*EDITORIAL* Ghost Members

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase ‘ghost member’ at some stage in the course of your time in radio comms, particularly if you’ve spent it with a club.

For example, “He’s a ghost member now!”

Or even, “The club has too many ghost members in its ranks!”

But in the divine world of 11m DX Clubs, what’s meant by the term ‘ghost’ or ‘ghost member’?

Does it mean the OM is deceased but his voice or callsign is still being heard on the air late at night?

Is a ‘ghost member’ a supernatural apparition who deliberately haunts others on the band with his disembodied footsteps or by disturbing him with paranormal tunes or AM carriers?

Let’s discuss this subject in more light-hearted detail…


In folklore, a ‘ghost’ is said to be the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living.

Furthermore, in ghostlore, descriptions of ghosts vary widely from an undetectable presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike forms.

In radio club land, we can apply this same word + elements of its meaning, however, to guys that have accepted membership into a club at one time or another and are no longer active with the Club’s callsign.

For one reason or another, these ‘ghost members’ don’t participate in club events or communicate with fellow members on forums or on-the-air, including clusters, under the club’s banner, thus giving the impression they’re invisible.

Every now and then you might catch a glimpse of one out of the corner of your eye, or there might be a slight spiritual flicker on the band when they know you’re around, but the only real visible link between this phantom guy and the club is his name and callsign in the Club Directory.

The fact you don’t see or hear them on the frequencies or around the club for the majority of time, though, is the reason they’ve earned the tag ‘ghost member’.


Is it time for a full-on séance to give the Directory a spiritual cleanse or stave off supernatural spooks?

Not quite.

In my opinion, there’s an argument ‘for’ and ‘against’ keeping ‘Ghost members’ in a club.

But it really depends on the sort of Club you’re in and what’s important to you and your fellow members.

On the positive side, ‘ghost members’ give the false impression that a club is actually bigger than it really is.

Some clubs rely on them, in fact, to make their numbers look good; to keep their Directory fat and appealing to the outside world.

To a club starting out, for instance, ‘ghost members’ and the very occasional encounter of on-air ectoplasm is more likely to be tolerable.

Maybe it’s even strategic.

The HQ will keep them ‘on the books’ — even if they know they’re not really committed to the club and using the callsign — as their mere presence will attract other guys who are dazzled by the numbers.

A possible advantage of this out of the ordinary approach is that it will give the club an opportunity to grow — then ghosts can be removed as the Directory expands or the HQ can use it as a carat to keep guys active.

Other clubs that have been around for a while like the DA-RC, however, are scared of ghosts. 

That is, we don’t find their presence attractive at all.

The DA-RC see it as a negative if a member of ours is silent with his Delta-Alfa callsign and not contributing to the success of our club in some way.

For this reason, ‘ghost member’are typically removed from our Directory at the end of each year — not as a punishment at all as preferences in life change — but more as a way of protecting the club’s soul.

Of course, there’s the possibility though that ‘ghost membership’ has been the result of something outside of the member’s control and this is always taken into consideration before a membership is terminated.

For example, illness, access to a station, time, etc. can all contribute to the impression that a member has transformed into a ‘ghost’.

Normally it’s a choice thing though and decisions need to be made on whether the ‘ghost member’ is tolerated or a spiritual cleanse is required by the HQ Team.

I hope you enjoyed the read.

73 de Darren, 43DA001