NederlandsKlik deze knop voor de Nederlandstalige website

Using Baofeng UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP

In the previous blog post “Install CHIRP for Baofeng UV-5R on Linux or Win10” we learned how to set up CHIRP for the Baofeng (Pofung) UV-5R. Now we can use CHIRP to program the transceiver as a very basic radio scanner.

A scanner is a radio receiver that can automatically tune, or scan, two or more discrete frequencies, stopping when it finds a signal on one of them and then continuing to scan other frequencies when the initial transmission ceases.

Disclaimer: this documentation is for educational purposes only. For operating this radio you are most likely required to be a licensed radio amateur or own a commercial licence. Be sure to check the rules and regulations in your area first.

The Baofeng UV-5R is not a ‘real’ radio scanner

The Baofeng/Pofung UV-5R is a transceiver with scanning capabilities. It’s not a ‘real’ radio scanner. Dedicated radio scanners will always outperform the UV-5R: they usually have more channels, broader frequency range, more modes (like AM and SSB), faster scanning and much better sensitivity to weaker signals. And most important of all, a real scanner is probably a lot easier to program. The main advantage of the UV-%r: it’s really cheap.

BAOFENG Dual Band Handheld Transceiver Radio Walkie Talkie UV-5R
Tested and recommended by OneGuyOneBlog.com:

BAOFENG Dual Band Handheld Transceiver Radio Walkie Talkie UV-5R

Starting from scratch with CHIRP

As mentioned in the previous blog post, you should start by downloading a memory image from the radio if you haven’t already done so. This image will be the template that we will use for programming the radio with new frequencies and settings.

After starting the CHIRP software, you wil be able to select two tabs. The first and default one is the “Memories” tab that holds all the memory channels and their individual settings. The second tab is the “Settings” tab. This tab holds severalt groups of global settings for the radio. We will start with the Memories tab.

Memories tab

These are the basic columns you should set. Tip: you can hide unused columns (like Tone, DTCS, Offset etc.) using the menu View > Columns.

Using Baofeng Pofung UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP - Memories tab
Using Baofeng Pofung UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP – Memories tab
  1. Loc – Yep, it’s the memory location (ranging from 0 to 127).
  2. Frequency – You guessed it right, it’s the frequency (9 digits: xxx.xxxxxx).
  3. Name – Alpha tag (7 characters). The custom name that you can give this channel, it will be visible in the LCD display when set.
  4. DuplexSet this to “Off” to prevent accidental transmission. When set to Off, the PTT-key will be locked for this channel.
  5. Mode – Usually NFM, except for HAM bands.
  6. Skip – Setting this to “S” will exclude (or “lock out”) this memory channel from scanning. A.f.a.i.k. you can not set this using the keypad, only through the software.

After setting all the channels, it’s probably a good moment to save your work.

Settings tab

There are also some global settings you should change for maximum scanning pleasure.

Using Baofeng Pofung UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP - Settings tab
Using Baofeng Pofung UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP – Settings tab

Basic Settings group

  • Carrier Squelch Level (from 0-9). Set it anywhere from 1 to 9 depending how noisy your environment is.
  • Display Mode (A): Set it to “Name” so the LCD display will show the channel’s alpha tag instead of the frequency or channel number.
  • Display Mode (B): Set this one to “Name” too, see above.

Advanced Settings group

  • Scan Resume: this will determine what the radio will do when it comes across a signal while scanning.
    TO: Holds on a signal for a factory pre-set time and then continues scanning.
    CO: Holds on a signal, continues after signal is lost.
    SE: Stops on a signal. You have to press SCAN to resume scanning.

Other Settings group

  • VHF TX Enabled: Disable this to prevent transmissions on VHF.
  • UHF TX Enabled: Disable this to prevent transmissions on UHF.

After you have set both the channels and the settings, it is a good moment to save your work again. Then, you should upload it to your radio (Radio > Upload To Radio or ALT+U).

Scanning

When CHIRP is finished uploading the image to your radio, it’s time to let the fun begin.

Using Baofeng Pofung UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP - Keypad
Using Baofeng Pofung UV-5R as a radio scanner with CHIRP – Keypad
  • * SCAN: Press and hold this button to start scanning. Press it again to stop scanning.
  • Arrow up/down: Press these buttons to change the scanning direction (ascending or descending).
BAOFENG Dual Band Handheld Transceiver Radio Walkie Talkie UV-5R
Tested and recommended by OneGuyOneBlog.com:

BAOFENG Dual Band Handheld Transceiver Radio Walkie Talkie UV-5R
USB Programming Cable For BAOFENG Walkie Talkie UV-5R
Tested and recommended by OneGuyOneBlog.com:

USB Programming Cable For BAOFENG Walkie Talkie UV-5R

This post is also available in Dutch.

Add a Comment

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