This paper investigates performance of channel coded noncoherent systems over block fading channels. We consider an iterative system where an outer channel code is serially concatenated with an inner modulation code amenable to noncoherent detection. We emphasize that, in order to obtain near-capacity performance, the information rates of modulation codes should be close to the channel capacity. For certain modulation codes, a single-input single-output (SISO) system with only one transmit antenna may outperform a dual-input and single-output (DISO) system with two transmit antennas. This is due to the intrinsic information rate loss of these modulation codes compared to the DISO channel capacity. We also propose a novel noncoherent detector based on Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). Compared to existing detectors, the MCMC detector achieves comparable or superior performance at reduced complexity. The MCMC detector does not require explicit amplitude or phase estimation of the channel fading coefficient, which makes it an attractive candidate for high rate communication employing quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) and for multiple antenna channels. At transmission rates of 1 ~ 1.667 bits/sec/Hz, the proposed SISO systems employing 16QAM and MCMC detection perform within 1.6-2.3 dB of the noncoherent channel capacity achieved by optimal input.