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How to manually program the Baofeng UV-5R from the keypad

Baofeng UV-5R-2.jpgThe Baofeng UV-5R is one of the most popular dual band handheld two way radios on the market worldwide. It's compact, feature packed, and very inexpensive. For many users who are new to programming portables, it is also one of the most challenging to program, primarily due to a poorly written user manual and an all but complete lack of support from its manufacturer, Baofeng.

Fortunately, there are some helpful resources available from a global community of UV-5R enthusiasts, including an easier to read and understand owner's manual and an excellent software application designed to program the UV-5R from a computer. The programming software is called CHIRP, and it is freely available online.

Of course, CHIRP is a great solution, provided you have a computer, an easy to install programming cable and the time to input all the data for 128 channels. But, what if you are on the road or out in the field and don't have a computer handy? What if you need to add in a frequency or program a channel on the fly?

We often receive calls from customers who just purchased their first Baofeng UV-5R from Buy Two Way Radios and want to know how to to operate it. More specifically, they want to know how to program their radio manually, directly from the radio itself.

So, here's how to do it. Follow the instructions below to manually program your Baofeng UV-5R direct from the keypad of the radio.

How to manually program a simplex channel

  • Step 1. Press [VFO/MR] and enter Frequency Mode.
  • Step 2. Press [A/B] and choose the A Side (upper display).
    The A side must be used to program channels into the radio. Programming data entered on the B Side (lower display) will not be saved.
  • Step 3. Press [BAND] for the frequency band.
    Toggle [BAND] to choose 136 MHz (VHF) or 470 MHz (UHF).
    If the incorrect band is chosen for the frequency entered in Step 5, the radio will cancel the operation.
  • Step 4. Disable TDR (Dual Watch/Dual Standby).
    Press [MENU] 7 [MENU] [press up/down arrow keys] OFF [MENU] [EXIT]
    It is highly advised to turn TDR off when programming directly from the radio.
  • Step 5. Enter the frequency.
    Use the keypad to enter the frequency into the radio.
  • Step 6. optional - Enter the transmit CTCSS/DCS code.
    • CTCSS - [MENU] 13 [MENU] [enter/choose code XXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • DCS - [MENU] 12 [MENU] [choose code XXXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 7. Assign the frequency to a channel.
    [MENU] 27 [MENU] [enter channel number XXX] [MENU] [EXIT]

How to manually program a repeater channel

  • Step 1. Press [VFO/MR] and enter Frequency Mode.
  • Step 2. Press [A/B] and choose the A Side (upper display).
    Like the simplex channels, the A side must be used to program the repeater channels into the radio. Programming data entered on the B Side (lower display) will not be saved.
  • Step 3. Press [BAND] for the frequency band
    Toggle [BAND] to choose 136 MHz (VHF) or 470 MHz (UHF).
    If the incorrect band is chosen for the frequency entered in Step 6, the radio will cancel the operation.
  • Step 4. optional - Clear any CTCSS/DCS codes previously assigned to the channel.
    If no previous codes exist or when setting up the channel for the first time and no codes are needed, set the menu items listed below to OFF.

    • RX DCS - [MENU] 10 [MENU] [enter 0 (OFF)] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • RX CTCSS - [MENU] 11 [MENU] [enter 0 (OFF)] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • TX DCS - [MENU] 12 [MENU] [enter 0 (OFF)] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • TX CTCSS - [MENU] 13 [MENU] [enter 0 (OFF)] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 5. Disable TDR (DualWatch/Dual Standby).
    Press [MENU] 7 [MENU] [press up/down arrow keys] OFF [MENU] [EXIT]
    It is highly advised to turn TDR off when programming directly from the radio.
  • Step 6. optional - Delete any existing data on the channel to program.
    Skip this step when setting up the channel for the first time.
    Press [MENU] 28 [press up/down arrow keys to choose channel number] [MENU] [EXIT]
    It is highly advised to turn TDR off when programming directly from the radio.
  • Step 7. Enter the repeater output (your receiving) frequency.
    Use the keypad to enter the frequency into the radio.
  • Step 8. Input the repeater frequency offset.
    Press [MENU] 26 [MENU] [enter the offset for 2 meter or 70 cm repeater] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 9. Enter the Transmit Frequency Shift.
    Press [MENU] 25 [MENU] [enter 1 for positive shift or 2 for negative shift] [MENU][EXIT]
  • Step 10. optional - Enter the transmit CTCSS/DCS code.
    • CTCSS - [MENU] 13 [MENU] [enter/choose code XXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • DCS - [MENU] 12 [MENU] [choose code XXXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 11. Assign the receive frequency entered in Step 7 to the channel.
    [MENU] 27 [MENU] [enter channel number XXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 12. Press the [*Scan] button to activate Reverse Mode and display the transmit frequency.
  • Step 13. Assign the transmit frequency to the channel.
    Press [MENU] 27 [MENU] [enter the same memory channel entered in step 12] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 14. Press the [*Scan] button to exit Reverse Mode.

