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A Real Baofeng UV-5R Owners Manual

Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band RadioThe Baofeng UV-5R is very popular among ham radio enthusiasts, and for good reason! It is a dual band radio (2m/70cm) with tons of options at an almost unbelievable low price. This has made the UV-5R a perfect choice for amateur radio newcomers as well as a must-have for long time hobbyists.

The biggest complaint with the Baofeng UV-5R? The lack of documentation. Baofeng is a Chinese manufacturer and these products are imported (this helps explain the low price). It is pretty common for imported radios to have poor documentation, and the UV-5R is no exception. A printed users manual is included with the radio, but it doesn't even scratch the surface in explaining the many functions of the UV-5R.

Looking for a better option, I stumbled upon The (Chinese) Radio Documentation Project. This project aims to create quality documentation for popular but notoriously poorly documented Chinese amateur radios. The project, created by Lennart Lidberg, produces open source documentation that is released under an extremely generous license.

Fortunately for us, the radio that they have started with is the Baofeng UV-5R. They have released version 1.0 of their manual and it is detailed, illustrated, and extremely well written. Anyone who was hesitant to purchase this radio in the past because of poor documentation can now scratch that concern from their list.

Writing manuals like this one is a very time consuming process and it is extremely generous that they are releasing the documentation to the community for free. If this manual was helpful to you, I would encourage you to visit the project web site and make a donation. Donations show that the work was appreciated, and will encourage them to keep the documentation up to date and add other products in the future.

55 thoughts on “A Real Baofeng UV-5R Owners Manual”

  • Scott

    I just ran across Zack's comments about transmitting on Law Enforcement Frequencies. As Every Licenced Radio Amateur knows, he is absolutely incorrect. We ARE allowed to transmit on these frequencies in cases of risk of injury, and loss of property, It is part of our license grant.
    Another point of info: in the last 4 years, Beofeng has changed the antennas they supply with their radios, and they now supply one of the most efficient manufacturer supplied antennas on the market as per both real-world tests as well as MFJ antenna analyzer results... Far too many people complain about these radios without hands on experience. The only issue I have found and as an engineer solved with a simple power jack and a silicon diode is the lack of exactly that, a power jack. I also put a linear voltage regulator in a cigarette lighter plug to keep the voltage down to 8 volts going into that jack. But this is what a ham does.. the total cost of this including the radio was under 29 bucks. 5 bucks nore for a beofeng mag mount antenna. How cheap can you go fora 5 watt dual band to keep in the glove box? And yes YOU CAN program them by hand. its easier than programming in BASIC....

  • Ron

    When I say to show the channel on the bottom of the screen, it stays locked on channel 0. It does not change the channel number when i manually change the number? Any ideas?

  • Dave, KB1F

    Hey Folks,
    Thanks for this site! I got my Extra Class license in the early 1970s, but it was a "Technician" kid I work with (KC1ICC), who turned me on to the Baofeng. Your extensive documentation manual is extremely useful, and I've now got the gizmo up-and-running on a couple of repeaters, one of which is located on a mountain top about 60 miles away, in Western Mass. The fact that I'm able to hit that distant repeater with a useable signal, employing only the "long whip" antenna and the Baofeng's 5-watt output, absolutely astounds me. However, with appropriate humility, I've also got to say that I've funded the "kid" who recommended it to do all of the Baofeng programming for me. So I get to just kick back and have fun with it. Hey, for $30 bucks, this little radio is a "steal" -- but an Electrical Engineering background is apparently a huge asset in trying to get the dang thing to work. Such is life in the contemporary cyber-world.

  • Rick

    To restore a Baofeng UV-5R to English language, check out How to reset a Baofeng UV-5R two way radio and follow the instructions in the last section of the article subtitled "To set language from Chinese to English".
    As for your question about static, what band and frequencies did you assign to those channels? The UV-5R is an analog radio. Is it possible those are encrypted, scrambled or digital transmissions you receiving? If so, "static" is all you will hear.

  • David

    How do you get English language back and actually make receive a channel. I enter local channels but only get static. Should have bought a real one

  • Andy

    Thank you guys very for this manual.
    I donated $10.00 to help you along in your work.

  • Rick

    Although it has scan capability, the Baofeng UV-5RE is not a dedicated radio scanner, it is an amateur two way radio, similar to the original UV-5R. We carry the UV-5R but we do not carry the UV-5RE, so we do not have a manual specifically for this model. However, since the two radios are very similar, the UV-5R manual should help somewhat. The article above includes a link to a UV-5R manual.

