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An idiots guide to programming your Baofeng UV-5R radio
by  W7DTG

I don't need no "stinking"programming cable


  Being a low budget ham radio operator, I find the Baofeng radios extremely appealing. They are low cost dual band handheld radios that have all the features I want and need without taking out a small loan from the bank. I received my first Baofeng UV-5R for some of the sales that I have made over the past few months in working order, and was able to quickly program the local repeater into it and test it out.

Programming the baofeng: USB cable or keypad entry

  I don't quite understand what the problem is with programming them by the keypad, although others have reported having problems doing this. I watched one video on YouTube and was able to go from that point with NO problems. There are a few steps that do not seem logical, like having to program in the transmit AND receive frequency for each memory channel after you set the offset to negative or positive in the setting, but remember that the Baofeng UV-5R radios were not designed for the ham radio service although they are perfectly legal to use for amateur radio. If you find that the best way to program the Baofeng UV-5RE is to drive a screwdriver through it with a hammer, you are probably doing it wrong.

Resetting the radio from factory default setting

  The first thing you are going to want to do is to reset the radio to erase any memory channels that may be programmed in. You can do this by pushing the MENU button on the keypad then press 40 to get to that setting.Then press the menu again to change the setting to "reset all" and press MENU one more time, and everything will be reset.

My radio now speaks in Chinese

  Once you reset all the setting and erase any memory channels that may have been programmed in, you will notice that the radio now talks to you in Chinese. Don't panic, this is easily fixed as well. Just press MENU and the number 14. Then press menu and press the UP arrow to change it to either OFF or up one more to ENG which is English. I find the little voice prompts helpful to remind me to press the Menu button again to confirm the changed setting. Otherwise I forget and exit out without confirming the change.

NOW what do I do

  Now that you have reset the radio and changed the voice prompt to English or turned them off completely, you should change the frequency stepping so that you can program in your favorite frequencies. I personally like to set it to 5.0K but if you are using it for just Ham radio 10.0K is fine. If you are still in menu mode just push the number #1 and it will take you to the stepping. When you get to that setting push the MENU button again to change the setting, then use the UP/DOWN arrow keys to change it to the desired setting. After you have changed the setting don't forget to push MENU again to save the setting.

  Ok, we have worked through ALL that hard work, and now finally you are ready to program in your favorite repeater. Make sure that you are in Frequency mode again by pushing the orange VFO/MR button and also that you are on the TOP frequency on the dual display, which is Freq A and dial in your favorite repeater or other frequency into the radio.

Back to the MENU

 Now that you have your frequency programmed in it is time to go back to the MENU system and set up your CTCSS tone if needed as well as your offset. For setting up the tone just push the MENU button and then enter the number #13 and it will take you directly to the T-CTCS which is the transmit CTCSS tone setting. Push the MENU button again and either enter the tone directly using the keypad or you can cycle through all the tones available to find the one you need. After you find the desired tone be sure to push MENU again to set that as your CTCSS tone. Next you want to go to the offset, which is number #25 or SFT-D in the Menu system. Be sure to push MENU and set either a NEG (-) or POS (+) offset. If using simplex you would simply leave it off. Next your going to want to go to MENU item #26 and set the offset to 00.600 for Ham radio repeaters.

OK, I set all the setting, NOW what

 Believe it or not, you aren't through just yet. Now comes the step where you program the settings into a memory channel. Go to MENU item #27 for the memory channel, push MENU again to change the setting and then cycle through what memory channel you want to set up. After deciding just push MENU again to set that up as your memory channel.

Not your average radio

 OK, now that you have entered all the information, you push EXIT to get out of the MENU system, then push VFO/MR to go to memory channels. You go to key up your radio, and NO offset !!! That is one of the neat features of this radio, and makes it a bit harder for people to program. Apparently since these radios weren't actually designed for ham radio use, it doesn't automatically put in the transmit frequency even after you set the offset in the MENU system. You now have to go BACK to frequency mode by pushing the VFO/MR button and dial in the INPUT frequency of the repeater you want to use. Why the radio was setup this way I don't know, but that is one of the peculiarities of the Baofeng UV-5R radios and why most people opt for the USB programming cable.
 So put in the repeater INPUT frequency, go back to MENU mode then push #27 for the memory channel you want then push MENU and go to the SAME memory channel that you programmed in before. In my case it was Mem CH#1 with the repeater at 146.760 and an input frequency of 146.160.

WOW that's EASY

 Ok, so maybe it really isn't that easy to program the Baofeng UV-5R radio's. It would certainly explain why the sales of the programming cables has skyrocketed, and the CHiRP software is so popular. I am just a cheap ham radio operator and don't want to spend the $5.99 on a cable that goes from the RS-232 port of my computer to the radio. Sure I could build it myself, which would be a lot more in the spirit of Ham radio and building things yourself. If you are not that familiar with doing searches with Google and finding out how to do things or new to ham radio, then I would recommend spending the few extra dollars to either purchase the programming cable or build one yourself. I admit that I had to watch a video on YouTube on how to program the Baofeng, if I hadn't then then the issue with putting in the transmit frequency may have stumped me as well.

 So, as a quick review here are the steps once again.

  • Turn the radio on

  • GO to menu item #40 and RESET the radio
  • Menu item #14 for either English voice or Voice OFF
  • Press EXIT on the keypad
  • Push orange VFO/MR button to go to Frequency mode and program in repeater frequency
  • Press MENU then push #1 for frequency stepping. 10K for ham repeater use.
  • Push #13 for CTCSS on transmit for repeater use.
  • Push #25 for repeater shift. Options are NEG(-) POS(+) or off for simplex
  • Item #26 for off shift repeater use. You want 00.600 for ham radio repeaters.
  • Go to item #27 to program in Memory channel
  • Push EXIT to go to frequency mode again
  • Program in Repeater INPUT frequency
  • Push Menu then 27 for Memory channels
  • save as same channel as repeater output.
See isn't that simple ?

 Hope this guide helps, and see you on the airwaves 73

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