Servo/Fiber Technical Specialist I-III (4444)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces an opportunity for a Technical Specialist with our Servo/Fiber team at the Very Large Array (VLA).  The Specialist is responsible for repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the VLA and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) 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 Specialist responds to emergency repair situations or call-outs if repair or maintenance is needed immediately. This is a “Safety Sensitive” position as described in the Position Requirements below.


The position is based at the Very Large Array, 50 miles west of Socorro, NM.  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

Under general supervision and as part of a diverse and active team located at the VLA site, the Specialist maintains and upgrades the electro-mechanical servo systems and fiber optic equipment and cabling of the 25 meter antennas. Routine duties include:

  • Installation, calibration, troubleshooting, and repair of Antenna Control Units (ACUs), data and communications equipment, servo systems, motors, and on-antenna weather stations.
  • Consultation with group supervisor, other NRAO technicians, and engineers as part of formulating and planning corrective actions.
  • Uses standard electronic test equipment, such as digital multi-meters, spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes, signal generators, and power supplies, to record unit performance, for inspection, adjustment, and/or replacement of defective system components.
  • Uses hand tools for mechanical work or repair.
  • Monitors, inspects, and maintains all Servo and Fiber Optic group systems for proper operation. This includes the fire alarms and site paging equipment.
  • Writes technical reports and develops charts, graphs, and schematics to describe equipment’s operating characteristics, malfunctions, deviations from design specifications, and functional limitations. This includes documentation of work performed.
  • Recommends changes required to achieve functional requirements of the units.
  • Proactive compliance with all NRAO policies and procedures.
  • Other duties may be assigned.


Work Environment

The Specialist frequently works in high places, up to 150 feet, in outside weather conditions. While in these locations the employee must balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The employee must be able to negotiate vertical ladders to access service locations on the antenna and is often required to utilize fall arrest equipment. 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 or related field.


Minimum Experience

Minimum of three years of Electronics or electro-mechanical experience.  Candidates with five or more years of relevant experience may be considered for level II or III.


Preferred Experience

More than five years of experience in electro-mechanical servo systems, with experience in technical support radio astronomy or telecommunications equipment and installations. Experience fabricating, installing, and testing fiber optic assemblies is desired.


Competency Summary

Candidates must have the ability to work independently and reliably with minimal direct supervision. They must be able to read and interpret schematics, operating and maintenance manuals, and other documentation. The candidate must also communicate effectively verbally and in writing and operate a personal computer and common software. As part of the job, they must be able to solve technical problems and deal with a variety of situations where only limited documentation and standardization may exist. Candidates must have and maintain a current Driver's License and they may be required 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. 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 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.


Additional Requirements

  • Must be available for afterhours call out;
  • Must maintain a current Driver's License;
  • May be required to drive Observatory vehicles and man lifts.


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.  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  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


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