1 Q: Which is the Newest version of the UV5R series?
A: The UV-5R is a generic transceiver.
There are dozens of
variations available, such as
UV5R, RA, RB, E5, F8,
Other than Case and Color, they are
If you have the newest firmware, you have the newest
Cables and accessories are compatible with some exceptions.
The UV-5RAX is designed for 150/220MHz.
A compatibility list can be found at:
UV-5R Compatibility 2 Q: What revisions were made to
the UV5R Firmware?
A: A current list of known changes can be found
3 Q: How can I determine which firmware my UV5R has?
A: Power the radio OFF. Press and Hold the 3 key. Power
the radio ON.
The display will show BFB - - - This is the
However, if the firmware displayed is BFB297, go to
4 Q: Can the UV5R firmware be updated?
A: No. The firmware cannot be updated.
The microcontroller is an OTP (One Time Programmable)
Once 'flash' programmed at the factory, it cannot be
FCC CERTIFICATION and TYPE ACCEPTANCE (U.S.)
11 Q: Is this radio FCC Part 90 certified?
A: Yes. Link to
Details and FCC
Database. FCC ID. ZP5BF-5R and ZVMUV-E5 12. Q: Is this radio approved for Ham Radio use?
(Ham Radio) A: Yes. It may be used legally by Licensed Hams on any
service in the U.S.
Note: This radio is not certified for FRS, GMRS or
MURS operation in the US.
Consult your country's regulations regarding proper use
TRANSMITTER and RECEIVER
21 Q: I can't key or hear my local repeater.
A: Review the Tone Access section of this page.
22 Q: I can't hear my signal through the repeater, but I hear the repeater tail.
A: The key here is that you can hear the repeater squelch tail.
You are too close to your receiver and over powering (de-sensing) it.
When this happens, you are blocking everything from your monitor.
1) Listen to your signal on simplex to verify your audio.
2) Call someone on the repeater to verify your signal quality.
If they can hear you, then all is fine.
23 Q: What type of power and performance can I really expect?
A: This link will direct you to test results found on a typical UV5R.
Your mileage may vary...
24 Q: Can this radio listen to Aircraft frequencies?
A: No. They are out of the radio's frequency range.
Also, the Aircraft Band is AM while the UV5R is FM only.
25 Q. Can this radio listen to NOAA / NWS frequencies? A. Yes. However, it cannot be put in
a standby mode and triggered by
their 1050Hz alert tone.
26 Q. Why does my FM Broadcast Radio keep cutting out?
A. The broadcast radio gives priority to an incoming VHF/UHF signal.
It returns back to broadcast X seconds
after the signal clears.
X is determined by the ABR setting.
0-5 secs (0-24 secs using CHIRP)
To prevent the radio from switching, set VHF/UHF
to an unused frequency.
27 Q. Why is my audio 'chopping' when listening to a station?
A. The bandwidth settings (Menu 5) should to be set to WIDE.
28 Q. What range can I expect from these radios?
There are many factors to consider. Power, antenna, antenna height,
HASL (height above sea level), terrain, obstruction, trees, horizon, etc.
A good starting point for simplex operation would be
Your Mileage may Vary.
31 Q: I programmed a channel, but it won't save.
A: There are three steps to the process:
1) You must be in the VFO/Frequency mode
2) Display A (top display) must be selected.
3) Channel must be empty before programming frequency data.
(use menu 28 to delete a channel)
32 Q: How can I store a 7th digit of a frequency?
A: Change Step (Menu 1) to 2.5 kHz. (6.25 / 12.5kHz) Enter the first 6 digits of the desired
frequency, then use the Up/Down arrow for the last digit(s), depending on the
Example: 462.7125 would be: 4 6 2 7 1 2
will appear to the right of the frequency display.
33 Q. Can I store different frequencies in A and B?
A. No. There is only a single bank of 128 channels (0-127)
The same frequencies show in both displays A and B.
You can however change the way they appear. (Menu 21 & 22)
The display options are Frequency, Channel Name or Channel Number.
