So I installed my CB yesterday, finally after having a long wait for the antenna cable. And it seems that I have the opposite problem that most people have. No static, no issues with power to the system, its just quiet. Total silence. I am a total newb to CBs and not that great with electronics in general, any ideas? I assume when I am driving down a highway in Houston at rush hour on channels 17 or 19 I should hear something right?
Don't try to transmit until you make sure you can receive. If there's a dead short you can blow out your final power transistor which at today's labor rates essentially means buying a new radio (unless you can get it fixed under warranty).
Make sure the squelch is turned all the way down. If there's a gain knob, turn it all the way up.
Check your antenna mount. There should be a nylon isolator, like a stepped-diameter washer, that goes in the antenna mounting hole on the top of the bracket between the bracket and the antenna. The threaded stud from the antenna-side connector goes up from the bottom of the bracket, through the hole and the isolator, and the antenna screws-on. The idea is that the isolator protects the antenna from getting shorted to ground. If this isolator is missing or if you torqued-down the antenna so hard that it breaks or thins-out, it will ground the antenna making it useless.
If you can access a multimeter, measure the resistance between the center conductor and outer ground, it should give infinite resistance (e.g., no change in measurement from the meter being disconnected). Wiggle the cable and connectors while watching the meter to see if there's an intermittent short. The measure end-to-end resistance on the center conductor, this should be around zero ohms, again wiggle to check for intermittents. Finally, check end-to-end on the outer ground, again wiggling.
Finally, find a buddy who has a handheld CB and magnetic-mount antenna and try swapping his radio onto your antenna and see if it works. If not, and your coax tested okay, you probably have a bad antenna. Put his antenna and coax (they probably cannot be separated) onto your radio and see if that works. If not, your radio is bad.