How Program a Baofeng UV-5R with CHIRP Software

It makes sense that your handheld radio should be able to take the place of multiple radios.

Want to add all the channels you need quickly and easily? Let’s program a Baofeng UV-5R Radio with CHIRP software to get the job done.

 

Program a Baofeng UV-5R Radio with CHIRP

The Baofeng handheld radios are inexpensive but cover many frequencies, making them the Swiss Army Knives of the budget ham radio community.

We’re going to program a Baofeng radio with CHIRP software.  CHIRP is free open source software anyone can download.

It’s used for programming a wide range of amateur radios of different makes and models, and in multiple formats and data sources.  It offers an easy to use interface compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux PC’s.

The BaoFeng UV-5R, is an amazing, yet economically priced radio. It can cover a multitude of channels and frequencies. In this post w

The Bands Covered (Not all of these are legal to broadcast on, but listening should be fine – see FCC Part 95 Rules)

  • 2 Meter baofeng-uv-5r
  • 70 cm
  • FRS (Family Radio Service)
  • GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)
  • MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service)
  • Marine VHF
  • Public service Frequencies
  • NOAA Weather Band
  • FM radio (listen only)

That is quite a list of frequencies. While it’s not legal to transmit on all these frequencies if you are not a HAM or if the device isn’t approved on the FCC Part 95, that really won’t apply after SHTF. I’d take an FCC fine over death any day!

Preparing to Program Your BaoFeng

Software

I recommend CHIRP, to program your BaoFeng, so this post will refer to that software. CHIRP is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, so regardless of your operating system, you are covered.

Download the version you need and install it.

Programming Cable

Before you can program your radio with CHIRP, you’ll need the BaoFeng USB programming cable.

BTECH PC03 FTDI probramming-cable

Be sure you buy a cable from a reputable dealer and not a cheap knock off, or you will risk frying something.

I recommend the above cable since it is sold by BaoFeng and works great with the included FTDI chipset.

This cable is plug’n play and should not require separate drivers, but another option is to download the drivers over at Miklor.com, (an awesome BaoFeng informational page).

Download and install the proper drivers for your USB cable (probably Prolific).

Programming Your BaoFeng

Step 1

Open/Run CHIRP, connect your BaoFeng and plug it into an USB port on your computer.

First you’ll need to pull a copy of the existing config from your radio to your computer.

In CHIRP, select RADIO > Download From Radio

chirp-download-radio

You’ll need to give CHIRP some information about your radio and what COM Port (or which /dev/XXXX in Linux and Mac OS) it’s connected to.

Radio-vendor-port
This is on a Windows PC

Once this step has been completed, it should list any channels that you have already programmed into memory.

 

Side Tip: If you are using a UV-5R variant keep in mind this configuration setting will cover a number of the variants (such as UV-5RE Plus).

If there is confusion on this, you can find which models are covered and which you should pick on the CHIRP website.

Step 2

Now in CHIRP go to FILE > Open Stock Config and Select the group of channels that you’d like to add to your BaoFeng (This seems to be missing on the Mac OS version of CHIRP, fear not, I’ve included most of these “channels” in baofeng-freqs.csv )

chirp stock config

In this screenshot, I have opened Marine VHF Channels

baofeng-marine

You can select the channels or all channels using the hot-key combinations for your OS

Windows (and most Linux systems unless you’ve remapped stuff)

  • Select all = CTRL + A (keys on your keyboard)
  • Select individual Channels = CTRL + mouse click
  • Select Range of Channels = Mouse click to highlight start then, SHIFT + mouse click on the last in the range that you’d like to select

Then CTRL + C (or EDIT > COPY ) to copy the selected channels

 

Side Tip: To import from other data sources other than from the stock config, go to Radio from the radio drop down and select Import from other data sources.

Some options available may be RadioReference.com, RepeaterBook, RFFinder, etc.  RepeaterBook is the easiest way to import repeater info for your location.

 

Step 3

Switch back to your BaoFeng Tab

tab

Click on the first unoccupied channel and then select EDIT > PASTE (or CTRL + V) to paste in the previously copied channels from the Stock Config into your Radio’s Config

Step 3-A

If you you don’t have enough channel slots, you can add more (Baofeng supports up to 128 memory channels, 0-127)

memory range
Change this from the default, of 25, to whatever you need. Max is 127


 

This is how my BaoFeng Config looks after adding FRS, GMRS, MURS, Marine VHF, and NOAA weather (Note: channel 0 is not programmed and channel 1 is my local HAM club’s repeater)

baofeng gmrs frs murs marine noaa weather
Click to expand image

 

 

Side Tip: Since it is illegal to transmit from a BaoFeng using FRS and GMRS but you still wanted to import those channels for receiving, you can disable transmission capabilities.

