Are you having trouble with your Baofeng radio not receiving signals as it should? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll walk you through helpful solutions to get your radio back in action.
Whether you’re dealing with R-CTCS settings, squelch adjustments, chip limitations, firmware problems, or beep settings, we’ll help you troubleshoot and restore your radio’s reception capabilities.
Basic UV-5R Troubleshooting
Check the Battery
First make sure that the battery is fully charged 🔋
Note that the radio is normally shipped from the factory with a battery that is completely discharged
Use the charger – either provided or specified by the manufacturer.
The charge time for the UV-5R is 4-5 hours. Once charged, the LED should turn a solid green color.
If the radio still doesn’t transmit, try removing the battery completely and reinstalling it.
Another basic check is to ensure that the antenna has been installed correctly.
Install as shown in the picture above. Turn the antenna clockwise until it stops rotating. Never rotate the radio to install the antenna. That will damage the connector and prevent radio from transmitting or receiving signals.
Also never transmit signals without an antenna. Doing so will damage the electronics inside the radio permanently.
💡 To understand this better, consider that when an antenna is not connected, all the input power is reflected back. This can damage the transmit amplifier. When 100% of the input power is reflected, this calculator can be used to find the reflection coefficient Γ = 1 and the VSWR = ∞. The ideal value of VSWR is 1 and a good value is 1.5. Without an antenna, we’re infinitely far from ideal!
Turn Off R-CTCS
If your Baofeng radio isn’t receiving, manually browse through your saved channels, paying close attention to the presence of the tiny letters “ct” preceding the frequency. This indicator means a tone is necessary to receive transmissions on that frequency. To eliminate the tone requirement and restore reception, follow these steps:
- Ensure that the troublesome frequency is displayed in the top row in frequency mode, with the arrow cursor icon preceding it.
- Navigate to Menu item #11 to reach R-CTCS.
- Press Menu again, scroll to the option Off, and select it.
- Press Menu once more to confirm the action, and you will hear “Confirmed.”
*R-CTCS stands for Receive Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System. This Wikipedia page explains how it works
💡 It’s important to note that any R-CTCS setting other than OFF mandates a specific tone for accessing the corresponding frequency or channel, whereas turning off R-CTCS on your radio eliminates the need for the tone. Hence, the radio can receive successfully.
Adjusting the squelch settings means you don’t want to hear any static, but you do want to listen to the signals when present.
If your Baofeng isn’t receiving, check your squelch setting. For this purpose:
- Open the menu on your radio.
- Now locate the squelch setting and try different settings.
- Setting it to 0 will make it act like you’re holding the MONI button with no squelch.
- Setting it to 2 or 3 should reduce static while allowing essential signals.
- Setting it to 4 or 5 (or increasing the threshold) will only allow strong signals to come through.
- Adjust the squelch setting just one step above where you constantly hear static.
- This will make your device highly sensitive to signals while blocking static noise.
- You can try different squelch settings and select one that works for you.
Your Baofeng is Missing a Chip
It is widely known that manufacturing has faced numerous challenges, notably a chip shortage, since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
In response to these difficulties, many distributors of Baofeng products have opted to make adjustments or reduce certain product features to control expenses. One of the most prominently affected features has been the FM radio functionality.
Due to limited chip availability, many Baofeng radios don’t support FM functionality. So, if you try in multiple geographic areas and still can’t hear any FM station, it might be that your radio doesn’t have an FM chip.
Please note that according to Baofeng officials, since there are so many batches, it can’t be exactly told which model doesn’t have the FM chip. According to a Reddit thread, UV-9G and UV-82 are the confirmed ones without an FM chip.
Here’s the Official Baofeng Article on the topic.
If your Baofeng isn’t receiving and you think this has happened after using Chirp software with your radio, it is probably the firmware of your radio that is not letting Chirp access any setting.
If you turn your radio off, press and hold the button ‘3’, and turn it back on while holding 3, it will show you the firmware version of your radio.
Note that version and then open the chirp software on your PC. Go to the ‘settings’ tab and open ‘Other settings’. You will see a section named ‘Firmware Message 1′ with the actual firmware version of your radio.
Follow this link to learn how to program your radio. This will resolve the reception issue, as it has already done that for multiple users.
If your Baofeng radio doesn’t receive unless you keep pressing the MONI button, or the reception can only be heard if the MONI button is pressed continuously, you aren’t alone. This issue was reported in multiple models, including UV-5R, RA, GT-3, BFF8, F8HP, etc. (except the UV-82 series). To resolve the issue:
- Open the menu of your radio by pressing the Menu button.
- Go to item# 8, named BEEP.
- Turn it ON, and the problem should be resolved.
Reset Your Baofeng Radio
If none of these tips have resolved the issue, resetting your radio can do the trick for you. For this purpose:
- Open the menu on your radio.
- Access item # 40, i.e., ‘Reset All’ by pressing the Up/down button or typing 40 from the keypad.
- Press the menu button to confirm the reset.
- Wait for some time unless your radio goes off and turns back on.
A side note: After resetting, your Baofeng radio’s voice will return to Chinese. You can change it to English by accessing item # 14 on the menu.
In the world of Baofeng radios, ensuring smooth reception is essential for clear communication. We’ve explored various methods to tackle the issue of a radio not receiving signals. Whether it’s a simple adjustment of settings or more complex troubleshooting like checking for an FM chip or updating the firmware, these steps should help you get your radio back on track. And if all else fails, there’s always the trusty reset option to give your Baofeng a fresh start. So, apply these solutions to enjoy uninterrupted communication with your radio once again.