Author Topic: Baofeng Radio Set-Up  (Read 7159 times)

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« on: October 02, 2017, 11:07:29 PM »
For those of us that have purchased Baofeng radios, I pulled a review that includes a pretty informative set-up tutorial that could come in handy and also keep one out of potential trouble, or at least on the fringe on staying quasi-legal:

Great radios! I use them as walkie talkies. I bought two at first, tested them on Mammoth mountain, and was impressed enough to buy another two for bigger groups. The voice quality and reception was impeccable. A far cry from the garbage Uniden toys my friend used on the last trip that were unintelligible and had no reception in most places. Battery life on these is a couple of days. So these are good.

However, if you didn't already know, they're not legal to use as set up out of the box. They can be made barely legal though if you set them on public bands. Im sure the FCC has better things to do than hunt down hikers with "illegal" Chinese walkie talkies, but at least you should be aware of the regulations.

I will show you the quick setup I did on all of my radios. Programming by hand is really easy once you get used to the menus. I wouldn't bother with the CHIRP software.

1) Set the squelch to 7. This will mean you hear less random static, only solid signals. - Menu, 0 (SQL), Menu, 7, Menu.
2) Enable dual standby, so you can monitor two frequencies at once - on A and B at once. This will give you a better chance of reaching your buddy on one of the two channels if the signal is too weak on one. It also allows you to talk on a less busy channel if you don't want to talk over someone else. - Menu, 7 (TDR), Menu, ON, Menu.
3) Delete the first 10 channels from memory. They're not legal to use in the US, and you want to make room for your own channels. - Menu, 28 (DEL-CH), Menu, 001, Menu (you just deleted channel 1). Menu, up arrow, Menu (you just deleted channel 2). Menu, up arrow, Menu, etc. until you delete everything up to channel 10.
4) Set the two wide band MURS channels as channels 1 and 2. [The following is handwavy and not rigorous fact, but should do for casual purposes.] MURS are public access bands that require no license to operate on, and they allow higher transmission power than FRS (regular walkie talkie bands), and will probably carry further in the wilderness than GMRS due to the longer wavelegth. MURS allows up to 2 watts of transmission power and doesn't require any licensing, unlike HAM and GMRS. This radio does 1W on low power and 4W on high power. I'm assuming no one will come arrest you if you transmit at 4W in the woods (I don't think there's a way for anyone to tell from a distance what power you're transmitting at; antenna gain is a potentially bigger variable in signal strength). The only caveat is that this radio is not certified for FCC part 95, which means you technically can't use it on MURS, GMRS or FRS. Again, I doubt anyone will knock down your door for using these as walkie-talkies as long as you're considerate. You're using the band legally, but with an uncertified device. This is not the case for FRS (too high power) and GMRS (needs license). So, IMO, MURS is safest from a legal standpoint if you don't have a license.
a) Set transmission power high (or low if you want to stay strictly legal on MURS - at 1/4 the power your range would be about cut in half). - Menu, 2 (TXP), Menu, HIGH, Menu.
b) Make sure you're in wide band mode. - Menu, 5 (WN), Menu, WIDE, Menu, Exit.
c) Make sure you're in Frequency Mode by pressing the red VFO/MR button.
d) Type 154600 (on the home screen, not in the menu) - this is one of the wide band MURS bands.
e) Store it in memory for channel 1. - Menu, 27 (MEM-CH), Menu, 001, Menu, Exit.
f) Type 154570 - this is the other wide band MURS band.
g) Store it in memory for channel 2. - Menu, 27, Menu, 002, Menu, Exit.
5) Now switch to narrow band mode, since the next 3 MURS channels are narrow band only! - Menu, 5 (WN), Menu, NARR, Menu, Exit.
6) Now store the three narrow band MURS bands in channels 3, 4, 5, as above: 151820, 151880 and 151940.
7) Switch back to wide band mode for any other bands you might want to store. - Menu, 5, Menu, WIDE, Menu, Exit.
8) If you have a GMRS license, or want to be a bit of an outlaw, you can store some GMRS bands, as well. GMRS requires a license and an FCC part 95 radio, which this is not. But the transmission power allowed is up to 20W, so you're well within the power limits with this radio. The procedure to store channels is the same as for the MURS bands. You can find the available frequencies with a google search. A couple of frequencies are: 462.600, 462.725.
9) If you want to be a bit of an antisocial scofflaw, you may add some FRS (regular walkie-talkie) bands as well. The issue here is that the power limit on FRS is 0.5 watts, and this radio only goes down to 1 watt on low power. Also, it requires a part 95 radio, which this is not. Again, these two issues shouldn't be a big deal. FRS does not require a license. A couple of frequencies are: 467.687, 467.662.

You're all set up! Now set both radios to channels 1 and 3 let's say. Press A/B to talk on channel 1. Press the PTT button and talk away. Press A/B again to talk on channel 3, and again PTT to talk away. If you can't reach your buddy on A, try on B. I like to have a MURS band on A (lower fewquency), and an FRS or GMRS on B (higher frequency). That way I'm more likely to get a signal in any given conditions.

Hope my instructions are not too confusing. Simply pressing the buttons I wrote down in sequence should get you set up. Good luck!

