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How to install the Baofeng USB programming cable and software

Baofeng UV-5R.jpgBaofeng handheld two way radios are well known among amateur radio operators everywhere. Models such as the UV-3R, UV-B6, BF-F9 and the legendary UV-5R are a common staple in the modern ham shack, and with good reason. These radios are compact, easy to use, versatile and, best of all, extremely inexpensive. They are some of the most affordable amateur radios on the market. These attributes have made Baofeng a household name in the ham community.

However, programming a Baofeng radio from a computer isn't all that intuitive and can become messy even for the most experienced ham who is not used to Chinese-made radios. The USB cable driver offered by Baofeng is buggy and the programming software made by the manufacturer is, for all intents and purposes, junk.

Fortunately, there are other options available, and once properly installed, they are actually quite good. You just need to know where to find these options and how to install them properly. Once that is accomplished, programming is usually a breeze.

To find and install the Baofeng USB Programming Cable driver and programming software correctly, follow the instructions below. NOTE: follow these instructions completely and in order. Failure to do so may only bring more frustration when things don't work.

1. To start, the computer should be on and the radio should be off.

2. Locate the correct USB programming driver for your operating system. You can download the Prolific driver for Windows, Mac and Linux at If you purchased the Baofeng UV Series USB Programming Cable from Buy Two Way Radios, the driver will be on the CD included with the cable in the USB Cable Driver folder. Insert the CD and go to USB Cable Driver > USB Cable Driver Prolific This is the correct driver.

3. Install the USB programming cable driver. Do NOT connect the USB cable at this time.

4. Locate the CHIRP Programming Software for your operating system. The latest stable build for Windows XP, 7, 8, MAC and Linux can be downloaded from It is also included on the Buy Two Way Radios CD in the CHIRP Programming Software folder. Choose the appropriate folder for your operating system. Install the program but do not run it yet.

5. Plug the USB programming cable into the USB port on your computer. Plug the other end of the cable into your radio and turn it on.

* Additional steps for Windows *

- There may or may not be a notification after connection. To verify the connection, check the Windows Device Manager. Access to the Device Manager will depend on your version of Windows. Once in Device Manager, click on Ports (COM and LPT). It should be listed as Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COMX). X denotes the COM port number. Note the number and write it down if necessary, as you will need to know it when configuring the programming software.

- If there is a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark next to the USB device, Windows did not install the driver correctly. To correct the issue, right-click on the device and choose Update Driver Software on the pop-up menu. Choose Browse My Computer to install the driver manually. Choose Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Choose Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port Version: and click NEXT. The correct driver should install and the yellow notification should disappear from the Device Manager. Note the COM Port number.

6. Run the CHIRP Programming Software. Click Go to Radio on the menu bar and choose Download From Radio. Choose the COM Port number for the USB cable, the Vendor (Baofeng) and the model of the radio (such as UV-5R) from the drop down lists in the pop-up box. Your radio should be connected to the computer and CHIRP should now be able to communicate with it.

* Additional Instructions for Windows laptops *

On some laptops, the device manager may indicate the cable is installed correctly, but CHIRP may not detect the COM Port. This may occur if Windows Power Management is enabled on the device. To activate the cable, go to the Device Manager and right click on Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COMX). X denotes the COM port number. Click Properties on the pop-up menu. Click the Power Management tab. Remove the check from the box next to Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power and click Apply or Save.

To verify the connection, Run the CHIRP Programming Software. Click Go to Radio on the menu bar and choose Download From Radio. Choose the COM Port number for the USB cable, the Vendor (Baofeng) and the model of the radio (such as the UV-5R) from the drop down lists in the pop-up box. The program should download the frequencies from the radio. When it completes the data transfer, the frequency table will appear on the screen. The radio is now ready to program through your computer.

As an authorized Baofeng Dealer, we want installation to be as easy and painless as possible so you can enjoy your radios for many years to come. If these instructions are followed correctly, you should not have any difficulty connecting the Baofeng radio to your computer. After the initial setup, future connection to the computer should be a matter of simply plugging the USB programming cable into your radio and computer and running CHIRP.

