RF Electronics Engineer (III, IV or Sr.) - 4260

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The Long Baseline Astronomy Observatory (LBO) is seeking to hire a qualified Electronics Engineer, with an emphasis on RF or microwave systemsExperience working within radio astronomy is highly desirable.


The LBO is committed to maintaining its existing observatory while developing new technology to enable further research in radio astronomy. This system maintenance and development occurs in a collaborative environment involving technicians, hardware and software engineers, and scientists. By joining the LBO, an employee has a direct contribution to expanding the observatory’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment used by scientists around the world.  The electronics systems engineer will work on large, complex, possibly multi-month tasks related to this effort. They will be responsible for diagnosing complex problems, developing an approach, and executing it under limited supervision. This requires technical competence, collaboration, time management skills, and expert judgement.


The position is based at the Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (www.nmt.edu).  Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque.  In addition to competitive pay, we provide excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave).  Medical, dental and vision plans are effective 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

The successful candidate will work both independently and within a dynamic team environment to support ongoing developments for both future projects and existing telescope electronics hardware. This development involves Radio Frequency (RF), digital, and mixed-signal integrated circuits and systems applied to radio astronomy instrumentation.


While the electronics systems engineer will have exposure to multiple electronic and mechanical systems at different arrays, the focus of this position will be microwave systems (receivers, local oscillators, and frequency conversion) and overall operation of the Very Long Baseline Array antennas.


General Operations Duties:

  • Investigations into system performance problems involving complex interactions and limited monitoring tools.
  • Devise and conduct tests to identify solutions and rectify problems. Problems will often require detailed, methodical, and documented analysis. May need to replicate problems in a controlled laboratory environment to test a hypothesis, or build temporary test setups.
  • Propose and implement enhancements to monitoring systems in order to aid in the diagnosis of future or current performance problems.
  • Propose and implement enhancements to automated tests and data reduction pipelines. Analyze and respond to test results.


Potential Project Areas:

  • Design of system-level enhancements to the VLBA and VLA.
  • Contributions to the conceptual design development of the next generation VLA (ngVLA).
  • Design, prototyping, and testing of instrumentation systems, including water vapor radiometers and atmospheric phase interferometers.
  • Research of contributors to systematic error, such as atmospheric turbulence.
  • Other design projects tailored to the applicant’s expertise.
  • Other duties may be assigned.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a laboratory environment, but the successful candidate may occasionally be required to work outdoors or on antennas.  The successful candidate may be required to travel domestically and internationally by air carrier and to travel by car between Observatory sites.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A Bachelor of Electrical Engineering or closely related field.


Preferred Education

An M.S. or Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering or closely related field.


Minimum Experience

Three years of experience in an environment requiring interaction with, and analysis of, complex electronics systems.


Preferred Experience

Five or more years of demonstrated experience in an environment requiring interaction with, and analysis of, complex electronics systems. Experience with microwave / radio frequency electronics systems preferred. Pay grade and salary of selected candidate will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience and qualifications.


Competency Summary

The successful candidate will have skills and demonstrated competencies in the following areas:

  • A strong foundation in electrical or electronics engineering is required. Ability to apply graduate level mathematics and understand mathematical models of system behavior.
  • Experience working with microwave systems.
  • Experience working with interferometric techniques is desirable.  
  • Data reduction and analysis.
  • Experience with MATLAB, python or other programming languages, Excel, or other data reduction and plotting tools.
  • Familiarity with command line interfaces and scripting in Linux (BASH or CSH).
  • Good documentation and communication skills.


Physical Demands

Most work is performed on a computer at a desk or at lab bench for extended periods. Will occasionally be required to lift and carry heavy lab equipment (up to 50 pounds) for relocation or installation of test apparatus, and to squat, kneel, or crawl to reach electrical/physical connections in tight spaces behind racks of under lab benches.


Additional Requirements

Must possess a valid driver's license. May be required to drive Observatory vehicles. Must pass any applicable knowledge/skills assessments. 


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

Long Baseline Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.