(John B here again) - Hopefully one or two of the AZ Crew takes this info in and does this...

John B.


AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 35x12.5-15 on 8" steelies, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, front ARB pending
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

Crumb

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 01:07:42 PM »
...and then sets mine up.

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 07:15:10 PM »
Apparently there's a clone cable available for these radios. I saw a mention of it in the manual as I was leafing through it. Once one radio is set up, there's a procedure to make an unlimited additional number of them the same exact set-up, so ORDER NOW! We'll just need one.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 35x12.5-15 on 8" steelies, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, front ARB pending
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

PA_JERO

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 08:28:23 AM »
Clone cable purchased! I should have it friday.

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 10:32:12 PM »
Oh FUNK yeah!

I got started on one last night. There's a certain "knack" to entering things because the radio wants to "time out" on your actions and go back to a stand-by mode, so you have to know what you're doing before you do it and do it all pretty quickly...or else do it again. Or at least try to do it again.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 35x12.5-15 on 8" steelies, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, front ARB pending
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

BottomFeeder

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 09:37:18 PM »
I cant get mine past the "Channel Mode"
1990 LS, 2" Body Lift, 33's, Dual LSD
1995 SR, 1.5 Body Lift, 33's
1999 Winter Package

BottomFeeder

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 09:51:13 PM »
And I have figured out that mine is defective.  Freakin Chinese radios....
1990 LS, 2" Body Lift, 33's, Dual LSD
1995 SR, 1.5 Body Lift, 33's
1999 Winter Package

BottomFeeder

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2017, 12:14:37 PM »
Sent it back and got a new one that works. 
I have a Yaesu VX-3 which won't work on those channels.  I guess I have to get licensed to use the Yaesu...
1990 LS, 2" Body Lift, 33's, Dual LSD
1995 SR, 1.5 Body Lift, 33's
1999 Winter Package

ChargerX3

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2017, 02:11:51 PM »
Great thread. I picked a pair up not too long ago.

BottomFeeder

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 04:00:26 PM »
I install a HAM antenae on my SR.  Plug the radio in to the antenae.  Tune to 154.600
I picked up SAMs talking about re-stocking procedure with Bill and Kelly.  Kelly was not following the correct procedure for exchanging products and then re-stocking said item.  Good thing Bill was therre to correct Kelly because Bill told her how much trouble he got in by doing it wrong.  By the way, SAM's is at least 2 miles away.
1990 LS, 2" Body Lift, 33's, Dual LSD
1995 SR, 1.5 Body Lift, 33's
1999 Winter Package

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 07:05:29 PM »
Sometimes I wonder about Kelly, but, as you said, good thing Bill was around.

I got an antenna, too. It's sitting outside on a table and I haven't hooked it up to my radio yet, which stands to reason, since today was the first day since Oct. 27th that I actually started and drove my 95.

Toasty seems to believe that other frequencies are the key to longer range performance with these radios. I beg to differ. In identical situations, and in theory, something like five times the transmit power will net you about double the range. The key is the antenna, which I also experienced with a CB, and CB's typically operate at 5 watts max. I have a portable that has a whip attached to it, and it's effective range is about to the end of the nearest fence in visible range. With a cheap loaded coil rooftop antenna, it's miles. Attaching a similar antenna to a radio that then attaches to a metal object like your vehicle increases the gain substantially. I recommend them.

I hope Kelly learned something.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 35x12.5-15 on 8" steelies, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, front ARB pending
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

johneric

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 07:07:50 PM »
i work at an aerospace company here in socal, and it turns out there is an amateur radio club - i went to their meeting today and got the down-low on licensing, study materials, and good handhelds. we have our own repeater (K6NX), and the guys use a laptop to program radios on site. i've been using a standard horizon HX471 for FRS and MURS, but with so many off-roaders using 2M, i've resolved to get smarter and pick up something new.

thanks for sharing the baofeng programming tips!
1989 Montero SP
3.0L V6 SWB

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2017, 07:46:55 PM »
Being able to dial down power is probably more of a selling point than turning it up, in my opinion. 8 watts isn't going to get you much more than 5. If the price point isn't much higher, go for it, but I'd put something toward a decently reviewed external antenna as a first add-on.

The lower power comes in handy for fairly tight groups so you don't talk over people using the band fairly close-by, you know, just in case you're using some frequency you "shouldn't" be on.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 35x12.5-15 on 8" steelies, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, front ARB pending
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

IncorpoRatedX

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2017, 12:59:02 PM »
Wheres the best place to get one? Anyone that's done the shopping care to share?

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Baofeng Radio Set-Up
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2017, 02:25:45 AM »
Oh yeah, IncorpoRatedX, it's all Amazon these days.

Good point on saving power when dialing down your transmit. The basic batteries these radios ship with will last more than all day when you're just monitoring, but start talking and it's going to run out a lot quicker. If you're in a group and can set your transmit power back to the lowest setting, you're going to really extend the battery. Even at one watt, you're still double the power of an off-the-shelf FRS radio, as I recall.

You can also buy bigger batteries for these radios on Amazon. Lots of options available for them.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 35x12.5-15 on 8" steelies, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, front ARB pending
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero