Home » Communications » Program a Baofeng Radio with CHIRP

Program a Baofeng Radio with CHIRP

program a baofeng radio with chirpIt 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 Radio with CHIRP to get the job done.

Program a Baofeng 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.

The BaoFeng UV5R, is an amazing, yet economically priced radio. It can cover a multitude of channels and frequencies.

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

  • 2 Meter
  • 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 your 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.

I did NOT use the driver disk that came with the usb cable, instead I grabbed the drivers over at http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Drivers.php (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.

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.

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

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 3A

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

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.

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!

baofeng uv-5x

Now available in a WATERPROOF version!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 comments

  1. What is the most far reaching Baofeng radio?

    • 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

    • This is the same reason that I picked up a Repeater Directory so I’d have these answers. Having the right frequency but no “tone” or the wrong “tonefreq” set nullifies your ability to communicate via repeaters.

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. I am having s hard time program my radio with Mac. The ports Are Bluetooth. And I can’t change them.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 !

  9. We just purchased a BF-F8HP for our boat. Your tutorial was just what we needed to help us program it for marine use. Thank you very much!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*