Over the air television signals around Pittsboro

by Rich Beaudry

Pittsboro, NC – For more than 20 years, we have lived in a heavily wooded area full of 80 foot plus hardwoods. Some were within ten feet of our antenna which was about fifty feet up mounted on our chimney –that didn’t even come close to clearing the trees. Also we live on a ridge at an elevation of 500 feet several miles east of Pittsboro with only one major ridge between us and the Raleigh towers. Because Greensboro is higher than us by more than 300 feet, we get more reliable over the air (OTA) signal from those stations than Raleigh. Regardless, we get about 35 OTA stations (that includes x.1, x.2, etc. and has several with duplicate programming).

TV antennaSo one thing you need to be sure you do is to is use an antenna rotor or at least rotate the antenna manually while watching the signal strength on the stations you want most.  I find a rotor unnecessary as our station towers are either east or west and the newer digital HD antennas pull from both directions and are more multi-directional than older models. In addition, an antenna booster can significantly improve your reception. Also, remember that elevating your antenna by 10 feet (or even more) may result in MAJOR improvement of your reception. I would do any or all of these things before considering the pines. They may be a totally irrelevant consideration.

What you need to provide if you want specific help about those pines is your general location in relation to Pittsboro, your approximate elevation and whether you are in a valley or on a ridge, how high the antenna is, how high the pines are (though I assume 50-60 feet), what is the direction of the pines in relation to your antenna (N, S, E or W), and are the pines on a ridge near you. The reality is that even one large pine near your antenna can cause problems by reflecting the TV signal. Also if all the pines are 50 feet or more away, they may not be causing problems at all. I seriously doubt that selectively trimming pines is going to change your situation.

If you haven’t already, for some really great and helpful information, go to anntennaweb.org.  I just re-checked my location with them and they report that up to 34 OTA stations may be available — remarkably accurate.

As a relevant aside, last year we had to remove the one huge oak closest to the antenna and that did improve our reception. But the major thing was that with the oak in place, our OTA signals from Raleigh were so heavily affected that I had to orient the antenna somewhat toward the NW though, the towers are slightly to the SW. After we removed the tree, I was able to get an even stronger signal by re-orienting the antenna to the SW pointing directly at the Raleigh towers. The channels most strongly affected were channels 5, 50 and 17.  The others from both Raleigh and Greensboro/WS did not change much. (Variations of location, relative position, and signal strength).