Interview with Zdravko Divjak from Z-Communications, Inc.

  • Zdravko Divjak - Founder and CEO at Z-Communications, Inc.

everything RF recently interviewed Zdravko Divjak who is the Founder and CEO of Z-Communications, Inc. Mr. Divjak graduated from Brown University with a physics degree. He previously worked with General Electric and Motorola before starting Z-Communications, Inc. in 1987. Mr. Divjak has been involved in other successful start-up businesses, including Trango Systems Inc., a wireless systems microwave communication company started in 1997, and is presently involved in Blue Guard Innovation LLC, an IoT startup.

Q. Can you tell us about Z-Communications? When was the company founded and what was its objective?

Zdravko DivjakZ-Communications, Inc. was founded in 1987 by Zdravko Divjak for the design and manufacture of local area network cards for the emerging PC market. In this endeavor, the search for VCOs yielded very high-cost products in the marketplace. The cost was too high to make their LAN card designs viable, and so Z-COMM designed their own VCOs. The market for lower-cost, high-performance VCOs was greater than that for LAN cards, and so Z-Communications, Inc. focused solely on VCOs. For the past 37 years Z-Communications, Inc., has been designing and manufacturing high-performance, low-cost VCOs better than anyone else!

Q. Can you tell us more about your product portfolio? What is your specialization within the VCO and PLL segment?

Zdravko Divjak: The Z-COMM product line is anchored in VCOs. From this building block, we have expanded our offerings to include higher forms of integration. Phase-locked oscillators, phase-locked loops, SMART PLL modules and other forms of signal sources are now available through Z-COMM. Our products meet the needs of commercial, military & defense, and space (a few of our PLLs are orbiting the Earth as we speak!). Notable use cases for our products are analog and digital communications, radar, up/down converters, atomic clocks, and even laser tag gaming systems, just to name a few.

Q. What market segments do you cater to? Which segment is the largest for you?

Zdravko DivjakZ-Communications, Inc. supplies our products to the commercial, test and measurement, VSAT military, medical, space, and everything in between. We enjoy a good mix of market segments, which keeps our business steady if one segment is contracting versus other segments of the market.

Q. Z-COMM develops a wide range of surface-mount VCO’s. Can you tell us more about this product line? Are these tailored for specific applications?

Zdravko Divjak:  Z-Communications, Inc. originally created the now industry standard 0.5x0.5inch surface mount package for the majority of VCOs sold currently.  There are certainly tailored package sizes for any number of applications, including 0.3x03 inch, and 0.2x0.2inch packages for products such as miniaturized atomic clocks, and very small transceivers.

Q. Do you offer custom product solutions in addition to standard catalog products? What is the typical timeline for the development of a custom product? How complex is it to make slight adjustments to the frequency, phase noise, or other parameters of an already existing product? Is this what most customers ask for?

Zdravko Divjak:  At one point, each of the over 1000 SKUs offered by Z-Communications, Inc. started as an application-specific design. With so many current off-the-shelf products offered by Z-COMM, there is a good chance a customer will find a VCO to meet their specifications, but if not, a custom solution is definitely an option. Custom designs run the gamut from a slight frequency change to optimizing the design for phase noise performance.  Z-Communications, Inc. offers the advantage of being a small, highly agile company, so we can keep our lead time for customer designs to a few weeks if required.

Q. Can you tell us about your Smart PLL Synthesizers?

Zdravko Divjak: Our ‘Smart’ line of PLL Synthesizers were born from the need for a cost-effective, wide-band frequency source for use in labs and in the field. They use a unique form of control through a Bluetooth interface and a smart device, thus the marketing term.  Of course, they may also be controlled via USB and a PC interface.

Q. What are the key parameters that a user should evaluate when selecting a PLL Synthesizer?

Zdravko Divjak: The basics of course…frequency agility, wide band, good phase noise, adjustable power output, and in the case of the Smart PLL line, ease of use.

Q. Who are your customers? Where are they located? What is a % break up in terms of geographic region?

Zdravko Divjak: Z-Communications, Inc. enjoys a varied customer base throughout the world.  The United States makes up about half of our sales, with the rest of the world’s other major markets (EMEA), making up the other half.

Q. Can you tell us about your manufacturing facility? What are the various standards and compliances that you adhere to during the manufacturing process?

Zdravko Divjak:  Z-Communications, Inc. is proud to be a US manufacturer, and have been so for our entire 37 years in business. Our manufacturing facility is in San Diego, CA, while our corporate office is in Denver, CO.  We are AS9100D and ISO 9001:2015 certified.  

Q. What is the 3-Year roadmap for Z-Communications?

Zdravko DivjakZ-Communications, Inc. is committed to continuing the development and design of high-performance, cost-effective VCOs.  We will also continue to develop higher integration designs such as surface mount and modular phase-locked oscillators, and phase-locked loops. Additionally, we are developing filters and amplifiers to complement our frequency source products.


  • Country: United States
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