W8VYZ - Ashtabula Bill

Ashtabula, Ohio

This is a memorial page.  Ashtabula Bill became a Silent Key on Sept. 27, 2011

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For years, William C. Dolvin, W8VYZ could be found during any week on 7.290Mc and 14.286Mc. He worked with and built vacuum-tube, AM radio equipment for decades. Everyone in the radio community knew him as Ashtabula Bill. He was also good friends with W5PYT, Ozona Bob, and talked with him for many years. Bill was famous for his extremely strong AM signal, especially on the 40 and 20-meter bands. His favorite operating receiver was the Collins BC-348 with an outboard slicer.

Ashtabula Bill provided many AMers here in Arizona with their first AM QSO outside the state and, with his strong signal, showed that AM was alive and well on the higher-frequency bands.  It seemed appropriate to provide a presence on Arizona-AM.net in his memory.

Below are four excerpts from a longer video taken by David Olsen, W6PSS, on 14 Dec 1988 when he and Rick Miczak, K8MLV, visited Bill at his home.  That video can be viewed in its entirety on the AM Forever Website [[HERE]].


In this video clip, Bill shows David (behind the camera) the two most famous BC-348's that were then in amateur-radio service in 1988, and perhaps the most modified and supplemented as well.  We also get a view of the front of the modulator for Bill's main transmitter.


The W8VYZ hamshack tour continues with a view of the back of the modulator and some of the'secret sauce' in Bill's strong modulation.  Rick, K8MLV, relates a humorous aside about Bill's using the 833's to their maximum capability.     


They don't make antenna tuners like this anymore, as David aptly observes.  But this does show that one doesn't need a kilobuck box if one is willing to wind one's own coils.

  Bill & Dave


Bill and David, W6PSS,  exchange pleasantries on-camera.  A special thanks to David for making these videos available.

W8VYZ audio

A snippet of audio from a memorable W8VYZ transmission...

W8VYZ resting place
Bill's final resting place inside a pair of 833A's on top of a tuning unit from a BC-375 WWII aircraft transmitter.

Click Here for a larger image.

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