Excellent On your WSYX-DT(78 Miles from me) Reception! I'd think you are also not too much closer than I am from them. With only slightly improved(over "normal" deadband conditions) and somewhat unstable conditions, last night, I was having intermittant reception from them, ranging from just below to just above a lock whereas, much of the last week, given just a bit of "stable" atmospheric enhancement I've had pretty stable reception from them at night/early morning, otherwise, I'm still getting about 1/4 way to a lock or so under deadband, or mostly deadband conditions ...
It's really been my first chance to see first hand just how well DTV reception can work from such a distance given an adequetely powered/etc. station on a more or less completely "clean" frequency(in that direction), and it looks like they are putting out an excellent signal into here for being beyond line of sight at 78 Miles! My guess is, If it were necessary, and I worked on it enough(With cut-to channel Yagi's and perhaps more height/etc), I could probably find a way to pull them in all the time with good reception.
On your WKRC-DT reception issue, hard to say, but given what I know of your receiving location and what I've experienced here lately with WKRC-DT 31(and peraps somewhat possibly a "related" issue with WRGT-DT 30 which may be a "contributing factor" as well) as per my post on this issue in the Cincy thread, I suspect it's something other than the leaves(although they could be a contributing factor, I'd think) which is causing the change in WKRC-DT reception for you.
I noticed what appears to be a drop in the WKRC-DT signal at around the same time as the lightning strike at WKRC, which also happened to be the same time when WRGT-DT reception changed here. There are reports from Jim In Oxford and myself earlier in this thread where the change in WRGT-DT is concerned. It's hard to say but I suspect, where your current WKRC-DT reception issue is concerned, it might be something other(possibly a combination of things, perhaps with the leaves being a small factor involved as well) than leaves causing the problem.
It wasn't a gradual change I noticed from WKRC-DT (as was also the case with WRGT-DT), before the "incidences" mentioned above, they were as they have been for the last year+, the next time I checked the situation had changed and is as it remains now ... I believe this occured about 3 weeks ago, after all the leaves had come on, and I certianly have a lot of leaves here too! Although the readings on my meters have only dropped a little from WKRC-DT when the antenna is aimed at Cincinnati, where I most notice the change is :
I usually(Incluing all of last summer) receive WKRC-DT just about "omni-directionally" even with a quite directional antenna(As WKRC-DT usually has a much stronger signal than the antenna can "reject" off the back/sides/etc), and even when the antenna is moving while being rotated ... Of course though, Multipath destroys the analog counterpart(as is the case with other stations in this regard) if antenna is aimed much more than 10 degrees off target.
Furthermore, With my Dayton, Lo-gain antenna(aimed towards Dayton, permanenetly - and again, for the past 1.5 years throughout all seasons), up until the last few weeks WKRC-DT came in with Solid "76" readings. However, since "whatever it is" that has changed has happened, I get 15~22 readings off the Dayton antenna and no lock from WKRC-DT, which is about the same, or "in between" what I get from WSTR-DT and WXIX-DT off the lo-gain Dayton antenna, whereas, WLWT-DT/WCET-DT(since they've increased power)/WCPO-DT generally come in off the Dayton antenna with "almost" perfect reception, ranging between 40% and 70% scale.
Of course, seeing how far you can aim the antenna off target and still receive a mostly-dropout free signal isn't a "foolproof" method to check signals, since terrain/signal blockage issues, multipath as well as certian spots where the antenna is particularly good about rejecting signals off the sides/etc(among other things) are factors, but, I'm not surprised that the results I see "normally" pretty much perfectly match the following two things all year round, unless something "funky" is happening :
1). The station's facilities(power/antenna height/radiation pattern/etc)
2.) My distance from them relative to their antenna height.
"Normally"(prior to last 3 weeks), on the high gain rotatable antenna, WKRC-DT(800KW ERP - 33 Miles) comes in fine with almost any antenna heading, Which is "almost" the case with WLWT-DT(512 KW ERP)/WCPO-DT(13.7KW ERP, but on VHF) and now, WCET-DT(215 KW ERP) Comes in well on the lo-gain Dayton antenna as well most of the time, WXIX-DT(229KW ERP) works about 90~100 degrees or so off target(a bit more of a terrain issue may affecting things a little more here with WXIX-DT), WSTR-DT(17.1KW ERP) from about 60 degrees off target, and WCVN-DT(53.5 KW ERP, but with a transmitting antenna height, much lower than the others, and also my most distant local DT) Is only receivable within 30 degrees heading of their tower, which was about the exact case with WCET-DT when they were at Low power, 7KW ERP, albeit from a closer and higher transmitting antenna ...
Anyhow, Since leaves are RF absorbers and when they do affect things significantly enough to be an issue, it's usually the case they are more of an issue the higher the frequency, and the weaker the signal. Again, it's hard to say since "strange things" do happen and these things can be very location and frequency specific/etc, and also, as leaves can block reflected signals and therefore one may have more multipath to deal with when they fall off, or, vice versa, when leaves are on, they can block direct signal paths and you might get a different "balance" in the multipath situation with leaves are on ... However, again given your receiving situation, even though at your distance such things as leaves would probably be more of an issue than is the case here, I suspect that the leaves aren't attenuating the signal to too much of a degree from WKRC-DT(or the other Cincy stations), and I also doubt a "multipath/leaves issue" is much, if any issue in your sitiation.
Given what I know of your situation, (although again, it's really hard to make an accurate guess since there are so many variables, and that's all this is, just a guess), I'd suspect if the leaves were a problem with WKRC-DT for you, they would also be affecting the other Cincy DT's(much less so WCPO-DT however). Especially so since(up until the past few weeks)here, it has been quite appaerent(through "various means of "investigation) that WKRC-DT has put out the Strongest UHF signal out of Cincinnati, and their antenna is just as high(or higher) than the others/etc, but this "strongest signal out of Cincy" from WKRC-DT "seems" to be no longer the case. I would expect if any signal out of Cincy which you are getting is being affected to a significant degree by the leaves on your nearby tree in that direction, it would most likely be most noticiable from WSTR-DT(18KW ERP), or WCVN-DT(53KW ERP) rahther than WKRC-DT's "normal" 800KW ERP signal.
As to what's causing the change here at my location, it's hard to say, and I really wouldn't want to guess except to do some wild speculating. I haven't contacted the stations on this as my WKRC-DT reception is still very good, and I'm still getting WRGT-DT fine on one receiver(not that it matters much without Fox Widescreen and good quality video from WRGT-DT. Furthermore, I've been "waiting to see what happens", and from a receiving standpoint, it's a bit difficult to explain the situation as "a bone-fide issue" to station personel without better monitoring/test equipment on the receiving end ... ...
But, (as for the wild speculating) I suspect either WKRC-DT 31 is putting out a weaker signal than normal, and/or, possibly due to equipment "changes" at one or the other station, there is now some sort of 1st adjacent channel issue now occuring among WRGT-DT 30 and WKRC-DT. Although, at first glance of the signal meter it appears that WRGT-DT is putting out less signal than normal,(contrary to what seems to be the case with WKRC-DT) further investingation seems to indicate that where my reception of WRGT-DT is concerned, it's perhaps more of an issue that perhaps either that there has been an increase in data error rate, or, I suppose it's even possible the receiver isn't perhaps able to quite tune "exactly" to WRGT-DT for some reason ...
Anyhow, Hope this bit of "guessing around" helps, I'll try to remember to post something when and if WKRC-DT/WRGT-DT returns to "normal" here ...