The Enigma of Japanese Call Sign System


[ General ]   [ Prefix ]   [ Suffix ]   [ Special Operation ]   [ 7J-8N ]   [ Designator ]   [ Official Criteria ]   ( callsign.jp )

Rimmei "Rin" Fukuda, JG1VGX / M0CFF / N1MH, the writer of the original version
Ryota "Roy" Motobayashi, JJ1WTL / AC6IM

  1. JA Call Sign Rules — Summary
  2. DXCC Entity JA-JS Japan JD1
    Minamitorishima I.
    JD1
    Iwo Is.,
    Ogasawara Is.
     Area 2-5, 7-0Area 6Area 1
    MainlandOkinawaMainlandOgasawara
    Individuals JA#AA-ZZ
    J[A,E-S]#AAA-XZZ
    JA6AA-ZZ
    J[A,E-Q]6AAA-XZZ

    JR6AAA-QQZ
    JR6AA-NZ


    JR6QUA-XZZ
    JS6AAA-XZZ
    JA1AA-ZZ
    J[A,E-S]1AAA-XZZ

    7[K-N][1-4]AAA-XZZ

    JD1AAA-XZZ
    Clubs J[A,E-O,Q-S]#YAA-ZZZ J[A,E-O]6YAA-ZZZ J[R,S]6YAA-ZZZ J[A,E-O,Q-S]1YAA-ZZZ JD1YAA-ZZZ
    Repeaters JR#WA-WZ, VA-VZ
    JP#YAA-YZZ
    JR6WA-WZ, VA-VZ
    JP6YAA-YZZ
    JR6YA-YZ
    JQ6YAA-YZZ
    JR1WA-WZ, VA-VZ
    JP1YAA-YZZ
    Remote Controllers
    for Repeaters
    JP#ZAA-ZZZ JP6ZAA-ZZZ JQ6ZAA-ZZZ JP1ZAA-ZZZ
    Foreigners
    (First Licensed 1985-1999)
    7J[2,3]AAA-CZZ
    7J[4,5,7-0]AAA-BZZ
    7J6AAA-BZZ 7J6CAA-CZZ 7J1AAA-DZZ
    Foreigners' Clubs
    (First Licensed 1993-1999)
    7J#YAA-YMZ 7J6YAA-YMZ 7J6YNA-YQZ 7J1YAA-YMZ
    Special Event Stations, and
    ARISS School Contact Stations
    8[J,N]#$, 8[J,N]#*$, 8[J,N]#**$, 8[J,N]#***$, 8[J,N]#****$

    Exceptions:
    - Antarctica: 8J1RL, 8J1RF
    - Satellite: 8J1JCS
    JARL Stations JA#RL
    JA[2,3,5,7,9]YRL
    JH4YRL
    JH8ZRL
    JR0ZAX
    JA6RL
    JH6ZRL
    JR6RL JA1RL
    JA1YRL
    JA1YAA

  3. Tips
  4. Prefix
    Suffix

    But the below will take you tons of exceptions!

  5. Regulatory Bases
  6. Each Japanese amateur call sign has a two-letter prefix and two- or three-letter suffix, separated by a numeral(1-0) indicating the geographic region (1-0, Okinawa, Ogasawara). "Somusho," or "Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC)" — the FCC equivalent — maintains Japan's call sign system in "Assignment Criteria of Identification Signals," in "Radio Law Related Screening Criteria," defined by MIC for their internal use as Instruction No. 67, Jan. 2001.

    Radio Law Related Screening Criteria
    (Not Internet available but sold)
    Appendix 3 in it:
    Assignment Criteria of Identification Signals

  7. Assignment Systems (Comparing with the US)
  8. No Vanity Call Signs

    Currently we cannot reserve any 'wished' call sign (vanity) for either an individual or a club station, although it had been allowed in some cases in the past (very early years).

    However, special call signs for special event stations are available on request. (e.g. 8J1HAM for the event station at Tokyo Ham Fair in our past.)

  9. Regions and Numerals
  10. The figure below represents the location and the population of each call area.


    Call Areas and Populations

    This tells you how easy to make contacts with some areas and how difficult to do with the others (e.g. Area 9). Area 1 is the most densely populated area. It is amazing nearly one third of people are there. The real number of amateur stations in each area is as follows:

    Number of Amateur Stations in Each Call Area
    Total 433,996 Stations as of Mar. 31, 2017
    DistrictNumber of
    Amateur Stations
    Call sign Reissue
    1Kanto122,614Yes, Twice
    2Tokai58,130Yes
    3Kinki52,138Yes
    4Chugoku27,668 
    5Shikoku19,736 
    6Kyushu37,038Yes
    7Tohoku45,516 
    8Hokkaido39,459 
    9Hokuriku10,973 
    0Shin'etsu18,117 
    JR6Okinawa2,468 
    JD1Ogasawara139 
    Source: http://www.tele.soumu.go.jp/j/musen/index.htm

    Population and major cities are HERE for those interested.

    Area Number Inversions

    Call-area-number inversions rarely happened so far, and now, as follows.

    Area Number Inversions
    Call SignTimeReasonin Area
    8J1WJ1971Special-event station for The 13th Boy Scouts World Jamboree2
    8J90XPO1990Special-event station for The International Garden and Greenery Expo3
    8J20002000Specal-event stations for millennium celebration1
    8N2000
    8M2000
    JA0DTFSince 2005Wishers to maintain his/her original "0" call sign after a call area border relocation, related to a merging of municipalities acrossing it

    (Other expired twelve call signs so far:
    JA0GQP, JG0SIB, JH0CBL, JH0JIA, JI0JFZ, JJ0EYM, JJ0GGQ, JJ0GGR, JJ0GGT, JJ0GIC, JJ0JXI, JR0SRS)
    2
    JA0QWO
    JE0GEX
    JE0JED
    JF0VKE
    JG0SIA
    JJ0JXI
    JR0CZK
    8N23WSJ2015Special-event station for The 23rd Boy Scouts World Jamboree4

  11. Operator License Classes — No Relations to Call Sign
  12. There are four operator license classes in JA, but no relations between a call sign and them. Instead of using the call sign formats for the classification, each station's licensed maximum output power and bands are disclosed by the Administration's "The Radio Use Web Site" here: http://www.tele.soumu.go.jp/musen/SearchServlet?SK=2&DC=100&SC=1&pageID=3&CONFIRM=0&SelectID=1&SelectOW=01#result in Japanese language, except licensee's name and his/her street address.

    Search example: JJ1WTL

    Classes and Restrictions

    Operational bands and limits of output power are as follows for each class.

    The ratio of licensed powers is as follows (as of Aug. 2, 2014).



    Operator License Classes
    Class 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
    # of Licensees
    (as of Mar. 31, 2016;
     Counted Doubly, Triply or Quadruply among Four Classes)
    3081923 232686 78818 31544
    Maximum Output Power by the Ordinance
    (Details below)
    10W (21-30 and ≤8MHz)
    20W (>30MHz)
    50W 200W No Limit
    Operational Bands by the Ordinance
    (Details below)
    21-30 and ≤8MHz
    >30MHz
    ≥18MHz and ≤8MHz No Limit No Limit
    Mode Phone / Digital ××××
    CW  ×××
    Band & Power   Fixed/Mobile
    \
    Special Condition
       FixedMobile
    (even Fixed Portable)
    FixedMobile
    (even Fixed Portable)
    135k   10W50W200W50W200W50W
    Further Restriction Measured in EIRP 1W
    (d[m]/100[m])2 W, within a 100m distance ‘d’ from a railroad
    472k   10W50W200W50W200W50W
    Further Restriction Measured in EIRP 1W
    With consent by all residents within a 200m distance
    1.9M, 3.5M, 3.8M, 7M   10W50W200W50W1,000W50W
    10M, 14M     200W50W1,000W50W
    18M    50W200W50W1,000W50W
    21M, 24M, 28M   10W50W200W50W1,000W50W
    50M   20W50W 200W50W 500W50W
    For Overseas QSO
    within 50-51.5MHz
    1,000W
    144M, 430M   20W50W 50W50W 50W50W
    EME 200W500W
    1,200M   10W 10W 10W10W 10W10W
    EME 200W500W
    Apart from the Station Address 1W1W(n/a)1W(n/a)1W
    2,400M   2W2W2W2W2W2W
    EME 100W100W
    5,600M, 10.1G, 10.4G, 24G   2W2W2W2W
    47G, 77G, 135G   0.2W0.2W0.2W0.2W
    249G   No explicit written regulation exists, but seems to be licensed as 0.1W

    i.e. We have

    Where,
    (1)
    as of Mar. 31, 2016
    (2)
    as of Mar. 7, 2016;
    including
      56,535 regular members,
      1,541 club-station members,
      1,653 family members,
      6,589 associate members (e.g. station-license-expired members and SWLs),
      1 honorary member (JA1AN) and
      16 supporting members
    (3)
    USD 1 = JPY 110
    (4)
    FY2015 (Apr., 2015 - Mar., 2016);
    including
      9,447,760 for domestic,
      1,753,865 for overseas and
      676,989 for non-members (to be discarded after a three-month storing)
    (5)
    Average, Jan. - June, 2015

    Of course, the nomal upgrade path is 4th → 3rd → 2nd → 1st. (As you can imagine, in this case, he/she is counted as "four operator licensees" in the above table.) On the other hand, some professional radio licensees can establish a ham radio station without any of these four amateur classes.

    Eligible Professional Licensees Considered as
    First-Class Radio Operator for General Services
    |   |
    |   *
    |-Second-Class Radio Operator for General Services
    | |
    Amateur First-Class Radio Operator
    | |
    | |-Third-Class Radio Operator for General Services
    | | | |
    | | : #
    Amateur Second-Class Radio Operator
    | |
    | |-Aeronautical Radio Operator
    | :
    |
    +-Maritime First-Class Radio Operator
      |
      +-Maritime Second-Class Radio Operator
        |
        | #
        | |
        |-Maritime Fourth-Class Radio Operator
        :
     
    First-Class Technical Radio Operator for On-the-Ground Services
    |
    |   *
    |   |
    +-Second-Class Technical Radio Operator for On-the-Ground Services
      |
      :
    Amateur Fourth-Class Radio Operator

    Allocated bands in Japan are HERE for those interested.

  13. Histrical Transitions
  14. Licenses

    We have four classes:

    Code Test

    The Morse code test was eliminated on Oct. 1, 2011 at last in JA too, after gradually having become easy:

    Transition of JA's Morse Code Test (and Classes)
    Elements
    \
    Effective on
    Japanese English (No Code)
    TXRXTXRXTXRXTXRX
    June 30, 1950
    (Radio Regulatory Commission
    Rules #6
    of June 30, 1950)
    1st   (Old) 2nd  
    50 CPM for 5 min. 60 CPM for 5 min. No Code
    Nov. 5, 1958
    (Ministerial Ordinance #28
    of Nov. 5, 1958)
    1st (New) 2nd Telegraph   Telephone
    45 CPM for 5 min. 25 CPM for 5 min. No Code
    Dec. 28, 1964
    (Ministerial Ordinance #27
    of Dec. 28, 1964)
    50 CPM for 3 min. 60 CPM for 3 min. 45 CPM for 2 min. 25 CPM for 1 min.
    Jan. 1, 1985
    (Ministerial Ordinance #50
    of Dec. 24, 1984)
     
    Nov. 18, 1988
    (Ministerial Ordinance #70
    of Nov. 18, 1988)
         
    May 1, 1990
    (Ministerial Ordinance #18
    of Mar. 31, 1990)
    1st (New) 2nd 3rd 4th
            25 CPM for 2 min. No Code
    Apr. 1, 1996
    (Ministerial Ordinance #75
    of Oct. 6, 1995)
     
    Oct. 1, 2005
    (Ministerial Ordinance #95
    of May 24, 2005)
    25 CPM for 2 min. 25 CPM for 2 min. (In the "regulation" test part*)
    Oct. 1, 2011
    (Ministerial Ordinance #48
    of May 17, 2011)
    (In the "regulation" test part*) (In the "regulation" test part*)

    Where,
    - CPM = Character per Minute.
      1 WPM = 5 CPM in English, or
      1 WPM = 4 CPM in Japanese (e.g. ‘mo’: — · · — ·).
    - *: Examples (followed by four pickings):
      (1) "How do you describe 7SENDAI using Morse code?"
      (2) "If you want to stand-by immediately after your call, what brevity code should you transmit?"

  15. Recycled Call Signs
  16. All patterns of the call sign recycling in Japan are as follows:

    All Patterns of the Call Sign Recycling
     FromTo
    JA#$$ Individuals/clubs in the Allied Occupation forces stationed in Japan,
    issued 1949-52
    (Changed to KA#$$)
    The Japanese after 1952
    Example — JA3AA
    Tom Rothwell in Nagoya, now K6ZTIsaji Shima in Osaka
    Some JA#RLs IndividualsJARL District Stations
    JA1WA-ZZ Individuals in current Area 0, issued 1952-54
    (changed to JA0AA-DZ)
    Individuals in current Area 1 in 1958
    JA1WAA-WAF Individuals in current Area 0, issued 1954-55
    (changed to JA0EA-EF)
    Individuals in current Area 1 in 1965
    JA2WA-ZS Individuals in current Area 9, issued 1952-54
    (changed to JA9AA-DS)
    Individuals in current Area 2 1957-58
    Some JA#IGYs Individuals Beacons
    JA1YAA Communication Museum JARL Museum in 1991
    Some JA#YRLs Clubs JARL Support Stations
    J[A,E-S]
    [1,2,3,6]
    [AAA-QQZ,QUA-XZZ]
    Individuals Individuals since 1985 in Area 1, 2, 3 and 6
    Example — JE1AAT

    issued in 1971
    issued in 1985
    issued in 2004
    JJ1WUC Son (SK) Father
    JQ1YGU Cube Sat "SEED" failed to launch in 2006 Cube Sat "SEED" launched in 2008


[ General ]   [ Prefix ]   [ Suffix ]   [ Special Operation ]   [ 7J-8N ]   [ Designator ]   [ Official Criteria ]   ( callsign.jp )
May 8, 2017, Ryota "Roy" Motobayashi, JJ1WTL