  • Jarrod Dark

    my friends I need your help I have a railroad scanner called Baofeng UV-5RE and I have already two Norfolk frequencies in on my railroad scanner and I need help how to listen to them autoimatcally without smashing the moni button. my 2 ns frequencies I got now is 160.245 and 160.950 and I didn't get instruction manuel at all. guys call help me please.

  • Rick

    The article How to reset a Baofeng UV-5R two way radio includes simple instructions on how to set the language from Chinese to English.
    Based on your comment, it is possible your radio may not be programmed to receive any frequencies. The Baofeng UV-5R usually needs to be programmed to specific frequencies out of the box. The radio can be programmed from the keypad through the menu on the radio itself or through a PC with a programming cable and software such as CHIRP.

  • Dave garofalo

    How do i get it to speak english and whenreciving it dosent pick up transmisson

  • Francois

    Hi how so i lock out a chanel on my uv5r manualy

  • George Twitchell

    I have recently programed my UV5RA with CHIRPS and it worked fine but I had put the wrong freq in fornone of my channels and needed to add 3 more channels, so when dodwnloaded the data from radio and changed/added to it and then uploaded again;; it came back talking in Chinaese and world not transmit at all when PTT pushed. I got the radio back to talking in english but have not been able ato lget it back to a point where it will transmit when PTT pushed (LED backlight does not come on in transmit and one short beep only. I am baffled. Thanks K7NOI/George

  • David

    How to change device language from Chinese to English. The voice is in Chinese explaining the directions on how to programing. Is it a quick fix.

  • Ben

    Can anyone tell me how I can enter a programmed channel by using the key pad numbers. For instance I want to work channel 20 and after that channel 58, how can I enter that by the key pad not using the up and down buttons

  • Rick

    Hi Barton, unless the programming cable and software was purchased from Buy Two Way Radios, installation may be a wild card. You can try the instructions in the article How to install the Baofeng USB programming cable and software. It may help.

  • Barton Pearson
    Barton Pearson March 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I need HELP!!! I bought a Baofeng UV-5R5 radio and a programming software / USB driver disk and cable. I tried to install it on my computer and the driver will not load the USB adapter correctly and the radio programming software only brings up ?? question marks ?? when I open it. Can you help? You can contact me at the email address. Thank you

  • Bob Parr

    Is there information on how to program the FM side of the radio..
    Thank you

  • Rick

    Hi Zack, a radio can transmit on Part 97 amateur frequencies and still be Part 90 certified for business use. There is no Part 97 certification required for radios, so technically and legally, a business radio that is capable of transmitting on ham frequencies can be also be used as an amateur radio. If such Part 97 type acceptance was required, much of the experimentation and DIY radio builds that are part of the hobby would not be possible, because a ham would not be able to build a radio themselves without FCC certification of the device, thus stifling any sort of experimentation and innovation at all.
    On another note, the Baofeng UV-5R is indeed Part 90 type accepted for business use. The FCC ID is ZP5BF-5R. If in doubt, look it up in the FCC ID database.

  • Zack

    Hey, You are not legally allowed to transmit on law enforcement frequencies ever, If you are a first responder you need to get a proper radio for your tasks. Talk to someone in your station, or wherever you work. If you are not a first responder. You NEVER EVER EVER transmit on law enforcement frequencies. Seriously it is a felony in the United States. Even if it is to save a life. You should never use law enforcement frequencies. Use any other ones you wish only if someones life is in danger. However, cell phones are your best bet. Sorry. From an emergency communications perspective you should learn how to be a ham radio operator. The licence is 15 dollars or less. And then you have frequencies that you can legally operate on, and usually you can get help through the network of repeaters and/or autopatch.
    However some have said it is part 90 certified. However it is not because it can transmit on part 97 frequencies, and therefore cannot be part 90 certified. Coming from a ham operator, you should not buy this radio to transmit on the frequencies you wish. Get a specific radio for those purposes, buy a real business radio for business radio purposes. If you are law enforcement you might be able to get a radio from your unit or district if you just want one to carry around. Transmitting on law enforcement frequencies can be dangerous because it can impede a response to another emergency. They do prioritize. Just because you think the emergency is important, doesn't mean that it really is. They look for the greater good. One person vs ten people kind of thing. They will save 10 and sacrifice 1 if they have too.

  • randall welborn
    randall welborn December 4, 2015 at 8:03 am

    hey i have a few qustions on the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio i saw it on amazon.com can you transmit on law enforcement frequencies and on business radieos


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