Job posting 18-37
Opening date: May 4, 2018
Closing date: May 18, 2018
TITLE:Supervisory Electronics Engineer, GS-0855, Grade 13; $89,566.00 - $116,437.00/yr plus a COLA of
5.39% and 8% hazardous duty pay
TYPE OF POSITION: Federal Career/Career-Conditional
DIVISION: - SMA
LOCATION: Hilo, HI
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to current and former Federal employees with permanent
status or reinstatement eligibility. Individuals who are eligible for a special appointing authority may also apply; such
as applicants with a disability, former Peace Corps volunteers, certain military spouses, veterans seeking a VRA/VEOA
appointment, or veterans who have been separated from armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more
of continuous active service.
The Submillimeter Array (SMA) is a joint project of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO),
headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics
(ASIAA), headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. Comprised of eight relocatable antennas and associated
instrumentation, the SMA is an interferometer array for astronomical observations at submillimeter wavelengths,
between 180 GHz and 420 GHz. A new generation of instrumentation is now under development in labs at SAO
(Cambridge) and ASIAA (Taipei) to enhance the SMAís scientific capabilities. The SMA is a technically
specialized scientific research facility in continuous operation, 24 h per day. Support offices and laboratories are
located in Hilo, Hawaii, while the telescope itself is located near the summit of Maunakea at 4075 m (13375 ft)
The employee is responsible for providing professional electronics engineering leadership to SMA technical staff
in the design, development, deployment, evaluation, testing, and maintenance of the specialized astronomical
instrumentation comprising the telescope.
1. Provide professional electronics engineering leadership to SMA technical staff in design, development,
deployment, evaluation, testing, and maintenance of telescope instrumentation, with particular emphasis
on heterodyne receivers. Coordinate deployment activities with engineering staff in Cambridge, with
deliveries from the development labs, with resource availability, and with staff schedules. Maintain an
overall schedule of technical activities at the SMA. Balance deployment of new equipment with ongoing
science observations using existing systems. Prepare associated documentation in accordance with SMA
2. Provide expert engineering guidance to SMA operators and technical staff on receiver optimization.
Develop, implement, and document test procedures to enable rapid assessment of receiver performance,
including sensitivity and noise, amplitude and phase stability, gain compression, tuning characteristics,
spectral response and antenna beam characteristics, to enable efficient use of the array.
3. Track the status and ongoing performance of SMA subsystems. Implement a maintenance schedule and
oversee maintenance activities to sustain optimal array performance and readiness. Oversee an inventory
of critical spares to ensure minimal disruption of operations in case of component failure. Oversee array
reconfigurations. Disseminate status and performance information through oral presentations and written
4. Supervise a portion of the SMA technical staff. Assign projects and tasks; prepare performance plans and
perform performance appraisals; approve work schedules, leave, and overtime; resolve conflicts and take
disciplinary action when required; nominate staff for awards to reward exceptional performance; give
advice, counsel, or instruction to staff on both technical and administrative matters; determine training
needs and arrange training as appropriate; and interview and hire new staff when vacancies occur.
NOTE: Possession of a valid driverís license is required along with the ability to responsibly drive SMA vehicles.
In addition to the Basic Requirements, applicants must meet the following:
One year of professional experience in an appropriate field at least equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to grade
12 level work in the Federal service within or closely
Specialized experience for this position would typically include work with microwave electronics, submillimeter
astronomy, signal processing, signal transmission, systems engineering of complex systems, and supervision of
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs
(e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual;
community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide
valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying
experience, including volunteer experience.
Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years
and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For complete
information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit:
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.
Visit our SAO website.