To proceed, click (none) under the Duplex column for frequency you want to disable TX.  Then select off from the drop down box.

This will ensure you never accidentally TX on these channels, while still allowing you to receive.

Step 4

Now you just have to upload this config back to your radio. Select RADIO > Upload to Radio and CHIRP will write it to your BaoFeng’s memory.

Use the same configuration settings that were used during the initial clone (we did above).  You’ll see receive light instead of a send indicator light.

To verify the radio is programmed, switch to Channe/Memory mode, then go up to A frequency and you should be able to scroll through and view the frequencies you added.

chirp-upload-radio

 

Alternative Options for the non-nerdy

  1. You still need to do Step 1 (download your radio’s config) above
  2. Download this config (minus my Local Repeater): baofeng-freqs.csv

    Remember where you downloaded this file to (Desktop?).
  3. Perform Step 3A to adjust the number of channels, you’ll need to set this to 60 or 61.
  4. Then in CHIRP Select FILE > Import and import that baofeng-freqs.csv file that you just saved someplace (I told you to remember where you saved it)chirp-import
  5. Now do Step 4 from above to write this config to your Baofeng

Now your trusty BaoFeng UV5R has all the FRS, GMRS, MURS, Marine VHF and NOAA weather channels programmed in it and you still have 68 channels left for your 2 Meter and 70 cm frequencies.

I suggest that you pick up a copy of the ARRL Repeater Directory and program in some of the repeaters in your area!

Hopefully, this guide has helped you program your BaoFeng using CHIRP and you are left with fewer questions and more knowledge.

70 COMMENTS

    • I believe Baofeng has a 7watt radio not sure of the model. I currently use a Baofeng Uv-5r on the fire department I work on, this is a great little talk and receive radio. I did get the extended battery and it lasts a long time. I also monitor nearby towns as well. I have gone to a city 14 miles away from my home town and was still able to receive the city’s fire department on the Uv-5r with the stock antenna. I was impressed with it even more. Have not ordered a shoulder mic yet. I have also ordered a uv-6r but have not even got it programmed yet so I can’t write a decent review on that radio yet.

      • Greg,
        I just bought a couple of UV-5R radios and I’m trying to program them with CHIRP.
        do you know anyone who might help me with the programing? I have been able to connect my radio to my computer and down load and I have a list of fire and police for Mesa and Apache junction but I want to set up my radios so I don’t broadcast by mistake and I’m not sure how to do that.

        • You need the older prolific driver for vista it works on windows 10 it is version 3.2.2 use that it’s works new drivers don’t seem to recognised check com port in device manager make sure it’s working properly it’s usually com 3 but on some gear it’s com 4 uninstall the newer driver version first then install the older driver from chirp or milkor site

        • I have a boafeng gt3 tp. It will not transmit on gmrs. I own 2 others and transmit fine. If I enter other freq it transmits fine. Doesn’t seem to want to use the 483 band. I try using frequency mode and it won’t accept the frequency either
          It says cancel every time. Any ideas or suggest will be awesome.

      • The UV-5R Series 3 has 8 watt broadcast power. It says under the battery. But to program with chirp I have to use UV-8HF Radio. The Uv5r is not compatible with my series 3.

        • Series 3? Does not exsist, would love to put it on a meter its likely 5 watts. As are any series of uv5r except the uv5rtp the tp stands for tri power be careful ebay sucks.

  1. Would you consider the UV6R to be a good radio? It says it’s a 5W/1W radio, where the 5R is only a 1W radio (from what I understand). And the price is about the same ($10.00 difference, I think).

  2. One more question. If I have some frequencies, but I don’t have the other information (call sign, tonefreq, code, polarity, or mode) will I still be able to program them into the radio? Would I just enter the frequencies into your spreadsheet and upload it, or do I need to get the other information (I can get the callsign, but I’m not sure about the rest of the information.)?

    Thanks. 🙂
    Patrick.

