I bought the famous (?) $50 Baofeng UV-5R Dual-band amateur HT (walkie talkie) 70CM and 2M.
Because it is $50 the menus for programming it are painful to use, but programming it using software is pretty much like programming any other radio using software.
I will show some steps, and screenshots to walk it through, but for now here is the quick list.
BTW mine has the BFB251 version of the ROM (power on holding the "3" button down). I just got it about a month ago...they are up to version 293 I believe.
I just got a 251, and just programmed it. Make sure you have the basics
This blog post has, how to set up USB cable, basic CHIRP instructions, VIP instructions. (and I am always willing to improve it...just let me know)
Miklor's Baofeng UV-5R page full of resources
-Miklor's USB driver page
-Miklor's VIP software page
-Miklor's CHIRP software page
Danplanet THE CHIRP site.
Plug in USB adapter.
1. make sure that your USB cable was installed as a "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm
Port" (look in Device Manager/Ports)
2. make sure that the driver for that port is Prolific 126.96.36.199
3. Note what comm port is assigned to that Prolific USB-to-Serial Port (COM )
CHIRP software instructions.
(CHIRP as of 6Oct12, may not support BFB291 or later to to vendor detection issues)
4. When you start CHIRP, make sure it is using the correct serial port.
5. An 'unable to connect to comm port' or some error like that probably means that the driver is wrong
6. An 'unable to connect to radio' type error means you need to make sure the plug is installed all the way (I had to trim a bit of plastic off the bottom of the plug. (or in this case I selected the wrong comm port).
7. make sure you are using the very latest 'daily build' CHIRP software (I have the 5 Oct 2012 version)
Note: It was suggested to me on the Baofeng yahoo group by Jim (KC9HI) that the latest 'daily build' may not suit your needs. If it doesn't work, take a look at the Danplanet CHIRP 'Activity Page' to see which version may suit you.
I am not in the CHIRP users group, so I don't follow what is going on there.
I followed the Miklor Chirp page.
VIP Software instructions.
1. Use correct version for radio...the software even tells you which version it is for.
2. The older version opens up in Chinese fonts (which most of us do not have installed...just go to the second pull down menu on the right, and select English.
3. Now select Comm Port, click the Communication Menu and this window will pop up.
My adapter was on COM3
4. Download from radio...do this before editing your channels.
Now you can edit if you want.
These are the programmed channels on your radio.
This menu has other optional settings.
This menu lets you change your power on message...as it says, Read from radio first, then edit and Write back to radio.
How to save and load your hard work...
To save your work, File, then "Save".
"Save As" didn't work for me.
It looks like an old Windows 3.1 interface,
so finding the directory you want is a bit clunky...but it works.
And just type in the name. (.dat)
That gibberish means it saved correctly.
To open a file it is the same clunky menu system.
But this time just select the file you want.
And this means you correctly loaded it.
For editing the memories etc...you are on your own, I copied the ones from my other radios, and had to edit them with excel in a format that matched what I downloaded from the radio using CHIRP. (save as csv...then after you are done editing IMPORT back into CHIRP.
I only used the VIP software for changing the power on message.