Programming the Baofeng UV-3R From a PC

The Baofeng UV-3R is a small and amazingly low-priced dual band ham radio – you can find out more on our Baofeng UV-3R Review.

If you own one of these radios, you’ll know that setting up the UV-3R is fairly straightforward, but the lack of a numeric keypad can slow down setting up memory presets and repeater details.  There’s a guide on how to set up this radio for access to the Essex GB3DA repeater here:  Setting up the Baofeng UV-3R for GB3DA Danbury Repeater

If you own a UV-3R, rather than programming it up from the radio’s software interface, you may want to invest in a programming lead, and set up the radio and memory presets faster using software on your PC. This page outlines how to do that, and also includes a datafile of the repeaters in the Essex area.

What you’ll need

  • A Windows PC with a USB port. We tested on a Windows XP machine, but we understand this works on Vista and Windows 7 too.
  • A Baofeng Programming lead (Buy one on eBay: 409 Shop on eBay)
Baofeng UV-3R programming lead
The Baofeng UV-3R USB programming lead

The USB lead cost around $10 and was delivered direct from Hong Kong in about 10 days. The lead comes in two parts, the USB part, and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack lead, which is used for connection to the UV-3R. The leads are supplied with a min i-CD containing software and drivers.

Installing the Programming Software

Before connecting the programming lead to the Baofeng, you should install the programming software.

The CD supplied with the programming lead comes with two versions of programming software, plus drivers for the lead (XP, Vista and Windows 7 versions)

The programming software is in a folder labelled “UV-3R_UV100_UV200”, and there are two versions. Time to practise your Chinese!

  • UV_3R_Setup(2011-413).exe – This version installs in English, but the software is in Chinese. There seems to be no easy way to switch it into English
  • UV_3R_Setupv1.rar – The requires unpacking (the RAR Extract program Frog is on the CD). The installer is in Chinese, but the application is in English

I’d suggest going with the RAR version. Although the installer is in Chinese, you can work through it easily, using the “N” button for “Next”. The last prompt after installation asks for a reboot. I ignored this, with no ill effects. After installation, I had BF 3R v1.01.01 (2010-10-8)

A word of caution: A quick scan of the CD set off my McAfee Antivirus – It reported the file BF-480.exe as having something called the “Generic Dropper.fg” Trojan. You don’t appear to need that program, but be aware that there may be an issue with this file.

We’ve looked online of an English version of the Baofeng UV-3R software. At the time of writing, it’s available for download from:

Connecting the radio to the PC

Once you have installed an English version of the Baofeng programing software, it’s time to connect to the radio. Insert  the USB lead into the PC. Your PC should detect a new device. It will try to install the “Prolific USB-to-Serial” driver. The installer is on the CD (Versions for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7)

I already had the drivers installed – as they are the same as for the Quansheng TG-UV2 , so I was able to bypass this step.

With the USB drivers and the Baofeng software installed, final step is to connect to the radio. The 4-PIN end of the 3.5mm jack lead plugs into the MIC/SP socket, and the 3-PIN end goes to the USB lead.

It’s now a case of switching on the radio and setting the Baofeng programming software to use the right COM port. The Profilic Serial-to-US driver will assign itself a virtual COM port, and you need to ensure that the programming software uses the correct port.

To check the COM port on a Windows XP computer, go to Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager and look under “Ports”. Find “Prolific USB-to-Serial”. Right-click this, select Properties. Select the Port Settings tab, and press Advanced.

Prolific Serial to USB Port Settings in XP
Prolific Serial to USB Port Settings in XP

Now, from the Baofeng programming software, go into ‘Com Port’ and set the correct COM port.

Now, you should be able to connect the radio to the PC using the programming lead. Under the ‘Device’ menu option, there is the option to read from, or write to, your little Baofeng radio.

Programming the Baofeng UV-3R

With the physical connection made, and the software set up, it should be possible to use the software to read in the radio’s presets, create your own, or, if you’re in the Essex area, use the config file of local repeater settings (see below)

Here’s a screenshot of the Baofeng programming software in use:

Baofeng UV-3R programming software
Baofeng UV-3R programming software screenshot

The fields for each of the Baofeng memory presets are:

  • RX Freq(MHz): The Receive frequency
  • TX Freq(MHz): The Transmit frequency. 2 metre repeaters are normally 600KHz lower.
  • RX Tone: The receive CTCSS/DCS code (ignore for repeaters)
  • TX Tone: The transmit CTCSS/DCS code (needed for repeaters)
  • TX Power: High or Low
  • W/N: Wide or narrow band

When you have set up your presets, use the ‘Device > Write’ option to send the new memory presets to the UV-3R.

Writing memories to the Baofeng UV-3R
Writing memories to the Baofeng UV-3R

Baofeng UV-3R Essex Repeaters Data File

In case it’s helpful, here is a file containing some of the common repeaters that can be opened in Essex. the file can be opened by the Baofeng software.

Download the Baofeng UV-3R Essex Repeaters Settings – This is a 3k DAT file


Got a question on this radio? Add a comment below, or better still, ask in our Essex Ham Hardware Forum

Related pages:


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