How To Use BaoFeng UV-5R- Ultimate Guide

BaoFeng UV-5R is one of the favorite walkie talkies in the market today. Most people start their journey in the world of two-way radios with UV-5R. Needless to say, they get stuck about using the radio.

This article is written for these kinds of people. In this article, you will learn how to use BaoFeng UV-5R the right way. We will explain how to use the normal functions like PTT, calls, menus etc., changing frequencies of the radio, and also how to get the maximum range from the device.

Let’s get started!

Getting Started with BaoFeng UV-5R

BaoFeng sure knows how to win newcomers! You can pick up the UV-5R for under $30 and still get a whole lot of features. It’s an excellent choice as your backup or main HT given the functionalities and performance.

But, learning to use the Baofeng UV-5R can be slightly frustrating for newbies. The user manual doesn’t provide a whole lot of information and isn’t really for dummies!

So to help you out, here are a few notes about the functions and what they do. You will also find some information on how to make the most of this transceiver!

UV-5R Functionality

BaoFeng UV-5R

1. Push-to-Talk (PTT)

The UV-5R PTT switch enables you to communicate with other amateur radio users. However, it is essential to note that you must not press it if you don’t know have a HAM license. The unauthorized or illegal operation will notify FCC by triangulating your location, resulting in some hefty fines.

2. Call

This BaoFeng model also includes the FM radio, which you can switch on through this button. It comes in handy in finding critical information in case of emergencies. Additionally, you can also use the Call button to set the alarm.

3. V/M

The V/M switch on UV-5R enables you to shift between frequencies and the channels that you have set. UV-5R will read out whether you are in channel mode or frequency mode. Typically, the factory pre-programs two channels.

It’s a good idea to delete those using menu 28 and feed in your data.

4. A/B

The A/B button allows you to switch between the active receiving and transmitting channels.

5. Band

You can use this button to switch between the UHF and VHF frequencies on this dual-band transceiver.


The MONI key offers two functions. You can use it to switch on and switch off the flashlight. Also, pressing and holding down the key allows you to monitor the signal. This key removes the squelch.

7. Menu

The Menu key also functions as the “enter” key. When making changes to any of the options, press the menu key to confirm the modifications.

Setting Voice Language to English

The UV-5R is China-made and delivers commands in Chinese when in the factory setting. To change it to English, follow these steps:

  • Press the MENU
  • Select VOICE (menu option 14) using the up and down arrow keys
  • Press MENU to enter and use the arrow keys to select ENG
  • Save the changes by pressing the MENU key again
  • Exit the menu using the EXIT key

Changing Frequencies

To set the frequency, use the arrow buttons or enter the frequency/channel number directly. Enter six-digit frequencies or three-digit channel numbers. You can find more information regarding frequencies on different Web portals.

You can also use programming applications on the PC to edit frequencies and channels on your UV-5R.

Making Full Use of Range

Most handhelds come with stock antennas that deliver acceptable performance. However, they only work well for 144-148 MHz and not for the 70cm band. We also wouldn’t recommend the rubber duck for MURS or VHF.

If you’re purchasing UV-5R and have the short antenna on, you need to replace it ASAP! It is the only major drawback of this device.

Transmitting outside the antenna’s range may shorten the life of the radio. If you want to use your HT as a mobile radio in the vehicle, the TRAM 1181 is a fantastic option. The whip comes pre-tuned and offers versatility. You can even use it for your base station and mobile radio.

Other options include Nagoya 771 and ABBREE dual-band antenna.

Choosing the right kind of external antenna for the correct frequency can enhance the radio’s service life. Set your radio to the lowest power mode when transmitting using an antenna design not fit for the particular frequency range.


Did I mention that you can use BaoFeng UV-5R as a walkie talkie too? You can read more about it here.

You can use this BaoFeng model as an entry-level radio or for prepping. Other uses include scanning, group/family communication, as well as MURS and FRS bands. After purchasing the UV-5R, pay extra attention to learning how to program the transceiver. Watch YouTube tutorials and connect with other HAM experts to learn to use it better.

If you haven’t bought the radio yet, click here for the latest price on Amazon.