Electronics Engineer II-IV, RF/Microwave - UPDATED (4511)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking to hire a qualified Electronics Engineer 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 proposed Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA).  Experience in working with similar systems and within the radio astronomy community is highly desirable. A successful candidate will be assigned particular tasks 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 is based in Socorro, New Mexico at the Domenici Science Operations Center on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (www.nmt.edu). Socorro is a small, historical city 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 engineer 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) 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 existing RF and electronic subsystems on the VLA and VLBA telescopes.
  • Documentation and presentation of design work at formal reviews and meetings.


Front End Engineering Duties:

  • Assist with design, development, testing, and documentation of cryogenically-cooled passive and active microwave receiver components, feed horns, and support electronics.
  • Assist with design and/or procurement and testing of microwave polarizers, couplers, amplifiers, cables and waveguides.
  • Participate in regular Front End design, development, and maintenance activities at the VLA.
  • Procurement of needed test instrumentation and equipment racks for laboratory characterization of components and systems.
  • Other duties may be assigned 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, with emphasis on microwave engineering and/or electromagnetics.


Minimum Experience

One or more years of experience in design, manufacture, testing, and maintenance and/or repair of electronics, preferably in one or more of the following technical areas: microwave components, microwave systems, antennas, or analog circuits.


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.
  • Knowledge of RF and microwave design at the component and system level, microwave antenna design, RF/microwave testing and measurement technique, and analog circuit design.
  • Use of various electronics test equipment and familiarity with automated test equipment.
  • Problem solving and troubleshooting skills.
  • Ability to work effectively and efficiently in a team-focused, multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with emphasis on formal documentation.


Physical Demands

Most work will be performed on a computer at a desk or a lab bench for extended periods. May 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.