Baofeng UV-5R, new firmware – the differences

My second Baofeng UV-5R arrived. As expected, this one is loaded with new firmware.

Holding ‘3’ while powering up:
Old data: BFB231
New data: BFB251

Holding ‘6’ while powering up:
Old data: 1203151 VER-05
New data: 1203151 VER-05

As you can see, the data we thought to be a combination of production date plus the number of UV-5R’s produced that day, are identical. It appears that the UV-5R’s aren’t serialized in such a way at all, which makes retrieving this information pointless from now on. The printed serial numbers on the back of the HT do differ though.

Serial number old UV-5R: 201203R05872
Serial number new UV-5R: 201204R2295

Both are black versions and bought from 409shop. This shop uses more than one name on eBay, such as RadioBanker and HK360Radio.

Batteries still do not have the CE mark. The CE mark is totally unimportant when it comes to quality, but there is a slight possibility that the batteries will be refused at the border of EU countries.


  • New antenna is embossed. Text: Baofeng and U-V Antenna.
  • New voice. I liked the old one better, the voice quality degraded substantially. To make matters worse, she sounds like she’s had a tragic life and needs counseling ASAP before she kills herself.
  • Menu 14 (VOICE) now offers the choice between Chinese and English.
  • Lowest RX audio level even lower

Things that should have changed but didn’t:

  • Frequency input using the keyboard not fixed
  • Various squelch settings still don’t make any difference
  • Various VOX settings still don’t make any difference

The ‘Not Confirmed’ Dept:

Some owners of earlier UV-5R’s complained about the receiver being off frequency, and some state that the new version does a better job. Mine wasn’t off frequency, and the new one isn’t either. I don’t say that these people were imagining things, only that I could not confirm this. There’s always the possibility of getting a lemon.

I’ve read tips from owners that by choosing 2.5KHz channel spacing, and checking the frequencies below and above a busy frequency, could give you an indication whether the UV-5R is off frequency or not. I disagree. If I do the same with a Kenwood TMV-71 or Yaesu FT-8900R, I find the same differences. These differences are more likely caused by the non-symmetrical shape of the (often cheap) filters commonly used in these radios. Try it.

Earlier UV-5R articles:

35 comments on “Baofeng UV-5R, new firmware – the differences

  1. Het lijkt me een leuk apparaat echter heb er nu enkele liggen en word absoluut niet wijs uit het programmeren ervan.
    Zelfs het programmeer programma is één groot vraagteken voor me, ligt dit nu aan mij of,…

  2. Thank you that explains why one of my radios is different, shame you cant update the firmware via a programming cable and thank you for your thoughts and comments regarding these radios it has been most helpful

  3. Now if you press and hold the MONI key and turn the radio on I get a message “COPING” no telling what that does…. Any suggestions??
    1204171 ver-05

    AL (n4god)

      • Thanks for the quick response, I kinda thought that but it’s nice to know from someone whos been there. This radio reminds me of the VX-5R from yeasu -$300……


  4. I have radios running the new version but it will not read the radio after programming. Any ideas

  5. I can not read data from the radio. I keep getting a fail to connect code. I can write just fine. Any ideas why I can’t read? Also how do you save the data? I have BFB251 and 12077a ver 5.

  6. Baofeng UV-5R “Emergency Alert”
    Any idea of what this really does?
    Is it like a avalanche beacon?


    • It’s an audible alarm sound, which is also transmitted. Other brands often refer to it as “Man Down transmission”.

      Really useful ones incorporate a GPS tracking system which, obviously, isn’t part of the UV-5R’s design.

  7. Thanks for the great review. I’m wondering how the UV-5R came along from the very first model to the latest and greatest model. I know of the UV-5R, UV5RA, UV-5RB, UV-5RC, UV-5RE and now the UV-5R Plus in no particular order. On a timeline, which is first to last? Is the UV-5R Plus the very latest version? Thanks so much!!

    73, Bob

    • Technically they’re all the same. In an attempt to sell more, these radios became available with all kinds of different looks. Even the earliest design will have the latest firmware. Basically there is no timeline – nobody kept track of all these varieties. Just pick one with the looks you like.

  8. I was playing with the frequency input and discovered the radio rounds down when on e.g. 12.5 or 6.25 channel spacing.

    If the step is 12.5 and you want to enter 145.6125 type 145613 rather than 145612 on most other radios
    or if you set channel step as 6.25 and you want 145.60625 on type 145607

  9. You mentioned that “Frequency input using the keyboard not fixed”. We just purchased the UV-5R plus and found that we key in a “7” the audio states “7” however a “5” comes up on the readout so it appears that the frequency is not what we keyed in. (482.93750 keyed in – shows 482.93550) This appears to be intermittent

    Thanking you in advance..

      • Thank you for your reply. We received our replacement unit (first unit shipped by Amazon appeared to be used) and it too has the same bug. Will the frequency be that of what it keyed in and not what is visual? Can this issue be solved by using computer to program? Again thank you for your response.

