The Zastone ZT-2R is back

It caused a stir. After a few raving reviews (one of which was published here) the radio sold out in the blink of an eye, never to be seen again, let alone at the initial price point of $80. But the Zastone ZT-2R, a 100% copy of the Yaesu VX-2R, is back.
Zastone ZT-2R BoxAt $85.80 (shipping included) the radio is only a few bucks more expensive than when it came out. You have 11 days before the price goes back up to around $110. Link: AliExpress.com.


Review Zastone ZT-2R

The Zastone ZT-2R was an interesting find. One question remained: was it a poorly constructed clone, or a genuine Yaesu VX-2R under another name? As it turns out, the latter is true. The Zastone is a Yaesu VX-2R from top to bottom. Even the manual is written in the typical Yaesu style, and programming examples use the word ‘VERTEX’ on a few occasions.

Zastone ZT-2R Box

First impressions
This will be a very short review; the Yaesu VX-2R has been out of production for quite a while, and there are more than enough reviews to be found online. I could still find the Yaesu VX-2R here and there for about € 175,00. The Zastone ZT-2R was € 80, which included shipping with DHL and one extra battery (Fuji NP-60 compatible).

Frequency Ranges
0.5-1.8 MHz (BC Band)
1.8-30 MHz (SW Band)
30-76 (59) MHz (50 MHz HAM)
76 (59)-108 MHz (FM)
108-137 MHz (Air Band)
137-174 MHz (144 MHz HAM)
174-222 MHz (VHF TV)
222-420 MHz (ACT1)
420-470 MHz (430 MHz HAM)
470-800 (729) MHz (UHF TV)
(757-774) MHz (UHF TV)
800-999 MHz (ACT2; USA Cellular Blocked)
TX 144-146 (148) MHz
430-440 (450) MHz

For more specifications, go here or to Yaesu.com.

Programming
Being a long time user of the Yaesu VX-170 and VX-177, I found it very easy to program this radio. That won’t be true for everyone, but once you know the logic behind Yaesu menus you’ll feel right at home.

If you don’t like manual programming, all Yaesu cables and software will work.

Harmonic suppression
I couldn’t help myself after the GT-3 and measured harmonic suppression. It was perfect.

Zastone ZT-2R VHF

VHF: second harmonic about 63 dBm down, no other harmonics visible

Zastone ZT-2R UHF

UHF: second harmonic about 60 dBm down, no other harmonics visible

Verdict:
If you love these small can-do-it-all radios, get one while you can. Don’t expect the radio to replace a quality LW/MW/SW receiver (you can overload the Yaesu/Zastone quickly), but it does the job.

On the amateur bands the radio performed as expected, no issues with RX or TX whatsoever. Well done, Yaesu Zastone.

Price: around $90 now but varies, Check AliExpress.com for current offers.

Stuff in the PD0AC pipeline

I expect 2014 to be a good and busy year for radio reviews. Below a list of things to come.

  1. Baofeng GT-3. I should have had the review sample more than a week ago, but SainSonic isn’t very honest when it comes to promised shipping times. The radio’s location is Rotterdam, about one hour drive from here. When I ask about the reasons for the delay, the seller mentions shipping times of 20-40 days. Say what? Even worse, SainSonic (Sainstore / Nextbigthink on eBay) flagged the radio as being shipped, while in reality it’s not. According to PostNL the shipment is ‘being prepared by sender’ for almost a week now.
  2. Zastone ZT-2R. Interestingly, Zastone doesn’t list their own creation anymore. What is going on here? Sued by Yaesu? The radio is still available elsewhere, but shipping hit a snag here also. The first AliExpress seller I approached advertised the radio, but didn’t have even one in stock. He got caught by the AliExpress safety net almost instantly, and my money was promptly refunded — without me even having to ask for it. Eat that, eBay & PayPal! The second seller was lighting fast; radio is on its way.
  3. The VGC VGC VR-6600P. This will take some more time and can’t be rushed. I expect a lot from this radio.

Zastone ZT-2R: dual-band TRX and wide-band RX

SAMSUNGIt looks like a bit like Baofeng UV-3R but the specs are much more interesting, and more in line with the Yaesu VX-3 *edit* the discontinued Yaesu VX-2: the Zastone ZT-2R is also a wide band receiver. With a price of around $80 it seems a nice deal – assuming it works. I really wonder about scan speed; most Chinese radios suck at that.

TX frequency range is limited in order to comply with European rules, but I’m pretty sure these radios can be ‘opened up’ for other regions in the world.

When looking at the battery it appears to be the same one as used in the Baofeng UV-3R, but I can’t be 100% sure. If true you can buy cheap batteries in abundance.

RX Frequencies:
MW: 0.540-1.8 MHz
SW: 1.800-30 MHz
Ham Band 1: 30.000-79(59) MHz
FM Band: 76 / 59 MHz-108 MHz
Air Band: 108.000 – 137.000 MHz
Ham Band 2: 137.00 – 174.000 MHz
VHF-TV Band: 174 – 222.000 MHz
Action Band 1: 222 – 420.000 MHz
Ham Band 3: 420 – 470.000 MHz
UHF-TV Band: 470 – 800 (729).000 MHz / (757-774 MHz)
Action Band 2: 800 – 999.000 MHz (USA Cellular Blocked)

Receiver:
Modes: AM / NFM / WFM
Intermediate Frequencies: 47.25, 450, 45.8, 10.7, 1 MHz
Sensitivity: 0.18 uV – 3 uV
Selectivity: 12kHz / 35kHz / 200kHz / 300kHz
AF Output: 50 mW – 100 Mw

Transmitter:
Frequency range 144-146 MHz, 430-440 MHz
Channel Capacity: >1300
Channel Spacing: 5 / 9 / 10 / 12.5 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 50 / 100KHz
Frequency Stability: 5ppm
Battery: 1200mAH
Operating Temperature: -20 ~ + 60 degrees C
RF Power: 1 / 1.5 / 2 / 3 Watt
Frequency Modulation: Variable Reactance F2, F3
Maximum Deviation: 5 kHz(F2, F3)
Spurious Emission: H 60dB ; L 50dB
Microphone Impedance: 2k Ohm
Operating Voltage 3.7V DC ± 15%

ZastonePrice: varies slightly, around $80. Seller: Zastone (AliExpress).