The CHAR-EBCDIC instruction tells AcuSort to expect data that is encoded in the EBCDIC character set rather than ASCII. SIGN-EBCDIC tells AcuSort that numeric DISPLAY types that include signs should be interpreted according to the EBCDIC convention. The use of CHAR-EBCDIC implies SIGN-EBCDIC.
For example, if your data is EBCDIC, you should use CHAR-EBCDIC. If you have ASCII data with EBCDIC sign encoding, you should use SIGN-EBCDIC. If you have ASCII data with ASCII sign encoding, you would not use either instruction.
CHAR-EBCDIC and SIGN-ASCII are incompatible options. If CHAR-EBCDIC is specified and AcuSort is in SIGN-ASCII mode, the sign mode will be forced to SIGN-EBCDIC. If SIGN-ASCII is specified and AcuSort is in CHAR-EBCDIC mode, the char mode will be forced to CHAR-ASCII.