Electronics Engineer II-IV (4271)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Engineer II-IV


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking to hire qualified Electronics Engineers to work with a large team responsible for developing, operating, and maintaining the Very Large Array and related equipment.  Experience in working with similar systems and within the radio astronomy community is highly desirable. Successful candidates will be assigned based on their skills and the Observatory’s needs. The positions are initially funded for two years, but are anticipated to continue indefinitely.


The NRAO is committed to maintaining its existing Observatories while developing new technology to enable forefront research into the universe at radio wavelengths. This maintenance and development of many technical systems occurs in a collaborative environment that involves technicians, hardware and software engineers, and scientists. By joining NRAO, an employee has a direct contribution to expanding the Observatory’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment used by scientists around the world. This work requires specific technical competence, collaboration, time management skills, and expert judgement.


The positions are 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, 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 engineers 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.


General Duties:

  • Designing, building, testing, installing, and monitoring assigned equipment. This may include cryogenically cooled receivers, RF (LO/IF) distribution equipment, servo systems, digital processors, monitor & control hardware, and/or other systems.
  • Investigations into system performance problems, involving complex interactions and limited monitoring tools, and determination of recommended corrective actions.
  • Characterization of various systems and subsystems using theoretical analyses, computer simulations, and direct measurements.
  • Troubleshooting, repairing, and testing of PCBs, electronic assemblies, and VLA antenna and array electronic subsystems.


 Potential Project Areas:

  • Design of system-level enhancements to the VLA and related projects.
  • Contributions to the conceptual design development of the next generation VLA (ngVLA).
  • Design, prototyping, and testing of new instrumentation systems.
  • 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 climb on antennas to heights greater than 40 feet above the ground.  The successful candidate may be required to travel domestically and internationally by air carrier and to travel by car between NRAO sites.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering or closely related field


Preferred Education

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


Minimum Experience

Two years of experience in design, manufacture, and/or maintenance and repair of some or all of the following technical areas: cryogenic receiver systems (front ends), antenna RF and IF systems (e.g. oscillators and mixers), digital sampling and signal processing, fiber optic distribution, and antenna servo systems. Experience should include use of related electronic test equipment such as oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, network analyzers, and signal generators,


Preferred Experience

Five or more years of experience as described above.


Competency Summary

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

  • A strong foundation in electrical or electronics engineering.
  • Detailed knowledge of RF, analog, and digital circuit design, including FPGA programming, usage and testing, along with general testing and measurement.
  • Use of various electronics test equipment and familiarity with automated test equipment.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • Good documentation and communication skills.


Physical Demands

Most work will be performed on a computer at a desk or a lab bench for extended periods. Will occasionally be required to lift and carry heavy lab equipment (up to 40 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.  Will also occasionally climb stairs and ladders on an antenna located at ~7000’ in elevation.


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.