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How to unlock and activate VFO mode on the TYT TH-UV88

TYT has updated the TH-UV88 radios being shipped to the United States and VFO mode is now disabled out of the box. Normally, pressing the # key on the keypad switches between channel and VFO mode. On the new radios, this doesn't happen. Most likely this is TYTs way to ensure that radios being shipped into the country aren't able to be programmed to transmit outside of the amateur bands, the only frequencies for which they are authorized.

It is understandable that TYT would want to restrict the radios to amateur frequencies, however it's not clear why they chose to accomplish this by disabling VFO mode. Fortunately there is an easy way to unlock the radios and re-enable VFO mode.

  1. Turn the TH-UV88 radio OFF.
  2. Hold down both the 1 and 7 keys.
  3. While holding down those keys, power the radio ON.
  4. After you hear the voice prompt "seven", release both keys.
  5. VFO mode is now enabled.

This procedure does not directly switch the radio into VFO mode. It unlocks and restores the ability to switch between channel and VFO modes by pressing the # key.

TYT TH-UV88 Unlock Sequence

21 thoughts on “How to unlock and activate VFO mode on the TYT TH-UV88”

  • vince frost

    I loaded the frequencies with the software when I change one offset to positive or negative, it changes all of them, I assume I am doing something wrong.

    Reply
  • vince

    Hello, I have all the frequencies and tones in t uv88, but I cant figure out the offsets, when I set one it changes all of them to the same thing, what am I missing.

    Reply
    • Rick

      Are you programming the radio from a computer or from the radio itself? If you are programming from a computer, Are you the using software from TYT?

      Reply
  • Brian Davies

    Could anyone help me in performing the expanded tax modd for the 88 ?

    Reply
  • MHCG

    Has anyone been able to get the firmware update to work? Keep getting a comunnication error telling me to check the COM port and baud rate. Same settings as the software which allows me to read/write to the radio.

    Reply
    • Rick

      Did you follow these firmware update instructions? If so, it should work. It is important to set the baud rate in the Firmware Upgrade Tool to 57600 before attempting to start the upgrade. Also, unless you have the specific issue with scan not receiving, the firmware update described in the article may not be necessary.

      Reply
  • John Lamb

    Any idea on why mine won’t scan in memory mode? It will in vfo but in memory mode when I push F 1 F it shows the scan sign but abt 5 seconds switches back to the display but doesn’t scan

    Reply
  • Matt

    Update: I can monitor all frequencies now but it can only be done using the up and down keys. Unable to enter the exact frequency using the keypad. Weird.

    Reply
  • Matt

    I've been able to unlock the radio but I'm still not able to monitor anything outside of 144-148 and 430-450. Does enabling VFO mode note allow for this?

    Thanks for the instructions.

    Reply
  • Amos

    I was not seeing things happening either. Then I noticed the channel number was reading 7--. I hit the A/B (Exit) and then I was able to hit # and switch between VFO and MR easily.

    I do note that all the pics (except the video above) I see and the manual show the # also marked as T/R. On mine it says Radio.

    Just got it, but it seems like a nice little radio overall. Much nicer feel and look than the UV-5R. More like my TYT TH-UV8000E, which is an awesome radio btw.

    Reply
  • PA

    I couldn't get mine to work and after emailing back a forth with Anthony, he gave me a call to personally to help me get it unlocked. ( I wasn't quickly pressing the # after the 1 & 7 release. I was holding it down and it was putting radio into FM mode.) That is great customer service.

    Reply
    • anthony

      I am so glad we were able to get you up and running! Please let us know if we can do anything else for you.

      Reply
  • Cliff James Bryce
    Cliff James Bryce April 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Worked for me, I just received mine yesterday- thank you for the incredibly fast shipping! I did just as stated above and it worked. I did turn in on with the buttons pressed, turned it off(might not make a difference) and when I turned it back on the pound(#) key did switch to VFO mode and back again.

    Reply
  • paul

    I was having problems with the VFO, and I tried over and over with the 1 and 7 trick expecting something to show me VFO... neigh neigh! it unlocks the ability to switch to VFO using the # key now!

    Reply
    • Rick

      Correct, what this procedure does is unlock the # Key so you can toggle from channel mode to VFO mode and back again as before in previous versions. It doesn't take you straight into VFO mode. I updated the article to clarify this.

      Reply
  • Paul Wilson

    Got mine today and same issue. No joy on the recommended procedure. Please advise.

    Reply
  • Mark

    not working on mine either (holding 1 and 7), ordered last week and received in mail today. if i just push the # key it doesnt work either

    Reply
    • Rick

      Try performing it again, and wait until you hear the voice prompt "seven", then release both keys simultaneously. I've revised the instructions to include this step.

      Reply
  • Mike DeVita

    Unlocking by 1 and 7 not working

    Reply
    • Rick

      Is this the new version of the radio? Are you turning the radio off first, and firmly holding down both the 1 and 7 keys simultaneously while turning the radio on? If so, it should work. Also, be sure the keypad lock is off.
      If it is an older version of the radio, these instructions do not apply, as it previously wasn't an issue.

      Reply

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