RF Technician (Technical Specialist) (Open Rank) (4600)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking full time technicians and RF technicians (NRAO’s classification: Technical Specialists) 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. 


Multiple positions are available in the Millimeter/Submillimeter receiver group that is responsible for developing components for use in cryogenic radio astronomy receivers. These positions span a range of skills, from technicians experienced in assembling and wirebonding microwave components under a microscope, to RF technicians experienced in noise temperature measurements, VNA component measurements, and building, documenting, and maintaining measurement systems.


Technician positions require applicants experienced assembling microwave and millimeter-wave components with a substantial amount of this work occurring under a microscope. Extremely good hand-eye coordination is necessary to manipulate tiny and fragile microcircuit chips with dimensions of a fraction of a millimeter. Experience in wirebonding is required, along with operation of electronic test systems used for measurement of sensitive electronic devices.


RF technician positions require applicants with knowledge of the principles of receiver testing and evaluation and the use of millimeter wave and sub-millimeter wave test equipment to measure noise temperatures and gains of mixers and amplifiers.  Familiarity with wire bonding, wafer dicing, and lapping is desiredBasic understanding of analog and digital circuits is also required to facilitate the construction and debugging of components and test systems. RF technicians must be methodical, self-starting team players, comfortable in a diverse research environment, with excellent technical writing and communication skills.


Successful candidates for all positions 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.


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


  • Technician
    • Assembling millimeter wave and microwave circuits, with some assembly performed under a microscope.
    • Testing millimeter wave and microwave circuits
    • Recording and analyzing test data.
    • Tracking and maintaining parts and lab supplies and reordering as necessary
  • RF Technician
    • Testing millimeter wave and microwave circuits and systems.
    • Assembling millimeter-wave circuits
    • Constructing, operating, and debugging microwave and millimeter-wave test systems.
    • 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 some positions require lifting and carrying 50 pounds.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

The technician positions require an Associate’s degree in electrical engineering, or a related field, or equivalent experience.  The RF technician positions require a Bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field (such as BSET); or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Preferred Education

Associate’s degree in electrical engineering is preferred for the technician positions and a bachelor’s degree in electronics technology (BSET) is preferred for the RF technician positions.

Minimum Experience

At least 1 - 3 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. You will need to 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.