• Using a Baofeng UV5RA
  • Would like to transmit on MURS (e.g., 151.880 MHz) using a CTCSS code for more private discussions
  • All of the online guides talk about scanning for CTCSS


  • Rather than scanning, is it possible to just explicitly set both the transmitting radio, as well as the receiving radio, to use one of the 38 tones?
  • If so, how do you choose and set one of these?

Thanks so much for any guidance


2 Answers 2


Here on StackExchange we call what you asked an XY problem.

You're asking how to set up CTCSS, but what you really want is to have privacy. Those are two different things.

First of all, a tiny bit of theory about CTCSS. The name means Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System. It's not a privacy system, it's a squelch system! It works by sending a tone-code continuously while you're transmitting.
So here comes the failure of the privacy idea: When it's sending the tone, what the radio is doing is basically kindly asking other radios that do not have that code set on their receive not to open their squelch. If your receiver has no CTCSS code set, you'll hear everything since the squelch will just open.

So for more private conversations, you'll need a radio with a scrambler. This won't make your conversations secret, but it will make it a tiny bit harder for other people to listen in.

Finally, for your CTCSS question. I don't have a Baofeng right now, so I can't test, but from what I can see, you should go to menu 13, which should be called CTCSS, and set up the code there. There's an explanation for example here in comments.

The other option would be to get a programming cable and use CHIRP to set up channels and CTCCSS codes.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well answered. The only thing I'll add is that transmitting on MURS frequencies is illegal with a Baofeng UV-5RA. MURS radios must be type-certified; i.e. they must have a label stating they've been approved by the FCC for use with MURS, GMRS, FRS, etc. The UV-5RA is technically capable of operating on MURS frequencies, but be forewarned that you'd be breaking the law by doing so. Receiving on those frequencies is totally legal. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ Good comment. We cannot condone illegal usage. Here is an interesting article on MURS radios: itstactical.com/digicom/comms/… and an interesting search of types available: walmart.com/search/?query=murs%20radio&cat_id=0 $\endgroup$
    – SDsolar
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 8:54

^ The FCC cannot pass laws, only congress can pass or adjust laws. Most of the FCC's rules and regulations are not backed by passed laws, and thus breaking a majority of their rules is not, by definition, illegal. They are allowed some light interpretation in legitimate laws. The FCC has never, in their recorded history of citations and incidents (available to view on their terrible website) tried to come after somebody for simply transmitting on a frequency with a radio not approved for such, nor have they done so for somebody transmitting on GMRS or ham frequencies without a license, UNLESS there was a more serious infraction at play, such as frequency/repeater jamming, serious criminal threats, criminal conspiracy, interfering with law enforcement, interfering with a business's private frequency, etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the amateur radio stack! It is not clear to me how this answer has anything to do with the question asked. $\endgroup$
    – David Hoelzer
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 10:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's also flat-out wrong, because 47 USC 154(i) and 47 USC 303 say "what the FCC says is law, except where the law says otherwise." $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 21:30

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