To add more channels, simply repeat the steps above. If these step-by-step instructions are followed correctly, you should be able to program all 128 channels (000-127) in your Baofeng UV-5R as you need.

118 thoughts on “How to manually program the Baofeng UV-5R from the keypad”

  • Robert A Stickel
    Robert A Stickel May 25, 2020 at 9:06 am

    My iv-5r has been autolkt. How can I override and turn off autolkt

    • Rick

      Do you mean the UV-5R? If you're locked out of the menu, hold the LOCK key down for two seconds until you hear the "unlock" voice confirmation and/or the L disappears from the display. Then go into the MENU, go to menu option 24 AUTOLK, press MENU to change the setting and use the arrow up and down keys to choose OFF. Press MENU again to confirm, then press EXIT. AUTOLK should now be disabled.

  • Avery

    I am just trying to program one radio exactly how another radio is programmed - my job uses these things (Baofeng uv-5re) as communication method while working in industrial freezer. I am trying to program one to replace a broken one from before I started.
    I how gotten the cable, I have downloaded CHIRP - I have copied every setting possible from one radio into the other and the new radio is still not on the same settings when I go through the menu on the radio. When I try to make changes right from the menu on the radio the changes do no save - I can't change from VHF to UHF - I cant get the N (narrow band) to change - it doesn't Ctss changes that I manually enter - HOW do i get manually entered changes to SAVE???? (yes, i have followed instructions that say menu, choose menu setting you want to change, press menu again, change the setting, press menu - exit. I have tried pressing menu THEN exit, and tried pressing Menu AND Exit at the same time - the changes still do NOT save) please help

    • Rick

      We only carry the original UV-5R, but the UV-5RE is essentially the same radio, except for the firmware. If it refuses to save any changes by either programming manually or through CHIRP, it is possible there may be an issue with the firmware or the radio. If the firmware is different between the two models, the results can be unpredictable. If the firmware is the same, the radio may be defective. You may need to contact your dealer for support.

  • R. Alberto


    I like how you think, I was 12 when in the 70's start playing with a hygain radio building a quad antenna with pieces of wood, few years later I got my license and build my HF station, welding tubes to create a tower; be young helps a lot but we can just bully everyone showing interest in ham radio...that ham tracking people like FCC police instead to talk and explain how easy can be lawful is sad..the result are in front us...we have a fraction of the amateurs from the 80's. Please is cool set that repeater.... is nice if we move around looking the range of the signal...is positive create new things to do for newbies.. thx

  • Steve

    Can I disable PTT? I want to listen to Police channels without accidentally pressing PTT

    • Rick

      You would need to disable transmit on that frequency or channel through programming. Having said that, I would not recommend using the UV-5R as a scanner. It wasn't built for that. Also, this is an analogue radio. Considering many law enforcement agencies and emergency response teams are now operating on digital systems, you may not hear much on those frequencies anyway.

  • Misfit

    Cheap Baofengs analog HT’s only use the “offset” in VFO mode and don’t save it for use in Memory/Channel mode, so don’t even bother with it when manually programming. Skip entering an “offset” when manually programming. The easiest way to manually program is simply (while in VFO mode) is enter the receive frequency, then enter a tone (if necessary) by Menu 13, save the receive frequency to a channel by Menu 27, then enter your transmit frequency, then save a second time by Menu 27. Done. That’s it. Just five quick steps. Enter receive freq, set tone (Menu 13), save receive frequency (Menu 27), enter transmit frequency, save transmit frequency (Menu 27). Done in just a few seconds without thinking about it. No need to overcomplicate it. Keep it simple.

  • Rick Collins

    KD9GQB - Wayne...

    It KILLS ME when someone espouses the old and tired "get your license". Allow me this, what license is required to program a radio? What license is required to LISTEN? What license is need for NOAA?
    People want to get involved with HAM radio, or at least see what it is before slamming down a fistful of cash.
    They come to sites/forums like such to find out any and all information they can. It does not help in the least when someone sits on their high horse and begins "yelling" at them.
    So, take a chill pill and maybe lend a hand to those who are just starting out.

  • Rodney

    Australia has a UHF CB allocation from 476.425 to 477.400MHz (originally 40x 25kHz channels, now expanded to 80x 12.5kHz channels), in addition to the traditional 27MHz CB allocation. The UV5-R does work on the Australian UHF CB band but is not type approved for operation there. Get caught using it and you'll likely be fined, unless it is a genuine emergency and you have no other forms of communication available, in which case safety-of-life takes precedence.

  • brian donaldson

    Hi all

    I had my ham radio licence since around 1962. Got a CRT and RTOC etc. but, everyone I know silent keys now and no-one builds their own gear and most left don't operate CW/SSB HF bands any more...so, decided to buy and play around with VHF/UHF bands...hehe found how things have changed....agree with most complaints on this site...professional gear does everything (except supply coffee, provide good operating instructions and provide any ancillary versatility)....pity tho' that this gear doesn't have any VFO cos' can't use it as /MM....

