RF Technical Specialist I or II (4284)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

Under general supervision from scientists and engineers, assembles, calibrates, tests, analyzes, troubleshoots and/or repairs the ALMA Back End IF Processors, power supplies, and other modules related to the ALMA Back End system. Work performed is moderately independent. This is a “Safety Sensitive” position.


Job Duties Summary

The position supports assembly, testing, troubleshooting, and training for a variety of ALMA Back End analog, power supply, and possibly digital LRUs. Primarily, the Specialist will operate test equipment and LabVIEW-programmed test stands to verify performance, establish and conduct related training procedures for other integration and operations personnel, and support operations performance of modules; but may also assist with installation and troubleshooting. Testing performed is mostly in North America, but some work for testing and training in Chile may be required. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) is a radio astronomy telescope built near San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. The position supports other NRAO maintenance activities based in Socorro, NM as needed.


The Specialist will:

  • Discuss the design, layout, assembly, testing and troubleshooting procedures and problems with engineers and technical staff.
  • May draw sketches to clarify design details and functional requirements of assemblies.
  • Designs, fabricates, assembles, and tests prototype or production units.
  • Sets up standard test apparatus or devises test equipment to conduct functional, operational, environmental, and life tests to evaluate the performance and reliability of prototype or production units.
  • Records, analyzes, and interprets test data. 
  • Locates and orders parts and equipment, locates and evaluates substitute parts for functional equivalence of any obsolete/non-obtainable components or parts.
  • Writes technical reports and develops charts, graphs, and schematics to describe and illustrate an assembly's operating characteristics, malfunctions, deviations from design specifications, and functional limitations.
  • Recommends changes required to achieve functional requirements of the units.
  • Follows project schedules set by supervisors.
  • Demonstrates proactive compliance with all NRAO policies and procedures.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment, but the Speicalist may be occasionally required to work outdoors. Must work near moving mechanical parts and/or with electrical equipment. May be required to do work at 16,500 in elevation. 


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Associate's Degree (AA) in Engineering Technology training or years of directly related experience may be sufficient.


Preferred Education

Bachelor's Degree in a related field is preferred.


Minimum Experience

Three years of related work experience; or additional relevant education (e.g., engineering courses) may be substituted for years of related experience.  Ability to read and follow electrical schematics is required.


Preferred Experience

Five to ten years of related work experience. Experience in actual creation and use of LabVIEW for conducting tests is required. Experience with commercial or military electronics repair or construction preferred. Several years of experience in the use and training of Radio Astronomy LO/IF equipment for training other operations personnel. Ability to work with personal computer spreadsheet and word or text processor software for data logging and documentation is preferred, as is experience using an on-line ordering system. Use of general Machine Shop type tools preferred.  Candidates with additional, relevant experience may be considered for higher ranking (level II).


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.


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.


Skills and Abilities

Must possess a valid driver's license. 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.


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.