My Sony TV gets a close local station, but Tablo OTA Lite refuses to find it

I bought a Tablo OTA lite in May '19 and have not used it much as I could not get it to receive ANY of the channels on nearby mountaintop regardless of antenna, etc. But things have changed: There was a fire on the mountain tower and replacement, repack, and got a new Sony TV. Got a new outdoor antenna with amplifier and just set it inside and wow, got a ton of channels on the Sony. Am hopeful to get even better when I mount it outside. Ok, sorry for the shaggy dog story. So… I dig out the Tablo and hook it up to the same antenna that worked with the Sony. Scan for channels. I CANNOT get WCAX at all on Tablo.

According to FCC, WCAX is 6 miles from us; RF Channel: 20 RX Strength: 93 dbuV/m Tower Distance: 6 mi; Direction: 306° Repacked Channel: 20 Repacking Dates: 10/19/2019 to 1/17/2020.

Antenna I’m using now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZGC6RH7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

What tips does anyone have in this situation?

Turn Gain UP/DOWN on the Vanskey?
Add a LTE filter?
Muck with the direction and location of the antenna?

But this begs the question: Why is Sony TV able to get 33 and 3 where Tablo can’t? Also, channel 5 is supposed to be available but neither Sony nor Tablo get it.

First thing to remember - “150 mile” reception is nowhere near truth…Most antennas are good for up to 60-70 miles due to the curvature of the earth. During certain atmospheric conditions, “skipping” happens, and you might pickup stations further away, but that is only certain times of the day and certain months of the year.

“Multi-directional” antennas also are limited in range as compared to directional antennas. I would be willing to bet that on flat ground between the antenna and tower, it would have a range of 25-30 miles max.

Since you are within 6 miles of the towers, I would try the antenna without the amplifier and see what stations come in. Then try the amplifier on the lowest level next. Then try with the max setting. There will probably be a “sweet spot” for operation. It is possible to “overdrive” the signal, causing noise to muck up the signals.

At 6 miles, a “paperclip” should pickup those stations…

Thanks, Ronintexas, appreciate the suggestions. I do take the 150 mile with a grain of salt and your thoughts make sense. I think one of the challenges with our location is we are at a significantly lower elevation than the tower. I’m likely around 900 and the tower is at about 4200. The major market is in a different direction and much further away; I suspect WCAX is beaming at only a slight angle down. To make matters worse, I am certain there is a ‘hill’ blocking any line-of-sight to the tower; this may be blocking or reflecting it away. Even antennaweb.org is saying “Medium directional w/pre amp and large directional w/pre amp” even though it’s 5-6 miles away.

I’ll try without the amp and with the amp on low, and see how high I can get this antenna up as well.

True line of sight always gets the best reception. One ridge between you and the tower lowers the reception, and two ridges make it difficult. When you get beyond two ridges, it is very difficult to pickup the stations.

Although TV fool’s database is a little outdated (repack info), they do give insight into the topographical features (number of ridges) - take a look here: https://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

I use a combination of TV Fool, Rabbit Ears (https://www.rabbitears.info/searchmap.php) and antennaweb to get the most information I can when doing recommendations. I know TV Fool & Rabbit Ears allow you to share the link for the report (without giving personal information).