  3. Great article, but I recently purchased a new Baofeng BF-F8HP radio, and an FTDI cable from
    AnyTone. No matter what software or drivers I use, and no matter which Com
    Ports I use, I get the same warning [ “An error has occurred, could not open
    port Com XXX: [Error 5] Access is denied.”] and am unable to connect to the
    radio. I have tried this on both my Win 7 Pro and my Win 10 machines with
    exactly the same results. I also have noticed that no matter what Com Port I
    choose, I get a message that some other application is already using it [I have
    tried ports all the way from 14 into the low 100’s], which of course, I can
    hardly believe. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Mark

    • Try a new version of Chirp. Also look at the driver for your cable that gets installed when you plug in your cable. The driver I have luck with is 3.2.00 for the Prolific chipset.

    • Agree with Bi go. Go to the miklor website noted above under Programming Cable and follow those instructions to install the 3..2.00 driver. I had the same issues and that solved it

    • My UV-5R I have to use the model you have toget chirp to work. Make sure you use the usb port when answering the question in chip software. So you may try the other models Boafeng has.

  4. I’m a bit confused about this and the HAM stories – if an EMP hits, won’t both of these devices be rendered useless? I keep hearing about faraday cages, but there’s no guarantee anyone has built one well enough to have their devices survive such a first strike scenario. Who’s going to keep their equipment in a cage 24/7? I’m not trying to be snarky, but as a fairly new prepper, I honestly don’t understand. TIA…

    • GO TO AMAZON COM AND THEY HAVE THE BAGS. DIFFRINT SIZES. LOW COST. I HAVE MY SOLAR GENERATOR AND MOST OF MY ELECTRONICS FOR WHEN THE SHTF. MY BOAFENG UV-82 I PUT IT IN EVERY NIGHT. EVEN HAVE ONE IN THE CAR JUST IN CASE.
      YOU CAN GET A METAL TRASH CAN WITH A TIGHT LID AND COVER THE INSIDE WITH CARD BOARD. MAKE SURE YOU SEAL ALL THE SEAMS WITH DUCT TAPE. THE LID NEEDS TO BE SEALED TIGHT ALSO. THEN JUST PLACE YOUR ELECTRONICS INSIDE AND CLOSE THE LID AND SEAL IT. HAVE FUN!

  5. I am brand new to the shortwave genre, but, as a long time electronics/computer tech, I have learned not to quit when following instructions that might come from different sources. Reading the directions 8 or 9 times also helps. It took me about 4 hours from start to getting the Marine VHF channels on my radio. Next, I’ll program my other radios. When all 3 are programed, I might set 2 up and key the mic once or twice, just to see if I did everything correct to this point. I’ll work on this some more next weekend.
    .
    Overall, a very helpful tutorial, with good follow on links.

  6. I have the new BF-F9+TP and the factory frequencies are lock to 130-140mhz and 430-440mhz. Can I unlock all of those frequencies with CHIRP or do I have to use the Baofeng software?
    Thanks a lot !

    • its up to the seller, some dont wanna sell products that can transmit where there not supposed to, so no there will not be it would have to be a internal mod. Why donyou want to tx on illegal bands either way?

    • Illegal to use eccept for ham radio peroid i see you have law enforcement frequencies programed as low marine vhf?

  7. Got a camo uv-5r recently from ebay, programmed in 5 local 2m repeaters, 4 of them work fine in channel mode, but VA3LON, at147.060000+, 114.8, does NOT open the repeater on channel mode, but when I switch to frequency mode, hits the repeater every time…I have re-written the parameters for this repeater many, many times, copied the info to multiple channels, but just can’t get it to access this one repeater in channel mode…..any thoughts why, anybody?
    Murray, VE3FVE, London, Ontario, Canada

    • You are not setting it correctly if you are doing it from the radio the input has to be saved seperately so you program the output and then the input with the pl to the same mem.

  8. Excellent step by step tutorial. Congratulations to you for the job. You can explain me how to make a copy of the existing config step by step? Thank you.

  9. I recently bought the Baofeng U V5 R Plus. Installed the Driver FTDI Chip. Driver works, Com 1. Went to get info from Radio. Message appears, error. The radio isn’t sending data. I’ve checked the connection, pushed it down followed the directions. It’s not working. This is a 20 cable. I reset it. Now speaks Chinese. Menu 14 does have any other options, i.e. English. I have the transceiver in memory mode and A.

  10. I just bought a couple of UV-5R radios and I’m trying to program them with CHIRP.
    do you know anyone who might help me with the programing? I have been able to connect my radio to my computer and down load and I have a list of fire and police for Mesa and Apache junction but I want to set up my radios so I don’t broadcast by mistake and I’m not sure how to do that.

    • In chirp you can set to receive only. It’s in the tab field to the right. Check in the help panel it will explain how to use the skip option in the scan too..

