How to Program Baofeng UV-5R For Police Scanner

21st Sep,2023

The Baofeng UV-5R police scanner is a useful gadget for emergencies. However, you need to do some technical tinkering to get it up and running. If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll end up with a useless device at a crucial time.

So, we’ve put together this quick guide to give you everything you need to know about how to program a Baofeng UV-5R.

What is the Baofeng UV-5R?

The Baofeng UV-5R is a popular two-band radio. It’s inexpensive, feature-packed, and compact. For users that are new to portable programming, the Baofeng UV-5R may be difficult to program due to the 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 the device with your computer. The CHIRP software is used to program the UV-5R. Widely available online, CHIRP is a good solution provided that you have a programming cable and time to manually input the data in 128 channels. 

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


We recommend that you use CHIRP for programming your Baofeng. CHIRP is available on Windows, Linux, and MAC OS, so you’re covered no matter what operating system you use.  Just download the needed version and install it. 

Alternatively, if you want to switch to a police scanner, we have some of the best options for police scanners here.

Programming Cable

You will need a Baofeng USB Cable. Since this unit is a transceiver, a USB programming cable isn’t included in the box, so you have to buy it separately. Once you have the USB cable, you can install the right drives for programming. It’s also a great idea to make a copy of this in another USB stick for added safety.

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. 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. 

These steps might be confusing for some, but 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 use the radio channels and tune into your favorite local police reports. 

How do I Switch Through Channels? 

To switch channels, press the menu button. The up and down arrows can then be adjusted to find the desired channel. To eliminate confusion, keep in mind that programmed channels will have a CH- next to the channel number. 

On the other hand, if you’re trying to scan, press the VFO/MR setting and press 7. The display on the device will change 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 tune in to the frequencies that the RACES and ARES groups are in. These are emergency associations that assist responders with information about area-specific conditions. But if you’re looking for “nets” in your vicinity, you can use a tool from AARL.

UV-5R Accessories

The Baofeng UV-5R works well on its own. Still, 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

Although this two-way radio is cheap, you can use it to transmit and listen to communications. For convenience, you can attach it to your shirt with a clip that’s on the model.

How to View Your Frequencies 

There are some good frequencies to help program your UV-5R, which includes 146.520, and 446.000. These 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 when others call it. You will need a license to help transmit those frequencies. But in our tests, we 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. 


Whether you’re a beginner or a pro radio enthusiast, you can easily use the Baofeng UV-5R. By programming this device, you’re not limited to just police stations. You can also tune into air traffic control, firefighters, and more. However, 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. But once you continuously expose yourself to the controls and documentation, you’ll find it easier to listen to police broadcasts within your area. If you’re interested in more police scanner options, read our best police scanner list:

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.