I hope this question finds everyone in good spirits and thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have.
I recently purchased an IC-718 used and after assembling my first HF antenna, and wiring everything up I gave it a test. I was able to receive far off signals and all was good, that is until I tried to transmit. I made one connection and that connection said that my audio was cutting in and out. Utilizing my instruction manual I read a section about the mic gain and looked at the setting the previous owner had it set on. I was disturbed to find it at 98! Checking the ALS signal meter I saw that while I was holding the transmit button and calling CQ that I was not getting much of a reading on the ALS meter. Since that contact, I have not had a single contact. My concern is whether or not the problem is with the radio, which appears in all physical appearance to be in excellent shape or the mic that is bad. My belief (I am new to Ham Radio and especially HF equipment) is that my mic gain should be around 50 and adjusted positive or negative from that number so that the als meter is topping off but not exceeding the max level.
My question is (without spending a ton of money) or finding another operator with a compatible mic how do I figure out if it is the mic or the radio and short of ordering a replacement mic is there anything else I can do to verify the cause of the problem?
Thanks for the newbie question.