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I purchased my first radio, and of course I reset it to factory defaults soon after I received it. (I think that wasn't the best thing to do)

What options do I have to restore the radio to as-shipped configuration, and/or define a "channel" so that they can easily be navigated to with the up down arrow keys.

This is my first radio, so beginner tips and directions most appreciated.

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While I do not know for sure which frequencies were programmed into your radio (as in my experience baofeng products tend to come with empty memories), my first guess would be the unlicenced LPD and PMR channels on the 70-cm band. These are useful to avoid the math/table lookup when talking to unlicenced handhelds, which lack a proper frequency setting at all, using channel numbers instead, and thus would make sense to a non-ham user.

In any case, unless you've gotten used to particular memory entries out of that set for regular contacts and can't remember their frequencies, I don't think you actually need the preset memory back, for reasons I'll cover below; better start from that clean slate you've now got and gradually add your own "channels" to memory.

In order to do that on Baofengs, you'll have to:

  • First tune your radio (in the regular, non-memory mode) to the corresponding frequency and set all the options as you need and/or prefer.
  • After tuning everything to your liking, and if you think you're going to return to this setup later, you can then save the current settings as follows:
    • Go to the menu (via the MENU button) and navigate to the MEM-CH page (page #27 on my UVB2+; you can input the page number via the keyboard to avoid paging the up-down buttons)
    • MENU to change the value below,
      • Input the memory slot (channel) number where you want to store the current settings, then
      • MENU again to save (or EXIT to return to the menu without saving if you messed something up and don't want to save)
    • EXIT the menu.
    • You can also clear saved slots via the DEL-CH (#28) page using the same MENU-input-MENU procedure as for saving (it's the same for all settings in the menu) or overwrite them by saving to the same slot.

Now, the reason why you probably don't need that preset is that a radio's memory is a very personal thing.

The memory function itself is intended to make it faster for you to recall the combinations of settings that you use most often and thus don't want to spend the time to set up before each session. Those, in turn, vary strongly by location, habits and personal preference.

Say, at some point you find that you really like talking through the local repeater on 145.425 with a -600KHz offset and a CTCSS 88.5 subtone for access, you won't want to input all that every time you want to access the repeater and then turn it all back off when switching to other frequencies. In that case you'd save all the settings to memory and just access them by choosing the saved preset. After you've done, though, you'd usually switch back to the free-tune (non-memory) mode of the radio to have the whole band (two, actually) to explore and play with!

The hypothetical preset from the previous paragraph would be totally useless to another person who lives outside this particular repeater's coverage area (unless they have one with the exact same settings in their vicinity, which is not too likely).

As a corollary, another person's radio presets would likely be useless to you, unless you live next door to them and know what each of them is for (it might be, say, a particular satellite which you have to specifically track and wait to come overhead to be able to talk through it).

Especially for a new ham, there's a big benefit to spending lots of time just aimlessly scanning around the bands and tinkering with the settings (figuring out hands-on what they do in the process) without the crutches of preset channels limiting you to just a handful of options. After some time of doing that there will come a point when you'll realise you've now got some favorites that you really like hanging out at, have written down and keep coming to (by the way, write any useful information you've gained from your exploring down in a journal, it's like having a second brain). It might be a local repeater, a frequency that a friendly group/net hangs out on, one with a nice daily evening ragchew, the ISS, your personal phone-home frequency, or something else entirely. And after the second or third or fifth time it's becoming tedious to put in the frequency and subtones and repeater offset and whatever other settings you use for those instances. Then you save all that in your receiver's memory and write the memory slot number into the journal too, so you remember which channel is for what.

There are some exceptions to the locality/personal-preference nature of the memory function, i.e. settings that are likely to be useful anywhere (though still not to everyone). The biggest of them by far are, the LPD and PMR unlicenced frequency ranges mentioned in the beginning of my reply, with their corresponding (worldwide standardized) channels. Some ham operators may find saving those channels to their radio's memory useful if they communicate a lot with unlicenced radio users who operate on those frequencies and refer to channel number only, to avoid remembering (or looking up all the time) the channel-number-to-frequency mapping.

Some other semi-universal (at least in a somewhat large area) frequencies would be the national calling frequency and frequencies of emergency responders, which are handy to keep stored just in case so that you don't have to remember them.

Everything else, however, is either very personal, or very local, or both.


To recap,

  1. Ditch those memory slots, you probably didn't need them anyway. Populate the memory with your own channels:
  2. Spend time just scanning the bands in the "pure", non-memory mode and maybe tinkering with the settings.
  3. When you've got some favorites, save them!
  4. Good things you might want to save for quick access besides personal favorites (and ideas as to what those favorites might be) are:
    • LPD/PMR/other numbered channels that you might want to switch quickly to communicate on with non-hams. Just google them (and use corresponding channel numbers for your memory slots for best results). Do note that these can easily occupy half of your radio's memory slots right away!
    • Repeaters reachable from your and adjacent areas (even those you don't usually use) are sometimes even more useful in that regard due to the larger covered area provided by more sensitive receivers, powerful transmitters and various additional functions. They might come really handy in emergencies or other situations where you don't have the time or resources to look them up. Repeaters are also slower to tune into, requiring two more settings in addition to the frequency itself, set up through the menu, making them a prime candidate for memorizing just for convenience if you hang out there a lot.
    • Locally popular simplex frequencies are also a good candidate, even ones you don't usually enjoy hanging out on.
    • The locally-accepted calling frequency (frequencies) of your area in particular can be quite useful to snap to whenever you're up for a random ham contact or need to reach out to other hams in a time of need.
    • If available, frequencies of emergency responders in your area (same reasons as repeaters).
    • Simplex frequencies and repeaters frequented by local nets that you participate in, a dude you like talking to, your dedicated family frequency etc etc..
    • "interesting" but relatively rarely seen frequencies: Satellites, the ISS, faraway stations/repeaters that are accessible only in certain atmospheric conditions, etc

I hope that was helpful and not too patronizing, 73, and good luck in the hobby!

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! I like your answer as general advice for a new ham with an HT, but as a Baofeng owner myself, I know that those rigs are so difficult to change anything from the front panel that I advise newbies to just bring their HTs into a club meeting so that we can program the radios for them. But maybe that's just me ;) $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Apr 6 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ I also own of a couple baofengs, and personally have never had any problems programming them/other chinese handhelds from the front panel. Yes, it's not exactly quick, with at least 5 button clicks required to change about any setting besides the frequency and speaker volume, but it's not hard, either, definitely not harder than setting up an e.g. Yaesu handheld. Also, the number of manipulations required to tune into anything nontrivial is exactly the raison d'etre of the memory function. YMMV, obviously, but in my opinion, one must learn the ins and outs of whatever rig one has anyways. $\endgroup$ – PrefixCactus Apr 7 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ I find you persuasive, and I hope you stick around here. 73! $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Apr 7 at 16:59

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