How to Manually Keypad Program the BaoFeng UV-5R

If you want to do more than simplex communications over short distances, then you’ll need to use a repeater.

In this post we’ll show you some simple manual programming using the keypad on the BaoFeng UV-5R.

Keypad Programming the BaoFeng UV-5R

The BaoFeng radios are great and are available at a great price. They offer amazing frequency coverage: 2 meter, 70 cm, FRS, GMRS, MURS, Public service Frequencies, NOAA weather frequencies, Marine VHF.

Every prepper should have a hand held radio, and the BaoFeng is a good choice for those looking to get into HAM radio without the traditional large cash investment.

Let’s setup our BaoFeng so we can talk via a repeater and get some good distance out of our radios.

baofeng uv-5r

Programming the BaoFeng UV-5R

Feel free to look up your local Repeaters in the ARRL Repeater Directory and program the channels, and offsets for repeaters local to you.

The example below is for my radio club’s repeater ( in Southern, MD.

443.700 MHz (70cm)
5 MHz negative offset
Saved to channel 11
CTCSS/PL tone 179.9

Anything in brackets “[ ]” indicates a button of that name. You can also press [MENU] and use the up/down arrows to get to menus (they are numbered) instead of [MENU] and the number of the menu (example [MENU] 7 [MENU] )

vfo mr button1.)  Set your BaoFeng to VFO Mode (aka Frequency Mode) by pressing the VFO/MR button. When you press it you should hear a voice say “frequency mode” or “channel mode”. Obviously we’re wanting to hear “frequency mode” to indicate the proper mode.
ab button 2.) Set your Display to A (top number of the 2 shown) with the Blue A/B button. The tiny triangle will be pointing upward and will be beside the upper set of numbers.


Display A Selected
Display A Selected
menu botton

 3.) Disable TDR (Toggles between the A and B channels).

  • [MENU] 7 [MENU] (takes you the TD Menu, and the On/Off option)
  • Up and Down Arrows to select On/Off (Select OFF)
  • [MENU]  [EXIT] (takes you out of the On/Off option and then takes you back to the main display)
tdr off
TDR is off


menu botton

 4.) Clear existing Data from the channel you want to program.

  • [MENU]  2 8  [MENU]
  • Enter 1 1  (If you want to clear Memory Channel 11)
  • [MENU] [Exit]
menu botton

5.) Set the Repeater Offset.

  • [MENU] 2 6 [MENU]
  • Enter 0 0 5 0 0 on the keypad (5 MHz or 500 Khz)
  • [MENU] [EXIT]
menu botton

6.) Enter the Transmit Frequency Shift.

  • [MENU] 2 5 [MENU]
  • Up and Down Arrows to select + or   (Select the minus “-” for this example).
  • [MENU] [EXIT]
menu botton

7.)  Set the correct CTCSS or DCS codes (aka PL see HAM Radio 101 – Intro to Repeaters )

  • Press [MENU] 1 3 [MENU]
  • Enter 1 7 9 9  ( remember my example is CTCSS TX tone 179.9 )
  • [MENU] [EXIT]
band button

 8.) Enter the repeater output frequency, 443 . 7 0 0

  • To switch between 2 meter (145.2 – 147.39 MHz) and 70 cm (442-450 MHz) use the [BAND] button
menu botton

 9.) Store the RX (receive) frequency settings to a memory channel (valid channel range = 000 to 127) We cleared channel 11 for this example.

  • [MENU] 2 7 [MENU]
  • Enter 1 1  (This is channel 11, we cleared it back in step 4)
  • [MENU] [EXIT]
scan button

 10.) Press the [SCAN ] button.  This activates the “Reverse Mode” and displays the TX (transmit) frequency. Note that it’s 5 MHz higher than the 443.700 RX freq

Note the R (Circled) and the transmit freq (underlined)
Note the R (Circled) and the transmit freq (underlined)
menu botton

 11.) Store the TX (transmit) frequency settings to the same memory channel as before (channel 11 for this example).

  • [MENU] 2 7 [MENU]
  • Enter 1 1  (This is channel 11, we cleared it back in step 4)
  • [MENU] [EXIT]
scan button

 12.) Press the [SCAN ] button to exit the “Reverse Mode”

exit button

 13.) Press  [EXIT]

vfo mr button

 Set your BaoFeng to  “Channel Mode” by pressing the VFO/MR button. When you press it you should hear a voice say “frequency mode” or “channel mode”. Obviously we’re wanting to hear “Channel mode” this time. You can now use the arrow key (Up/Down) to scroll through your channels. Scroll over to Channel 11 (or whichever one you used) and check it out.You can also use the Blue A/B Button to select a different channel for both top and bottom.

It’s handy to know how to program this via the keypad, but it’s way easier to use software. I don’t use the software that came with my BaoFeng, I use CHIRP. You can set all the settings and save them to your BaoFeng via the USB Programming Cable (this was a really good investment for me). I also did NOT use the drivers on the CD, but went to and used the process/drivers they have listed.


CHIRP also come with “Stock Config” settings. I typically program my local repeaters to the low channels (1,2,3, etc) then add the FRS, GMRS, MURS, Marine Band and NOAA stuff after them. This way I have options. I can talk to HAMs via a repeater, or talk to people using FRS/GMRS walkies talkies.

chirp stock config gp

If you want to do more than simplex communications over short distances, then you’ll need to use a repeater. I hope this post helped you with Keypad Programming the BaoFeng UV-5R.

baofeng uv-5x
Now available in a WATERPROOF version!

