Setup questions

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efbanks

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Hello, new to the forum here. I have a cobra 20 plus cb with an external speaker and a small pa horn ready to install into my SUV I am testing it out on a spare battery I have before going through all the effort of installation. My radio turns on, I can access all channels, the external speaker works, but I cannot tell if I am broadcasting or not when I speak into the mic. Lights on the radio indicate the sound is being picked up, but I have not had any responses yet. I have heard no signal of anyone talking on any channels. My antenna is not up real high or out in the open but this my first time testing a cb setup. Also the pa horn does not want to work either. I get a faint humming noise and when I depress the mic to talk it stops humming but no sound comes out. It is a 15 watt special small pa horn. Any help is appreciated before I install. Sorry for all the noob questions. I am really excited to start utilizing this equipment especially for off road expeditions. Thanks.
 

ladn

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Welcome to RR!
Sounds like you have multiple issues:

ANTENNA: Since it sounds like you are using a portable battery (make sure it's fully charged), try moving your entire setup outdoors, setting the squelch "wide open" (you'll hear constant static or rushing sounds from the speaker), and set your rf gain control to maximum. Make sure your external PA speaker is disconnected. Then step through the channels and see if you hear anything. You may have to do this at different times of day. If you are not hearing any static or rushing, your microphone may not be properly connected.

PA SPEAKER: First, test your PA Speaker with a known good audio source such as a cellphone, scanner or am/fm radio with the proper audio connector. Assuming the speaker works with a known good source, make sure it's plugged into the proper output on the radio (some radios have separate PA and radio-out audio connectors). Set your radio to the PA function and key the mic (holding it away from the speaker). If you don't hear anything, you may have a bad microphone or mic connector.
 

mmckenna

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Some good advice above.

I'll add:
It depends on location. I did a trip from California to Texas and back and heard very little CB traffic. What I did hear was far off guys using amplifiers.
Antenna is everything. You didn't say what kind of antenna and how you had it mounted for your temporary test. This is likely more of an issue than anything. Antennas, especially working at the lower frequencies that CB use, need to be out in the open, up high, and properly installed. If yours is sitting in the garage, down near ground level, or indoors, it's not surprising.

Not sure what you expectations are for CB. The amount of traffic on CB will vary greatly depending on your location. Since it's primarily a short range radio service, don't expect to hear much. Depending on atmospheric conditions, you may hear users from far off, cross country, etc. These guys are usually using big antennas and amplifiers. If conditions are right, you'll hear a lot of that.
 

bob550

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Is this a new CB, mic, and antenna? If you're using a magnet mount antenna, make sure you have it placed on a metal surface before transmitting. These days, unless you live near an interstate or a truck stop, the CB bands will be fairly quiet.
 
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