Programming Your Baofeng for SO-50 with Chirp

In Amateur Satellite by K0PIR4 Comments


Working SO-50 with a Baofeng is a lot of fun. Programming a Baofeng for SO-50 can be tricky, but it is a little easier with Chirp, a PC and cable. Recently I purchased an Elk 2M/440L5 antenna for working satellites. I’ve been able to work SO-50, but probably couldn’t do it without good programming and some help from others.

Getting Started Baofeng for SO-50

You’ll need an antenna. In my last article I showed off my Elk and how to put it together. I think the Elk is an excellent choice. The other is the Arrow antenna. Equally as good, but a little more cumbersome. See my article, Amateur Radio Satellite Elk Antenna.

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Of course you’ll need a radio and the one I am using and what many others use is a cheap Baofeng. I have the BF-F9V2+, but many use the Baofeng UV-5R. If you’re going to go all out I suggest the Kenwood TH-D72A. It has full duplex and you will be able to work other FM birds with it.

If you purchase an Elk antenna you’ll need a couple of other things. A short 3 to 6 ft piece of coax and a pigtail to connect to the radio. This takes the pressure off the small SMA connector on the radio. See: SMA FEMALE TO PL-259 PIGTAIL

Programming Baofeng for SO-50

I use Chirp because I think it is easier then trying to program these radios manually. Chirp is not without it’s issues though. The problem I have with Chirp is it sending the radio into transmit. However Chirp doesn’t have my specific model Baofeng, so that could be the problem. It does work, but I am just careful with it.

BTECH Programming Cable

Memory Frequencies for SO-50

I programmed 8 memories into the radio and have programmed the memories for crossband. For SO-50 the receive is in the 440 MHz, 70cm band and the transmit is in the 144 MHz, 2 meter band. It works and I don’t know if you can do this without Chirp. See channels 50 through 57 in the picture below.

If the duplex is set to split then the Offset field should contain the absolute transmit frequency to be used.

Baofeng for SO-50 Video

In this video you can see the trouble I have and I wonder if the Baofeng UV-5R has this problem???

Note: When attaching the coax cable to the antenna, dress the cable to extend straight away from the connector for at least eight inches.

Up Next/Comments

Coming up next I’ll have a video on my homebrew tripod for the Elk antenna and more on working SO-50.

Thank you for subscribing to this website. I appreciate the comments, questions and suggestions. Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube if you have those.

Stay in touch and best 73,

Rich, K0PIR


While researching, a lot of the webpages and links that I followed are non existent now. This is one reason I’m doing articles on this. I want to keep it up to date so Hams don’t run into “404 Page Not Found” errors.

Here are some good links I used and followed while learning about So-50.


Getting Started with the FM Satellites

Work FM Satellites with your HT!


BTECH Baofeng Programming Cable




  1. Hi Rich,

    I really enjoyed your video on using the Elk antenna for satellite work. You got me motivated to try it so I manually programmed my FT-60 HT yesterday and ordered an Elk antenna. This morning there was an SO-50 pass so I tried to hear it with just my rubber duck. I did manage to hear some stations but figured I’d be too weak in transmit to work anyone. I can’t wait to try it with a good antenna.

    Thanks and 73,

    Phil N3ZP

    1. Author

      Hi Phil,

      Thank you for commenting and it’s nice to hear from you. That’s great and I was watching (and reading) others with the FT-60 and that’s what got me motivated, hi! I saw one or two Hams using a whip and they received SO-50, but I don’t think they made a contact with anyone. That would be something.

      It astonishes me each time I make a contact with the Elk and my HT. Just amazing! I hope I never get used to it 🙂

      I hope to hear you on.

      Thank you again and 73,

      Rich, K0PIR

  2. Author

    Hi Marc,

    It’s nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting. I hear you and yes that works as well.

    From the Chirp manual: “If the duplex is set to split then the Offset field should contain the absolute transmit frequency to be used (if the radio supports this capability).

    I wonder if trying it differently as you mentioned would help the receive come back faster after I TX??? That is the only annoyance I have. It’s worth a try.

    Thank you so much and have a great day, best to you and yours.

    Rich, K0PIR

  3. The offset tab, this is the difference in the frequencies, not the second frequency you want to use. This may help with hearing the bird. (i.e. 436.810-145.850=290.960 TX freq) Set your offset to 290.96 +/- .05 to get correct transmit frequency you want.

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