Manual programming of memory channels can Only be done while
display A (top display) is selected.
34 Q: What is the purpose of A and B if they are both the
same? A: Dual Receive. You can set each to a different preprogrammed
With TDR (Menu 7) turned on, your radio
will sample between the
two frequencies and stop
on whichever one has activity.
Can displays be synchronized to show Name in A and Freq in B?
A. No. Display A and B operate independently. You can set
one display for Frequency and the other display for Name, but you cannot
synchronize them to track together.
36 Q: Can I disable the transmitter for Receive Only frequencies?
A: Yes. This can be done using the transmit inhibit function of your
37 Q. Can I store FM Radio 65-108MHz channels into memory?
A. No. This is controlled by a separate receive only chip in the radio.
You also cannot make this radio transmit on this band.
41 Q: My receiver skips over some channels when scanning.
A: There is a known 'quirk' with the UV5R receiver.
If a scanned channel has an R-CTCSS (PL) tone of 136.5 Hz
or lower, the receiver will not stop on that channel.
R-CTCSS (PL) tones of 146.2 and higher work fine. Note: It is recommended to Not use RX Tones unless absolutely
Note: The scan rate of this radio is only 3 channels per second.
42 Q: My radio only scans my top group of frequencies, but not all.
A: Power cycle your radio ON/OFF and the issue should disappear.
TONE ACCESS (CTCSS, DCS, DTMF)
51 Q: Why can't I key or hear my local repeater, fire dept, etc.
A: Some Repeaters and Services require a CTCSS (PL) tone for access but
transmit one back. If your display indicates there is an incoming
signal but you hear no audio, you may have an incorrect or unnecessary RX
This can be tested by pressing the [MON] button.
When in doubt, leave the CTCSS and DCS tones OFF.
52 Q: What are these CTCSS (PL) tones I keep hearing about?
A: A CTCSS is an 'Tone' sent along with your voice when
They are used to access a specific repeater and block
interference. Visit CTCSS for details.
53 Q: How do I send a 1750 Hz tone for repeater access?
A: Press the [PTT] button then [BAND] button to transmit
a 1750 Hz tone.
If there is no [BAND] button, Press [PTT] then
Q: What are the DTMF keypad positions for A, B, C & D?
A: This varies by firmware release.
Early FW releases BFB231
and prior had a keypad sequence error.
[Menu] = A [Up] = C
[Down] = B [Exit] = D
This was later corrected in BFB238 to:
[Menu] = A [Up] = B
[Down] = C [Exit] = D
On older versions, when sending DTMF tone D [Exit], the speaker emits the tones for 0 [zero] but the
correct over-the-air tone for
is actually sent.
BFS311 and newer versions, however, actually send the 0 [zero] tone in
BATTERIES and ACCESSORIES
61 Q: Who are good sources for radios and accessories?
A: The vendors mentioned are known to carry the latest radios and firmware
releases. Always consider your warranty when you make a purchase.
62 Q: Are cables, antennas, spkr/mic, etc interchangeable? A: Many accessories are, such as Kenwood / Wouxun.
Is a radio case a good purchase? A: It depends on your use. Refer to Radio Shut Down below.
See FAQ 111
Is there a Battery Eliminator for the car? A: Yes. It's the E-DC43. You guessed it,
It is not a battery charger. It replaces the
battery for mobile operation.
65 Q: Is there a USB charger for the UV-5R?
A: No. The UV5R battery has a 7.4 volt battery.
A USB port is only 5.0 volt.
The standard charger supplies 8.4 volt during the
At 5.9 volts, the UV5R announces a 'Low Voltage'
warning. See FAQ 104
66 Q: What would be a good replacement charger for the UV5R?
A: The TYT BGC-F8 is a direct replacement and seems to be built more solidly.
designed to use a 13.8Vdc input. With the proper cable, it can be used in the car to charge the battery while on the road.
67 Q: Are optional batteries available? Are they
A: Yes. 3600 / 3800 MAH batteries, and AA / AAA cases are available.
