B-159452, OCT. 7, 1966

B-159452: Oct 7, 1966

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THE EQUIPMENT WAS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AS FOLLOWS: "SPECTRUM ANALYZER. CLAUSE 47 OF THE INVITATION PROVIDED IN PART: "/A) IF ITEMS CALLED FOR BY THIS INVITATION FOR BIDS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE BY A "BRAND NAME OR EQUAL" DESCRIPTION. SUCH IDENTIFICATION IS INTENDED TO BE DESCRIPTIVE. IS TO INDICATE THE QUALITY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF PRODUCTS THAT WILL BE SATISFACTORY. BIDS OFFERING "EQUAL" PRODUCTS WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IF SUCH PRODUCTS ARE CLEARLY IDENTIFIED IN THE BIDS AND ARE DETERMINED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO BE EQUAL IN ALL MATERIAL RESPECTS TO THE BRAND NAME PRODUCTS REFERENCED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS.'. SECTION (C) OF THIS PROVISION REQUIRED BIDDERS PROPOSING TO FURNISH AN EQUAL TO THE BRAND NAME PRODUCT TO SUBMIT DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL IN ORDER THAN AN EVALUATION COULD BE MADE AS TO WHETHER THE PRODUCT OFFERED IS EQUAL TO THE BRAND NAME PRODUCT.

B-159452, OCT. 7, 1966

TO POLARAD ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTS:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 14, 1966, PROTESTED THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY UNDER INVITATION 08-606-66-185, ISSUED APRIL 13, 1966, BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, FOR BIDS ON FURNISHING SPECTRUM ANALYZERS AND DATA.

THE EQUIPMENT WAS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AS FOLLOWS:

"SPECTRUM ANALYZER, HEWLETT PACKARD MODEL H12-851B/8551B, OR EQUAL.

NOTE: IN ORDER TO QUALIFY AS "EQUAL" THE EQUIPMENT MUST MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFICATION A, DATED 5 JANUARY 1966, ATTACHED HERETO AND MADE A PART HEREOF. IN ADDITION, THE BIDDER MUST COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF CLAUSE 47, BRAND NAME OR EQUAL (NOV. 1961).'

CLAUSE 47 OF THE INVITATION PROVIDED IN PART:

"/A) IF ITEMS CALLED FOR BY THIS INVITATION FOR BIDS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE BY A "BRAND NAME OR EQUAL" DESCRIPTION,SUCH IDENTIFICATION IS INTENDED TO BE DESCRIPTIVE, BUT NOT RESTRICTIVE, AND IS TO INDICATE THE QUALITY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF PRODUCTS THAT WILL BE SATISFACTORY. BIDS OFFERING "EQUAL" PRODUCTS WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IF SUCH PRODUCTS ARE CLEARLY IDENTIFIED IN THE BIDS AND ARE DETERMINED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO BE EQUAL IN ALL MATERIAL RESPECTS TO THE BRAND NAME PRODUCTS REFERENCED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS.'

SECTION (C) OF THIS PROVISION REQUIRED BIDDERS PROPOSING TO FURNISH AN EQUAL TO THE BRAND NAME PRODUCT TO SUBMIT DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL IN ORDER THAN AN EVALUATION COULD BE MADE AS TO WHETHER THE PRODUCT OFFERED IS EQUAL TO THE BRAND NAME PRODUCT.

POLARAD AND HEWLETT-PACKARD WERE THE ONLY BIDDERS ON THE PROCUREMENT. HEWLETT-PACKARD BID UPON THE MODEL LISTED IN THE INVITATION. POLARAD OFFERED ITS MODEL 2992A AS AN EQUAL TO THE BRAND NAME MODEL AND IT WAS THE LOW BIDDER.

THE DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL POLARAD FURNISHED WITH THE BID WAS TECHNICALLY EVALUATED AND IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE MODEL 2992A WAS NOT EQUAL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

A. POWER REQUIREMENTS: POLARAD'S EQUIPMENT OPERATES ON 50 TO 60 CYCLE CURRENT. SPECIFICATION A REQUIRES THE EQUIPMENT TO OPERATE ON 400 CYCLE CURRENT.

B. IMAGE SEPARATION: POLARAD'S EQUIPMENT HAS AN IMAGE SEPARATION OF AT LEAST 4 GHZ ON ALL BANDS EXCEPT BAND 2 WHICH HAS AN IMAGE SEPARATION OF 2 GHZ. SPECIFICATION A REQUIRES AN IMAGE SEPARATION OF 4 GHZ ON ALL BANDS.

