How to Program Baofeng UV-5R For Police Scanner - RatedRadarDetector
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How to Program Baofeng UV-5R For Police Scanner

Communication is important during emergencies as it can help save you or a loved one’s life. Yet, have you ever considered what to do if the phone lines are shut off? What would you do if there was no Wi-Fi available? It doesn’t take too much effort to think about the possibilities. 

And yet, only a few people have plans for emergency/backup communications. However, there are inexpensive options available that can help you connect to your community (some of the best options for police scanners here). And the Baofeng UV-5R police scanner is an entry level radio that every family can have due to its affordability. 

With this guide, you’ll learn more about the Baofeng UV-5R and how you can program it so you can utilize it to your liking. 

What is the Baofeng UV-5R?

The Baofeng UV-5R is a popular two-band radio worldwide. It’s inexpensive, feature packed, and compact. For users that are new to portable programming, it’s difficult to program, due to a lack of Baofeng’s support and because of its poorly written user manual. If this is a deal-breaker, you can check other models such as the Whistler WS1040. If not, read on.

Fortunately, there are resources available from an active community of UV-5R enthusiasts. This includes a simple instruction manual and a software application to help program it to your computer. 

CHIRP software is used to program the UV-5R, and it’s available online. CHIRP is a good solution for you, provided you have a programming cable and time to input the data in 128 channels manually. 

But, what if you’re driving on the road and there’s no computer nearby? What if you need to program a channel or add in a frequency quickly? 

How to Program it For Police Scanning


Before programming your Baofeng, we recommend that you use CHIRP. CHIRP is available on Windows, Linux, and MAC OS, so no matter what operating system you’ll use, you’re covered.  Download the version that’s needed and install it. 

Programming Cable

You will need a Baofend USB Cable. Once you receive your USB programming cable, you can install the right drives for a USB cable. It’s a great idea to make a copy of a USB stick and other emergency documents. 

How to program a simplex channel

For most users, you’ll want to program a simplex channel for your radio. Here’s how you can do it properly. 

  • Step 1. On the radio, press the [VFO/MR] setting and press Frequency Mode. 
  • Step 2. Press the [A/B] setting and select the A side. 
    • The A-side is used to help program the channels on the radio. The Programming data on the B side will not be saved. 
  • Step 3. Press on the [BAND] button to receive a frequency band. 
  • Step 4. Then you have to disable the TDR (Dual Standby/Dual Watch)
  • Step 5. Start entering the frequency. 
  • Step 6. Next, enter in the DCS/CTCSS Code. 
  • Step 7. Lastly, you can assign a frequency to a channel. 

While the steps might be confusing for some, there are some resources available that can help you. In fact, you can search through videos online for a structured and effective way to program your radio. By doing so, you’ll be able to utilize the radio channels and tune into your favorite local police reports. 

How do I Switch Through Channels? 

Switching through channels is easy!

To switch from channels, press the menu button. The up and down arrows to the right of it can be adjusted to find the desired channel. The channels that are programmed will have a CH- next to the channel number. 

If you’re trying to scan, press the VFO/MR setting and press 7 to scan. The device will change its color to red and a green light will flash to denote that it’s scanning. To stop scanning, press the 

VFO/MR setting and the device will start to operate again. 

How to Receive Transmissions? 

With some research, you can find the frequencies that the RACES and ARES groups are on and tune in. These are emergency associations that assist responders with boots on the information on conditions that affect their area. 

If you’re looking for “nets” in your vicinity, you can use a tool from AARL. It will help you connect to other stations faster and 

UV-5R Accessories

Here are some accessories that you can use to help improve your police scanner’s efficiency. 

Radio Pouch

While the UV-5R has a belt clip included with the device, you can use a pouch to keep it protected. With the radio pouch, you can carry it in your pocket without worrying about it falling out. 

Baofeng Two Way Speaker

The two-way radio is cheap and will give you the option to listen and talk on the radio without removing it from the belt clip or it accidentally falling out of your pocket. You can attach it to your shirt with a clip that’s attached to it. 

How to View Your Frequencies 

There are some good frequencies to help program your UV-5R. 146.520, and 446.000. There are simplex “calling” frequencies, which means they are monitored by local radio operators for simplex operation. 

One conversation that starts on a simplex frequency is moved up and down to another through the frequency band as others call it. 

You will need a license to help transmit those frequencies. We’ve found that simplex frequencies can receive and transmit better than MURS and FRS bands. 

Hint: You will have to change your settings on your Baofeng to make 5K increments once you’re programming frequencies. First press the menu button then find the item 1STEP. Then you can adjust it back to 5K. 


No matter if you’re a beginner or a pro radio enthusiast, everyone can find purpose with the Baofeng UV-5R. By programming the Baofeng UV-5R, you’re not limited to just police stations. You can tune into air traffic control, firefighters, and more. Just make sure you’re aware of the police scanner laws in your area.

To conclude, the Baofeng UV-5R can be difficult to program at first. Once you continuously expose yourself to the controls and documentation, you’ll find it easier to listen on police broadcasts within your area. If you’re interested with more police scanner options, read our best police scanner list: