VLBA Specialist I-II (4485)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is recruiting a Specialist for our Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) Pie Town site in western New MexicoThe VLBA Specialist is responsible for a wide range of installation, repairs, and maintenance. The station is part of a 10-antenna array, spread across the US that captures radio astronomical data. The employee works with another Specialist, occasionally solo when schedule issues arise, and is on-call on alternating weekends. The Specialist must respond to emergency repair situations as dictated by the impact on the station's ability to perform intended functions.


In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s 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

The Specialist is responsible for maintenance, inspection, testing, troubleshooting, repair, data delivery and other work on the Very Long Baseline Array Station, including the 25-meter Antenna and support equipment. The station includes Radio Frequency receiver and cryogenic systems, data and communications equipment, data recorders, recording media, servo control systems, mechanical drive equipment, and weather stations.


Routine duties include:

  • Using standard electronic test equipment, recording effects on unit performance, inspection, and adjustment and/or replacement of defective system components.
  • Performing scheduled maintenance, lubrication, mechanical and electronic inspections, and other preventive and corrective maintenance.
  • Monitoring and maintenance of all systems for proper operation. This includes the emergency power generating equipment, fire alarms, and HVAC systems.
  • Consultation with the other VLBA Specialist assigned to this site and with NRAO technicians and engineers located elsewhere in formulating and planning corrective actions.
  • Use of electronics test equipment such as digital multimeters, spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes, signal generators, and power supplies. Use of hand tools for mechanical work or repair.
  • Upkeep of the site and facilities.
  • Proactive compliance with all NRAO policies and procedures is required.
  • Other duties may be assigned.


Work Environment

The Specialist frequently works in high places, up to 100 feet, in outside weather conditions and workdays require work at an elevation of 7,700 feet. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. The employee works near moving mechanical parts and is exposed to electrical hazards. These and other situations mean the employee is often responsible to perform lockout/tag out to create a safe work environment.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Associate of Science degree (A.S.) or equivalent in Electronics.


Preferred Education

Bachelor's Degree in a related field.


Minimum Experience

Three years of experience in the Electronics or Electrical fields. 


Preferred Experience

Five or more years of experience in the Electronics training or Electrical fields, with experience in technical support radio astronomy or telecommunications equipment and installations. Qualified candidates with five or more years of experience may be considered for the Specialist II classification.


Additional Requirements

The Specialist must maintain a current NM Driver’s License as the employee will be required to drive an Observatory vehicle


Competency Summary

The selected candidate must have the ability to work independently and reliably with minimal direct supervision. The Specialist must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing and operate a personal computer and common software as well as have the ability to solve technical problems and deal with a variety of situations where only limited documentation and standardization may exist. o have and maintain a current Driver's License in order to drive Observatory vehicles.


Physical Requirements

The physical demands and the work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Work is performed at a high altitude (~7,700 ft)While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to handle or feel objects, use tools or controls; reach with hands and arms. The employee must be able to negotiate vertical ladders to access service locations on the antenna; required to utilize fall arrest equipment. While in these locations the employee must balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The employee must frequently lift and move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. Normal hearing ability is required to receive directions from other employees located in other areas of the station.


Safety Sensitive

The selected candidate must successfully pass a post-offer, pre-employment/pre-placement drug screen.  Failure to pass the Screen will disqualify the candidate from employment consideration for a period of six months from the date of the results.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button below.  Applicants are required to submit a CV/Resume; a cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position is optional but recommended. Please upload your CV/Resume with the ‘Add Resume’ button and your cover letter with the ‘Additional Files’ button at the beginning of the application process.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.  To view our complete statement, please visit http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs.  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to resumes@nrao.edu.



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