m using 127.3 Hz. Press MENU again to confirm.
  7. Press 27 to select a memory channel, MEM-CH. Press MENU again to select. Use up arrow key or numeric keypad to find an available memory channel. Channels without CH in front are available.  Press MENU again, radio should confirm saying “Receiving memory.”
  8. Press EXIT, to return to the receive frequency. Press the * button. You should see the transmit frequency, in this example it should be 147.285.
  9. Press 27, MEM-CH. Press MENU again and select the same channel as in step 7 in order to store the transmit frequency in the memory.  Press MENU again, radio should confirm saying “Transmitting memory.”  Press * again to return to receive frequency.
  10. Press VFO/MR to enter Channel Mode to confirm your selected channel is programmed correctly.

If you want to add a simplex frequency, enter and save the same frequency as transmit and receive.  Choose OFF in steps 4 and 6.

Here are a couple of other handy tips.  MENU 0 allows you to adjust the squelch.  With MENU 2 you can choose the power level. MENU 28 allows you to delete a programmed channel.  You probably want to avoid MENU 40 which is RESET ALL!

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