Based on experience solving a little problem, I have gathered together the instructions and web resources you’ll need if you find yourself in the same pickle.
Symptoms of a “bricked Baofeng” can vary but the most common one seems to be inoperative receive mode after downloading a file via Chirp (or other software) to try to update channels and settings. On the UV-5RC kindly given to me the squelch was locked, regardless of the programmed setting and you had to press the “Monitor” button to force it to receive at all. Transmit worked fine.
The most likely cause is loading an image file FROM ANOTHER BAOFENG as a quick way to update the channels. Unless the internal firmware is the same revision you may “brick it”. Once you have done this, no amount of downloading and editing will fix it – don’t bother. The only way is to restore the factory image.
1) Find the firmware revision number of your Baofeng. Hold down the “3” button and switch on. The display shows the firmware number briefly. If the top line says “REV” then the firmware revision is the bottom line. If the bottom line says ”BFB297” then the firmware revision is the top line. Don’t ask why, it just is. Mine said “BFB307 / BFB297”.
2) Visit the site http://kc9hi.dyndns.org/uv5r/programming/CHIRPrecovery/
3) Find the file that corresponds to your firmware number, in my case BFB307(factory).img, and download it.
4) Use your good friend CHIRP to load this file to the radio and your main problem is solved.
5) Once you’ve checked it works then you can begin the task of updating the channels BUT YOU MUST START FROM THIS FILE and avoid the temptation to just copy from another radio. Unless the firmware number matches you’ll most likely just brick it again.
6) There is also a “reset” option file available that fixes the problem and leaves all the channels blank.
There are plenty of other sites about Baofengs but this site seems to have all the image files for all Baofengs and similar handies conveniently gathered together in one place. Before I found it I wasted a lot of time being referred from one site to another, often with broken links.