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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | Palstar ZM30 Antenna Analyzer Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar ZM30 Antenna Analyzer
Palstar ZM30 Antenna Analyzer Reviews: 59 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $329.00
Description: The Zm30 is an automated micro-controlled SWR antenna analyzer with a 8 bit micro-controller with a precision low power DDS signal generator. It also includes a self-calibrating reflectometer and displays SWR at selectable frequencies from 1 Mhz to 30 Mhz. It measures: SWR,impedance,reactance, and inductors and capacitors, transmission lines,stubs, and Q and resonant frequency. There is a serial port for field upgradable software. Battery operated.
Product is not in production.
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N4KJ Rating: 1/5 Jul 13, 2018 23:27 Send this review to a friend
Go fish  Time owned: more than 12 months
Unit I have will not calibrate with latest software update. Was sent back to Palstar some time ago and repaired, but still does not give accurate readings and will not calibrate. Palstar latest response is they no longer support this antenna analyser. Go fish.
W4HBM Rating: 0/5 Jul 13, 2016 12:19 Send this review to a friend
ABANDONED BY PALSTAR  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the ZM-30 for the bench when building some linear amplifiers a couple of years ago. Last year the unit only reported SWR's of greater than 10:1, and it was sent to the factory and returned. When it came back I tested it on the bench with a ferrite balun I wound in a 4:1 ratio, connected to a dummy load, and the ZM-30 worked. It went right up on the shelf and wasn't used until last week when connecting it to a parallel-resonance circuit on the bench, whereupon it again reported SWR of >10:1. Another trip to the factory, only to get it returned with a "thank you" note for choosing Palstar, and a "screw you" note right on the same page saying the factory no longer reworks this model as parts are no longer available. "SAYONARA, SUCKER!" So all that money right down the drain. Now I own an MFJ 259B and an MFJ259C and they just keep on humming, and their factory says if there are ever any glitches to send the unit right in, but there haven't been any glitches. So I do not expect to support PALSTAR with any more purchases after being abandoned.
QRPNEW Rating: 0/5 Mar 6, 2015 21:41 Send this review to a friend
Junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
Stay away from this Analyzer. Mine has blown up 3 times. They keep blaming static or excessive RF. Why I know its junk is that after I received it back from repair on the 3rd time it sat in a box in a metal filing cabinet far away from lighting and RF and died by itself. The symptom is that it wont read impedance or any antenna test parameters. There is no circuit diagram or parts lists for, you have to go through the very expensive postage and repair procedure. Stay away from this product!
W3ACO Rating: 1/5 Apr 23, 2014 15:09 Send this review to a friend
Unreliable and expensive to repair  Time owned: more than 12 months
Sent my unit back to Palstar for the third time. Paul says front end IC was blown. I am very careful and ground the antenna input before I connect to the analyzer. Last trip to Palstar cost me $95 plus shipping. I have lost confidence in this unit. Repeated failures lead me to buy another brand unit. Now it sits on my shelf. Anyone want it ?
Look me up on
3B8BB Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2013 10:30 Send this review to a friend
Great analyzer,well worth it  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have owned this for over 6 months now and cannot fault it. Worked fine in tuning all my hf antennas. If you are reading this prior to buying 2 things A read the manual beforehand B bleed the antennas static charge. I have tuned veticals,cobweb, inverted Vs and Ls all successfully. Its robust and easy to operate, with the free softwear from their website you can plot the scan data on your PC to get SWR curve etc across the band...very helpful and accurate too. Excellent job by Palstar.