RPC-K1-UF-1.jpgNote: If you followed the installation instructions and are still having trouble, there is now another solution available. The XLT Painless Programming Cable installs quickly and easily on computers with Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Installation is automatic on many systems with little or no user interaction required. The XLT Painless Programming Cable works with Baofeng, Kenwood, Wouxun and other two way radios equipped with standard two pin Kenwood connectors.

Update: Hear our review of the Baofeng UV-5R Programming Cable in Episode #82 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast!


Thank You!! Thank You!! After a long and frustrating day using instructions from other websites written in Chinglish, I found yours. What a relief. I'm now up and running with a working driver for my programming cable and the CHIRP software. If I could, I'd buy you all a beer.


Dave, KE7WGR

Dear Dave,

I had no problem even with other software like UV3-R on my Win7 pc.

However on Win8.1 Chirp when asked to read stops before even asking me the comport.

Happy New Year, Richard

Followed all your directions and still can't upload freq list. Link to upload does not highlight. Connection to radio is successful. What's wrong?

Rick--I can only up load some of the frequency selections that I got from the log book via chirp. but when I tried to narrow it down to York county only--I was unable to get the upload to become bold so that it would work--I have tried naming it--but again cant get the save or save as to become bold.
can you walk me through the" save it" portion again--I'm not doing something correct.
the sc --all-- is working and I can upload it ok--so that tells me the com port 3 is the correct one--I am still practicing with this and would like to get proficient before I type in all the ones that I will want to keep.

thanks for your help



Thank you! Your instructions were flawless. I had been spinning my wheels with the CD provided by Baofeng. I also found your link to Jim Unroe's The (Chinese) Radio Documentation Project invaluable. Thanks again for sharing this great information.

I have an odd problem connecting my UV-5R2 to my mac. When I connect my radio to my computer it instantly starts to transmit... It transmits as soon as I plug in the USB. Looks wierd to me. I have no experience in ham radios but this looks wrong... :)
When I check what's connected to USB on the computer I get 'Prolific Technology' so I guess that's ok.

Have anyone expericenced this before?

I'm on Mac OS Lion.

I don't understand why the transmitter is keyed when connecting/uploading (via) the USB.

You don't have the right COM port

When I go to download my info to chirp it says (could not open port COM5: [Error 5] Access is denied) can anyone help

I've spent the past week trying to get the cable to even be recognized for my uv-5ra. I've installed the prolific drivers, uninstalled them, followed every instruction there was and nothing. If anyone could help, I'd be grateful.

I just got a UV-5R and followed these very well-written instructions. Downloaded and installed the USB driver. Downloaded and installed CHIRP. Followed all directions, made sure the plug was in the radio all the way. Then tried Radio>Download from radio. I got a pop up saying it may not work but procedeed. A little box opened indicating data being transferred.

And it didn't work. So tried a few more times.

I kept getting a pop-up saying the radio didn't want to cooperate, althoug hthe Com port was correct. Although I thought I read that the radio should be tuned to a channel that was NOT operating, I tried tuning the radio a channel that WAS operational. And it worked - all the channel info from the radio was copied to CHIRP, allowing me to edit it.

Hope this is helpful.

Rich made a valuable observation. Do in this exact order:

1. Make sure radio is off.
2. Connect the cable to the radio. Make sure it's all the way in.
3. Connect the other end of the cable to your computer's USB port
4. Turn the radio on.
5. Within CHIRP, click Radio>Download from radio

After a couple of pop-up windows, CHIRP should import what's on your radio's channels. Then you can edit. When done, click Radio>Upload to radio, and it should transfer your new presets. Save your file someplace you can find it again.

Note: When uploading from radio to CHIRP, be sure your radio is tuned to an active station - in spite of the instructions you'll see pop up. #4 says, "Ensure that the radio is tuned to channel with no activity." I tune it to a channel that IS active - the little green light on the face of the unit is on or flashing. If I tune to a random station and there's no green light, I get a message saying CHIRP can't communicate with the radio. Very confusing!

I've tried all the above methods including trimming the programming cable plug and connec=ting into a PC and Mac but it always goes to transmit as soon as cable plugged into USB port

i cant program my 5r+ ... i keep getting " radio did not respond" HELP!!

