Problems with OTA UHF reception

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For the past ten days or so we have been having problems with TV channel 4.
 This station broadcasts on UHF from Boston Mass. and we are about 45 miles
 (as the crow flies) from the transmitter. The antenna is an old, but in go
od condition,  very high gain Channel Master 5 foot parabolic which is moun
ted on a tripod about 6 feet off the roof. There is a mast mounted Winegard
 GA 8780 preamplifier with a 28 DB UHF section along with a very low noise  
figure mounted about 2 feet from the antenna. The cable is RG6 Quad which g
oes into a two way splitter. The receiver, (converter box) is a Channel Mas
ter 7001. Our elevation is 410 feet and we are surrounded by trees, some de
ciduous and some pine.  

Most of the time, in spite of this not so ideal situation, (location) I can
 receive the three networks and a few independents. The signal display on t
he converter shows, as two horizontal bars, "signal quality" and "signal le
vel". On most channels most of the time signal quality is pegged at 100 per
cent and signal level runs between 45 and 55 percent. Within this window I  
usually have no problems with reception. As long as signal quality doesn't  
fold back I usually will get no drop outs. If it should falter excessively  
though both picture and sound will break up and intermittently freeze. So I
'm pretty familiar with what conditions will produce a good signal.  

Lately Channel 4 although displaying 54 percent signal level and 100 percen
t signal quality has had very slight "tearing streaks" going through the pi
cture. If these aberrations only affected the picture we would be able to w
atch the program. However this problem seems to chop up the sound as well.  
This makes it impossible to watch a program.  

The weather of late has been hot and humid, which is atypical for New Engla
nd this time of year. I've noticed in the past that during this type of wea
ther we do sometimes lose reception on several channels for a day or two bu
t never this long. I'm just wondering if anyone might have a theory as to w
hat could be happening here. This only seems to affect channel 4, (where al
l our shows happen to be). Thanks, Lenny

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