How to Set Baofeng Frequency?

Setting the frequency on a Baofeng radio is a fundamental task for anyone using these versatile devices, whether for amateur radio operations, emergency communications, or general use.

This guide will walk you through the steps to set and save frequencies on your Baofeng radio, ensuring you can effectively use your device for your intended purpose.

Understanding Frequency Modes

Baofeng radios typically operate in two primary modes:

  1. VFO Mode (Variable Frequency Oscillator): This mode allows you to directly enter and operate on any frequency within the radio’s range. It’s useful for tuning into specific frequencies that aren’t saved as channels.
  2. MR Mode (Memory Recall/Channel Mode): This mode lets you operate on pre-programmed channels. These channels are frequencies that you have saved into the radio’s memory.

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Steps to Set a Frequency in VFO Mode

  1. Turn on Your Radio: Press the power button/volume knob on the top of the radio to turn it on.
  2. Switch to VFO Mode: Press the [VFO/MR] button to toggle the radio to VFO mode. You will see the frequency display instead of channel numbers.
  3. Select the Frequency Band: Use the [BAND] button to switch between the VHF and UHF bands. VHF typically ranges from 136-174 MHz, while UHF ranges from 400-520 MHz.
  4. Enter the Desired Frequency: Use the keypad to directly input the frequency you want to operate on. For example, to set the frequency to 146.520 MHz, press 1-4-6-5-2-0.
  5. Adjust Additional Settings (Optional):
  • CTCSS/DCS Tones: If your communication requires a sub-audible tone for access, set the CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System) or DCS (Digital Coded Squelch) using the [MENU] button and the respective menu options (usually 11 for CTCSS and 13 for DCS).
  • Power Level: Set the power level by going to the power option in the menu (option 2). Choose between low, medium, or high power based on your need.

Transmit and Receive: Press the [PTT] (Push-To-Talk) button to transmit on the selected frequency. Release the button to receive.

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    Saving a Frequency to a Channel (MR Mode)

    To save a frequency for easy access in the future, you can store it in one of the radio’s memory channels.

    Step-by-Step Guide

    • Set the Frequency in VFO Mode: Follow the steps above to enter the desired frequency in VFO mode.
    • Open the Menu: Press the [MENU] button to access the radio’s menu settings.
    • Select the Channel Memory:
    1. Scroll through the menu options using the arrow keys or directly enter the menu number for channel storage (often 27 for Baofeng UV-5R).
    2. Press [MENU] again to enter the channel selection screen.
    • Choose a Channel:
    1. Use the arrow keys to select an available memory channel (channels without any frequency stored will typically display “CH-XX” where XX is the channel number).
    2. Press [MENU] to confirm your selection.
    • Confirm the Frequency Save:
    1. If the channel is available, the display will show “MEM-CH” or similar. Press [MENU] to store the frequency into the selected channel.
    2. You might need to confirm the storage by pressing [EXIT] or another key as indicated.
    • Exit the Menu: Press the [EXIT] button to leave the menu and return to the main screen.
    • Switch to MR Mode: Press the [VFO/MR] button to switch to MR mode. Use the up/down arrow keys or keypad to navigate to the saved channel.

    Example: Setting and Saving a Frequency

    Let’s walk through an example where you want to set the frequency to 146.520 MHz and save it to channel 10:

    1. Turn on the radio and switch to VFO mode.
    2. Press 1-4-6-5-2-0 to enter 146.520 MHz.
    3. Press [MENU], scroll to option 27 (or enter 27), press [MENU] again.
    4. Use the arrow keys to find channel 010, then press [MENU] to save.
    5. Press [EXIT] to leave the menu.
    6. Switch to MR mode by pressing [VFO/MR] and navigate to channel 10 to confirm the frequency is saved.

    Troubleshooting Common Issues

    • Can’t Enter Frequency: Make sure the radio is in VFO mode and the frequency is within the radio’s operational range.
    • Channel Not Saving: Ensure the channel is empty before trying to save a new frequency. Check the radio’s manual for specific steps if you encounter issues.
    • Poor Signal: Adjust the power level or check for obstructions. Ensure you are using the correct band (VHF/UHF) for your desired frequency.


    Setting and saving frequencies on a Baofeng radio is a straightforward process that significantly enhances your ability to use the radio effectively. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, these steps will help you get the most out of your Baofeng radio. Practice these steps, and soon you’ll be navigating frequencies and channels with ease.

    For more detailed information and advanced programming, refer to the user manual specific to your Baofeng model or explore additional resources and forums online.

    If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.