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give it a flick with your finger to see what happens.It may work or it may not but whatever it is a diode that controls the meter and that diode needs to be changed.there are 4 diodes in the front of the radio,change all 4.
there are knobs on the front.from the left is the set knob for SWR then next to it is the adjust knob. Turn the adjust knob to the left until the needle points to set. then take the first knob and turn it to the left.now key the mic again The needle should move to a more respectable number.
you hook a jumper wire from your radio to radio input of the meter . Then hook your antenna to the other side of the meter., Turn the radio on to channel 40 make sure your meter is set for for,now key the mic.make the adjustment to cal on meter. Now put the meter on ref , key the mic and write down that number. Now go to channel 1 and do the same. If your numbers are under a 2.1 you are ok. you should also check it again on channel 20 or 19.
Check your antenna, have someone tap on it with a non-conductive stick (while standing several feet away) while you listen and watch the transmit for an intermittent problem coinciding with the tapping. If that checks good then check your coax and connectors.
Your panel meter may need a new lamp, an LED would last longer than an incandescent. Be sure to add a limiting resistor in series with an LED for 12vdc.
To check the SWR, you put the swicth on CAL and key the mike with mike gain turned down all the way,then calabrate it to the meter on the CAL scale,then swicth it to SWR before you unkey the mike, then what ever the needle falls back to, that is your SWR reading.
you do not do it by resistance. To turn up the radio it is a variable resistor. What you do is connect a watt meter that can read PEAK or PEP watts AND AVERAGE or dead key watts.
First you check it on avg watts. Hook the radio up in line with the watt meter and set it on avg watts. key the radio. Stock is 4 watts. A lot of times when you peak a radio, you lower the dead key.(thats keying with no audio.) This allows you to get more modulation wattage, or swing wattage. If that has been done it will probably do 2 or 3 watts. If it has had the AM power raised in it, it could be more, this is no good. You want your dead key a bit lower.
Now check it on peak. Flip the meter to peak and make an AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH noise into the radio. It should swing to anywhere between 15 and 20 watts.
You adjust the AMC while giving it audio and watching the meter on peak to adjust the modulation. 4 watts is legal modulation.
Don't worry about the meter in the radio. They are only close to actual reading any way. Just get an external meter. you are better off in the long run, and you don't have to mess with anything inside the radio if you don't know what your doing.
If you must have the meter working correctly, then take it to a truck stop CB shop, or any other cb shop and have it aligned. It should cost about $30. There is equipment needed to align a radio properly and the cost for it far exceeds what an external meter, or having a cb shop align the radio.
weather can effect your meter .Those meters are not very accurate just a base line get a good swr meter and then check it.If your getting good radio checks it could be the potentoimeter is dirty . Radio shack sells contact cleaner and lube try cleaning it . That might help