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Do signals travel further over water? I'm getting some long range locals

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by brant, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. brant

    brant Icon

    Jul 6, 2008
    We have a place on the gulf coast that is 145 miles north of tampa.

    I went down a couple of weeks ago to install converter boxes on our TV's, and found myself getting several local stations out of tampa crystal clear.

    The place is on a south-facing point of florida on the west coast; does the fact that most of the distance between these two towns is over water?

    My antenna is about 30-35' up; nothing fancy. Just one of those old standard antennas. Its about 10' in length.

    I also get the gainesville locals, which is 65 miles east.

    Before the digital all of our channels came from tallahassee; about 75 miles north. I still get those as well.

    So does the water have anything to do with it, or did the weather just happen to be right that day for long range reception? It was a little overcast that day.

    I'm going back this weekend so I'll know if it was by chance or not.
  2. robq391

    robq391 Legend

    Nov 6, 2007
    Weather may have played a role so it may have been just luck. But yes, signals do travel further over water. There are no obstacles such as hills, trees, buildings, etc. for the signals to have to overcome. For instance, a 5 watt VHF handheld portable radio has unbelievable range out in the ocean compared to on land.

    Climate conditions can cause enhanced propagation of signals so I would recheck those stations when you can. This usually happens spring & fall & late night/early morning.

    Of course, digital will be crystal until it pixelates and you loose it all together.
  3. Scott in FL

    Scott in FL Godfather

    Mar 18, 2008
    You didn't say, but I assume the channels were Lo-VHF. This is very common in the Spring and Summer months, and is called Spradic-E propogation. I once received channel 3 in South Dakota at my home in Virginia. Also FM stations from several hundreds of miles distant. Although not as common, it can occur with Hi-VHF and even UHF channels as well.
  4. jkane

    jkane Icon

    Oct 12, 2007
    There is a phenomenon called tropospheric ducting where the signal reaches the troposphere and instead of leaking out into space, it is "ducted" through it and then heads back to earth a couple hundred miles away. We get Michigan stations from time to time across Lake Michigan into Wisconsin sometimes. It is weird when it happens.
  5. samhevener

    samhevener Godfather

    Feb 23, 2006
    Years ago I used to do some TV DXing (trying to receive distant stations). I found that during a Sporadic-E event one usually receives stations about 900 to 1200 miles distance. During a tropospheric ducting event, stations 90 to 150 miles distance are received. Yes radio waves travel a longer distance over water, more so over saltwater than freshwater.
  6. Scott in FL

    Scott in FL Godfather

    Mar 18, 2008
    Good point. I wasn't playing attention to the distance.

    I guess with analog being replaced by digital, TV DX'ing will become a thing of the past (not that anyone is doing much TV DX'ing these days anyway, what with LiL service on satellites and cable TV).
  7. brant

    brant Icon

    Jul 6, 2008
    i didn't get a chance to go back down this weekend. :(

    my schedule has just hasn't allowed enough time to get away from the house. i've got to run down to orlando next weekend, so maybe i can stop by on the way back.

    i have read about some of the things you guys mentioned here. i've experienced some of this at my own house in georgia; sometimes i get station out of panama city beach, which is a 3 hour drive; probably 140 miles or so in a straight line.

    i'll report back, soon i hope, to let you know if i'm still getting those channels.
  8. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 7, 2004
    I have read anecdotal accounts of reliable long distance reception over water.

    The last I recall was between San Diego and Long Beach over the Pacific about 100 miles.
  9. jclewter79

    jclewter79 Hall Of Fame

    Jan 8, 2008
    I have received channels from Austin and Waco from my house. Austin is a good 4-5 hour drive from where I am at.

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