Japan & Amateur Radio

Information regarding the Japanese earthquake & Tsunami



According to a press release, no one from ICOM is known to be injured. No damage has been reported at ICOM’s headquarters in Osaka, or at either of their two main factories in Wakayama; both Osaka and Wakayama are located far south of the most severely affected areas. The branch offices in Tokyo and Sendai, however, did suffer some minor damage. “Most of ICOM’s facilities and systems are ready to get back to normal business, but supplier logistics, commuting issues and future power disruptions will affect our company,” the press release said. “It is too soon to tell how big an impact the earthquake and its aftermath will have on ICOM. We appreciate your interest and concern.”


“Thankfully, our staff in Japan is safe due to earthquake preparedness and the special construction of our buildings,” said Kenwood USA President Junji Kobayashi on the Kenwood website. “Power outages and interruption of mass transit have kept most of Kenwood’s staff at home since the earthquake; however, we expect the infrastructure to improve in the coming week and our operations to fully resume accordingly. We appreciate the concern for our employees expressed by all those who have contacted us.” Kenwood’s primary office facilities in Yokohama and Hachioji were not damaged, due to their proximity further south and west of the quake’s epicenter. Since Kenwood’s primary manufacturing facilities are in Malaysia, electronics production is unaffected.


In a letter to the Amateur Radio community, Vertex Standard Chief Executive Officer and President Jun Hasegawa expressed his “sincere appreciation to all of you for your kind words and thoughts about us” after the devastating 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan last week. Vertex Standard is the parent company of Yaesu.

All Vertex Standard employees and their families are safe and unhurt, Hasegawa said, but the company has not been able to reach many of their dealers and subcontractors who are located on the coast area: “We just hope that they are alive.”

Hasegawa said that a Vertex Standard factory in Fukushima was damaged in the earthquake. Even though the factory is not located near the coast and the damage was minimal, he said that Vertex Standard has decided to “disable the operation at this moment.” Saying that they are working very hard to get the factory back to its normal operation, Hasegawa said that “it may take one to two weeks to restart operation in the Fukushima factory. I would like to ask for your understanding and cooperation at this time.”


Since last week’s 8.9 earthquake and tsunami, Japan faces widespread destruction, including power, fuel and water shortages. The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) HQ station JA1RL, along with other amateurs throughout the island nation, is maintaining the effort to support the disaster relief operation, according to IARU Region 3 Secretary Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP. “In less damaged areas, the electric power supply is being restored gradually and local amateurs have started to establish stations at shelters,” he said. The quake, whose epicenter was located off the coast of Sendai — a city of 1 million people — triggered a 40 foot tsunami.

Yamamoto said that JA1RL continues to operate as an emergency traffic center on 7.030 MHz, as well as 2 meters and 70 cm. It is receiving and reporting news from Japanese amateurs who are in the affected area. Using battery power or small generators, Japanese stations are active and are using various frequencies to exchange rescue and disaster relief operation information with JA1RL and others.

“While 3.525, 7.030, 7.043 and 7.075 MHz have been mentioned as in use, it’s wise to keep those — and all of the Center of Emergency frequencies — clear of normal and non-urgent traffic,” said IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee Chairman Jim Linton, VK3PC, who added that there is no call for additional foreign radio amateurs in Japan.

Yamamoto said that information is being coordinated as part of an organized rescue and relief effort and seems likely to continue for weeks and months to come. Quoting local news sources, Yamamoto said that the situation in Japan is getting worse. On March 15, police announced that 2414 people have been killed — up from 1627 reported just 24 hours earlier — and 3118 are reported missing. Some 55,380 houses and buildings were damaged by the earthquake and 3000 houses washed away by the tsunami.

Rescue teams — from Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, China, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Russia — have arrived in Japan and have started their activities in the affected areas. In all, Yamamoto said that the Japanese government has received help from 91 nations and territories, as well as nine international organizations.

Yamamoto said that another worry in Japan is leakage of radioactive gasses at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.


After the 8.9 earthquake that struck near Sendai, Japan at 2:46 JST (0546 UTC) on Friday, March 11, the island nation is trying to recover. Soon after the earthquake — which the US Geological Survey (USGS) is calling the largest to hit the island nation in 140 years — Japan has been rocked by tsunamis and power outages caused by trouble at a nuclear power station. Reports from Japan tell of phone and Internet service still up in most parts of the country. Even so, the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) — that country’s IARU Member-Society — has asked that 7.030 MHz be kept clear for emergency use. Other reports are asking that these additional frequencies be kept clear: 3.525, 7.030, 14.100, 21.200 and 28.200 MHz.

