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Baofeng UV-5X GMRS


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4 hours ago, OrbitalCannon said:

Seems like it's allowing a write to other values.

Another radio oddity (heh), the squelch does weird things on my unit.

Yeah those 463 Mhz values are real, not good. Jim with CHIRP IDed the problem and should have a fix soon. Yay! (but seems like it is Baofengs prob for even allowing that to be possible!)

I'll have to test the WX channels...if I can get them to receive! First listen in the house and I hear nothing (I am 40 miles away but all my other HTs receive OK.)

Have you reprogrammed the squelch levels? Baofengs have weird defaults. Using chirp under other settings you can reset. I do a 5/10/15/20/30/40/50/65/80 arrangement. Makes level 3-5 a sweet spot and 9 really clamps it down!

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47 minutes ago, SEIGLER001 said:

Yeah those 463 Mhz values are real, not good. Jim with CHIRP IDed the problem and should have a fix soon. Yay! (but seems like it is Baofengs prob for even allowing that to be possible!)

I'll have to test the WX channels...if I can get them to receive! First listen in the house and I hear nothing (I am 40 miles away but all my other HTs receive OK.)

Have you reprogrammed the squelch levels? Baofengs have weird defaults. Using chirp under other settings you can reset. I do a 5/10/15/20/30/40/50/65/80 arrangement. Makes level 3-5 a sweet spot and 9 really clamps it down!

Have you had any issues accessing repeaters with your units? The one near me I can hear open squelch but is entirely silent on my handset. On my Cobra Micro-talk I can hear myself plain as day. The Cobra does have a wider emitter bandwidth which might be causing that issue.

I did adjust the squelch settings today in multiples of 6 starting with 0 then 2. Seems to work really well.

Also found a couple of ways to program additional TX channels into the radio in order to preload more GMRS repeater configs. Is messy and probably has a downside somewhere which I have yet to find. Hoping Chirp makes an official way to do that.

Tossed a Signal Stuff Signal Stick antenna onto both of mine today and wow they pickup signal much clearer now. You'll want the SMA Male connectors and a rubber spacer if you go that route.

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11 hours ago, OrbitalCannon said:

Have you had any issues accessing repeaters with your units? T

Also found a couple of ways to program additional TX channels into the radio in order to preload more GMRS repeater configs. 

 You'll want the SMA Male connectors and a rubber spacer if you go that route.

Only trouble accesing repeater is they desense easliy, which I would expect at their pricepoint.

Please share the additional channel trick!

I need more SMA Male antennas. I hated this at first, but  having that femail stem is probalby better in the long run. Feels much more solid than the Baofengs I've torqued to death with a long antenna.

 

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1 hour ago, SEIGLER001 said:

Only trouble accesing repeater is they desense easliy, which I would expect at their pricepoint.

Please share the additional channel trick!

I need more SMA Male antennas. I hated this at first, but  having that femail stem is probalby better in the long run. Feels much more solid than the Baofengs I've torqued to death with a long antenna.

 

I figured out the repeater issue I was having. Radios were too close to each other. So long as I'm not holding hands with the person I'm talking to everything is fine.

I'll preface this: I take no responsibility if you brick/break your radio. I do not know the legal ramifications and accept no responsibility there either. I recommend AGAINST doing this. Misconfiguration in this manner may TX on freqs you aren't allowed to, which is illegal. It's up to you to confirm the TX freq before pushing it to your radio.

I reached out to Radioddity regarding additional GMRS TX channels and they did say it's in the works, so there's an official patch on the way which sounds like it will allow TX on all channels in the radio. Would be best to wait for that in my opinion.

If through all that you still want to go the backdoor route of programming additional TX channels, read on.

If you activate Developer mode in Chirp, you gain the ability to add TX channels via the 3rd tab labeled "Browser". From there navigate to root>memory, each one of these is a stored channel. The "txfreq" value is what you want to adjust. Set to whatever the "rxfreq" value is +500000, that will put the TX at a +5MHz offset. After you do this you cannot change anything on the normal Memories tab or it resets all channels "txfreq" above 30 to 166666665 which disables TX.

