Technical Specialist III-IV (4369)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is pleased to announce an opportunity for a Technical Specialist III-IV at the Central Development Laboratory (CDL). The technical specialist will be involved in fabrication and testing of cryogenic microwave and millimeter-wave components for use in radio astronomy. This requires substantial micro-assembly work under a microscope, and extremely good hand-eye coordination is necessary to manipulate fragile microcircuit chips with dimensions of a few thousandths of an inch. The technical specialist must be experienced in building, operating, and debugging electronic test systems used for measuring the noise and gain of cryogenic mixers and amplifiers.  Experience with vector network analyzers and other common RF measurement systems is required.  A basic understanding of analog and digital circuits is also needed to support the construction and debugging of test instrumentation.  As cryogenic equipment is used extensively in radio astronomy receivers, some familiarity with cryogenics is desirable.  Candidates must be good technical writers and  be detail oriented to thoroughly document test results.  Familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel are required for record keeping and for manipulating and graphing measurement data.   This position requires a motivated and methodical person who is comfortable working in a loosely structured research environment and with a team of diverse personalities.


The position will be based at the NRAO Central Development Laboratory in Charlottesville, VA, located near the grounds of the University of Virginia ( In addition to competitive pay, we provide excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave).  Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment.  Our retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Assembly of millimeter-wave circuits.
  • Testing millimeter-wave circuits and systems.
  • Construction, operation, and debugging of microwave and millimeter-wave systems.
  • Recording and analyzing test data.


Work Environment

The work is primarily in a laboratory environment. The candidate must be able to work at bench either sitting or standing for sustained periods and is expected to spend significant time in micro-assembly work under a microscope. Visual acuity and manual dexterity are necessary to perform this work. The candidate must be able to lift and carry 50 pounds.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Associate’s degree in Electrical Engineering, or a related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.


Preferred Education

Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering or a related field.


Minimum Experience

At least 10 years of post-degree experience on radio frequency or microwave systems, or equivalent combination of education and experience.


Application Instructions:


Selec the "Apply" button below. You will need to be prepared to upload your CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position. Applications will be reviewed beginning September 17, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled.



The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.