Applicable Laws & Regulations:

Subsection 2, Article 4 of Radio Law,
Subsection 3, Article 6 of Regulations for Enforcement of the Radio Law,
and other related regulations or orders.

General restrictions and conditions under regulations:

[Qualification and License:]
Currently no qualification or license is required as far as you use the radio certified to the authorized Japanese technical standards specified by the government.
Radio Power: 500mW or less.

Frequencies are limited to those fixed 8 channels listed below:

Must be certified to authorized Japanese technical standards.
Cannot have any connection with external antenna. You can only use originally equipped antenna less than 200CM, most of which are usually rod antenna.
Microphone cord must be also less than 200CM. External MIC can be used, if the rig is originally equipped with external connection.
Other restrictions:
Any alteration is prohibited. You may not try to disassemble in any way or may not even open the lids. The rigs must be so designed not to be easily opened. Screws on the external body are covered with special seals.
         (Photo: Certificate of Conformance to the technical standards labeled on the rig.)

[Current availability:]
Since 1961 hundreds of models have been produced or ceased to be produced by various manufacturers up to now. The producers included SONY, National (=Panasonic), Toshiba, Hitachi, etc. Around March or April in 2005, SONY put a period to producing ICB-87R, which was the last model one can obtain as a brand-new rig. Currently no manufacturer in Japan produces the CB radio certified to the Japanese technical standards as specified by the government. The CB enthusiasts are now using mainly, 1) the rigs that they used to use when they were younger (middle-high or high school student) and kept in the closet, 2) the second-hand rigs that are obtained through web auctions.
Legal rigs should not be mixed with CB radios produced in Japan specially designed for export purpose and intended for use in the U.S. or other countries. Operation of these machines as CB rigs in Japan is clearly against the law.
Original manufacturers do not any more handle maintenance except for the recent models like SONY’s ICB-87R. Some models of old rigs can be overhauled and maintained at a special shop, “HST” in Kyoto.

Current operating situation:

[Local QSO]
Hundreds of CBers are actively operating CB radio now, who are frequently revivers from the early 1980s during which the CB radio was most popular in the history, especially among teenagers of those days. On Saturdays and Sundays, not a few active stations go for operation to the hillside or other higher places to make a local QSO.

[Es DXing]
Eastern part of Asia, including Japan, is well known for frequent emergence of Sporadic E Layer (Es) in the ionosphere in summer time. As well as local ground wave QSOs, from June to August, they are enjoying trying to make DX QSOs through Es, which are usually 500Km to 1300Km distance. Actually, during this period, almost every day, numbers of DX QSOs are made and reported in the web. Some stations are successful in 200 to 300 of such DX QSOs in one season. Most active players, from Hokkaido to Kyushu, very often use lunchtime for DX operation every day: some people are QRV, for example, from the roof of the office building and some from the dry riverbed near their offices. Also evening time after five are used by many stations for trying Es Dxing in this season.

[Roll Calls]
Roll calls are held on a regular basis (every month or every two weeks) in those areas which have relatively more stations, such as 1, 2 and 3 Areas. In 1 Area, sometimes more than 50 stations are checking into the roll call. (1, 2 and 3 are area codes used in amateur radio): West Tokyo Roll Call (1 Area), Isewan Roll Call (2 Area), Kansai OAM (3 Area), etc.

[Diffracted Wave QSO]
Beyond-the-horizon or beyond-the-mountain QSOs, which distances are usually 100Km to 350Km or more are very often reported by the CB operators. For example, the 2 Area stations are usually enjoying the beyond-the-mountain QSO from Aichi, Gifu or Mie Prefectures with stations in 3 Area, such as those operating in Rokko Mountain, Hyogo Prefecture. There are 700m- to 1100m- high mountains between the 2 and 3 Areas and ground waves are not normally supposed to reach each other. Recent experimental QRVs by 2 Area CBers are revealing and adding more and more points in the map from which the beyond-the-mountain QSO are possible with Rokko Mountain or other points in 3 Area.

Aichi AE114, for example, reported a QSO at RS 52/41 between Kasagi Mountain in Gifu Prefecture and Mt. Rokko in Hyogo Prefecture. (creepage distance 211Km)
The locations of the two stations and visibility are illustrated below. (simulated by “Kashmir 3D”) The in-between mountain screen is deemed to be a diffraction point. (A beautiful example like shown in a textbook.)

[Illegal operations ]
Most of them seem to be truckers, although sometimes “legal” stations are suspected to be using illegal output power. They are usually using export models of CB radios, which are not supposed to be used in Japan. Because they operate by strong output power with poor performance of band width, it is a big problem for ordinary CB stations that they very often get overlaps from close frequencies. In an effort to somehow reduce the QRM, most CBers use Ch8 or Ch3 for Dxing, which frequencies are relatively far from those used in high power export models operated by the illegal.

[Event Days]
Informal association of CBers set specific holidays for special operation days and recommended all CBers to operate simultaneously on those days. They are:

The largest nationwide event is what is called “Summer Vacation”. The biggest number of CBers in a year will operate everywhere on this day from seaside to mountainside.

Other “License-free” radio:

There are two kinds of radio that can be categorized as “license-free”.
 1) “Specified Small Output-Power Radio” (referred as “SS” radio):

 2) Personal Radio:

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