Alternatively, there's a developer module in one of the Chirp bugs you can load which treats the UV-5X as a UV-5R, allowing you to write whatever values you want to the normal Memories tab. I think this method will disappear as it allows setting TX frequencies outside of the GMRS approved freqs very easily. The other method does as well, but it's a diag mode and is super clunky to use.

Still trying to figure out how to enable TX in VFO mode. But that's honestly less important so long as I can save values to memory channels I'm happy.

Again, the above is at your own risk. You may break or explode your radio, I have not tested the entirety so ramifications are unknown. So far as I know, neither Radioddity not Chirp approve of doing this. So you might void the warranty on your device as they may not be designed to operate in this fashion.

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2 hours ago, OrbitalCannon said:

If you activate Developer mode in Chirp, you gain the ability to add TX channels via the 3rd tab labeled "Browser". From there navigate to root>memory, each one of these is a stored channel. The "txfreq" value is what you want to adjust. Set to whatever the "rxfreq" value is +500000, that will put the TX at a +5MHz offset. After you do this you cannot change anything on the normal Memories tab or it resets all channels "txfreq" above 30 to 166666665 which disables TX.

Alternatively, there's a developer module in one of the Chirp bugs you can load which treats the UV-5X as a UV-5R, allowing you to write whatever values you want to the normal Memories tab. I think this method will disappear as it allows setting TX frequencies outside of the GMRS approved freqs very easily. The other method does as well, but it's a diag mode and is super clunky to use.

I considered trying something like this but using a Hex-editor to directly change the frequency entries. I though about getting a super cheap Kenwood "Protalk" radio, the ones that have the fixed business frequencies, and load the modified code plug to the radio. I installed the programming software to experiment with before trying to buy a radio. Looking at the code plug using a Hex-editor I can see the frequencies in it.

Some of the radios the frequencies are hard coded in the radio's firmware. Those you likely can't do much or anything to change it. Others the frequencies are only hard coded into the radio programming software. Those you can likely muck around with the raw code plug to bypass the programming software limits provided you can get the code plug to load into the radio.

Oh, some of the radios use encryption on the code plugs to prevent people from doing modifications or getting other propriety info out of them, like read/write passwords etc. So, if you don't know how it's done you can't decrypt the code plug, modify it then encrypt it to load into the radio. Some of the later model Kenwood's encrypt the code plug, which included the version of the software used to build it AND the serial number used to install it on the computer when I decrypted a few to look at. Some look like they even save the serial number of the radio in there too. A few of the CCR's look like they also do something that obscures the data too, at least I didn't see anything obvious.

For Chirp to read the radio, modify the code plug and write it back requires the developer to reverse engineer the manufacture's code plug structure. The manufactures don't document this of course. Unless one is careful you can easily "brick" a radio by writing junk to the wrong area in memory. If you're lucky you saved a functioning code plug to your computer first so if things go bad you can attempt to recover the radio by writing a known good code plug back in to it.

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9 minutes ago, Lscott said:

I considered trying something like this but using a Hex-editor to directly change the frequency entries. I though about getting a super cheap Kenwood "Protalk" radio, the ones that have the fixed business frequencies, and load the modified code plug to the radio. I installed the programming software to experiment with before trying to buy a radio. Looking at the code plug using a Hex-editor I can see the frequencies in it.

Some of the radios the frequencies are hard coded in the radio's firmware. Those you likely can't do much or anything to change it. Others the frequencies are only hard coded into the radio programming software. Those you can likely muck around with the raw code plug to bypass the programming software limits provided you can get the code plug to load into the radio.

