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How to Manually Program Your Baofeng UV-5R Series HT

Craig - N7LB

RF Gear 2 Go Founder

Here's a step-by-step recommendation on how to get your radio working properly if you just purchased your UV-5R series radio.

Note: you can skip all of these steps if you purchased a pre-programmed radio from RF Gear 2 Go.


DON'T TRY TO TAKE SHORTCUTS.  Other than purchasing a pre-programmed UV-5R radio from RF Gear 2 Go (or a complete RT Systems software/cable kit), there are none. “If” you really understand software drivers and precisely follow the correct directions, you will probably be ready to start programming your new radio within an hour. Filling up all 128 memories will add more time. Checking to make sure you have the correct frequency splits for each memory channel (if required), PL tones or Privacy Codes (if required), or DCS settings (if required) will add even more time. Depending on your manual programming speed, this can take anywhere from several hours to several days.


Taking “shortcuts” is almost always guaranteed to add more time. 99% of the time when a new-owner feels their radio or cable is “broken”; it’s actually the result of them not following the correct steps. Please remember this is a Chinese made radio (designed for the commercial market), it does NOT program the way any “normal” Japanese radio from Alinco, Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu does. “If” your computer skills start and stop at watching videos or playing games, or if changing something on your computer requires a call to the neighborhood kid down the street, or if you simply value your time (since it could easily take days to completely program the radio depending on your skill level and your ability to verify the frequency data), spend the extra few dollars and get your radio pre-programmed from RF Gear 2 Go (you’ll literally walk away with a ready-to-go working radio) or purchase an RT Systems software/cable kit from us.  If you purchased a pre-programmed unit, you can skip all of the steps below and immediately start using your new radio.


If you did not and now have to program it yourself, hopefully these steps will help get you started. Learn to program a few channels manually first.  Simple starter guidelines

are shown below:


You can program channel memories either with a standard split, odd splits, or no splits at all (Simplex).  Memories store both transmit (TX) and receive (RX) frequencies, along with any CTCSS or DCS codes (if required), power level (high or low), and Bandwidth (wide or narrow).  Don't expect Baofeng radios to automatically enter your offset either.


How to Program a Repeater Channel with a Standard Offset


FIRST HINT:  I suggest you do not have your radio monitoring any active local frequency while programming memories (either manually or via the computer), as the receiver is very sensitive (but not very selective) to any nearby frequencies and can interrupt the programming sequence, so have both VFO’s tuned to something like 144.800 (if that’s quiet in your area). Make sure VFO “A” is your VFO that’s selected to start your programming.

SECOND HINT: Memories (like James Bond), are always entered as 3 digit numbers. Memory 7 is actually 007, and you will need to enter any memory channel as a 3 digit number.  Menu options, however, are “usually” 2 digit numbers, but the common ones are conveniently shown on the front keypad. Those can be selected by either pressing

[MENU] and the appropriate keypad number or by pressing [MENU] and the 2 digit menu selection you wish to access. For example, transmit power can be changed by pressing [MENU] 2, or by pressing [MENU] 0,2.

Another annoying habit is that your Baofeng radio will only give you 3 to 4 seconds to make a selection, then you’ll hear a beep and the radio will return to its previous display. This can be especially problematic to a new owner, so be patient with your new radio while you manually program it with the frequencies you want.

WARNING: Menu # 40 will reset your radio back to the original Chinese programming defaults. If you find yourself staring at Menu 40 on the display, press [EXIT] or simply turn off the radio. If you accidently reset your radio, all previous programming will be gone and you will hear Chinese from your speaker.  Anything you programmed will be erased.


This programming example is for a VHF repeater on 146.940 MHz with a 600 KHz minus offset and a CTCSS tone of 162.2.

  1. Press the [VFO/MR] button until you hear “Frequency Mode”.

  2. Select VFO “A” by pressing the [A/B] button until the small triangle (to the immediate left of the frequency) is next to the Upper Display.  Only the “A” VFO can be used for   programming memories.

  3. Disable TDR (Dual Watch/Dual Reception) which toggles between VFO A and VFO B, by pressing [MENU] 7 [MENU], then select OFF by using the up/down Arrow Keys (above numbers 2 and 3). Press [MENU] [EXIT].

  4. Delete Prior Data from the channel to be programmed by pressing [Menu] 2,8 [Menu], then enter the 3 digit Channel Number to clear, or use the UP/DOWN arrow numbers to select the memory to delete, then press [Menu] [Exit].