24 thoughts on “How to Manually Keypad Program the BaoFeng UV-5R”

  1. Awesome post. Just bought 2 of these radios and was having trouble figuring them out. This was very helpful. Question: I know that some frequencies require a ham liscense to transmit so I am listening only. Until I get my liscense, what frequencies can I use to communicate with my 2nd radio (and not risk getting into trouble)?

    • With your HAM license, you will really unlock the potential of that radio. You will be able to broadcast on any of the 2 meter and 70 cm frequencies.

      You can use FRS Channels without a license

      GMRS requires a GMRS license

      You can use Marine band…if you are in a boat.

      • You can’t use a transceiver with a detachable antenna and capable of transmitting more than .5 Watt on FRS frequencies.
        On amateur radio we don’t “broadcast”.
        You can listen to Marine bands an land if you wish.

    • What I wish these radios had was a progressive programming sequence.

      1. Program mode
      2. select channel
      3. set freq
      4. Set Offset freq. (Automatic)
      5. set offset +/- 0 for simplex
      6. CTCSS Code
      7 Enter

      Instead of selecting menus, it automatically brings you to the next programming step. If it were like the Kenwood TH-f6a it would be so much easier!

    • As a friend of mine that works at the Federal Communications Commission has said. ANY frequency that you can access, and that you DO NOT cause interference on.
      I know Citizens Band operators that have a 2K Watt amplifier that skip at night to vast areas around the country. I know of one case a HAM operator was caught on POLICE frequencies “dispatching” PD to the wrong addresses to help protesters during BLM.
      The FCC busted the HAM and the CB operator has been left alone for 25 years now.
      So it depends a lot on if you cause interference as my friend is always on edge about losing of his job, the FCC is not what it used to be from the 80s.
      They have been budgeted back tremendously.
      By all means, get a HAM card but remember as a HAM you are REQUIRED to not cause interference, having a card makes it easier to find you, and since you “knew” better to prosecute if you cause some interference.
      I have a building (Nursing Home) that simply a radio FRS, GRSM, a business class radio, have all been tried, and without a repeating radio setup, you can not penetrate to the basement from the 6th floor and across the campus forget it. So A HAM rig it the only setup we have found that works during restoration services “EMERGENCY” situations at that Nursing home.
      I am sure HAMS are upset and would rather lives be at risk, instead of the ability to communicate to workers. But failing everything else we found something that worked and even a radio store was unable to fix this concrete structures penetration issues.
      Be SAFE, and have fun.

  2. GREAT post, one of the best I’ve seen on manually programming these crazy little radios.

    I have to say your comment about using Chirp is “way easier” is an understatement though…. by clicking Radio -> Query data source -> RepeaterBook, you can plug in the frequency, state, county and frequency then pull up most all of the local repeaters and their individual settings in a snap. Once I found this, I was able to program 50 repeaters (for all the areas I travel) into the radio in under 5 minutes. CHIRP is a must-have tool! And it also work well with my Yaesu FT-7900, allowing me to copy one radio setup over to the other, keeping all my channels in the same order for both radios.

    Also, according to the FCC guidelines on such matters, the UV-5R radios are not allowed to be used on the FRS band as they have a detachable antenna and provide more than 1 watt of output power. Be careful.

    • I have the FRS GRSM and Business class frequencies all programmed with CHIRP.
      I can get NOAA and found out that I can ACTUALLY transmit on the weather band.
      CAN NOT get it to connect to my customer’s radio selection to let them know I am outside and to unlock the lockdown area.

      OPPS I hear myself on NOAA… I got in my truck and keyed up by accident the portable after hearing my self on my mounted Scanner that was also tuned to NOAA I turned off my portable. I thought that was NOT supposed to happen. I was listening to reports of the impending bad weather outside the truck when I needed to move and that happened by accident.
      Chinese Radio…. It will do many things that are not allowed.
      Be Careful.

    • I have had that same thought.
      I am not sure it will receive that frequency.
      I tried to manually and the radio would not accept that frequency, maybe chirp???
      I found that I could transmit on NOAA weather radio by accident. I used CHIRP added the frequencies and when hopping in my truck keyed the portable, I could hear through my Scanner in the truck that was also on NOAA myself.
      The radio is a TRANSMITTER too so if you can listen to FM radio you also can broadcast too.
      Had I not had a Scanner tunned to NOAA due to an imposing storm I never would have known that the Chinese Radio was doing that and interfering with that station. I am more aware of that issue now.

  3. Hi, how can I get the display to show names and not just the frequency numbers? I have all setup to “name” but still shows numbers on display and I can not tell where transmitions are coming from. Please thanks.

  4. I’m a new ham, 64 years of age.

    I purchased a Baofeng uv- 53 re and am having misery
    Programming it.

    Mine does not seem to follow the programming
    Steps on the YouTube tutorials.

    Help !!!!!

  5. For the money the Baofeng is a great buy. Yes friends China now has a ‘silicone valley’ although the specs doesn’t come near Mil-Spec standards it’s still a great buy! Looking forward to Baofeng computers.

  6. Nice instructions! I have a UV-82HP, and following along with the menu explanations in the manuals also helped reinforce the procedure.



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