Oh, some of the radios use encryption on the code plugs to prevent people from doing modifications or getting other propriety info out of them, like read/write passwords etc. So, if you don't know how it's done you can't decrypt the code plug, modify it then encrypt it to load into the radio. Some of the later model Kenwood's encrypt the code plug, which included the version of the software used to build it AND the serial number used to install it on the computer when I decrypted a few to look at. Some look like they even save the serial number of the radio in there too. A few of the CCR's look like they also do something that obscures the data too, at least I didn't see anything obvious.

For Chirp to read the radio, modify the code plug and write it back requires the developer to reverse engineer the manufacture's code plug structure. The manufactures don't document this of course. Unless one is careful you can easily "brick" a radio by writing junk to the wrong area in memory. If you're lucky you saved a functioning code plug to your computer first so if things go bad you can attempt to recover the radio by writing a known good code plug back in to it.

Worse case I can hopefully reflash with the factory tooling, or I'm out $50 for a new pair of radios. Not a huge loss. But so far, everything works as desired.

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19 hours ago, OrbitalCannon said:

Again, the above is at your own risk. 

Really appreciate the hack. I may risk one of the 6 I purchased, but yes lets keep the issue alive with Radioddity/Baofeng because if they open the GMRS TX to more channels they have a real winner on their hands.

I also read that with original firmware extra channels could be programmed via XML, but I'm not sure how that is written to the radio. I messed with XML file but uploaded via the Baofeng software and it just ignored the changes.

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Just got my programming cable today so I tried couple things out on my UV-5X least that's what the labels says on the radio. But Chirp software sees it as a Radioddity UV-5G anyways moving on. 🤣

I launched Chirp software and downloaded the info from the radio. I added a Repeater on memory slot #31 to see if it would work but it resulted not allowing it to TX.

I then done a reset on the radio to get a fresh stock radio. Which at that point I used the Radioddity software and downloaded the info from the radio. At that point I saved that on my PC as a XML file.

Then I opened the XML file in a text editor and added the same repeater on slot #31 and saved the changes to the XML file. Which at that point I used the Radioddity software to upload it to the radio.

Guess what I was able to TX just fine using the repeater I saved on memory slot #31.

 

 

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8 hours ago, WRNP596 said:

Just got my programming cable today so I tried couple things out on my UV-5X least that's what the labels says on the radio. But Chirp software sees it as a Radioddity UV-5G anyways moving on. 🤣

I launched Chirp software and downloaded the info from the radio. I added a Repeater on memory slot #31 to see if it would work but it resulted not allowing it to TX.

I then done a reset on the radio to get a fresh stock radio. Which at that point I used the Radioddity software and downloaded the info from the radio. At that point I saved that on my PC as a XML file.

Then I opened the XML file in a text editor and added the same repeater on slot #31 and saved the changes to the XML file. Which at that point I used the Radioddity software to upload it to the radio.

Guess what I was able to TX just fine using the repeater I saved on memory slot #31.

 

 

I wonder if you can add repeaters via Chirp, then write the new configuration to the radio, then read it and write it back with the Radioddity software, to have it TX to the newly added repeater. I think I tried this with mine, but I don't recall for sure. I'll have to give it a try and see what I can do with it.

I've heard that this trick works with some Wouxon radios to get the Chirp programming written to the radio correctly, so it may work with the UV-5X / UV-5G GMRS radios, too.

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2 hours ago, WyoJoe said:

I wonder if you can add repeaters via Chirp, then write the new configuration to the radio, then read it and write it back with the Radioddity software, to have it TX to the newly added repeater. I think I tried this with mine, but I don't recall for sure. I'll have to give it a try and see what I can do with it.

I've heard that this trick works with some Wouxon radios to get the Chirp programming written to the radio correctly, so it may work with the UV-5X / UV-5G GMRS radios, too.

I just used Chirp software to add a repeater course using all the correct info for it and write it to the radio. At that point I launched Radioddity software then read the radio and I seen the TX freq field on that repeater was empty. The Radioddity software it self would not allow me to click on the TX freq field to add in the freq.

