Servo-Fiber: Technician III-IV or Technical Specialist I-II (4807)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking a qualified Technician or Technical Specialist to support operations, maintenance, and fabrication work on antenna motion control and fiber optic hardware. This position is responsible for repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to the Very Large Array and Very Long Baseline Array Servo and Fiber Optic systems. This includes bench work and working on the 25-meter antennas and support equipment. Work performed is often considered independent. The final position and job grade will be determined based on the candidate’s education and experience. This is a “Safety Sensitive” position.


The position is based at the VLA, 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico and home to one of the world’s most famous telescopes. Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque and is home to New Mexico Tech ( In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective the 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

Under general to minimum supervision from engineers and technical staff, the position supports or performs assembly work, testing, troubleshooting, and installation for Antenna Control Units (ACUs), data and communications equipment, servo systems, servo motors, on-antenna weather stations and other equipment. The candidate must be willing to respond to emergency call-outs during inclement weather, late night and or early morning hours. Other duties may be assigned.


The Technician position:

  • Constructs, adapts and calibrates assigned equipment.
  • Troubleshoots and repairs malfunctioning equipment.
  • Must be able to identify electronic components and install appropriate replacements.
  • Conducts various tests or experiments which may require modifications in test setups or procedures.
  • May record, analyze, and interpret test data. 
  • Uses standard electronic test equipment, such as power supplies, digital multimeters, spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes, signal generators, fiber optic power meters, fiber optic light sources and OTDR’s, to record equipment performance, for inspection, adjustment, and/or replacement of defective system components.
  • Uses various hand tools for mechanical work or repair.
  • Is responsible for monitoring, inspection, and maintenance of assigned Servo and Fiber Optic group systems for proper operation.

The Technical Specialist position will also:

  • Discuss the design, layout, assembly, testing and troubleshooting procedures and problems with engineers and technical staff.
  • May devise design details and functional requirements of assemblies.
  • Fabricates, assembles, and tests prototype or production units.
  • Sets up standard test apparatus or devises test equipment to conduct functional, operational, environmental, and live tests to evaluate the performance and reliability of prototype or production units.
  • Locates and orders parts and equipment, locates and evaluates substitute parts for functional equivalence of any obsolete/non-obtainable components or parts.


Either position:

  • Recommends changes required to achieve functional requirements of the equipment.
  • Follows project schedules set by supervisors.
  • Demonstrates proactive compliance with all NRAO policies and procedures.
  • May have other duties as assigned.


Competency Summary

Must have the ability to work independently and reliably with general to minimal supervision. Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Must be able to operate a personal computer.  Must have the ability to work effectively in a team and clearly communicate technical information both in writing and orally. Ability to communicate in English is required. Must have a valid driver’s license.


Work Environment

Work typically takes place in an electronics shop; employees are also required to work outdoors in inclement weather and at heights when accessing an antenna. Candidate must be able to lift and carry 50 pounds and work at heights of 150 feet. Candidate must be able to work at a bench, either sitting or standing, for sustained periods. Visual acuity (corrected is acceptable) and manual dexterity is necessary to perform work. Work is done at the VLA site, which is approximately 7,000’ in elevation. 


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

An Associate’s Degree (AAS) in Electronics Technology; or a High School diploma or GED and equivalent combination of education and experience. 


Minimum Experience

One or more years of experience and/or training related to job duties; or equivalent combination of education and experience in electronics, or electrical systems.


Preferred Experience

Highly qualified candidates with three or more years of experience specializing in servo and/or fiber support or an AAS degree in Electronics Technology may be considered for the Technical Specialist I or II grade.


Physical Requirements

Occasionally required to climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, and crouch. May occasionally work at high altitudes; and in high, precarious places and in outside weather conditions, and may be exposed to chemicals, or the risk of electrical shock.  Will be required to stand and sit; perform fine hand manipulation. Must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities include close vision, distance vision, color and depth perception. Must have the visual acuity, color perception, manual dexterity, hearing, and physical ability to perform satisfactorily all essential duties and responsibilities.


Additional Requirements

The Observatory requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access our facilities.  An offer of employment will be considered contingent until the selected applicant provides proof of vaccination.  A selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or for a sincerely held religious belief.


Skills and Abilities

Good vision is required, may be correctable. Must pass any applicable knowledge/skills tests including soldering small components using a microscope and ability to work with fiber optics.


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:


Click the “Apply” button below.  You will need to be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


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  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 [email protected]. PM20


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