IMPORTANT: JA Region Code Changes

The MT have been asked to change the region codes for the JA associations (JA, JA5, JA6, JA8) by the JA AM, Toru, JH0CJH.

At one level this is simply a small script that will change some text in the database. At another level this has fairly massive implications for everyone who has downloaded summit lists, or has activated or chased a JA summit and has that information logged.

We would not normally ever consider doing something like this as it is likely to cause a period of intense confusion followed by some minor lingering problems but Toru says the original choice of region codes is causing issues to JA hams. What most of you cannot see is the continual signup of JA activators and chasers and it is important that if we are going to change anything we should do it sooner rather than later.

The important thing to note is the change will be done so that activation and chasing history already in the database is preserved. For information, we humans use the association and region codes along with a number to form the summit reference, i.e. Ben Nevis is assoc: GM, region: WS: summit: 001 to give the reference: GM/WS-001. We can use that reference to locate a unique summit in the 70000 or so summits in the database. However, the database code itself uses a single unique summitid value which for GM/WS-001 is “2463”. Your logs in the database record the fact that you chased or activated summitid 2463 and not GM/WS-001. This means I can change the name or association code or region code or summit number to say Nevis Mountain GA/WW-001 but your log will accurate, it will say you did Nevis Mountain instead of Ben Nevis.

My plan is to backup the JA data then rename the regions, regenerate the mapping data and regenerate the summits list. The SOTA mapping site will need to delete the JA history and summits and import the newly named summits. Anyone who uses summitslist.csv will need to download it and update any software they have that uses it. Jon will reimport the JA summits into SOTAwatch so that everyone can alert and spot JA summits, he will also update the ARMs for JA so the new region codes are shown.

At this point SOTA will be consistent and accurate. However, if you have a computerised log and you have activated or chased a JA summit, your log will refer to summits which are not valid. You will need to download your logs from the database (activator, chaser, S2S) and reimport that data to your own logging programs so that your logs are consistent with the database.

Yes, I realise that for some people this is a non-issue, for others it’s a bit of a nuisance and for others it is a right royal pain in the backside.

I wouldn’t even consider this if our JA AM didn’t think it was important. I think I have covered all the bases in that I know what I need to do. I will publish a date when I will do the changes to the database so everyone can be ready to do their part. If you think I’ve missed something then say so in this thread now so that we can consider how to resolve this before we change anything.

I would like to have the change done by September 30th 2015.

Andy, MM0FMF

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One question: is there any overlap between the old and new region codes? Specifically, are there any references that are valid both before and after the change, but referring to different summits?

Off the top of my head I’m not sure. I’ll check, but I don’t think so.

I believe it’s fair to go beyond saying we would not normally ever do this, and say it’s not going to happen again. The problem arose, I think, because the AM in Japan did not realize, understandably, that some JA operators would have trouble pronouncing the chosen regional codes. That’s a problem that won’t go away in future.

Now is a good time to fix it, if at all, because three out of the four associations in JA have no entries at all in the database. The fourth, Honshu, has no SWL entries, only six chasers and eleven activators, all local JA’s except for three American and three Australian chasers.

Elliott, K6EL

Yes, thanks to Andy for undertaking this important correction to the Regional Codes. Toru/JH0CJH speaks English quite well but for a majority of Japanese-only speakers, certain English consonants (like “r”, “f”, or “v”, others) are nearly impossible to pronounce by Japanese speakers, especially before English vowels.

Since the Summit Ref. number is important (Japan has over 5,300 qualified SOTA summits), correcting the Region ID to English letters that can be more easily pronounced, is a vital step for the acceptance of SOTA in Japan,


I’m not convinced that you have a valid argument there, Guy. If I see a semi-local Region ID, I do not think the letters, I think the name. Take for instance “LD”, if I see that I don’t think “el-dee”, I think “Lake District”, or for “NW” I don’t think “en-double-you”, I think “North Wales”. I do think it was right to change the Japanese Region ID’s to keep the Japanese happy, even if I think the reasoning specious, but only because this early in the game a none-trivial task can be embarked on with minor disruption. A few months downstream the task might have been too disruptive to be worthwhile.


I’m more convinced by Guy’s argument than yours Brian. I reckon I hear “el-dee” or “Lima Delta” far more often (both on the air and in my own head) than I do “Lake District” when references arise.

