Originally Posted by gayle28607
I think I don't have much chance of picking up anything from the west and northwest. I was looking at a topo map, and that is the direction where the mountains continue to go up from my location. I don't rule it out, however.
A VHF antenna aimed northwest may get you WCYB and WJHL from the Bristol area, but I'm not sure how much you would really gain from having those stations. WCYB is an NBC station on 5-1 with CW on 5-2 and Live Well on 5-3. WJHL is a CBS station on 11-1 with Me-TV on 11-2 and Weather on 11-3. All of that programming is available from Charlotte as well, and one would hope your new antenna setup will get you all of those channels.
VHF signals tend to get around terrain better, so even with the mountain in the way, WCYB and WJHL could very well be receivable for you.
As for the PBS station, the link you posted certainly makes it look like it's in Boone!
Given your antenna aim, I'm almost sure that's what you're seeing.
The saddle is the only real opening i have if I'm working to get line-of-sight. But I may be getting reflected signals? I am completely out of my area of knowledge on any of this, so am trying to learn so I can get a better result than my current one. [...] I would like to understand reflections, or whatever we are dealing with, better.
It's called "knife-edge diffraction." The way I think about it is this way:
Think about water coming out of a pipe, and the pipe is at a 45 degree angle. When only gravity is pulling the water, it comes straight out and goes straight toward the ground. Now, instead of gravity, there is a force pushing the water out of the pipe. Now, instead of the water going straight out, some of it sprays out to the sides. It's not a perfect analogy, but the signal behavior is sort of like this; the waves are being pushed over the top of the mountain, but some of the signal gets bent down as it goes past the peak of the mountain. Does that make sense? Here's a picture I found on Google: http://www.faxswitch.com/images/knifeedgeeffect.gif
It's more common than people think, really. Hagerstown, MD and Winchester, VA are part of the Washington, DC TV market because the knife-edge diffraction bends the signals back down on the far side of the mountains so those people can receive the DC stations, even though predictions from TVFool and other similar maps and models show no signal there. The Longley-Rice prediction model doesn't really do a good job with knife-edge diffraction.
I ended up calling Antennas Direct and had a great conversation with someone who clearly was interested in antennas, terrain, and odd situations. He consulted several times with an engineer and other folks at their office and they all thought I should first try the DB8 Multidirectional Ultra Long Range DTV Antenna. It's the same price as the 91XG. They were looking at my location using TVfool, too, and were pretty surprised I was getting the channels I get with the older Winegard antenna. I ended up going with their collective wisdom, and have the DB8 on the way. So, we'll see how this goes.
I have to agree with blackcat6 on this, I think the XG91 would serve you better. I'm not sure how much better, mind you. At least it's smaller and may be easier for you to deal with, so if it does the trick, then I'd say to keep it.
Originally Posted by gayle28607
The topic of dead zones with cell phones - mine - is very familiar. I pay lots of money for a phone (AT&T) that works great when I am in Seattle, even in the surrounding boondocks, but it doesn't work at my house in Boone except with the addition of the microcell, and even with that it's not unusual for the cell phone not to work. But I digress.
Where I grew up, AT&T not only had no service, but had no service for more than 20 miles in any direction. That's changed now (I moved away to work for the FCC, and any AT&T customer would have to just go 20 miles east of my parents and there's service now) but I still would never use AT&T, in part since it would do me no good at my parents' house when I visit.
I do plan to keep you all updated on the installation of the new antenna. I'm thinking I'll put it together and try holding it up in different places, and pointed in different directions. I think I may need another piece of something for the mast for this experiment.
I look forward to your updates!