Amateur Radio, Technology

How to Program your Baofeng UV-5R with Ubuntu

First of all, I thought I had published this long ago and then when i needed it for my own reference it was gone!  I searched high and low but alas – I shall start again. So, as I re-learn this class, I hope it helps you too.

First, credit where credit is due.  This gent happened to have all the command line instructions to make it possible.  I will paste the codes right here below, but here also is a link to his site:

sudo apt-get install python-serial
sudo apt-get install python-libxml
tar zxvf chirp-0.3.0.tar.gz
cd chirp-0.3.0/

The problem I had with the instructions above were as follows:

  1. I didn’t know how to use the command line well and had to give myself a tutorial.  For your reference it’s quite good enough to do a quick self study.  Here is the full meal deal.  However, for our purposes you really just need to know how to change folders (directories) and execute the Chirp file you downloaded.  This link will also teach you how to open the Terminal if you haven’t done so before.
  2. I somehow wasn’t logged in as ‘sudo’ so the software opened but it wouldn’t actually do anything.  I found a random post somewhere where someone suggested adding ‘sudo’ to the command lines. It worked.
  3. I thought you could just edit a .csv file and upload it to the radio but I found out after many hours it was just easier t edit everything in the Chirp software
  4. I couldn’t really figure out how to deal with all the stuff that showed up in my radio after I got it working!

So, here is a super, duper slow version of the other gent’s tutorial.

Getting Chirp on your Ubuntu Machine for Use with your Baofeng UV-5R

1. make sure Baofeng is totally wiped of stuff.  Press ‘menu’ and ’40’ (reset all) and then ‘menu’ again.  ‘All’ should be on the screen so press ‘menu’ again. It will ask ‘source?’  Once you press it one more time it will say ‘wait’ which means ‘Wait.  I’m wiping your radio.”  It will soon finish with a friendly Chinese greeting.  Since I don’t know a word of Chinese, I immediately press ‘menu’ and ’14’ and ‘menu’ again, down button until ‘ENG’ shows up and then the ‘menu’ button again whcih sill save it.  Done.  Your radio is wiped and back to English.

2. Make sure you have run these scripts in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install python-serial
sudo apt-get install python-libxml
tar zxvf chirp-0.3.0.tar.gz

3. It seems that this file above gets downloaded to different places or some people want to move it to their own ham folder. No problem. Do so but remember where you put it.  Now use the the command lines in the terminal to point to your downloaded folder using this command:

cd chirp-0.3.0/

You might have to do some other ‘cd’ commands until you find the place where you put it. Once you find it and hit the command above, you will be inside the chirp folder and just one command away from opening Chirp software.  Now run this one one:

sudo ./chirpw

It may ask for your master password so input it.

Getting your Favourite Repeaters into your Baofeng UV-5R using Chirp

Now that your software is open, let’s put in some repeaters and then drop those into your radio.  You can just read Marcus Jennings’  page again about how to plug in the radio

Before you do anything, if this is your first time, you must download from your radio the set up.  You just, in Chirp, go to “Radio” menu option at the top and ‘Download from Radio’.  That should give you the fields that are in your radio.  From there you can just edit away.

It might also be helpful for you to know that when you use the ‘save’ or ‘save as’ feature in Chirp, it saves the file as a .img file.  This file didn’t seem to play well with Calc.  It seems that the .img file is the one that goes back and forth to between the radio and your computer.  I was messing around with the import/export feature. I’m sure there is an awesome way to use that feature but I’ve not figured it out yet…

Now what I do is edit my original and then do a ‘save as’ to get my new file that can go up to my radio.  I use ‘save as’ because I’m worried about goofing something up and then not being able to revert…

That’s all for now. This will need a review from someone else as well as myself when I’m not so tired.


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1 thought on “How to Program your Baofeng UV-5R with Ubuntu

  1. The link to download the software is a 404… Is there any other source?

    And will this work on Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver? The instructions are for 12.04 Precise Pangolin.

    73, Alexa (waiting on my license to show up in the FCC database)

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