How to Program Baofeng UV-5R for Police Scanner

Yeah, you can use Baofeng UV-5R as a police scanner. The good news is that you don’t have to buy the expensive scanners to enjoy scanning feature. On the other hand, the process is not an easy task. You need to program the Baofeng radio the right way. Don’t worry! This article will explain how you can program Baofeng UV-5R for police scanner.

A scanner radio comes in handy in staying up-to-date with the goings-on of your neighborhood. It delivers by-the-minute updates regarding emergencies, road closures, and not to forget the inside scoops. It automatically scans two or more discrete frequencies and stops when the scanner finds a signal on one of them. When the initial transmission ends, it continues to scan other frequencies.

How to Program UV-5R for Police Scanner?

A cheaper yet efficient alternative for police scanners is to program a standard HAM radio HT and use it as a scanner. The top choice here is none other than the BaoFeng UV-5R. It is feature-rich, inexpensive, and, most importantly, has scanning capabilities.

Keep in mind; a dedicated or actual police scanner will do a far better job than this HT at scanning.

However, with this sturdy and affordable option, we don’t see a reason to give it a miss. Here is how you can program the UV-5R as a police scanner:

Programming Software

As with any BaoFeng device, manual programming can be quite a challenge. To save yourself unnecessary trouble, start by installing the free software, CHIRP. It is compatible with all operating software.

Download the latest version and run the installation setup.

USB Cable

What good is the software without a compatible USB cable? Invest in the BaoFeng USB cable and avoid counterfeits. Once you acquire the wire, you will need to install a USB driver for it.

Step 1: Memories Tab

Click on the memories tab and follow the instructions:

  • The ‘LOC’ indicates the memory slots of your BaoFeng UV-5R: 127 to be precise.
  • Next is the 9-digit frequency (e.g., 434.775000)
  • You can add a customizable 7-letter name/alpha tag to the channel. This tag will appear on the LCD once the programming is complete.
  • Lock the PTT-key to avoid accidental transmissions by selecting ‘off’ in the duplex
  • NFM mode.
  • If you want to lock out a channel from scanning, select ‘S’ to skip.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the columns, you can head to the View menu to hide columns you don’t need. Oh, and don’t forget to save all your hard work!

Step 2: Settings Tab

Adjust the Carrier Squelch Level 1 to 9, depending on how noisy your environment is. If you entered an alpha tag for the channels in Step 1, change Display Mode (A) and Display Mode (B) to ‘Name’. Doing this will display the name of the channel instead of the frequency or channel number.

Disable ‘VHF TX Enabled’ and ‘UHF TX Enabled’ to prevent VHF and UHF transmissions.

Step 3: Upload

Save all the settings and upload the changes. Select Radio and Upload to Radio or use the ALT+U shortcut on the keyboard.

Step 4: Scan

Use the asterisk (*) button to start/stop the scanning on the BaoFeng UV-5R. When scanning, use the up and down arrows to switch the scanning directions.

You can watch the below video for more information:


Our step-by-step guide to program Baofeng UV-5R for police scanner will come in handy for both novice and pro-radio enthusiasts. By exposing yourself to the expansive world of programming, you can easily tune into traffic controls, firefighters, and police broadcasts. Before programming the radio, ensure that you have read through the police scanner laws of your respective area. All thanks to UV-5R’s affordability and scanning feature, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better scanner for the same price.