March 12, 2011

Forward: Japan earthquake.

JARL has requested to keep clear the frequency 7.030 MHz as it is used
for emergency traffic related to the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Thank you for your cooperation.

For B.C. information http://www.pep.bc.ca/tsunami_BCbulletins.html

An 8.9 earthquake struck Japan at 2:46 JST (0546 UTC) on Friday, March 11. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), this is largest earthquake in 140 years to hit the island nation. The earthquake occurred in the western Pacific Ocean, 81 miles east of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. Its epicenter was 232 miles from Tokyo. News reports by the Tokyo Broadcasting System indicate that at least 200 people have died and another 88,000 are missing in six different prefectures. The quake triggered tsunami waves as high as 33 feet off the coast of Japan.

At this time, there are no reports of Amateur Radio involvement in the disaster response. Even so, IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator Greg Mossop, G0DUB, has asked that extra care be taken so as to not interfere with any emergency traffic. The IARU Region III Emergency Center of Activity frequencies are 3.600, 7.110, 14.300, 18.160 and 21.360 MHz. Other suggested emergency frequencies being reported by Amateur Radio operators from Japan include 7.130, 14.230 and 21.230 MHz.

Icko Suzuki, JA1BPA, of Tokyo, told the ARRL that telephone lines and the Internet are “okay for the JA1 (Tokyo) area, but the Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures (JA7 area) are hard hit and I cannot reach my brother who lives there.” Suzuki said that in Japan, emergency communications activities and support normally occur on 40 meters and on VHF, “so normal DX bands should not be affected.”

In Hawaii, Ron Hashiro, AH6RH, told the ARRL that his state is preparing for a tsunami: “The water level at Kahului Harbor — the main harbor on the Island of Maui — dropped 5 feet at 3:54 this morning HST (1354 UTC).” A quake measuring 4.5 was felt in Hawaii, 150 minutes following the Japan tremor.

Less than an hour after the Sendai earthquake hit, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii, issued a Tsunami Warning for the State of Hawaii, saying that “an earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours.”

The PTWC also issued a Tsunami Warning for Japan, Russia, the Marcus Islands, the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, Wake Island and Taiwan. A Tsunami Watch was issued for Yap, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Belau, Midway Island, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Johnston Island, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WCATWC) in Palmer, Alaska, issued a Tsunami Warning for the coastal areas of California and Oregon from Point Concepcion, California to the Oregon-Washington border and for the coastal areas of Alaska from Amchitka Pass, Alaska (125 miles west of Adak) to Attu, Alaska. A Tsunami Advisory was issued for the coastal areas of California from the California-Mexico border to Point Concepcion, California and for the coastal areas of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska from the Oregon-Washington border to Amchitka Pass, Alaska.

A tsunami is a series of long ocean waves. Each individual wave crest can last 5-15 minutes or more, and extensively flood coastal areas. The danger can continue for many hours after the initial wave as subsequent waves arrive. Tsunami wave heights cannot be predicted and the first wave may not be the largest. Tsunami waves efficiently wrap around islands. All shores are at risk, no matter which direction they face. The trough of a tsunami wave may temporarily expose the seafloor, but the area will quickly flood again. Extremely strong and unusual near-shore currents can accompany a tsunami. Debris picked up and carried by a tsunami amplifies its destructive power. Simultaneous high tides or high surf can significantly increase the tsunami hazard.

According to the BBC, coastal areas in the Philippines, and other parts of the Pacific were evacuated ahead of the tsunami’s expected arrival. The first waves, currently about 4 feet high, have started reaching Hawaii. New Zealand downgraded its alert to a marine threat, meaning strong and unusual currents were expected.

Initially reported as 7.9 by the USGC, the magnitude of the Japan earthquake was quickly restated as 8.8 and then 8.9. According to the USGS, this earthquake is the fifth strongest quake in the world since 1900, the seventh largest in recorded history and the largest tremor to hit quake-prone Japan in 140 years. The largest quake ever recorded hit Chile in 1960, measuring 9.5.

As of now, the only entities conducting emergency nets are the Oregon ARES®/RACES on 3.964 MHz and SATERN on 14.265 MHz. As the ARRL hears of more emergency nets related to the earthquake and tsunamis, we will post this information and frequencies on the ARRL EmComm Twitter page and the ARRL website.