Of course, by far the most common (and vastly superior) way of saying/hearing/thinking it is .-…/-…

Hmm, nice rhythm to it, but if the Region ID becomes code characters then the "problem " of pronouncing the letters vanishes completely! The same goes for if the NATO “Lima-Delta” supplants “LD”. Mind you, “Lima Delta” is one syllable more than “Lake District”…!


Didn’t realise your were fluent in Japanese Brian.

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Well laid out assessment of the situation, and the steps that will be taken to address it. A very appropriate accommodation for an originally unanticipated problem for a new association and its members. Fixing it before it gets too big to deal with is obviously sound reasoning.

I am continually amazed by the dedication of the Management Team, and think we should double all their salaries. Or at least every now and then let them know how much they are appreciated.

I can just imagine the impact this is going to have on the SMP Cray Supercomputer Complex:

Not looking forward to sweeping up all the burst tubes and valves!


I am continually amazed by the dedication of the Management Team, and think we should double all their salaries.

Yep. You could do that and it wouldn’t cost anyone a single penny.

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I did my first Japanese activation last month (as JI1ASG). I was just north east of Tokyo with a dual-band HT. Even with a low power radio I made 9 contacts quite quickly, many of whom knew about SOTA. This surprised me as it is very new there. Anyway, Korea to Japan is possible on UHF/VHF, and quite easy on 20m and other HF bands. In the past I would log Japanese contacts for points, but I am hoping that from now on they will be logging me for points too.

Glad the MT is taking Toru’s concerns to heart and dealing with them. We can’t know how SOTA is going to work in any particular region until we try.


How very interesting. Of course as somebody who knows no Japanese I have to accept this as true.

But I would have expected that there would be Japanese names for each of the letters of the Latin alphabet which are distinct and pronounceable in Japanese. The name of a letter is distinct from the sound(s) it represents in a word. The name of W, pronounced /ˈdʌbəljuː/ in English, is pretty much unrelated to its sound, and there are other less extreme examples such as H. The letter has a different name in French, German etc, each of those names suiting the phonology of the language. Are there not Japanese names for these letters?

I’m assuming that the problem relates to Japanese people speaking in Japanese. When Japanese amateurs are operating in English, they surely have to master all 26 letters just to cope with callsigns, and of course the phonetic alphabet comes to the rescue here if their native phonology makes pronounciation of the English letter names difficult.

How do Japanese amateurs conversing with each other in Japanese deal with exchanging their own callsigns?

Just curious…

Martyn M1MAJ

Here’s an excerpt for the consonant “r”:

“Japanese learners are not able to produce the consonant /r/ for the simple reason that it doesn’t exist in Japanese. It’s often replaced by a consonant which is at times either identical or similar to the consonant /l/.”

See for a more detailed discussion.


I made many business trips to Korea and Japan a few years back, both countries are fabulous places. Now I can’t speak Korean or Japanese but I think it’s essential you can at least say YES / NO / PLEASE / THANK YOU when you visit a foreign country. I immediately got my minder in Korea to teach me these phrases, I mean how hard can that be? What I wasn’t prepared for was that Asian languages don’t seem to have any sounds similar to European languages. It’s bad enough trying to remember the sounds for new words but if you can’t actually make the sounds it’s significantly harder.

The reverse is just as true and as Guy says some European language sounds are incredibly difficult for people in Japan to say.

Of course the two most useful phrases I learned were “large beer please” and “can I have a receipt please”. The first is something everyone needs to be able to say or you would die of thirst. The second is just as important as you don’t want to have buy your own beer if you can get your employer to pay! :wink:

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My Japanese skills are largely related to food, beer, karaoke and apologising for whatever my American work colleagues have done this time. Japanese splits words not into letters, but into ‘kana’, or phonemes. These are the equivalent of two characters in English that make a single sound. The language is built from that.

Foreign words, letters, et cetera are transliterated into these kana, usually written using the katakana character set. Certain sounds change, like V is ‘bu-i’, making a DVD pronounced ‘di-bu-i-di’, and TH as a digraph doesn’t really exist. Even the phonetic alphabet is transliterated when speaking: Go-ru-fu, De-ru-ta-a, Ri-ma, Ho-te-ru. Sitting in a karaoke bar, you might find yourself singing Su-ri-ra (Thriller, Michael Jackson).

Agree with the first, but surely, “My friend, he pay!” is more useful than getting a receipt.



Thank you very much for your big, big effort of change of SOTA JA region code.

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