Only way I could fix that issue was to save it on my PC as a XML file. Then open the XML file using a editor and add in the TX freq then save it. Then write the changed XML file to the radio using Radioddity software.

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On 8/10/2021 at 12:01 AM, WRNP596 said:

I just used Chirp software to add a repeater course using all the correct info for it and write it to the radio. At that point I launched Radioddity software then read the radio and I seen the TX freq field on that repeater was empty. The Radioddity software it self would not allow me to click on the TX freq field to add in the freq.

Only way I could fix that issue was to save it on my PC as a XML file. Then open the XML file using a editor and add in the TX freq then save it. Then write the changed XML file to the radio using Radioddity software.

I tried editing the file in Chirp and writing it to the radio, but found the same thing you did. When I opened the file with the factory software, the TX field was still empty. I, too, had to edit the XML file, then send it back to the radio, to get it to work. It does work now, so I am glad to know this trick.

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New CHIRP build Aug 14 appears to fix the .5 offset AND allow TX on GMRS channels above 30! So I won't learn the XML trick for now because CHIRP also allows 7 character channels which I need! 

Anybody know if this radio actually does NOAA alerts as advertised? I don't see anything beyond them giving you the channels by default (too many and in weird order btw)and setting them to scan. But since weather channels transmit constantly scanning seems pointless. Any clues?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was going to try something like that with a cheap Kenwood Protalk radio if I ever found one for sale. These radios have a predefined list of frequencies the user can select from.

What can now happen with the code plug hacking is the manufacture can employ some level of encryption in the code plug itself. I've found where Kenwood has done this on several of their older analog and digital radios. It took a bit of work and some lucky guessing but it seems they use a simple method, they have a key byte stored in a fixed location in the code plug's header. This key byte is then "XOR'ed" with the rest of the contents. Once done all of the text strings for channel names etc. can be seen. I also found in at least one case where the radio's serial number seemed to be in it. The license key used to install the software was definitively in there for several models I checked. Just keep that in mind when sharing code plugs. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/11/2021 at 8:31 PM, MichaelLAX said:

Ham Radio Dude on YouTube has figured out how to hack the UV-5X/UV-5G to open transmission on the Ham bands:

What's the point of that? If I wanted the radio for the ham bands, I'd just use a UV-5R instead. Most of them, or at least the older ones, will work on ham and GMRS frequencies, and they cost less too.

The UV-5X/UV-5G models are GMRS radios and already function reasonably well for what they are. Additionally, if you want to monitor ham frequencies, you can already do that with them.

As I understand it, a GMRS radio that has been modified to work on another service is no longer legal for GMRS use, so why would I want to mess up a radio I purchased specifically because it is legal for GMRS? Again, if legality didn't matter, the UV-5R would suffice.

Michael, these questions aren't targeted at you. I just don't understand the reasoning behind this effort.

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11 minutes ago, WyoJoe said:

What's the point of that? If I wanted the radio for the ham bands, I'd just use a UV-5R instead...

Michael, these questions aren't targeted at you. I just don't understand the reasoning behind this effort.

Yes, the question should be targeted to Ham Radio Dude on his YouTube Channel video Comments Section, if you really want his thinking.

I do not own a UV-5X, but I do have legacy UV-5R's that I still use periodically, but less so now that I have Part 95 units in my car, home and HTs, too!

My understanding is that Baofeng no longer manufacturers UV-5R's that are open to transmit on all frequencies, so that in time, this could be one way to still get full transmitting capability when the supply of legacy UV-5R's runs out.

Sometimes it is just because it is a challenge in the original "hacker" tradition, before hacker became a dirty word!

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1 minute ago, MichaelLAX said:

Sometimes it is just because it is a challenge in the original "hacker" tradition, before hacker became a dirty word!

I've often used the "because I can" excuse, and that's pretty similar to the original "hacker" tradition you mention, but, just because I can do something, it doesn't mean I should do it. When it comes to the hobby of radio, there are other pursuits I'd find more worthwhile (like learning about additional uses for my nanoVNA).