I have both a Baofeng and a Anytone tranciever. I have tried loading this software as directed on both windows XP and windows 8 on two separate computers and I cannot get either radio to communicate with either computer. The drivers are installed and I am using the correct port. I'm about to throw these Chinese radios away. Anyone have any suggestions?

UV-5RA and "Genuine BAOFENG" cable ordered from Amazon recently. Could't get Mac OS 10.9 to recognize cable no matter the driver. Windows 7 installed drivers automatically. As soon as radio is turned on, it begins transmitting several times per second continuously. ONCE I got the channels to download from the radio to CHIRP by unplugging and reconnecting the USB while leaving the radio on. Oddly, if I lift the radio a few inches off the desk, it starts transmitting continuously instead of repeatedly. I've been working on this for days - trying every driver and reading every set of instructions I can find. I'm throwing the cable and mini CD and radio in the garbage. Honestly, I expected such "quality" from a $28 radio when I ordered it, so no big loss. :)

Bought new UV82 a couple weeks ago. Was able to download from the radio, change the freqs, and upload again.

Bought new UV-B6 radios, but can't get them to upload - Radio Did Not Respond. Using Comm 3.

Using Chirp 0.4.0


I had the same problem of the radio not responding/error/transmitting until I unchecked the power management box as described in the additional instructions for laptops section. After I did that, everything worked as advertised. I have the BF-F8+ which doesn't appear on the CHIRP radio menu for Baofeng but selecting the f5+ worked fine.

Followed as directed on my laptop and no problems. Thank you very much. Love this little radio.

Thanks for the cheat sheet. Worked great with the UV-82. I had this working under Windows 8.0, but hadn't had to use since I programmed my UV-5R and TYT radios about a year ago. When I plugged in the imitation Prolific cable, I got the yellow triangle in the device manager. Did a search and found this site. Cloned the all 3 radios are identical (love that UV-82 so far...the 0 key is where it's supposed to be!!).

Thanks again!

Thanks Jim, My Baofeng also starts transmitting, until I unchecked the power management box. Although I am not using a laptop but a normal windows7 PC.

Installed drivers and CHRIP and worked good. When I tried again a message said "radio didn't go into program mode". Windows 8 and UV6B radio.

Software installed and works fine for my UV B6 dual band handheld.
There was no listing for the UV B6 in the CHIRP list of devices so I chose the UV B5.

Successfully downloaded the parameters that were on the UV B6. I added another repeater frequency to the table, uploaded the new parameters and
the UV B6 showed the changes.


what about linux...had the same problems in windows so i went back to knoppix 7.2...chirp only shows uv3...doesnt rcognise uv5+ or uv5rax+....thinking these radios need a or linux...all problematic...even tried ubuntu.

run from terminal sudo chirpw

I had some serious frustration with this. If your a Mac user: it's essential to go through this.

Apparently the knoppix 7.2 repository contains a very, very old version of CHIRP. Follow the instructions for linux on the CHIRP website so you can get access to the latest stable release or the latest daily build.

I have the BF-F8+. Using CHIRP. After uploading, it puts whatever frequency I put in Ch.000 into every channel I had input anything on the radio.
If I leave Ch.000 blank and start with Ch.1, then it puts136.025 into every channel I had input anything into on the radio.
I'm about to give up.

I followed your direction and keep getting a code 10,,nothing i tried from your instruction works,,,is there a driver disc that i can get ????? thanks joe

The top [A] display and bottom [B] display are independent from each other. They cannot be automatically synchronized.

When the top display is selected (black triangle to the top left) and you scroll through the programmed channels, the channel number in the bottom display does not change. That is why you keep seeing 136.025 on the bottom display when you scroll through the channels on the top display.

Tap the [A/B] key to select the bottom display (black triangle to the bottom left) and then scroll through the channels. You will now see the frequency change on the bottom display and the top display will not change. That's how the radio is supposed to work..

Rich and Barnes,

You must download from your radio to CHIRP first to create a compatible template for your radio. A compatible template will always have "Baofeng UV-5R: " (or whatever matches your radio) on the left side of the tab.