However, many are designed to fit the standard UV-5R only and are not
interchangeable without modification. See Photo of
There are extended batteries that are universal, but they must specifically
state that in their advertising. Here is an image of such a battery. Universal
Note that the bottom of the battery case is smooth, not keyed.
Always check compatibility before ordering.
68 Q:What batteries can I use in the AA / AAA battery
cases? A: The UV-5R series requires 7.4V for proper
The standard battery case will hold 6 AA or AAA cells.
The standard rechargeable battery provides 1.25V per cell.
This will provide the 7.4V needed. (6x1.25=7.5V)
Note: Most Alkaline batteries provide 1.5V per cell. (6x1.5=9.0V)
This will create an Over Voltage condition and the radio's protection circuit
will cause the radio to not transmit. To prevent this from occurring, replace
one of the cells with a spacer or 'dummy' cell. This will drop the voltage to
(5x1.5=7.5V) for proper operation.
69 Q: Where can I find replacement
parts? (knobs, switches, screws, etc) A: Some links can be found here...
SOFTWARE, CABLES & DRIVERS
71 Q: Is there an alternative to the Factory software?
A: Most users prefer CHIRP. It's easy to navigate and
new features are
added on a regular basis.
This can be found on the
CHIRP Software & Examples pages.
72 Q: Must I load an older cable driver for Vista, Windows 7 & 8
A: Many bargain cables came through with Prolific chip clones/copies.
Windows loads the latest
driver which rejects these cloned chips.
This is covered in detail
in the USB
Cable Drivers page.
These cables work fine if
the proper driver is loaded.
Q: How can I be sure I order a USB cable with an authentic
A: Programming cables utilizing an
FTDI chip will work with no problems.
Call your local dealer before ordering to confirm
74 Q: Is there software that can 'Open Up' the freq range of my radio?
A: There is software available that will allow you to enter any number you
However, even though the number shows in the display, internal filtering
of the UV5R prevents
both TX & RX operation on
these frequencies and
may cause irreversible damage to your radio.
These radios were not designed to operate outside
their specified range.
They cannot be made to work as Tri-Band.
MICROPHONE & AUDIO
81 Q: I have NO audio on Transmit A: If you experience no audio (after confirming on
simplex), the microphone jack might be stuck open with debris. Trim a
Q-Tip to fit the microphone jack opening and dampen with denatured alcohol to
clean the jack contacts. Allow ample time to dry.
82 Q: Why is my microphone audio is low?
A: Here's are some suggestions:
1) Talk directly into the radio, within one inch.
2) Try an external spkr/mic to confirm problem is the mic.
3) Blow compressed air into the spkr/mic jack.
4) If you have an external spkr/mic, plug it in and out a few times.
The issue might be a dirty connector.
5) Ham Bands
Only - Set to Wide Band. 5 kHz (Menu 5 = W)
Note: Some have reported the need to open up the microphone hole in the
plastic case. This can be done by CAREFULLY using a 3/64" drill bit and
twisting it slowly by hand to clear out the opening, but avoid touching the
microphone. There is approx 1/16" clearance between the inside of the case and
the microphone element.
83 Q: Why is the audio less sensitive than my Icom or Kenwood?
A: The UV-5R series was designed as a commercial radio, not ham.
It was designed to block out background noise in
an industrial environment.
Talking right into the face of the radio cures
most audio weakness.
84 Q: Is the PTT switch disabled when a Spkr/Mic is plugged
A: No. Even with a Spkr/Mic plugged in, the PTT switch is still physically connected. This is true for most handhelds.
Which antenna is best? A: It's all personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is:
The longer the radiator, the better the range, especially on transmit.
Short stubby antennas use a coil to match TX to 50 ohm, not radiate.
The closer to 1/4 or 3/4 wavelength in the air, the better the
A field test was performed
between 31 popular antennas. The results can be found
92 Q: Can I use an antenna with an SMA RP connector?
A: No. The RP stands for Reverse Polarity. The outer shell looks the
but the Male/Female pin sequence is reversed.
