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Basically, center is copper. Center to center, never allowing it to touch anything else. The "braid" runs braid to braid, often silver in color. Also, do not allow it to touch anything else. Center of base antenna mount to center of antenna connector. Braid to ground of base antenna mount to outer edge of connector. without more information, I may not give you good advise now.
Check coax continuity with a VOM/ continuity tester. Make sure the braid and center conductor aren't touching. OR, put the radio on an antenna system that is known to be working and see if receive works. If after these tests you still don't hear anything, You may need to talk to a repair technician.
It is usually best to check an aerial from the radio end with an ohmmeter or continuity checker. The aerial cable is a coaxial cable with a centre core that carries the signal and an outer braid that when properly grounded keeps interference to a minimum.
Measuring between the centre and the outer there should be an infinity reading on an ohmmeter, indicating no short circuits in the cable or aerial base. Measuring between the outer and a good ground the reading should be very low, no more than a few ohms indicating a good ground connection to the aerial base and of the aerial base to the bodywork.
The next test is simple and tricky at the same time as one lead of the meter will need extending. Remove the aerial mast and test for a very low reading of just 2 or 3 ohms between the cable centre and the stud or socket where the mast mounts. If all tests are fine it indicates the mast has an internal fault. If the tests aren't fine the cause is fairly intuitive.
To some extent you can perform the tests at the aerial base but the results will be limited due to the physical connection between the cable and aerial base won't be part of the test.
You need to be aware some installations are fitted with an aerial amplifier which can confuse matters and make checking more difficult.
A VSWR meter is your best bet. They are cheap for cb's . If the antenna is badly mismatched you will get an antenna warning lamp on. If the antenna has a tuning coil you will see usually continuity to ground from the whip. Use the vswr meter on the radio. Set to calibrate first, transmit on channel twenty while rotating the swr cal knob. set needle on orange triangle at top right of scale. Select VSWR mode and transmit. needle should move up slightly if antenna is tuned correctly. Try chaneel 1 and 40 with same procedure. You can tell if antenna is tuned more toward the high or low frequency by how high the needle is on the scale. The higher the reading the worse the match is. If there is always a high scale reading then try another antenna that you know works.Watch for flattened/damaged/water in between braid and jacket or corrosion on coax as this will change the coax impedance drastically
VR9, VR2 or VR15 may just be out of adjustment. This does assume you are transmitting signal and recieving.
It might not hurt to check with second SWR meter.
Depending on location, there is only a tiny possibility of residual capacitance causing this. However you might want to put a few neon bulbs around your base to monitor for stray RF. If there is stray RF, they will light up- no need to connect them to anything, you can tape them to convenient places you can see. If they do light up- check coax connectors- which you should really do as a routine anyway, and check coax for damage. Then add a flat braid strap ground to "earth bond" for the radio. Which you should have anyway,
The most important part of a CB set up is the antenna and the coax/connectors being used. Make sure your antenna is a good one. If you want a suggestion on a good one leave a comment with your budget and weather your using a mobile/base set up. Make sure your connection is goo. Check the PL259 and make sure the braids have not split off for inside. Soldier a new one on if necessary.
I will give you some instructions to peak your CB and adjust the receive. Make sure the CB ha no power and use a plastic screwdriver inside your radio.
Pull the bottom cover off of your radio.
Put a watt/power/SWR meter inline.
VR1 is your receive gain, adjust that to pick up from farther away. Note white noise can occur along with this as you will be sensitizing the front end.
Adjust VR4 for 100% modulation (swing)
Right by the final is a can with some glue on it. Scrape the glue off and turn that ferrite out until your power output is 4 watts RMS (not bird)
Your Cobra 29 is now peaked and tuned as much as possible without using a Oscilloscope. And doing this this way will not require a re-alignment afterward.
Don't touch any other pots in the radio.
If you have any comments please feel free to leave them here.
Is this CABLE with RCA plugs? The best way is to Ohm out the two wires and the orher end od the cable to see if the inner two wires are tied together or it is using double ground connections. The braid wire is for the shield/ ground fro sure.
If you want to use the binding post , you need to feed it from the speaker output terminals of the receiver since the binding posts are made for speaker level signal, not audio line level used for the RCA jack (much lower signal level than the speaker level).
If it is a coax with a wire in the center and a shield outside, the wire will attach to the contact that touches the tip of your plug you insert. The shield will attaach to the part that touches the sleeve of you plug. inspect the jack carefully as they can be foolers. When stripping the insulation back un-braid the shield a little to be able to solder it to the jack. Use a pair of needlenose and a helper to keep soldering heat from going up the braid and melting the insulation of the internal wire. Test unit before putting cover on.
Can only be the coax input to the radio. Often the fault is that the soldered end is faulty at either the radio or the aerial end. If you have a voltmeter, check for shorts by putting each cable to the inner and outer coax wires. They should not be touching. If they are and the two ends are clear of each other it is likely a cracked cable inside. The easiest fix is to just use 12V wire or coax - as long as the two coax plugs are connected to the inner and outer, you will get a connection the the aerial. If you are getting ZERO reception then it is likely the cable is shot. Even if the aerial isnt connected, the cable itself should act as an antenna.
If it's a two wire jack, the tip contact is signal, the sleeve contact is common ground (or minus).
If there is a coaxial wire, the center wire is signal and goes to the tip contact, the braided shield is ground and goes to sleeve contact.
If there are two ordinary wires, you need to measure with an ohmmeter / continuity tester which one is connected to the common ground (minus) - that will be the sleeve and the other wire will be the tip.