The Baofeng UV 5R is the go-to choice for many preppers. It is affordable, easy to use, and somewhat reliable for short-distance two-way communications.
However, the newest Baofeng UV 5R comes locked. This means it can only transmit on the frequencies it is allowed to transmit on.
This isn’t the best for preppers because they want a radio that can get them in touch with a wide range of prepper frequencies, so they have more options to reach out to in case of emergencies.
But fortunately, there is an easy hack that can help you access Baofeng UV 5R unlock frequencies so you can transmit on channels other than what the device allows.
For now, let’s jump into this blog and see how you can unlock your Baofeng UV 5R.
Unlocking a Baofeng UV 5R may be critical for many preppers who want to get in touch with other radio channels as well. Since the Baofeng UV 5R is locked, you can access the Baofeng UV 5R unlock frequencies by rebooting the device.
Baofeng UV 5R: Unlock Frequencies
You must have been frustrated on finding out that your awesome new Baofeng is locked and only allows you to transmit on limited frequencies.
You want a device that gives you more freedom. And, of course, you want a radio that can transmit on various bands because carrying multiple handy talkies while evacuating during SHTF situations is the last thing you’d want to do.
Fortunately, all new UV 5Rs that come with locked frequencies can be unlocked fairly easily. You don’t have to tinker with the device or dive deep into the backend tech of the device. All you have to do is:
- Switch off your UV 5R with the turn knob on the top.
- Press the “Push to Talk,” “VFO,” and “Monitor” buttons at the same time while simultaneously turning the device on with the same knob you turned it off with.
- You will notice a “Welcome” message on the screen followed by the word “Factory.” This indicates that the device has been rebooted and the frequencies are unlocked. Now you can transmit on any frequencies you like within a reasonable range.
- Once you have expanded the reach of your Baofeng, you can add frequencies you would like to listen to or transmit on in case of emergencies.
It is important to mention here that “jailbreaking” your UV 5R in this way may lead to the device presenting problems with CHIRP programming. Additionally, while it isn’t illegal to unlock a locked Baofeng, transmitting on the Baofeng UV 5R unlock frequencies might get you in trouble with the FCC.
Also, once you have unlocked your Baofeng, it cannot be relocked. So, going ahead with this is a decision you want to be careful about.
Now that you know how to unlock your UV 5R let’s talk about the device itself. Also, let’s see if this nifty little radio can serve as a police/emergency frequency scanner.
The Baofeng: An Easy Entry into the Ham Radio World
Baofeng itself is a Chinese radio manufacturer that makes these affordable handheld transceivers. These transceivers have various models, much like mobile phones do.
The Baofeng UV 5R is one of the company’s latest handheld transceivers. It does not only have some new features but also enjoys great popularity among Baofeng Ham radio enthusiasts.
Baofengs have reshaped the Ham radio world with their affordable price, you can get one at less than $50, their quick availability, just order them on Amazon, and of course, their ease of use and superior functionality.
This device has its own set of frequencies which include enough channels for newbies to experiment with even when the device is locked.
The Baofeng UV 5R Frequencies
The Baofeng has many features. It offers easy communication, has a detachable antenna, the screen lights up, and the keypad is nice. But one problem that appears with the newer models, particularly the UV 5R, is that their frequencies are locked.
This means the device can only transmit on a restricted range of frequencies, and you cannot go beyond them without first unlocking the device.
A locked Baofeng would still allow you to transmit on frequencies ranging from 144 to 148 MHz on the 2m band and from 420 to 450 MHz on the 70 cm band. But that’s about it. If you wish to go beyond this frequency range, you’d need to get your Baofeng unlocked.
What does it mean to unlock frequencies on a Baofeng? It simply means rebooting or reprograming the device to eliminate the frequency restrictions and widen the frequency ranges.
If you’re thinking whether it is legal to unlock frequencies on a Baofeng’s UV 5R, rest assured.
There are no legal restrictions around unlocking your UV 5R frequencies. However, you must be careful about the frequencies you transmit on since Hams aren’t supposed to talk on frequencies outside the Ham bands.
As far as monitoring outside-of-Ham-bands-frequencies is concerned, that’s something we can talk more about.
Can You Use Your Baofeng to Listen to Police Frequencies?
The reception frequencies for most Baofengs usually range from 100 to 500 MHz. And since public service organizations, like the police, fire department, or weather agencies, often transmit on VHF and UHF frequencies as well, therefore you can program a Baofeng UV 5R for police scanner.
What frequency or frequencies should you monitor when looking for police chatter?
The police departments often transmit on 150 to 172 MHz in the VHF range and 450 to 470 MHz in the UHF range.
These frequencies are close to the allocated Ham bands. Therefore, Baofengs can make for excellent police scanners, but only if you are listening to police transmissions that are being made from somewhere nearby.
These devices can perform poorly in long-distance communications, so scanning your local police channels would be your best bet.
For more details, we have a blog post on listening to police frequencies on ham radio.
Can a Baofeng Listen to Emergency Frequencies?
Baofeng can pick up emergency frequencies within its reception range, given that the transmission is being made from nearby or on local repeaters.
Many people often rely on Baofengs for emergencies, so it is critical to have important emergency channels pre-programmed into your UV 5R.
Fortunately, weather agencies like the NOAA and disaster management authorities like FEMA often transmit within the VHF and UHF frequency ranges that happen to be within Baofeng’s range of reception.
However, you cannot rely on your UV 5R to pick up signals from far-off areas. Therefore, it would be better if you could also find and program the frequencies of your local first responders.
Radioreference.com is a good place to get these frequencies. Just make sure they are within 100 to 500 MHz.
Unlocking a Baofeng is as simple as pressing a few buttons and turning a knob around. Baofeng UV 5R unlock frequencies open a new world for the Baofeng users to transmit to, with newer frequency ranges being made accessible.
And while it might seem exciting to tread into a forbidden land, or in this case, frequency ranges, know that as a Ham, you can only transmit on the allotted Ham bands.
So, no matter how bad you want to use your Baofeng to chat with your GMRS-using friend, doing that may not be the best idea.
Also, unlocking the UV 5R comes with its own risk. So, proceed with caution lest you ruin your device forever.
I have been passionate about the world of communications in its various forms for most of my life. Ever since I first found an old ham radio stashed away in my uncle’s attic, I have had a fascination with this classic technology.
Having the ability to communicate with people without the need to rely on telephone lines or networks is an empowering feeling which I believe everyone should have at least a basic knowledge of. Becuase who knows when you might need it?
I setup fieldradio.org with this passion in mind, to help inform people about the amazing possibilities of amateur radio and I’m on a quest to help educate as many budding operators as possible.
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