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Reviews Categories | Specialized Amateur Communication Products | The Original 3898 Pecker Help

Reviews Summary for The Original 3898 Pecker
The Original 3898 Pecker Reviews: 56 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $65.00
Description: The Pecker is designed to tune any tube final transmitters and amplifiers for SSB use fast and safe. It uses a single pulsed tone at a 30% on 70% off dutycycle. The short dutycycle helps keep dangerous heat buildup off your expensive tubes. It is NOT similar to MFJ's amp tuner the 214 and others that plug into the cw jack and use a pulsed carrier.
Product is not in production.
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WB5C Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2011 14:55 Send this review to a friend
Fine tune your SSB signal!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'll admit: at first, I didn't get it. But once I had a chance to experiment tuning an amp, I'm convinced the 3898 Pecker is the best tool a ham can use to fine tune his/her SSB signal.

I had recently purchased an Ameritron Al-811H amplifier to go with my Kenwood TS-590S (which is a great radio, btw). I bought the Pecker right away, based on the strong reviews I saw on, and was going to use it from day 1. I plugged it in, hoping for glory and all good things, but I didn't see my peak power meter needles move that much. Just a little bit. Disappointment set in - how does this thing work? Is it broken?

So I disconnected the Pecker and tuned my new amp the way described in the manual: with a CW carrier. The needles moved a lot! This was tuning!

But then I realized: of course one is going to see more watts out when tuning with a CW carrier than with an SSB carrier. SSB carrier output usually only averages half of a CW carrier. That's why the needles on my meter moved a lot with a CW carrier and not with the SSB/Pecker carrier.

I decided I would do a head-to-head comparison of the two tuning methods. I broke out a spreadsheet and mapped out my amplifier load settings, amplifier plate settings, tuner capacitance settings and tuner inductance settings for very band, 160-10m

The results were surprising. When I compared my CW carrier settings with my SSB/Pecker carrier settings, a few were close. Some of them, however, were very different. Using the Pecker, I was coax my amp and tuner to get me between 50-150 more watts out with the Pecker than what I using the amp when I had tuned it with a CW carrier. Basically, the 3898 Pecker helped me refine my settings specifically for an SSB carrier.

Not to mention it makes the process easier AND is easier on your equipment at the same time. Tuning a CW carrier can be stressful on your amp. Blowing past the max grid current is easy to do, particularly if you're a relative newbie like me.

As a bonus, I could easily compare different power levels feeding into my amp using the 3898 Pecker. To start, I set my Kenwood TS-590S to the maximum power output of 80 watts and tuned for max power with the Pecker. Then I slowly decreased the power output from my Kenwood to see the difference between 70 watts out versus 80 watts, etc. In some cases, the amp output was not that different, so I could set my Kenwood for the lowest power output. For those of us hams with an interest in emergency operations, the 3898 Pecker can help you determine how to run your gear most efficiently.

I'm sure some of the Elmers out there might find some of my "revelations" to be simplistic. But my experimentation helped me determine how a piece of equipment could be best utilized by my radio and amp, in my shack. I'm hoping this review will help newer hams like myself just looking to enter the world of amplifier-driven HF communications.

So, in sum, my experience has been that the 3898 Pecker helps you easily refine maximum output from your amp specifically for SSB communications. At the same time, it makes the process simpler and less stressful on the user and the amplifier. Definitely worth the investment!

73s, Wade WB5C
KI6OSH Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2011 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This Pecker never tires, unless the battery is left on overnight, which I inadvertently let happen. Otherwise, it has worked perfectly. Makes tuning my Ameritron 811-A a breeze. I'm just a very basic ham so this little gem is worth every penny. Need all the help I can get.
KK2DOG Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2011 10:00 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my second pecker that I've bought and tuning a tube amplifier with it couldn't be easier. You simply turn-on the Pecker, key your microphone, then adjust the Load and Plate knobs for maximum wattage output and you're good to go.
W4NFR Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2010 06:08 Send this review to a friend
Great Tube Saver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used the Pecker with my Kenwood TS-870 for many years.
I really like SSB tune up using the stress on the tubes. I have 7 amplifiers, ranging from 4cx250B, GS-35B, (2) 3-500Z and I have never replaced a tube. I believe it is from not stressing them! Wish more hams would use the Pecker and a good Peak WM !
VO1GWK Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2009 00:50 Send this review to a friend
3898 Pecker  Time owned: months
Clearly the best I've ever seen and or used. Unlike all other pulsers, the Pecker design allows tuning an amplifier while your exciter is in SSB mode thus keeping the grid currents within the amplifier to minimum rather then excessive, and this adds years to the life of both tubes and internal amplifier parts. My honest opinion, a must for all tube amplifier users.
KF4A Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2009 17:40 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used one of these for several years and it has worked so well that I recently purchased another one you my other station. Excellent product Larry.. Thanks..
K2RHK Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2009 14:12 Send this review to a friend
Arrived just in time!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Pecker Tuner arrived just in time. It had been a long time since I had an amplifier and I was rusty on tuneup. I had melted through my first set of three 811As and was about to install my backup set. Setting up the Pecker Tuner took a matter of minutes and it worked exactly as described. It sure takes the pressure off SSB amplifier tuning. Larry, both me and my 811A backup set thank you. Alan Rose, K2RHK
PA4B Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2009 03:28 Send this review to a friend
Great product, even doing his job here below sea level!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A few weeks ago my package did arrived from the US. (Without paying import- or other taxes) So, a few weeks later, after working with Larry’s 3898 Pecker, I can say it does what it says on his site and all the positive words on this forum. It’s just so easy and relaxed to tune the amplifier with that great piece of ham gear. Until then, I did use the FSK-mode, (very carefully of course) for tuning up the amplifier. From now on, with the Pecker, the amplifier smiles to me every moment! If you have an amplifier, I would recommend this tuner absolutely. Thanks Larry for this great product!
73’s Rik de pa4b
N9AOP Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2009 21:54 Send this review to a friend
as advertised  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used this for about a year and it makes tuning an amp on SSB quick and easy.
I ordered one board which I assembled without a problem and one prebuilt board that I gave to a friend. Both worked perfectly.
N8DOD Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2009 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Nice Product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
ordered the 3898 pecker from Larry KB4OIE , I e-mailed him and he sent me a paypal invoice,
I paid and the Package arrived 2 days later Well packed,
The directions were very detailed and easy to follow,
I plugged in the included battery and it was Plug & Play on my Yaesu Mark V.

It sends a pulsed tone to the radio and reduces the strain on the tubes,
No need to try to tune the amp in CW mode and then re tune for SSB.

The device is very professional and attractively constructed.

I like it so well I just ordered another one for my Icom Pro III,

Makes Tune up easy and saves on expensive tubes.

I had no problems but with Larry's rapid email reply I am sure if there was any
Questions he would be there with the support, Nice to have a USA made product.

Jim Teeple N8DOD
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