Electronics Engineer II-IV (4454)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces three new Engineering opportunities.  We are seeking to hire qualified Electronics Engineers to work with a large team responsible for developing, maintaining, and operating electronics equipment used on the Very Large Array (VLA), the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), and for the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA), that is being proposed.  Successful candidates will be assigned particular jobs based on their skills and the Observatory’s needs.


The NRAO is committed to maintaining its existing Observatories while developing new technology to enable forefront research into the universe at radio wavelengths. This 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 Front End Radio Frequency (RF), Monitor & Control, and Power Supply systems applied to radio astronomy instrumentation.


General Duties:

  • Designing, quoting, procuring, building, testing, installing, and monitoring assigned equipment.
  • 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.
  • Documentation and presentation of designs.


Front End Engineering Position Duties:

  • CAD modeling/analysis of waveguide directional couplers for ngVLA Bands 3-6 (12-50 Ghz, 70-116 GHz).
  • Assist with design, documentation, and development of ngVLA dewars and Front End support electronics.
  • Assist with procurement and testing on OMTs, couplers, amplifiers, cables and waveguides.
  • Participate in regular Front End design, development, and maintenance activities at the VLA.
  • Rework existing and build new integrated test equipment racks.
  • Assist or lead W-band VLBA spare RX construction & testing
  • Redesign EVLA Ka-band Downconverter module for improved maintainability


Monitor & Control Engineering Position Duties:

  • Assist with or lead design, documentation, development and conceptual design reviews of ngVLA Monitor & Control hardware interface electronics.
  • Procurement, test planning, assembly, and testing of designs through all stages of the products life cycle.
  • Participate in regular VLA and VLBA electronics design, development, and maintenance activities across multiple subsystems such as weather stations, Antenna Control Units, and M&C modules.


Power Supply Engineering Position Duties:

  • Assist with or lead design, documentation, development and conceptual design reviews of ngVLA antenna electronics power supplies, which are expected to convert 48VDC to approximately +/- 7 to 17 VDC.
  • Procurement, test planning, assembly, and testing of designs through all stages of the products life cycle.
  • Participate in regular VLA and VLBA power supply and LOIF design, development, and maintenance activities.


Other duties may be assigned for all positions based on the applicant’s skills and the Observatory’s needs.


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, Applied Physics, or a closely related field


Preferred Education

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


Minimum Experience

One or more 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), power supplies, monitor & control hardware & software.


Preferred Experience

Five or more years of experience as described above; experience working with similar systems and within the radio astronomy community is highly desirable.


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.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button below.  Please 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 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.