93 Q: My antenna doesn't screw in all the way. A:
This is not uncommon on some aftermarket antennas. Purchase a thin 5/8" OD rubber O-Ring. Take
your HT with you to the hardware store to assure the proper fit. You may want to
superglue it to the bottom of the antenna ONLY.
94 Q: Can I build my own antenna? A: Absolutely. If you want to start small, try a
simple ground plane.
Here are the instructions for a GP antenna with a
radial length calculator.
The calculator covers all frequencies from DC to
A great project.
101 Q: Display goes dark if I talk too long on Hi power.
A: This is to be expected from a small radio.
4 watts creates a lot of heat in a small
Give it time to cool
down. The LCD will return to normal.
The same occurs if you
leave the unit in the car on a hot day.
Run low power whenever
possible. This will also extend battery life.
102 Q: Why does my display show + and - at the same time.
In Channel Mode this is normal when the TX
/ RX frequencies differ,
In Frequency Mode + or - is displayed based on
Menu 25 (SFT-D)
If TX and RX are the same (simplex)
the + - indicator does not display.
103 Q: How accurate is the S-Meter?
A: The What? There's a signal indicator in the upper left.
If there's a signal, it appears. If
not, it's gone.
Additionally: The signal indicator even shows full deflection on an unused
channel when you
(a) press the monitor button, or
(b) when you set the squelch level to zero.
104 Q: Why doesn't the S-Meter function in a normal fashion?
The SDR receiver found in the UV-5R & UV-82 series does not measure an
incoming signal in the traditional fashion based on strength, but rather the amount of noise.
Once the signal becomes Full Quieting, it cannot determine the difference between an S1 or S9 signal.
Unfortunately, this is by design.
105 Q: How do I translate the Battery indicator in the upper right?
A: Tests have shown the following:
(tests by Phil Souza)
Full charge (approx 8.32 volts) 3 bars
Battery drops to 7.09 volts, 2
Battery drops to 6.73 volts, 1 bar
Battery drops to 6.29 volts, 0 bars
Battery drops to 5.91 volts,
the radio announces "low
voltage" until the battery expires.
Note: Volume must be turned up
to hear the battery warning. Note: Measurements can vary based on
temperature and load. 106 Q: Why does my display disappear if I wear polarized sunglasses?
A: LCDs function by polarizing the liquid crystal elements in the display.
Polarized sunglasses will react to the
polarized lens. LCD Wiki
111 Q: Why did my radio shut down when I took it out of my pocket.
A: If you carry your radio and keys in the same pocket, a case is
recommended. If the charging contacts are shorted, the battery goes into the
protection mode. There will be no damage to the radio, but it
will power off. To reset the protection mode, the battery must be removed and
Note: If you carry a spare battery, place it in a plastic bag for protection.
112 Q: Did I get a used radio? My UV5R had frequencies
A: No. Your radio is new. These are channels
used for factory testing.
The easiest way to remove them is to:
Press Menu, 40 (Reset), Menu, ALL, Menu.
113 Q: My radio doesn't speak English? A: Press Menu, 14, Menu, Make selection, Menu
The selection varies by firmware
Older units display ON / OFF, newer
display CHI / ENG / OFF
114 Q: Why doesn't my volume go completely down.
A: This was a known issue with earlier versions of the UV5R.
It was a component issue that has been resolved with newer radios.
Periodically, however, even a new radio will show up with this issue.
115 Q: How do I lock/unlock my keypad?
A: Hold the #
key in for 3 seconds.
Pressing it quickly alternates TX power level.
116 Q: Where can I get a User Manual and Schematic for this bad boy? A: Here are the Links:
Schematic Note: Only work on this radio if you have
little tiny fingers.
117 Q: How do I pronounce Baofeng? (Good to know if you want to impress
A: Try this link
Baofeng. Bow Fung
118 Q: Where can I find reviews on the UV-5R?
A: Reviews going back to mid-March 2012 can be found at
We hope you found the
Miklor site helpful.