Tell me where your garbage is so I can fetch the radio and cable. You might just have a bad cable. Might be not plugging it into the radio far enough ... I had that problem. I haven't seen any MacOS instructions for making this work ... but maybe the problem is just as "Prolific" on there as it is on Windows. That just proves that your MAC can't fix everything.

Alan, I agree. Roger's problems are driver related. With Prolific chips on Windows, genuine or not, you might as well plan to downgrade the drivers. V2.0.2.1 for Windows XP and V3.2.0.0 for Windows Vista, 7 and 8. They are available from the website. I have a mixture of cables with genuine and knock-off chips. I never have to worry about which driver is in stalled because the older drivers work with both.

And yes, Prolific drivers for Mac OS X have the same issues with knock-off chips. The needed generic drivers are available from links on the CHIRP website wiki/documentation pages.

The Linux open source drivers don't care which Prolific chip you have. CHIRP Live CD uses the Xubuntu linux OS. It boots from a CD or USB flash drive without messing with your regular OS. If you boot this CD and your programming cable works, but it doesn't work in Windows or Mac OS X, then you can be reasonably be sure that you have a driver problem.

I've installed practically every Windows Prolific driver that I could get my hands on to figure out which one was the best to have installed. It really isn't that difficult to get the older compatible drivers installed. You just have to each and every step. But after doing that, and you still seem to be having problems, then get the XLT Painless programming cable. It uses the FTDI USB-to-serial chip and has compatible drivers for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more.


I followed the instruction and installed the driver and Chirp. When cloning from the radio I still get the error "radio did not respond" Is there something else I need to do? I'm running win 7 on a Dell 64 bit laptop.
Any help would be appreciated.


Double check Device Manager to make sure that you have successfully downgraded to the v3.2.0.0 driver. You not only have to install it, you have to specifically select it instead of the v3.4 something driver that Windows 7 automatically installs.

Along with the video posted here, you may also want to take a look at the instructions here:

If you have verified with Device Manager that the v3.2.0.0 is installed and selected, then the problem is likely the plug is not fully inserted into the radio's socket. Like getting a compatible driver installed, getting the plug fully seated in the radio is also a common problem. Look here for some suggestions:


I was just wondering if anyone has used the UV5R programming cable with the UV82? Looking at them they look exactly the same to my eye but there is one marketed for the UV5R and BF-F8+ models and one market for the UV82 by itself. The 5R cable is about $6 while the UV82 one is $20. Is there a difference that requires the use of a special cable for the UV82 or will the UV5R cable work just as good?

This is truly a painless cable once I quit trying to make it difficult. I had read every article I could find about programming cables for the UV-5RA and tried to manually install this auto loading cable. I finally uninstalled my failed attempt through Windows Device Manager, restarted the computer and let the cable successfully install itself on my XP laptop and pc running Windows 7. Thanks for a great product.

Thanks for the Infro. I was now able to get my newest radio Uv5ra to connect. To my computer. Your easy to understand statement sure help me do just that. Question I now can see a list of Fq, and tone sq, Duplex and Offset Ect. What do I do from there, am kind of lost .. I have a few FQ, I would like to put in, how do I proceed getting this in.
Call sign J73ge Handle .. Gerry

I read somewhere durng my exploits into programing my Baofeng GT-3 radio that you will use the UV-5r programing as the GT-3 Mark II is an upgraded version of the UV-5 and after cloning the radio they lost sound in frequency mode and were only able to hear with a headset. well, I figured out the problem and wanted to share...
in the column next to the frequency is "name" and after is "tone mode", tone mode must be (none) to work properly. after changing all the tone modes it worked as normal. to do so I had to delete the line and re enter it. good luck, hope this helps.

Boafang BF-F8HP is not on the chirp model drop down list for either the upload or download. I used the UV-5R to download but it would not upload ?//

I used chirp to set up the first radio and it went fine. When I went to start 2 new radios, (uv-5rv2+) when ever I plug in the programming cable the TX comes on and stays on,
Did my cable just go to pieces or any other problems

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