A Step-by-Step Guide to: How to Use Baofeng UV-5R as Walkie Talkie

Can’t figure out the operation of Baofeng UV-5R? Or confused about whether to buy the unit or not? Our vote is in favor of the radio and that’s due to several reasons. The first is the name of the brand. As Baofeng is not a new brand, one can estimate the quality of its products by researching customer reviews. Also, since the radio does not come with a high price tag, anyone can afford to buy it.

However, even the money you invest will not be wasted as we have tried and tested the unit before presenting this tutorial to you. The only time-consuming part is getting a GMRS license issued. With no test involved, you can get the permit from FCC for about 10 years. Thus, here’s what you will get and how you can start programming the walkie talkie: 

Key Features of Baofeng UV-5R

Here’s a glimpse of some interesting features you are going to enjoy with this model of Baofeng:

  • Extensive channels availability (128)
  • Multiple privacy tones (50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS codes)
  • Semi-duplex radio
  • Keypad lock function
  • Large tri-color display
  • Flashlight
  • FM stations
  • Two Power Modes (1W/4W)
  • Inexpensive

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6 Steps to Program the Baofeng UV-5R

The Baofeng UV-5R can be programmed manually or by using the CHIRP software. Operating manually is comparatively less time exhausting and simpler. Therefore, we are going to guide you on how you can start transmitting by pressing a few buttons:

Step 1: Enter the Frequency Mode

Rotate the on/off knob located on top to switch the unit on. Your radio will start functioning in either the frequency or the memory mode. The frequency mode allows the user to enter a specific band. Whereas the memory mode plays the channels already saved in the radio’s memory.

Assuming you just bought the radio, there will be no channel saved in the memory. So, activating the frequency mode first is necessary to feed the desired band. For this, press the VFO/MR button located on the front panel. The frequency mode activates when small numbers on the right of the display disappear. Also, the computerized voice will update you about the activated mode.

2. Switch to ‘Band A’

The Baofeng UV-5R is a semi-duplex radio.  This implies that it can pull in two frequency bands simultaneously. The feature enables the user to listen from two other operators at once. However, you can transmit only from the band activated.

Besides, the frequency fed in the upper band aka ‘Band A’ is saved in the radio’s memory. So, for the newbies, starting off with Band A would help them in saving a desirable channel. 

For this, press the blue A/B button located on the front. You will notice a pointer on display moving up and down. Set the pointer on the upper frequency to add a new band.

Step 3: Time to Start Programming!

Once you have activated the VFO mode and upper band, programming the frequency becomes plain sailing. Just dial the frequency given by your trail master or decided by the group. Make sure the frequency is in the legal range and compatible with the inexpensive units available. 

No idea which frequency to opt for? Worry not as we have figured out an active yet stable band for you. Dial the frequency 462.575 or 462.5750 through your keypad on the radio. You can also find this GMRS band on the bubble wrap radio as channels 16. Hence, tuning in this frequency allows you to easily connect with users regardless of the brand. 

Step 4: Secure your Transmissions (Optional) 

Though you can start communication right after programming, adding CTCSS or DCS codes help in securing static-free transmissions. The privacy tones make your selected band unique by adding squelch codes. 

To add a CTCSS code to the programmed frequency, press the menu button and enter number 13 which is dedicated for the purpose. Press the menu button again to go through the list of available CTCSS tones. Scroll through the codes by pressing upward/downward navigation buttons. 

Select and secure the desired code by again pressing the menu button. Lastly, press the exit button to end setting up the privacy tone. Similarly, for adding DCS tones, follow the same procedure but enter number 12 instead of 13 after entering the menu.

Step 5: Save the Programmed Band

If you are afraid of forgetting the decided frequency or are too lazy to enter long frequency digits, the Baofeng UV-5R has found a solution to this. Once done programming, you can assign a channel number to the frequency. This assists in future by allowing you to instantly tune in the desired frequency by dialing only the channel number in MR mode.

For this, press the menu again and enter number 27. Again, press the menu button to activate the memory mode. Now enter any number and secure it by pressing the menu again. Resultantly, the frequency will be saved by a number in the radio’s memory. 

Step 6: Start Transmitting

By following the same footsteps, you can enter a different frequency for Band B. Moreover, you can save multiple frequencies by assigning different channel numbers.

Finally, you are done programming. Start the radio and enter the MR mode. Dial the assigned channel number and begin recording messages for other units by pressing the PTT button. 

Extra Features

Keylock function: While hiking, skiing or doing any other activity, unintended programming can occur. To lock the radio on the current channels, press and hold the # button until a lock symbol appears on the display. Similarly, for unlocking the radio, press and hold the button again.

Power mode: This radio can transmit on two different output powers to save battery and enhance transmission capability. For nearby communications, tap the # button once to activate low power mode. Whereas for farther transmissions, tap the button twice and the radio will start operating with an output power of 4W.

Other than that, there are a bunch of other features for providing the best transmission experience to the customers. But for the sake of simplicity, trying the features mentioned above are enough to serve while venturing.


Baofeng has earned stable ground in the communication industry by offering reliable and sturdy walkie talkies. The Baofeng UV-5R is another worth buying radio by the company. Available at cheap prices, this radio has all options that make it nothing less than a high-grade unit.

You can establish long-range transmissions with no distortions by the radio. Follow the guide scrupulously to program and operate the radio within a few hours after buying.