Skelton event to include local ham radio operator, performers
Radio amateurs, aka ham radio operators, around the world will celebrate the legacy of comedian Red Skelton on the air tomorrow (Thursday) through Sunday.
Among them will be Mark Steven Williams of Elizabeth, whose amateur radio call sign is K9GX. He will activate a ham radio “Special Event Station” to commemorate Skelton’s birthday and the 17th annual Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy Festival, which will take place in Vincennes this weekend. Entertainment at the festival will include Corydon’s Jeff and Carrie Ketterman as part of a tribute show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available online at RedSkeltonMuseum.org. A complete rundown of festival activities can also be found on the website.
According to Williams, radio amateurs may apply for two-week special event authorizations to observe and commemorate historical events and anniversaries. Individuals, groups and clubs activate dozens of ham radio Special Event Stations each month.
In May, a Special Event Station commemorating the 95th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic was on, and this month a D-Day Commemoration, Salvation Army Donut Day, Museum Ships Weekend and Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway will be activated.
Many of these stations and groups provide a special “QSL” card or certificate confirming a radio contact. QSL is ham radio shorthand for “confirming” a contact or message.
The Red Skelton Festival Special Event Station will be on the air with the call sign K9R.
“Last year, we made contact with over 950 stations across 50 states, four Canadian provinces and several foreign countries during our two-week operation,” Williams said. “This year we’re going to be on for four days and hope to hear from many folks sharing fond memories of Red and just to say hello.”
Anyone can listen in, even if they’re not a radio amateur. Tune in with a “shortwave” receiver capable of receiving “single sideband” communications.
Williams said there may be some special guests dropping by to “work” K9R on the air.
Visit the K9R Red Skelton Museum Special Event page on Facebook for real-time updates and the K9R call sign lookup page on QRZ.com.
Other festival activities will include a parade, doughnut-eating contest, the “Hollywood Hoosiers” presentation and the showing of “Susan Slept Here” starring Dick Powell and Debbie Reynolds on Sunday afternoon. Vincennes native Alvy Moore (“Green Acres”) plays the best friend and Hoosier Herb Vigran of Fort Wayne is a police sergeant.
For more information about ham radio, email Williams at [email protected]