It was in 1926 when The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) was inaugurated by a group of radio communication enthusiasts, who assembled together with an aim to promote the development and utilization of radio wave technology as a medium. At present, JARL boasts of having the largest number of radio stations in the world. To become what it is today, JARL continuously relied on the devoted efforts of pioneering hams, who took the history of amateur radio to heart and guided it through the changing and challenging winds of technology and radio regulations.
During the past 70 years, the history of amateur radio has been highlighted by a number of epochal events : the advent of medium-wave radio communications as a mass medium; a shift from long to short-wave communications ; and the rapid innovation of radio wave technology triggered by World War II.
The rapid development of electronic technology quickly led to satellite communications, Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) communication systems, image and data transmissions, and much more.
Adapting themselves to the developments, growth and rapid technological changes, amateurs have successfully developed and applied these to overcome a series of difficult conditions. JAS-1 (Fuji), the first satellite developed by Japanese radio amateurs in 1986, is a typical example of their dedicated efforts.
Amateurs have also made numerous contributions to social welfare : cooperation in rescues and other emergency activities (shipwrecks, climbing accidents, and natural disasters) ; volunteer campaigns for the physically handicapped ; and other beneficial services. As a result, the masses are coming to have a better understanding of the role of amateur radio communications.
Although amateur radio started out as a personal hobby, we know that much work remains to be done to develop further cooperation on a wider scale. Thus I am personally confident that if all radio amateurs work jointly and in unison, a major breakthrough can and should be expected to contribute to the application of radio wave technology leading to the well-being of mankind and, in turn, generate an unprecedented degree of enthusiasm.
Toshihiko Yamanouchi, JA7AIW
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