Connecting Your Baofeng Radio to a PC: Step-by-Step Guide

Baofeng radios are widely appreciated for their versatility and functionality, especially among amateur radio enthusiasts and professionals.

One powerful feature of these radios is their ability to connect to a PC for programming and customization. Connecting your Baofeng radio to a PC allows you to easily manage frequencies, update settings, and even use your radio for digital modes.

This guide will walk you through the steps to successfully connect your Baofeng radio to your PC.

Table of Contents

Why Connect Your Baofeng Radio to a PC?

Connecting your Baofeng radio to a PC offers several advantages:

  • Easy Programming: Quickly add, modify, or delete frequencies and settings using software rather than manually inputting each one.
  • Backup and Restore: Save your radio’s configuration to your PC for easy restoration in case of resets or new setups.
  • Enhanced Features: Access advanced settings and features that might be difficult or impossible to change directly on the radio.

What You Need

To connect your Baofeng radio to your PC, you will need:

  1. Baofeng Radio: Models like the UV-5R, BF-F8HP, or UV-82 are commonly used.
  2. Programming Cable: A USB cable specifically designed for Baofeng radios, often referred to as a “Baofeng programming cable.”
  3. Programming Software: Software such as CHIRP or Baofeng’s own software that facilitates the communication between your radio and PC.
  4. PC with USB Port: A computer running Windows, macOS, or Linux.

Step-by-Step Guide to Connecting Your Baofeng Radio to a PC

Step 1: Install the Programming Software

Before connecting your radio to your PC, you need to install the programming software. CHIRP is a popular and widely used program for this purpose.

Installing CHIRP

Download CHIRP:

  • Go to the CHIRP website.
  • Select the appropriate version for your operating system (Windows, macOS, or Linux).

Install the Software:

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to install CHIRP on your PC.
  • For macOS users, you may need to adjust security settings to allow CHIRP to run.

Step 2: Connect the Programming Cable to the Radio and PC

  1. Turn Off Your Radio: Ensure your Baofeng radio is turned off before connecting it to avoid any issues.
  2. Connect the Cable to the Radio: Plug the smaller end of the programming cable into the side port of your Baofeng radio. This port is usually covered by a rubber flap.
  3. Connect the Cable to the PC: Plug the USB end of the programming cable into an available USB port on your PC.

Step 3: Install the Cable Drivers

For the programming cable to communicate properly with your PC, you may need to install specific drivers.

Installing Drivers

Check for Automatic Installation:

  • When you plug in the cable, your PC might automatically recognize it and install the necessary drivers.

Download Drivers Manually:

  • If the drivers do not install automatically, you may need to download them from the cable manufacturer’s website or use the drivers provided by Baofeng.
  • Popular drivers include those for the Prolific or FTDI chipset, which are commonly used in Baofeng cables.

Step 4: Launch the Programming Software


  • Launch the CHIRP software on your PC.

Select Your Radio Model:

  • In CHIRP, go to Radio > Download From Radio.
  • Choose your Baofeng model from the list of supported radios.

Choose the Communication Port:

  • Select the appropriate COM port from the drop-down menu. This port corresponds to the USB port where your programming cable is connected.

Step 5: Transfer Data Between the Radio and PC

Download Data from the Radio:

  • Click OK to initiate the communication between the radio and the PC.
  • The radio’s current configuration will be downloaded and displayed in CHIRP.

Edit Your Settings:

  • Use CHIRP to add, modify, or delete frequencies and settings as desired.

Upload Data to the Radio:

  • Once you have made the necessary changes, go to Radio > Upload To Radio.
  • Confirm your choices and upload the new configuration to your Baofeng radio.

Step 6: Disconnect and Test Your Radio

Safely Disconnect

  • After successfully uploading your settings, safely disconnect the programming cable from your radio and PC.

Test Your Radio

  • Turn on your Baofeng radio and verify that the new settings have been applied correctly.
  • Test different frequencies and settings to ensure everything works as expected.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Drivers Not Recognized: If your PC doesn’t recognize the cable, try installing or updating the drivers manually. Check the device manager (Windows) or system report (macOS) for USB connections.
  • Software Doesn’t Communicate with Radio: Ensure you have selected the correct COM port and radio model in CHIRP. Try using a different USB port or cable if the issue persists.
  • Failed Uploads: Verify that the programming cable is securely connected and that the radio is turned on. Restart the radio and software, and try again.


Connecting your Baofeng radio to a PC opens up a world of possibilities for programming and customization. Whether you’re looking to streamline your channel management or explore advanced radio features, following these steps will help you get the most out of your Baofeng radio. Remember to always use the correct cable and drivers, and take your time learning the software to make the most of your radio’s capabilities.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with your Baofeng radio, don’t hesitate to reach out.