C. PHASE LOCK:

SPECIFICATION A REQUIRES THAT:

"AN INTERNAL PHASE LOCK SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR STABILIZING THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR. THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR SWEEP TRACKS THE SWEEP OF THE VOLTAGE- TUNED 10 MHZ REFERENCE OSCILLATOR.

"A. PHASE LOCK RANGE: SHALL HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF BEING LOCKED FOR SPECTRUM WIDTHS UP TO N TIMES 10 MHZ, WHERE N IS THE HARMONIC OF THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR.

"B. PHASE LOCK TUNING: THE REFERENCE OSCILLATOR SHALL AUTOMATICALLY TRACK WITH THE TUNE CONTROL OVER THE 2 GHZ LOCAL OSCILLATOR RANGE.'

POLARAD'S PHASE LOCKING IS PROVIDED BY USING A SEPARATE CHASSIS (MODEL 3810 FREQUENCY STABILIZER). POLARAD'S UNIT REQUIRES PHASE LOCKING IN STEPS OF 10 MHZ WITH MANUAL TUNING EACH 10 MHZ. THUS THE OPERATOR MUST RELOCK THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR EACH 10 MHZ ON THE POLARAD UNIT. THE HEWLETT- PACKARD MODEL HAS ITS PHASE LOCKING CAPABILITY BUILT INTO A SINGLE CHASSIS AND IT ALSO HAS A CONTINUOUS VARIABLE-WIDTH PHASE LOCKED SWEEP UP TO 10 MHZ DISPERSION WHILE TUNING OVER THE FULL 2 GHZ OSCILLATOR RANGE. THUS THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HEWLETT PACKARD EQUIPMENT PERMIT THE OPERATOR TO OPERATE THE EQUIPMENT WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF HAVING TO RELOCK AS IS THE CASE WITH THE POLARAD EQUIPMENT.

D. IF OUTPUT FREQUENCY: SPECIFICATION A REQUIRES AN IF OUTPUT FREQUENCY OF 20 MHZ. THE GOVERNMENT CHOSE A 20 MHZ IF OUTPUT FREQUENCY TO INSURE COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THE RF SECTION OF THE SYSTEM, AND THE INPUT OF THE DISPLAY SECTION. THE GOVERNMENT EVALUATORS STATED THAT POLARAD'S OUTPUT IF FREQUENCY, ALTHOUGH DIFFERENT, MAY BE ACCEPTABLE IF IT WOULD INSURE THE REQUIRED COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THE RF SECTION OF THE SYSTEM AND THE INPUT OF THE DISPLAY SECTION, BUT THAT THIS INSURANCE WAS NOT OFFERED BY POLARAD.

E. NOISE SIDEBANDS: SPECIFICATION A REQUIRES THAT THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR NOISE SIDEBANDS SHALL BE 90 KHZ OR MORE AWAY FROM SIGNAL. THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR NOISE SIDEBANDS OF THE POLARAD EQUIPMENT IS 50 KHZ OR MORE AWAY FROM SIGNAL.

F. DYNAMIC RANGE: SPECIFICATION A REQUIRES DYNAMIC RANGE TO BE:

TABLE

"LINEAR: 70 TO 1

"SQUARE: 70 TO 1

"LOG: 60 DB"

THE DYNAMIC RANGE OF THE POLARAD EQUIPMENT IS LIMITED TO 40 DB. THE GOVERNMENT EVALUATORS STATED THAT 20 DB CAN BE ADDED BY THE USE OF A SWITCH BUT THIS SHIFTS THE DISPLAY UP 20 DB, THEREBY CLIPPING 20 DB FROM THE TOP OF THE WAVE FORM AND THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE SINCE THE REQUIREMENT IS TO ANALYZE THE ENTIRE WAVE FORM OVER A DYNAMIC RANGE OF 60 DB.

G. VERTICAL OUTPUT: SPECIFICATION A CALLS FOR A POLARITY OF 0 TO MINUS 4 VOLTS. POLARAD'S POLARITY IS REVERSED FROM THAT REQUIRED.

H. ALTITUDE, VIBRATION, SHOCK: SPECIFICATION A STATES:

"MAXIMUM OPERATING ALTITUDE: 15,000 FEET.

"VIBRATION: 10 TO 55 HZ AT 0.010 INCHES PEAK TO PEAK EXCURSION.

