Bascom Hunter gets $4 million Navy contract to reduce disruptions in wireless communications

By TIMOTHY BOONE | The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. (TNS) | Published: May 14, 2019

(TNS) Bascom Hunter, an electronics manufacturer based out of the Louisiana Technology Park on Florida Boulevard, has been awarded a $4 million contract with the Navy to reduce disruptions in wireless communications networks.

The contract was part of the Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research program, which helps small businesses with federal research and development that has the potential for commercialization.

Andrew McCandless, who co-founded Bascom Hunter, said the contract was under Phase III of the SBIR program, which is the "top of the mountain" and awarded to larger projects. According to SBIR.gov, Bascom Hunter has been awarded more than $2.4 million in similar contracts from the Navy since 2012.

Wireless interference is the biggest cause of disruption in communications links and it's becoming more of a problem as more people use wireless communications and satellites send more data over wavelengths. "If you have disruptions in the link, you can't send information," McCandless said. The Navy is looking at multiple approaches to solve the problem of wireless interference and the contract will help Bascom Hunter develop solutions.

Bascom Hunter has been in the Tech Park since 2013. The company currently has 10 employees and expects to hire 12 more this year. McCandless said the additional hiring is the result of growth beyond just the Navy SBIR contract.

McCandless previously worked with Mezzo Technologies. The other co-founder is Paul Prucnal, an electrical engineering professor at Princeton University, who has developed new ways of canceling radio frequency interference.

The company plans to leave the Tech Park and move into a private office and manufacturing space planned for the LSU Innovation Park. McCandless said that move probably won't happen until the end of the year at the earliest because construction hasn't started yet on the 40,000-square-foot building that will be home for Bascom Hunter and other companies.

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