Greetings all - will try to catch up on a few questions ...
I'm a contract engineer at WWLP ... although I'm not directly involved with the digital plant, like most of you - I'm very much interested in this leading technology. (I'm also a ham radio type, too.)
There's nothing over the last few weeks that would explain any drop-outs from the WWLP side of life ... one thing that I have found in experimenting with ATSC is that its very sensitive to multipath and somewhat sensitive to receiver blocking and interference. I think time will tell as the technology is further deployed and things stabilize!
As for power ... WWLP-DT is currently running under what the FCC calls an STA. If you're not familiar with the FCC's on-line database, try out this link:http://www.fcc.gov/mb/video/tvq.html
WWLP-DT is currently running at 0.750 kW ERP ... but there are applications for increased power. I'm told this could take some time for approval due to coordination with Canadian authorities. (Any station within a certain distance of the border on either side has to go through this process.) Needless to say, it should only get better! [Also remember: don't compare VHF station power like WWLP-DT with UHF stations - it takes a lot more power to cover the same area with a UHF signal.]
On the FCC's web site you can also lookup other stations (maybe easiest is by call, but if you know your location you can even get a list within a certain distance!). Plots of antenna patterns may also be of interest. (WWLP-DT is pretty much omni but some stations may have directional signals.)
Looks like WGBY-DT (58) is running 50 kW ERP ... and based on their signal strength, I can believe that. OTOH, WGGB-DT (55) says 13.1 kW on the FCC web site - but I don't think they can be running their authorized power as I can't even get a single frame out of them. (I live northwest of Springfield and almost line-of-site to Mt. Tom where both stations are located.)
Out of fairness to WGGB ... hammering them with emails won't have much effect, I'm sure - especially if its to the engineering folks. A polite letter to Kevin LaRoux, WGGB's General Manager, may be more appropriate. I'm sure you can get their address from their web site or the FCC's web site.
There's a lot to building a TV station from scratch, especially using totally new technologies. To further the complexity - we're mixing a lot of old and new technologies together. And there are also financial and government issues thrown in the mix, too.
Regarding the comment about getting a distant station to provide HD signals ... that's a very complex issue. In the most simple terms, broadcasters have/obtain rights to provide programming for the areas they serve. This is why you may sometimes see shows "blacked out" on a distant station when a local station has the rights - and sometimes its even vice versa! I sincerely doubt that we'd see any changes in this in the near term ...
The solution: like in the old days ... get a big antenna and point it to where you can receive signals! WTNH-DT (10) may provide coverage for many people in northern CT and western MA 'till WGGB's plant is fully operational.
As for cable companies providing you with the ATSC signals from local stations: best to ask the local cable company about that. I'm sure there's lots of discussions going on ... and I don't know all the inner workings of all that. But as you can probably guess, from the technical standpoint - all the cable company has to do is receive the signal (either off air or directly fed by the broadcaster) and then get it to you. Note: you'll want to make sure that the cable company passes the signal through without any material degradation - I'd suspect that most will provide the local ATSC signals via a cable company provided STB.
Lastly, someone asked about 57.100. Some tuners won't even show that ... and if it does, most likely you won't be able to do anything with it. I'm told its a data stream ... if memory=correct, it identifies something like WGBYWWW.