"SHOCK: SHALL WITHSTAND A 4 INCH DROP ON TO A SOLID BENCH TOP.'

THERE WAS NO POSITIVE AFFIRMATION THAT THE EQUIPMENT MEETS THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND AS A MATTER OF FACT THE OPERATING ALTITUDE LIMITATION OF THE POLARAD EQUIPMENT IS 10,000 FEET.

I. SIZE AND WEIGHT AND LOCAL OSCILLATOR OUTPUT: SIZE AND WEIGHT, ALTHOUGH A PART OF THE ORIGINAL DETERMINATION OF UNACCEPTABILITY, WERE UPON RE- EVALUATION DETERMINED NOT TO BE CRITICAL. LOCAL OSCILLATOR OUTPUT POWER IS COVERED BY SPECIFICATION A AS "APPROXIMATELY 40 MW AVAILABLE FOR USE WITH WAVEMETERS OR FREQUENCY COUNTERS. THIS SHALL BE A FEMALE TYPE N CONNECTOR ON THE REAR PANEL.' THE EQUIPMENT PROPOSED BY POLARAD HAS A LOCAL OSCILLATOR OUTPUT POWER OF ONLY 10 MILLIWATTS.

FURTHER, THE AGENCY HAS STATED THAT THE FAILURE OF POLARAD TO MEET THE POWER AND FLIGHT ENVIRONMENT REQUIREMENTS IS SUFFICIENT REASON IN ITSELF TO REJECT THE BID. POLARAD, ON THE OTHER HAND, CONTENDS THAT THE EVALUATION IS INCORRECT AND THAT ITS BID WAS ACCEPTABLE.

OUR OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS AND THE EVALUATION OF THE BIDS SUBMITTED TO SEE IF THEY MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS IS PRIMARILY A MATTER FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY. COMP. GEN. 554 AND 36 ID. 251. SINCE IN THIS CASE THE INVITATION SPECIFIED THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE MET AND YOUR PRODUCT FAILED TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS IN CERTAIN RESPECTS THE DETERMINATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN INCORRECT.

YOUR PROTEST GOES FURTHER AND STATES THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE IN THAT THEY WERE MERELY A RECITATION OF HEWLETT PACKARD DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL. HOWEVER, ASPR 1-1206.2 (B) PROVIDES THAT " "BRAND NAME OR EQUAL" PURCHASE DESCRIPTIONS SHOULD SET FORTH THOSE SALIENT PHYSICAL, FUNCTIONAL, OR OTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE REFERENCED PRODUCTS WHICH ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT.' MOREOVER, IN 41 COMP. GEN. 242; B-154611, AUGUST 28, 1964; B-157081, OCTOBER 18, 1965; AND B-157857, JANUARY 26, 1966, OUR OFFICE HAS INDICATED THAT A BRAND NAME OR EQUAL INVITATION SHOULD LIST ALL THE CHARACTERISTICS AND PARTICULAR FEATURES OF THE BRAND NAME ARTICLE WHICH THE BIDDERS WILL HAVE TO MEET. THEREFORE, ALTHOUGH SPECIFICATION A CONTAINS NUMEROUS REQUIREMENTS, WHICH MAY BE COPIED LARGELY FROM HEWLETT-PACKARD DESCRIPTIVE DATA, THE AGENCY STATES THAT THE SPECIFICATION IN GENERAL DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY GREATER DETAIL THAN IS REQUIRED TO DESCRIBE THE MINIMUM PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS. THE USE OF INFORMATION FROM HEWLETT-PACKARD DATA IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCE IS NOT INAPPROPRIATE IN THE IMMEDIATE KIND OF INVITATION. WHILE YOU DIRECT ATTENTION TO B-158329, MARCH 31, 1966, WHEREIN IT WAS INDICATED THAT AN INVITATION WHICH REPEATED SPECIFICATIONS FROM THE LITERATURE OF THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER WAS RESTRICTIVE AND IMPROPER, THIS CASE CAN BE DISTINGUISHED IN THAT IT INVOLVES AN "OR EQUAL" INVITATION WHEREAS THE OTHER DID NOT, AND THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS HERE ARE SAID TO REFLECT THE GOVERNMENT'S MINIMUM NEEDS, WHEREAS IN THE OTHER CASE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE INDICATED THAT THEY WERE MORE RESTRICTIVE THAN NECESSARY.