RF Technician

Tracking Code17154

About the Organization:

Formed in 2005, the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) is one of the seven laboratories of NCAR, the National Science Foundation’s Federally Funded Research and Development Center. EOL’s mission is to provide leadership in observing facilities, field project support as well as research and data services needed to advance the scientific understanding of the Earth system. EOL manages the majority of NSF’s Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) and deploys them in support of observational field campaigns, ranging from single investigator projects to large complex campaigns that involve multiple investigators, agencies, and platforms, nationally and internationally. EOL deploys its systems for research by scientists from universities, NCAR, and government agencies, as well as for education. An integral part of EOL’s mission is to develop the next generation of LAOF and to provide management and archiving of data from past supported campaigns. In order to ensure progress in the atmospheric sciences, EOL supports a wide-range of research areas within the Earth system science, ranging from microscale to mesoscale to climate process studies, and employs LAOF platforms and systems that reach from the surface of the Earth to the lower stratosphere and beyond.


Top Reasons to Work with Us:

EOL’s In-Situ Sensing Facility (ISF) provides measurements made directly in the environment as well as profiling measurements of the lower atmosphere. Measurements are made in-situ at the earth’s surface, on towers, on balloons, and on packages dropped from aircraft. Profiling measurements are made using vertically pointing radar, lidar and acoustic sensors. ISF aims to serve the advanced observational needs of the atmospheric science community by providing a flexible, state-of-the-art backbone measurement capability applicable to a wide range of experimental needs – emphasizing advanced sensor capabilities, sensor integration, system mobility, and the ability to deploy to remote or difficult locations.


For more information on EOL please see the Join Our Team page.


Job Overview:

The person selected for this position will provide technical support for all EOL/ISF meteorological instruments.  The primary emphases are supporting the Integrated Sounding System (ISS) and Airborne Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS) Dropsonde System, as well as assisting engineering staff in the development and testing of RF components and modules for both systems. Additionally, they will provide support of atmospheric instruments in deployment and operations for field programs.



Levels II and III:

  • Provides technical support in the development, testing, and maintenance of EOL/ISF instrumentation.
  • Reads and interprets engineering documents (e.g. circuit schematics, board layouts, bill of materials) to assist with the design, construction, and troubleshooting of system components, circuits, and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
  • Measures, characterizes, and documents component and system level performances from DC through RF using electronic test equipment (e.g. digital multimeters, oscilloscopes, vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, RF signal generators and power meters).
  • Assists with defining system layouts, cable assemblies, and creating system block and wiring diagrams using CAD software (e.g. Altium and Microsoft Visio).
  • Participates in all aspects of deploying instrumentation for field operations, including instrument preparation, packing, and shipping logistics.
  • During field operations, responsible for on-site operation, maintenance and repairs of equipment deployed over a large geographical area under sometimes difficult conditions.
  • Responsible for the technical maintenance of ISS R&D labs, including tracking calibration status and information for all lab equipment as well as keeping the labs organized and clean.


Additional Level III Responsibilities:

  • Contributes to the design of circuits and systems.
  • Calibrates specialized lab equipment such as network and spectrum analyzers.
  • Identifies potential vendors and parts suppliers and evaluates their products and services to verify functionality meets published specifications.
  • May direct the activities of temporary staff and student operators during field campaigns.



  • Education and Experience Qualifications:
    • Level II:
      • Graduation certificate from a technical institute in an electrical, mechanical, or meteorology area and two years of relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience in electro/mechanical/meteorological support.
    • Level III:
      • Graduation certificate from a technical institute in an electrical, mechanical, or meteorology area and five years of relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience in electro/mechanical/meteorological support.
    • Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Level II and III:
      • Able to troubleshoot electronic equipment to the component level using schematics and layout. This includes digital, microprocessor, analog, and RF circuits.
      • Fundamental understanding of electronic circuits.
      • Thorough understanding of basic electronic components with the ability to read electronic schematics and PCB plots.
      • Skilled in the assembly of electronic systems covering all aspects from assemble of circuit boards, cables, and mechanical assembly.
      • Able to solder surface mount components as small as 0603 size packages, fine-pitched integrated circuits, and cable assemblies by hand.
      • Skilled in the use of mechanical hand tools and basic machine tools such as a drill press.
      • Proficient in the use of computer application software (Visio, Excel, Word) and standard personal computer technology, including installation and maintenance of computer hardware.
      • Willingness and ability to participate in extensive field programs, often working independently of others.
      • Ability to work in harsh and stressful field environments, occasionally in remote locations.
      • Skill in working effectively as a member of a team including interactions with a broad scope of UCAR and community staff.
      • Demonstrated oral and written communication skills.
      • Willingness and ability to work with diverse staff, higher management, and staff from outside institutions.
    • Additional Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Level III:
      • Advanced knowledge, skills, and understanding of RF/microwave testing techniques, calibration procedures, and instruments, such as network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes, multi-meters and RF power meters.
      • Ability to use schematic capture and layout CAD tools to read and fully understand PCB schematics and layouts.
      • Advanced skill in construction of electronic circuit boards including a complete understanding of soldering procedures for SMT parts including no-lead techniques; this includes detailed knowledge solder paste, hot air tools, hot plates and SMT ovens.
    • Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Level II and Level III:
      • Advanced knowledge and skills in the use of CAD tools for the purpose of schematic capture, PCB layout, or circuit simulations.
      • Knowledge of revision controls systems for instrument documentation.


Additional Requirements for both Level II and Level III:

  • Willingness and ability to work for extended periods (normally not exceeding 30 days at a time, and normally not exceeding an aggregate of 100 days per year) on field assignments to domestic and international locations.
  • Willingness to fly on research aircraft while acting as an operator/maintenance technician for ISF.
  • Willingness to participate aboard ships while acting as an operator/maintenance technician for ISF.
  • Must have a valid United States driver’s license.
    • Must have a Motor Vehicle Record that meets UCAR’s acceptability requirements for driving on UCAR business under UCAR policy 4-5.
    • An offer of employment for this position is contingent upon proof of an acceptable Motor Vehicle Record (MVR).
  • Must be able to obtain a passport and participate in foreign travel.