RF Test Technician (4607)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking a full time RF technician (NRAO’s classification: Technical Specialist II or III) at the Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL develops new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy by the scientific community. 


This position is available in the Front End Operations group that is responsible for repairing and testing cryogenic radio astronomy receivers and components used in the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA).   Successful candidates must be experienced in building, operating, and debugging test systems used for measuring the noise and gain of mixers and entire receiver systems. Experience is required operating VNAs and other common RF measurement instruments, such as power meters and spectrum analyzers.  As cryogenic equipment is used extensively in radio astronomy receivers, some familiarity with cryogenics and vacuum systems is desirable.  A basic understanding of analog and digital circuits is required to facilitate the construction and debugging of the RF test systems.


Successful candidates must be able to properly document their work, and familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel are required for record keeping and graphing of measurement data. Successful candidates must be methodical, self-starting team players, comfortable in a diverse research environment, with excellent technical writing and communication skills.


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

  • Testing millimeter wave and microwave circuits and systems.
  • Constructing, operating, and debugging microwave and millimeter-wave receivers and test systems.
  • Assembling microwave and millimeter-wave subassemblies into complete receivers
  • Recording and analyzing test data.

Work Environment

The work is primarily in a laboratory environment and the candidate must be able to sit or stand at a bench for sustained periods. Visual acuity and manual dexterity are required, and lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds is required.


Position Requirements:

Minimum Education

An Associate’s degree in electrical engineering, or a related field, or equivalent experience. 

Preferred Education

Bachelor’s degree in electronics technology (BSET).

Minimum Experience

At least 5 years of post-degree experience with radio frequency or microwave systems, or equivalent combination of education and experience.  Candidates with more years of experience will be considered for a higher-level position classification.

Preferred Experience

Five or more years of post-degree experience with radio frequency or microwave systems.  Experience with cryogenic and vacuum equipment is also desired

Competency Summary

  • Comfortable graphing in Microsoft Excel and writing reports in Word.
  • All positions require highly organized individuals with excellent attention to details
  • Good communication skills


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button.  Be prepared to upload your current resume and a cover letter 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 [email protected].



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.