      If you need further assistance email me. Km4emg@gmail.com

  11. Hi, I’m a total noob to these radios

    I am able to set in the local Free to Use frequencies that we have here in the UK

    My question is about TONE ,,

    I have a Motorola that straight outbthe box works. It picks up Tone signals and sends them without even having alternative settings available ..

    My Baofeng BF1 mini thing , doesn’t send out a tone ,,, I realise because the Motorola doesn’t open the channel.

    What setting should I be alright using ?

  12. Let make myself clear one more time, not legal to “test” on repeaters if you have no license and not legal for any other txing then ham frequencies they are not marine radios and unless your on the water you need a license tonuse marine radio on land. Yes this changes in a shtf situation and forget about the fcc in that case. But what warrents an emergency in your mine may not in the eyes of the law. Fines minimum of 15k. Anything below 156.mhz IS NOT A MARINE FREQUENCY ITS LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT!

  13. Have a baofeng 5r plus and download everything chirp is Work radio is downloading but when I go to get frequencies for my area it keep saying channels not found

  14. Subscribe to Radio Reference dot com and use it with CHIRP. Makes it easy and adds everything needed to get most BaoFeng radios to transmit and receive.

  15. I purchased the Baofeng BF-F8HP and the proper programming cable. I downloaded CHIRP and was able to input the frequencies I want on my HT. My problem is on the CHIRP table column after the frequency, I have inputted the abreviated name of that repeater and when I upload it to the radio, it clones with no problem. Where the problem lies in when I go from Channel 1 to Channel 2, etc. the name associated with that repeater does not match up; it stays on the Channel 1 name. How do you match both the A and B parts of the screen to stay together when you advance to another channel?

  16. Hi, noob here, when I download chirp it goes to a file saved to my desktop (or download file) but won’t open from there. Keeps downloading but won’t run the program. Thoughts?

    • this is why people need to get a license. It forces you to actually understand radio basics.

      CB is HF or High Frequency
      the BaoFeng is VHF or Very High Frequency

      in a nutshell, you cannot receive HF signal on a VHF transceiver any more than you can receive it on a typical FM radio 🙂

      ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_frequency

  17. Your instructions are awesome!! posted in my review on Amazon along with the link to the proper cord to do the programming. By far, the most clear instructions.

  18. Got the 6 pack and trying to program the 3rd radio but now it won’t upload to radio. Getting error message: “An error has occurred – Failed to send block to radio at 0000” I’m following all the steps just like before… odd thing is it uploads from radio just fine, I paste the copied frequencies in line one, just like yesterday’s successful 2 radio upload, but this one isn’t doing it. Tried turning on & off radio, unplugging & plugging back in the cable, tried changing channels on the radio (think I discovered yesterday that it had to be on channel 1 to complete the upload) but nothing seems to work. All instructions say that Python run thing only needs installed once to make CHIRP work.. No clue what do. Please advise.

  19. I had that problem with mine and it turned out that I had not fully inserted the cable plug into the radio. The first time you have to push it hard until it seats. After that it goes in easy. And this is not a joke with innuendo.

  20. Just got the chirp and the uv-5r connected on an ubuntu laptop. Can read all day long from the uv-5r, but when I go to upload, it is greyed out. Found out that Ihad installed a version of chirp from 2017, and removed that, and did a daily build install, still nothing. Then I turned on the developer functions, shut it down and started it back up, and still no upload. What am I missing?

    KA8NBG

  21. Just used your site to program F8-HF pair I just bought a week ago. No license yet but its coming.
    Thank you for making all that easy to follow information available to me and countless others who need it. Feb 2020.

  22. Under step 1
    After I get info from my radio, “cloning”, light on programming cable blinks on and off—-Then I press “OK”. Then I get this message “An error has occurred- No response from radio” Anyone had this problem? Need Help!!!

  23. Hi Im new from South Africa,bought 4 Biofeng radio’s but,have the programming cable and Cd,can any body assist me from start to program them all on the same Freqeuncy Please?

    Thank you

  24. a very good beginning for me to use,unfortunatlly I got hung up at open stock config–I don’t know what these all mean for me to use. I just got my tech license and am having all kinds of problems getting started,any help would be nice–vern

  25. Trying to find the correct wiring connections I presume on a 2.5mm jack plug to program the FT-4XE. Like looking and finding Rocking Horse droppings. (i.e tip, ring and shaft of plug). Interestig coments all appreiciated. Most outlets have gone out of stock on the Yaesu SCU -35 leads and other places are asking stupid prices for the same. 73 to all de John – G0WXU.

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