Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Electronics Technician (Digital)
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  14-16

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$59,175.00 to $76,928.00 / Per Year
Thursday, March 13, 2014 to Friday, April 04, 2014
Full-Time - Career/Career-Conditional.
1 vacancy in the following location:
Hilo, HI View Map
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.


About the Agency

This position is to provide electronics technician support to the maintenance, operation and repair of an existing correlator and future correlators being developed. The key focus is to ensure the nightly availability of the existing correlator for science observations and development, installation, testing and debugging of the future correlator. These duties will encompass a wide range of activities, and will also require a good understanding of parts of the SMA system which lie outside of the digital correlator itself, including the heterodyne receiver systems, the large bandwidth analog to digital converters and the complex matrix of microwave equipment which interface the received astronomical signals to the samplers and the digital correlator.


  • Not Required


  • No


  • May be required to pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May be required to serve a one-year probationary period.
  • Must maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Must possess a vaild state driver's license.
  • This position receives a COLA of 6.24%
  • Must pass a high altitude physical examination prior to employment.


Back to top

  • Perform the maintenance and ongoing debugging of the correlator at the SMA site in Hawaii. A priority is the requirement that the correlator be functioning each night for normal scientific observations and is reliable in the long term. The incumbent debugs and repairs these complex, large 15 layer boards to the component level, remove and replace parts, or fix copper traces, to repair faulty boards, and develops test fixtures and procedures to isolate board faults. At a system level, the incumbent isolates faults in the operational correlator, and quickly repairs these by replacing complex circuit boards and modules with repaired and pre-tested spares.
  • Write and modify testing and diagnostic software (programs in C, various script languages) for preventative and corrective maintenance of the correlator and microcontrollers. Many of the digital correlator’s state machine functions are encoded in ASICs and FPGAs.
  • Design, fabricate and test new subsystems as needed. Perform analysis (electronic, thermal or microwave) of various components, subsystems etc. Performs related tasks such as intra-rack airflow control, environmental monitoring and control, etc. Ensure documentation accurately reflects systems as designed and installed. Provide technical oversight to other technicians in these areas as appropriate. Provide wide range of supporting documentation, including presentations to scientists and engineers.
  • Regularly drive the company vehicles to and from the work site in a safe and responsible manner. Attend regular safety training with other staff members so as assist injured or ill members of the Mauna Kea community when needed.


Back to top

One year of full-time experience at the GS-9 level that is close or similar to the work of this job. The experience includes activities such technical support for state-of-the-art digital systems, operating high-speed digital oscilloscopes, logic and spectrum analyzers.  Good hands-on electronics skills to isolate and repair faults in multi-layered boards with a wide range of IC/s such as FPGAs, ASICs and DSPs.

GS 11: Graduate education or an internship meets the specialized experience required above GS-5 only in those instances where it is directly related to the work of the position. Three (3) full years of progressively higher level graduate education or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree may be substitued provided it is directly related to the work of the position. 

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the above requirements provided you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States.  

Additional qualification information can be found from the following Office of Personnel Management web site:

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.

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.


Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  • Skill in applying a wide range of specialized methods, techniques, procedures and/or practices to sufficiently test, evaluate and debug items and systems with test software associated with the correlator’s state-of-the-art digital systems.
  • Ability to design and develop test fixtures and instrumentation to enable the incumbent to efficiently test and analyze complex digital systems and subsystems.
  • Ability to operate relevant test equipment, including high-speed digital oscilloscopes, (over 1GHz), logic analyzers, spectrum analyzers, etc.
  • Knowledge of design and layout of computer software such as Viewlogic/Viewdraw or equivalent is required to perform testing and debugging of highly complex digital systems.
  • Ability to isolate and repair faults in complex, large 15 layer digital circuit boards, with a range of IC's, including ASICs, FPGAs, DSPs and microcontrollers.
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member on projects successfully using strong oral and written communication skills during normal and emergency situations.
Important Note:
Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience.

Your resume should provide detailed information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here.


Back to top


  • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
  • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (


Back to top
Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
  • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process; OR You may manually fax required documents. Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
  • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the Contact Person listed below.


Your application package should include the following documents:
  • Detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.
  • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy), if you are a veteran.  Additionally, applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, as well as additional documentation required by the SF-15, such as a VA letter.
  • Proof of prior federal service such as the latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, if applicable.
  • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify.  If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.


Judy Gallagher
Phone: 617-495-7374
Fax: 617-495-7263
Agency Information:
Human Resources
60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Mail Stop 17
Cambridge, MA
Fax: 617-495-7263


At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions.  You may save this file as receipt of your application.      

The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job.  Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks.  We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process.  You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed.

Back to top
EEO Policy Statement | Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement | Veterans Information | Legal and Regulatory Guidance