  • Nino

    How to use 2nd function in keypad ?

  • Mohit

    How to setup set CB radio frequency on Baofeng?

    • Rick

      If you are in the US, you can't. CB radios operate on frequencies in the 11 meter band. The Baofeng UV-5R operates on amateur and business frequencies in the 2 meter and 70cm bands. CB in North America is way out of band for most Baofeng radios. It may or may not be technically possible to program a Baofeng UV-5R in countries that use different bands and frequencies for their CB, however, you may want to check with the governing authority in those jurisdictions to be sure it is allowed before attempting to do so.

  • Dan

    hey , were do i get this licence

  • John Gomez

    while I appreciate the step by step directions, unfortunately are not correct. I am trying to program to a repeater and in those instructions it will say as in step 6 but step 6 of how to program in simplex or step 6 on how to program to repeater? My only guess is he would go back to simplex so that doesn't make sense. Secondly trying to set the receiving mode dart any instructions on how to do that because again a references the wrong step. Is there any possible way you could please revise your instructions and double-check the steps because there seems to be no good information on how to program these dumb baofeng radios. I bought a yaesu at least you could call somebody and get support. Now I know why these bail things are so cheap, I guess you get what you pay for?

    • Rick

      Hi John, I just reviewed the instructions, and there were indeed a couple of typos and an extra step. This has since been revised and tested to work. I apologize for the errors.

  • Mark

    Hi Ken C,

    To get FM on the BF-F8 set the A/B button so that you are in the 2 meter band then momentarily press the orange Call button on the side of the unit. You cannot get to FM mode from the 70cm band.

  • peter loft

    Hi, i must be thick,,,,,,,is it possible you could email me instructions (idiot proof) on how to get my baofeng 5r working. i cant understand how to load a frequency and i cant understand how to get a channel. cheers. peter.

  • Greg KN7GIG

    Guys...LISTEN TO WAYNE! GET YOUR LICENSE!!! Then, get involved with an amateur radio club near you.

    1. Look up'Chirp' software. You'll need t0 be slightly computer-literate and get a programming cable available on Amazon for aroun 20 bucks. That, or struggle through the owner's manual. It's clunky but do-able.

    2. The Baofeng is pretty popular due to its price. Ham radio clubs will usually have a couple of members well-versed in their programming and use because of this.

    3. You NEED to follow the FCC rules. Just because the radio CAN transmit and receive on certain frequencies does NOT mean that YOU are allowed to use those freq's. Just like the fact that just because your car's speedometer goes to 120 or whatever doesn't mean you're legally allowed to drive that fast on public roads. The same goes for FRS / GMRS ('walkie-talkie") bands. There are power limitations, etcetera...You can listen, but can't transmit unless you're doing so within the FCC rules for the equipment AND YOUR LICENSE CLASS.

    That said, have fun. Club members can be a wealth of knowledge, and you'll gain trust and respect when you show initiative to LEARN and then pass that knowledge on to others.

  • Wayne Reynolds
    Wayne Reynolds May 16, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    It kills me to see all of the posts asking how to program.

    Step 2. Program the radio.


  • Ray

    You dobt need no damn computer. Google the 2 way radio and look up one if the chaneels frequency. Itll give it to you set your scanner on that frequency. Next set the vox to on and the code given. Boom done

  • C0mbat_W0ombat

    Hi folks I am a total noob at this and would love some help please.

    I have two Boafeng radios a UV-5R and a BF888, I am wanting to programme the UV-5R so it will talk to the BF888 on three channels ( So I can preset them ) , as I want to be able to let a buddy use the BF radio when we are airsofting . I chose three channels preset so if we get to a site and someone is using one of the channels already we can switch easily.

    I also want to do the same to work with a friends Retevis RT24 ( again 3 channels )

    could someone please help me please ( in super dumbed down old many can understand technical sh*t speak if possible )

    Thanks in advance.

    • Rick

      You would need to program each radio to the same frequency on the same channel. The BF-888S does not have a key pad and would need to be programmed from a computer using specific programming software for that model. As for the Retevis, we do not carry that brand, but the model you mentioned seems to be a PMR446 radio. These radios are intended for use in the EU. We are based in the US, so we cannot advise on the use of a PMR446 radio with the UV-5R or BF-888S. If you live in the EU, we recommend that you consult with the agency in your country regarding the use of these radios on those frequencies before attempting to program your radios.

  • Mike

    Your programming notes were very helpful. The manual that comes with the UV-5R is pretty scant. Again TNX and 73. Mike, W4LZ

  • Tja

    Hello all, I'm a total newbie at this, I would like to know what you recommend as the best way to set up and program this radio. I just bought my first baofeng uv-5r radio, I want to be able to set it up for use.

    I have experience with radio frequencies as I have had scanners before, but never a transceiver such as this. I notice that many people need frequencies and codes when setting up this radio, where in the world would I be able to get all this information so that I can set up this radio for use ?

    Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


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