      • The bug is part of the design – the UV-5R has its share of flaws, and some can’t be fixed by new firmware. Yet it’s easy to solve. In manual programming mode, check the frequency in the display after typing one in, and press the Up key once if necessary. When using a computer to program the UV-5R, this problem doesn’t apply.

  10. Just wondering if the original programing software will work in the later models. I received a new version of the UV-5R, and it will not communicate with my computer. Yes I tried manually setting the port on the computer, and still not go.
    Thanks for any advise.

  11. The UV-5r+ no longer displays the arrows to the left of the frequency to indicate which one is transmitting or receiving. Is this an option or function I have changed or a fault in the radio? I have a UV-5r standard model and it has arrow with an additional S above the freqs. Any ideas?

  12. Simple question, I think. I have a year old UV5R that I program with Chirp and it works very well. Today I received a new UV5R Plus and I thought the radios would be much the same so I hook up my programing cable and flash the image of my old radio. Well now I had a radio that didn’t work. So I found recovery instructions and upgraded my chirp to the instructed version of the 2014 software but I didn’t know what version of soft ware the radio had in it originally. So I got a version of mid 2014 image soft ware and flashed that on and now the radio works again. I THEN followed instructions and cut and pasted my programing info into a NEW image page and now I have a working radio. BUT when I go into setting I can not program the welcome screen or the FM radio station that the radio will store. So while I have a working radio again apparently I don’t have a 100% programmable radio. When I do the power on #3 I get BFB297. But my older UV5R has that same code in it.

    So I don’t know know what I have now. The serial # is US2013214272 Reading your posts here in the beginning that really doesn’t mean much either.

    Thanks for your help if you can.


    • Firmware: BFB297 will be displayed at default on all models, basically hiding the actual firmware version. You can read the actual firmware version in Chirp by selecting ‘Settings -> Other Settings’. The actual firmware versions will be displayed in the fields ‘Firmware Message 1’ and ‘Firmware Message 2’.

      FM, default frequency at startup: I had no trouble changing that in the latest firmware. You can also do that by hand: just enter a frequency manually while in FM broadcast mode. The radio will remember this the next time you power up the radio.

      I also had no trouble changing the start-up message in Chirp under Settings -> Other settings -> Power-On Message 1 and Power-On Message 1. Not sure why you can’t.

      Try reading the radio (do not load a file!) and try to set it again.

      • Dear Hans,
        First I would like to sincerely thank you for taking your time to respond to my question and for the fact that you responded so quickly. You’re so amazing to do that. These are great little radios but the information about how to set them and programing is extremely scarce and with out detail. So I want you to know I appreciate your time.

        Here is the bottom line to my question. When I received the radio new out of the box the first thing I did was attempt to load the old file and programming into the radio with the older version of Chirp that I was using. This rendered the radio inoperative. I followed the instructions for recovery. Upgraded my Chirp to the July 2014 version (I believe) that was in the instructions. At this point I had to choose a firmware date to upload. I could not get the firmware code out of the radio and I randomally chose a July dated firmware and flashed that on the radio. This all got the radio back working again.

        Did I change the firmware from what ever was in it from the factory? I believe I read somewhere that you can not change the actualy firmware. The truth is I don’t know what the radio had from the factory. I uploaded a guess of firmware and this may be why I can not make a couple of the subtle changes I mentioned. The BFB-297 is what the CHIRP software shows too. Did I upload that? The image I did download and then upload through Chirp to the radio was N5R-215BFB297 and this got the radio back working. But that may not have been what that radio had in it from the factory. I gather the serial number of US2013214272 is no clue either.

        Thank you again for your help. I’ll try your suggestions and will post back with my results.


      • Thank you for confirming that Hans. After I received your first reply I followed your instructions. But when I connected the radio this time Chirp did now see the radio. Okay, long story short, I reloaded the 2014 Chirp software, powered down my computer and then restarted it. Started Chrip, plugged in the radio and it saw it I uploaded the radio info into Chirp. I changed the opening message and reloaded this change back into the radio. It worked like a charm. For the FM music radio receiver frequency, well I can not do that through the Chrip software but again I followed your instructions and did it with the key pad and it saved the new frequency for me. So everything is up and working as good as new.

        Thank you again for your prompt and spot on help. I can not thank you enough as this was driving me crazy. But it’s all working and I’m done playing. I have two of these radio’s now that bounce through the local repeater and talk to each other extremely well. Again, Thank You Hans!!

        Best Regards,


  13. I can’t get my new? UV5R to break squelch unless I hold MON. I’ve tried re-progamming channels, resetting squelch levels. setting both DCS and CT OFF, but nothing seems to work. I also cant get it to scan in frequency mode; don’t know if that’s related. Not being able to break squelch makes the radio about useless! From CHIRP firmware is N5R-20 BFB297. S/N 130U801923.

    • There’s a bug in some models (see this post) which will mute RX audio if you switched off the keyboard beep.

      Try setting the keyboard beep to ‘On’ to see if this bug affects your model.

  14. When I turn off beep, even MON won’t break squelch. With beep ON, only MON breaks squelch regardless of the level programmed. Simply trying to receive NOAA 1 or a Marine VHF channel.

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