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Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K5XS, Oct 26, 2020.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looking on DIBBS, which I do pretty often since they send me alerts, there are thousands of "small business set-asides" that are procured directly by government agencies, mostly DoD. Then, there are the amazingly wacky business set-asides where the winning bidder is a small business in a HUB zone, owned by a female minority disabled veteran.:p
    W4HM and KA4DPO like this.
  2. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes Steve, but 8A and SBA's are not for procurement of subsystems or components. Those Small, Disadvantaged business set asides also fall under 8A. The overwhelming majority of them are for software, or services such as on site computer repair. Time to toot my horn ala, WB2WIK.

    I spent almost 10 years in Harris Government Systems Sector working on government contracts, big government contracts. I spent thirty more years working for the Federal Government in Acquisition, you know FAR, Title Ten?

    I was at TRADOC for five years, and twenty five with the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) for which I was also a (COR), Contracting Officers Representative. As the Airborne and Special Operations Evaluator, and ATEC Systems Team Chairman for ABNSOC programs, I worked together with AMC, Army Materiel Command, TRADOC, Army Training And Doctrine Command, and last but not least, the Program managers and civilian contractors for each and every program in my directorate, that included a bunch of small subs who did engineering support in the field. I was responsible for testing, evaluating, and reporting on all new software and hardware for the ABNSOC to the Vice Chief, Sec Army, and Sec Def for joint and purple programs. The DOD could not procure any system unless my command had filed all of the requisite reports, GAO was a constant companion. I personally contracted dozens of small set asides and minority owned businesses for all sorts of tasks, but never any equipment.

    So what I said in my previous post is the answer, the DOD does not contract directly with SBA's for circuit boards, or components, unless it is done through a prime contractor. Period.

    Braggadocio off.
    VU3DRU, K8PG, KC2XU and 2 others like this.
  3. W2STV

    W2STV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not sure their status, or the real story of the various sales and acquisitions over the last decade, but I do know that designing a "modern" radio requires such a depth of engineering and programming that if they lost their engineers, it may be a loong time before they can get a coherent RF/CS team together again.. Look at Elecraft, they have been steady developing over many years, the engineering knowledge and skills builds on previous efforts, etc etc. Bringing a team together from scratch to challenge the top brands has got to be daunting.
    Perhaps TT focus on "analog" transmitter / receiver /tuner / amplifier set, a niche perhaps but would be a more straight forward way to get back in the game.. OR they can decide to support their past products with replacement boards, screen, updated, DSP doodads etc etc. So they wouldn't have to design a whole new rig which involves hardware enclosures etc besides the electrical engineering and computer science packed inside the radios.

    would love to see another US brand back in the running!
    WD4IGX and KA8UGB like this.
  4. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I hear you, but analog is more expensive to produce these days than digital. The IC-7300 is a good example of this, the sale price is low in comparison to the available performance and features. You know Icom is making some profit on them, so the manufacturing costs must be pretty low.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Except...not really. We sell complete subsystems to branches of the DoD every week, direct sales and shipments to them; what generally qualifies us is not that we're disadvantaged or minority or even HUB zoned but:

    -We are a "small business" (<750 employees)
    -Everything is made in USA and TAA compliant
    -We produce stuff that is specified by the users and found to be pretty much sole-source because nobody else makes the same thing.:p

    Just sent a bunch of gear (complete systems) to NAS Jacksonville today. Sent a bunch more to the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos last week. DoD and DoE (like Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Oak Ridge, et al) buy stuff directly from us all the time. The DoD stuff is all DO or DX rated contracts and they are direct, not subs.

    However, our biggest contracts are subs: Our biggest "defense/aerospace" customer is Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and they're here right now doing a source inspection.
  6. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep, and they've sold enough that they've no doubt paid for the development costs...that probably happened quite some time ago, actually. ;)
    KA4DPO likes this.
  7. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know who you work for, post the name of your company so we can see who they are and what they do.

    One of the rules for SB is that the average net income after Federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) of the applicant for the 2 full fiscal years before the date of the application shall not be more than $5.0 million, or, 7.5 million in some cases. That is not a lot of money, basically, 2.5 million per year, I don't know how many employees you have so your post doesn't have any context.

    You are going through GSA for sole source Commercial Off The Shelf, (COTS), under the COTS rule, there is no Bid and Proposal or IR&D, and no field engineering service required. Please don't try to blow smoke up my rear end, I was in the business for far too long. Under the COTS provision, Sandia and any other government agency can buy stuff from Radio shack if they want. They can buy paperclips from a street peddler under the same rule. Anyway, a business is determined small based on several factors, including the specific contract.

    And you just admitted that you are a sub. Raytheon is a prime contractor and you are supplying them with subsystems, Raytheon is not the federal government. Anything provided to the customer under that contract has to go through Raytheon, even if your company, or another subcontractor provides it.

    Back to the original topic, we are talking about a very small company that makes and stuffs circuit boards.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    KC2XU likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The direct government sales and sales to Raytheon are two completely different things.

    We sell hundreds of items directly to DoD agencies that all have contract numbers assigned to the orders; then, we have Raytheon who actually isn't even a prime on our programs, they're a sub to Northrop-Grumman. But a really big sub. So we are third-tier on those. We provide the real-time flight system computers for the Global Hawk RQ-4, and each system is four main chassis and they're all flight systems so they have strange shapes to fit where they have to go. Raytheon adds software and other items that require security clearances we don't have, and then deliver to N-G.

    The direct contracts are all for disk drive (or other storage media) cloning systems. Company is here: BTW even the highly customized stuff for the RQ-4 is all 100% COTS, although nobody else in the world would buy any of it -- it's all custom designed and application-specific, but part of a COTS program which means we can add it to catalogs and sell it all to anyone who wants it (which would be nobody unless they're trying to build an RQ-4).

    Some of that stuff is shown on this web page:

    Don't confuse yourself, my explanations are very clear; and we do have direct sales to DoD agencies almost every single day, and those orders are contracts.
    KA4DPO likes this.
  9. W2NAP

    W2NAP Ham Member QRZ Page

    you hear that?
    I think someone is playing the graveyard symphony
    KA4DPO and WZ7U like this.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's unfortunate; they were a once great company, or at least provider of high quality ham gear for this market.

    I had a feeling when Al Kahn (K4FW) passed, it was the end of an era and that did seem to be the case.

    Of course, same could be said of lots of companies; not so uncommon when the founder gets too old or dies, the company follows.
    KA4DPO and WD4IGX like this.

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