First things first, the Astatic PDC1 is one of the cheaper, tinier SWR meters out there, so don’t go comparing it with some of the much more expensive, bigger models you may have owned.
With that out of the way, it does the job and works well with a CB radio, especially on a budget.
Let us now talk about some of its important features in detail.
Great for CB Radios on a Budget
The PDC1 is a 100 watt SWR meter that’s just about perfect for CB radios. Of course, as we said above you could have better options if you’re willing to spend more, but at this price point this is probably as good as it can get.
It offers a great value for money as few SWR meters in this price range come with a power meter. Making the power meter work can be a bit of a struggle though, but once you learn how to do it properly (we will explain this below) you will be pleased with what you’re getting for the price.
One of the biggest issues with cheap SWR meters is that their accuracy is usually a hit or miss. Not with the PDC1.
It’s one of the most accurate SWR meters for the price. Sure, it might sometime show you a 1.2:1 when some of the pricier models might show you a more accurate 1.15:1, but most of the time it would be accurate enough, especially with some trial and error.
Many users talk about in their reviews how it’s accurate enough to help them find the right tuning for their CB antenna.
Small and Lightweight
Despite the accuracy and offering both SWR and power readings, the PDC1 is surprisingly small and lightweight. The size is another problem with many of the more expensive SWR meters, while a large size isn’t even necessary for CB radios.
Needless to say, it’s highly portable and you would have no problem carrying it around.
Impressively Functional but Needs Work
As we said above, it’s great to find a SWR meter that also offers power readings at this price. However, figuring out how to use it the right way can be confusing as the labeling isn’t very neat.
While the FWD and REF labels are apparently given to the left switch, they actually belong to the right one. The left switch is only for the power.
So simply set the power accordingly using the left switch and ignore the FWD and REF labels above it. Then when you’re transmitting power through the device, you need to switch between the two positions of the right switch and find which position ends up getting the higher reading, as that will be your forward PWR.
Then go back to doing the usual stuff with the dial by making the needle go over to the SET position on the screen. Switch the right switch again without disconnecting the power so that you get the SWR reading (the lower reading will be the SWR).
You get a great bang for your buck as the PDC1 offers both power reading and SWR reading. You just need to figure out how to go about using both the switches right and once you do, it will get pretty easy to use it for both power and SWR readings.
The reason you see some customers complaining the power does not work is that they are going by the labeling on the product, which isn’t accurate.
The PDC1 also helps produce surprisingly clear and loud transmissions. The build quality is impressive for the price, too.
The PDC1 doesn’t come with a jumper cable and you would have to buy it separately. However, what many customers find more frustrating is the vague instructions and inaccurate labeling, which leads to confusion and could even damage your device if you follow the instructions and transmit 100W the way they tell you to.
While we have explained how to work with the inaccurate labeling, you could just perform a simple search online if you need better instructions, although the more experienced users would have no problem figuring it out on their own.
A Final Word
While there a couple real problems with the Astatic PDC1 such as almost misleading instructions and labeling and the no jumper cable being included, you can’t really complain if you’re getting a quality SWR meter at this price that can also do PWR readings.
The instructions and labeling issue is pretty easy to get around with what we explained above, and a good jumper cable wouldn’t cost you much either.
If that sounds fair to you, just click on the yellow button below to find the Astatic PDC1 on Amazon.Amazon