KE4WY Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2013 02:24 Send this review to a friend
Nice Tool  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my ZM-30 for about 2 years using it often and have found it to be a great tool. I have used it to setup a recently bought vertical antenna along with cutting and adjusting several wire antennas. We have also used it to sweep several baluns.
KK4NQL Rating: 0/5 Jan 27, 2013 19:46 Send this review to a friend
Returned it. Very Disappointed.   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Unit wasn't 24 hours old. Didn't work right from the beginning. I called the company and was told there were software issues and to send it back to them so they could correct. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I sent it back to Gigaparts and they exchanged it for a CAA500 Commet and I havent looked back. Scratch Palstar off this guys list.
M0KTY Rating: 0/5 Feb 11, 2012 19:42 Send this review to a friend
No DDS Signal!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my ZM30 new from my favourite dealer. I got it home and was quite impressed by the build quality, however even after following the instructions AND earthing out the antenna for static when I turned the unit on I received a No DDS Signal error. nothing would reset it.
I returned it to the dealers and they duly replaced the MOSFET.
I got it home and tried it again, it worked. I finished adjusting the antenna and checked it a final time and again got hit by the No DDS Signal!
Again I took it too the dealers who stated that they had had a few back for repair. I took it home again and after the third time a few weeks later (three failures) the dealers exchanged it with some cash difference for the Mini Vna I still have to this day.
perhaps I was unlucky, but three strikes and your out!
overall a very dissapointing experience. I have used Palstar tuners and they are very good. the dealer has since stopped selling this model.
NY4DX Rating: 2/5 Oct 26, 2011 19:45 Send this review to a friend
DOA  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I had ordered the ZM30 from HRO but didn't have a chance or need to use until about 2 months after receiving the unit. During the summer, I wanted to build another OCF antenna. Upon Completion, I checked the antenna with the ZM-30. The antenna registered an SWR of <10. Brand new balun, wire and hardware. I then proceeded to check my other working antennas which I had on the air. All registered SWR<10. Every working antenna I checked with the unit had an SWR of <10. ZM-30 problems...yes!

Of Course, the only thing that was good was I got rid of three radio works Carolina Windom 160 full length flat top OCF's.

I replaced them with new Comtek Baluns from DX Engineering and replaced the wire with insulated steel core for full power 160 wire move ever. Then I replaced the balun on my force 12 beam because of the ZM-30 unit.

After replacing the baluns, the meter still gave me a SWR reading of <10 on all antennas. It turns out the board was bad in the ZM-30 unit.

I contacted Palstar and sent the unit back...Palstar replaced the board at no cost and calibrated it but I have not had a chance to test it (plus no reason to at this time)... My antennas all register low SWR measured with the WAVENODE WN-2 unit and sensors. My new wire antennas are working fine and allow me to work the Pacific on 160SSB...despite the previous ZM-30 readings so now I'm happy with the wire antenna performance.

It seems to me Palstar has poor QA/QC...I also had problems with the AT4K tuner I purchased this early year...same poor QA/QC.
K9MHZ Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2011 10:07 Send this review to a friend
Nice...I think(?)  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After recently purchasing the analyzer directly from Palstar at Dayton, and being proud of myself for buying a "quality" analyzer and avoiding any MFJ junk, I was very surprised to read KF4EUZ's review below. Not being as adept to design matters as EUZ, I can only report on how the item has performed for me so far. That far, so good. It's been a big help in my shack, especially since I have a compromise HF multiband dipole due to homeowner's assoc. restrictions. I also had a new Comet CAA-500, which is very simple by comparison, and the readings of total impedances on different bands/freqs match between the two analyzers. He described the DDS as not being the signal source of choice for a piece of gear such as this, and it does make sense. Palstar does rate the spurious products as at last 35 dB down. I'm not so sure that the tuning is as obtuse as he describes, but it can be cumbersome.

So.....from a non-designer's point-of-view....the ZM-30 does work, and pretty well. I totally understand where EUZ is coming from in his narrative, and for the price point of the ZM-30, you have to wonder why something wasn't more carefully chosen in its design.

It does cut off at HF freqs, so that alone may drive a prospective purchaser in another direction.

Nice item (I think?), but I'd suggest some research, such as EUZ described first. BTW, the manual is pretty good now (in 2011).
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