Hacker shouldn't be a dirty word, as it refers to someone that plays with computers (particularly computer code) as a hobby. It was hackers that developed many of the early computer games.

It's the "crackers" that should be frowned upon as their goal is to crack protected systems, frequently with criminal intent.

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6 hours ago, jlwilkers said:

No.... No it is not.  Just the manual and the programming software.

On 3/22/2021 at 5:49 PM, Paesano said:

 

  The firmware download is on the Baofeng store page:  https://www.baofengradio.com/products/uv-5x

Just for giggles, and in the true "hacker" tradition, I went to that link and downloaded the "programming software" for the UV-5X (setup.exe) even though I do not own the UV-5X:

It installs as PRG-P51UV-FCC-V1.0 and when you run it, it allows you to make those changes that the so-called "firmware upgrade" fixed, such as Wide vs Narrow, change CTCSS tones, etc.

Try it; I think you will like it!

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11 minutes ago, WyoJoe said:

I've often used the "because I can" excuse, and that's pretty similar to the original "hacker" tradition you mention, but, just because I can do something, it doesn't mean I should do it...

Oh, dear: Should I have not helped jlwilkers find the updated software to "hack" his UV-5X to allow those changes?!? 😉

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1 hour ago, WyoJoe said:

What's the point of that? If I wanted the radio for the ham bands, I'd just use a UV-5R instead...

Perhaps the most important reason is that when one wants a SHTF radio for an emergency situation, there will be many hams available on the airwaves who are skilled in handling traffic during emergencies.

Every responsible GMRS user who wants SHTF capabilities, should have a radio that will communicate with Hams, sad or otherwise! 

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1 hour ago, MichaelLAX said:

Perhaps the most important reason is that when one wants a SHTF radio for an emergency situation, there will be many hams available on the airwaves who are skilled in handling traffic during emergencies.

Every responsible GMRS user who wants SHTF capabilities, should have a radio that will communicate with Hams, sad or otherwise! 

In that situation, I have extra radios to share with my family, friends, and neighbors. They are a mix of FRS, GMRS, and ham radios.

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9 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

Perhaps the most important reason is that when one wants a SHTF radio for an emergency situation, there will be many hams available on the airwaves who are skilled in handling traffic during emergencies. Every responsible GMRS user who wants SHTF capabilities, should have a radio that will communicate with Hams, sad or otherwise! 

This why I'm glad there are radios which can transmit on GMRS, 2m and 70cm. Why in the world would a radio be gimped to not do such a simple thing is just plain silly. There is no reason, no logic that makes sense. I can push the gas pedal and exceed the speed limit, but a $400 radio, owned by a responsible person ... well too bad for you when you need it to hit GMRS!

I'm am not going to hike in the woods with three radios.

We are not talking about indiscriminate transmissions, we are talking about need, safety, and emergency. A $400, $500, $600 radio is useless. But $32 bucks get you everything? Wake up and tell the FCC what they will do on your behalf. Stop defending such silly mechanisms, laws, and disrespect for the America people. We tell the government what they can do to protect us and we thank them for their service.

I think people laugh at those who support such draconian thinking. When you get your HAM license you "agree" to not transmit on certain frequencies. But somehow, in this warped ecosystem, its irresponsible to own a radio that can transmit on 146, 444 and 462? Really?

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I've heard this form of commentary elsewhere in differing forms, and I will repeat it here for due consideration:

There is a difference in substance when one violates FCC rules that causes harm (for example interference) to others, such as transmitting in excess of the power requirements on the various GMRS channels.

But the FCC has neither the time nor the resources to track down a user of a Part 95 certified GMRS radio that has been modified to allow transmissions on frequencies other than GMRS (such as the ham radio bands by duly licensed Hams and MURS), in such a way that all the technical specifications required for transmission on GMRS remain unchanged (such as wide vs. narrowband, power limits, etc.)

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