  5. Enter the Repeater Offset by pressing [Menu] 2,6 [Menu] and then the offset amount (in the case of VHF this is normally 600 KHz). If that matches your offset requirements, then enter 0 0 6 0 0 and press [Menu] [Exit].

  6. Enter the Transmit Frequency Shift by pressing [Menu] 2,5 [Menu], and enter 2 for the Minus offset shift, the press [Menu] [Exit].

  7. Set the CTCSS or DCS codes for Transmit (if required for the repeater). Our example has a CTCSS TX tone of 162.2 Hz. Press [Menu] 1,3 [Menu], then enter 1 6 2 2 [Menu]  [Exit].

  8. Enter the repeater’s output frequency, which in our example is 1 4 6 . 9 4 0

  9. Store the repeater’s receive frequency by pressing [Menu] 2,7 [Menu], then enter the Channel Number (000 to 127), which is the channel that was cleared in Step 4, by pressing [Menu] [Exit].

  10. Press the [ * Scan ] button, which activates the Reverse Mode and displays the Transmit frequency.

  11. Press [Menu] 2,7 [Menu] and enter the same 3 digit Memory Channel that was entered above in Step 9, then press [Menu].

  12. Press the [* Scan] button again to exit the Reverse Mode and press [Exit]. This programmed memory will now appear in the channel list when you switch to “Channel Mode” (but keyboard entry of channel memories does NOT allow then to be named with proper names, only by frequency).  If you want your memories to have up to seven Alpha-Numeric characters (like CLUB, for your club's repeater), you have to use programming software.


“If” your recently entered memory shows “CH-001” in memory position 001 and you wish to see the actual repeater frequency instead, enter [MENU] 2,1 [MENU]. Use the Up/Down arrow keys to change the “CH” or “NAME” option that’s currently displayed to “FREQ”, then press [MENU] and then [EXIT].  Once returning to “Channel Mode” your memory will now display as a frequency.  Remember, if you want to “name” your memory frequencies, this can only be done through programming software on Baofeng model radios.  Unlike some other radio brands, it CAN NOT be done using the Baofeng radio’s keypad.  In addition, Baofeng UV-5R and UV-82 radios only support CAPITAL letters (no lower case).



There are three primary (but different) USB to serial conversion chips used in programming cables. One is from FTDI, one is from Silicon Labs, and the third is from Prolific. Unfortunately Prolific cables are the most illegally copied in China, and you simply can not tell by looking at the cable if your cable is genuine or not.  (Baofeng, for example, doesn't sell an actual factory programming cable, yet you'll see various internet sellers selling "official", "actual", or "OEM" Baofeng cables).  Apparently it's a common practice in China to label a product with a vendor's name (if that product is supposed to work in conjunction with that product).  Sadly, that doesn't always work out too well for U.S. based customers that pull their hair out trying to get a fake cable to work.  WARNING: Whatever you do, don't use the software on the tiny CD's that many Chinese vendors give you with their cheap cables, at least not without performing a complete anti-virus and malware scan.  Many of those CD's contain some nasty surprises that will infect your computer

Unfortunately if you have a fake or “cloned” Prolific cable and are using Microsoft XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, or Windows 10, your computer will continue to try updating your Prolific cable driver to the “latest” version automatically without your knowledge or approval. That’s fine if you have the actual Prolific chip inside your USB cable, but if you don’t you could be in for hours of trouble-shooting fun with your software driver for the cable. Even switching the cable from one USB port to another will cause you a driver issue, as the computer will think the cable is “new” hardware and download a “new” driver for the USB cable (which won’t work at all if your Prolific cable is fake).

To avoid the cable problem completely, I suggest purchasing an actual Silcon Labs or FTDI 2-prong Kenwood style programming cable. Buying a real (not fake) cable and following the instructions on the internet forums will eliminate most of the Baofeng programming issues you hear folks complain about, or upgrade your programming efforts to First Class and get an RT Systems FTDI cable and software kit (and have your radio programmed quicker than drinking your first cup of coffee).  RT Systems kits are what we use (and sell) to program hundreds of different radios every month.  The complete RT Systems kit (FTDI cable and their matching radio software) costs $48.95, but you’ll be amazed how quickly you can become a Baofeng programming radio "genius" in front of your friends.

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