I live in northern Canada, a couple hours away from Alaska, and "Aquiring Signal" is usually all I see displayed on both my home and vehicle receivers. Home antenna (the small folding one that came with the home unit) is pointed due south.
Today, I have 3 bars displayed for SAT on my antenna aiming screen and the usual 0 bars for TER, and the reception has been pretty good. Hopefully a new sat would make a diff but its orbit is over Texas. The older sats have what is called a "tundra orbit", an elliptical orbit over north and south america, so one would assume that I'd be getting pretty good reception when there's a sat at the top (most northerly point) of its orbit, but this hasn't been the case (unless it's at that point when I'm asleep :0(