CB Radio Receives but Won’t Transmit-Troubleshooting Guide

One of the most frustrating CB problems is when your CB radio receives, but won’t transmit any signals. In these situations, you may either get weak transmissions or no transmissions at all. Being a long-term CB user, I have experienced this issue multiple times. But the good thing is that you can troubleshoot the problem in a few minutes.

If you have a similar experience, fret not. We are here to help you troubleshoot weak transmission issues of CB radios. Before jumping on to the solution, it’s crucial to identify the source of weak or no transmission. There could be multiple reasons for the bad transmissions!

Why My CB Receives, but Won’t Transmit?- Troubleshooting

Here are the steps to troubleshoot the transmission issue in CB radio. We have given 10 different sources of the issues and explained how you can rectify them.

1. Look up the PA/CB switch

The very first step in troubleshooting CB radio transmissions is checking the PA/CB switch. If you’re in the PA mode, you can still transmit, but only through the PA system and not CB. So, other users may not pick you on the same frequency if your radio is in PA mode. You will need to switch to CB mode to transmit again.

2. Power connection issue

An unstable power connection can be another cause of weak transmissions. You cannot expect clear transmissions if you haven’t connected the power cable correctly. Additionally, you will need to ensure that all other power plug-related connections are tightly secured.  

3. Antenna or coax problems

So far, if the above-mentioned steps do not work, it’s time to move on to the antenna system! The antenna is the most crucial part of any CB setup. Any problem with the antenna or CB coax connection can leave you facing severe radio problems. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure a smooth connection between the antenna and its coax. Make sure that you have placed all screws and caps properly. If you’re unable to transmit because of problems with the antenna, this should resolve the issue. 

4. Poor microphone connection

Another probable reason for weak or no transmission is an incorrect microphone connection. Pressing the PTT switch on your mic doesn’t guarantee crystal-clear transmissions. Make sure that you have pressed the PTT switch properly for a stable connection.

5. Incorrect microphone cord or plug

Using the wrong plug or cord for your CB mic can create problems with transmissions. If the microphone connection pins don’t seem to match, use a flathead screwdriver to flatten the pins gently. Doing this will ensure an adequate connection to the mic cord connector and will lead to optimal transmissions. Moreover, using a defective cord with breakage can also lead to weak or no communication. If you have a faulty cord, replace it immediately for smoother transmissions.

6. Ground problems

Another reason for disturbance in transmissions is problems with the CB’s ground connection. It will help if you have a proper ground chassis with a secure connection to the ground wire. 

7. Check SWR

What’s the standing wave ratio for your CB? Look for the reading on your device’s in-built SWR meter or use an external one. A high reading could cause the weak or transmit. You could have a short somewhere, which you can use the SWR to confirm. Check the reading and look for continuity in the antenna system. If there’s no short and you have suitable continuity, look at other likely sources, such as the device and its different components. 

If you have another car or truck with a working antenna system, connect your CB to it to see if the problem persists. If you’re still unable to transmit, it’s most likely an issue with the radio itself and not the feed line. Alternately, you can connect a working CB radio to the antenna system in your vehicle. If you get a high SWR, it may be because there’s a short in the antenna. A word of caution; do not transmit while checking as it can damage your device. Only briefly key the mic without talking. When the antenna is shorted, and the transmit power cannot “get out”, it can seriously damage your CB!

8. Antenna tuning

The essential step to optimizing your CB system is antenna tuning. It guarantees smooth transmissions within the device range. 

9. Is the electrical system operating?

If the vehicle’s electrical system is not operating efficiently, it can lead to several CB-related problems. Make sure your truck is transferring adequate power to the CB. 

10. Battery issues

Inspect all power connections, including the fuse and wire. A weak or unstable connection of the battery and fuse can hinder the CB’s performance. In case of any damage, replace the battery or fuse to improve transmission quality.


Troubleshooting weak or no transmission may seem like a complicated job, but it isn’t. Check all internal and external components to identify the issue. Our guide should hopefully resolve the issue. However, if the problem persists, it’s best to talk to a trained technician to detect the source of the problem. If it’s the CB that’s defected, you can reach out to the manufacturer to claim a product warranty.