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NEXRAD Weather Surveillance Radar Transmitter Control and Monitoring System

Solicitation Number: NOAA-ROC-CCA-BACKPLANE-04-18-13
Agency: Department of Commerce
Office: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Location: National Weather Service
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Sources Sought
Added: Apr 18, 2013 3:03 pm

THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI), SOURCES SOUGHT.  The NWS plans to develop and acquire a new transmitter control and monitoring system for use within the WSR-88D NEXRAD radar.  Specifically, the National Weather Service (NWS) is conducting market research to replace four (4) existing Transmitter Control and Monitoring circuit card assemblies (CCAs) and one (1) backplane unit that uses wire wrap technology.  The NWS requires the four Transmitter Control and Monitoring circuit cards be modernized with up to date technology and replace the hard wired back plane with a Printed Wiring Board type circuit card assembly.  It is planned that up to 220 sets of the CCAs and backplane will be replaced and/or used for spares replacement within the WSR-88D NEXRAD radar transmitter field sites and our national stock center. 

Each card installs via its designated slot into a backplane using 3 x 100 pin connectors which are held in place by a card cage enclosure.  The location of each card and the backplane follows an internal reference designation that is used by technicians to locate and troubleshoot each card during fault isolation.  In addition each card supports a series of test points, located on the opposite end from the main connection, for diagnostic purposes. These test points involve DC voltages that are subject to power surges. Each redesigned circuit card(s) must fit within the same space as the existing cards. Each card is approximately 11.5 inches in height by 19 inches deep.  Depending on the proposed design, an adapter cable may need to be developed in order to interface with the back plane. In addition, fuse schemes may need to be developed to mitigate power surges. If a fuse system is introduced, the proposal will require number, type, and recommended location within/near the chassis for installation and replacement. 

NOTE:  refer to the attached PDF document titled, “CCA&Backplane RFI Functionality Discussion 28Feb12” concerning the high level description of the functionality of each card and their internal reference designation used by the WSR-88D program. 

-  CURRENT DESCRIPTION OF THE LOGIC AND FUNCTIONALITY OF THE EXISTING CARDS:  The Control and Monitoring circuit cards consist of the Control Adaptor, Control Logic, Control Interface, and Remote Monitoring Subsystem (RMS) Interface. Operation of the transmitter is controlled by the control and monitoring circuit cards. These circuits provide front panel metering for voltages and currents, fault monitoring status indications, transmitter status, and external interfacing with the main data processor. Timing triggers and remote control commands received by the main data processor are distributed in the transmitter by the control and monitoring circuit cards and associated backplane.

-  CURRENT DESCRIPTION OF THE BACKPLANE:  The Backplane is based on wire-wrap technology mounted to an aluminum support structure, approximately 18 x 14 inches in size. The 27 50-pin connectors used are obsolete and need to be upgraded to more common style connectors. The majority of signals are TTL with a few low current voltage lines.  Additional connections consist of four 3 x 100 circuit card connections, five single row groups DC distribution connections, and a single six terminal block.

The NWS requires the services of a reengineering and specification development organization. The organization must be capable of analyzing complex electronic function and designing circuits and systems capable of controlling a transmitter. The organization must be capable of prototype development, testing and fine tuning of a final design. Upon completion of a successful prototype, the organization must be capable of producing an acquisition specification. The specification would include all necessary drawings, bill-of-materials, design and manufacturing specifications and automated manufacturing data such as Gerber files that would support the government's procurement, of sufficient quantities of circuit cards and backplanes to support the radar fleet. Any procurement of productions quantities of this design would be done using a different contract vehicle. The government requires unlimited rights to the resulting design.

RESPONSES: Responses to this RFI must contain sufficient information to clearly demonstrate that the responding organization has sufficient experience and capability to modernize the current design as described, and document that design sufficiently to support manufacture. The information must include the history, level of complexity and customer points of contact for past similar contracts. The information must include a description of the responding organization's facility and personnel resources available with specific attention given to design analysis, circuit card design, and prototyping capabilities.  It is also desired that a rough order of magnitude (ROM +-25%) of what the estimated costs are for the design of the CCA/Backplanes (and associated hardware), production of up to 220 units each, prototype delivery schedule, production delivery schedule, and the costs to ship the production units to our national stock center located at 1510 Banister Road, Kansas City, MO 64131.  Note: this RFI does not constitute an invitation for bids, request for proposal, or request for quote and there is no related solicitation posted. Accordingly, respondents will not be reimbursed for any expenses incurred in providing a response.  Any questions regarding this RFI should be addressed in writing to the NWS Project Engineer, Mr. Glenn Secrest ( with a courtesy copy provided to Contracting Officer Representative (COR) at  Responses should be sent to the attention of Daniel Hoffman at

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Unit Functionality Discussion

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Unit Functionality Discussion
Posted Date:
April 18, 2013
Description: This is a high level discussion of the transmitter control/status circuit card assembly (CCA) and backplane.
1325 East West Highway, SSMC2, Room 11226
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
United States
1313 Halley Circle
Norman, Oklahoma 73069
United States
Phone: 405-573-3308
Fax: 405-573-3480