OK This is an interesting observation as I too have had a close look at very high ranking stations and it definitely does seem to correlate that stations very close to an airport always seem to have a very high OTHER Count, this then pushes their rating higher to a point that a station very nearby to the same airport but does not receive the ground transmission can NEVER match the or surpass that stations rating.
I personally feel there is something wrong in the aircraft count when moving from OTHER to MLAT/ADSB Status and a great possibility they may be getting doubled up.
Flightaware, Can you tell us if the ICAO Code is the common key for an Aircraft count.
Maybe we could put this to a real observation test.
Can you supply a small snippet of example data to show an aircraft that has moved from OTHER to MLAT/ADSB.
To be quite honest the OTHER Aircraft are fine to be counted as it is a received data packet but it should not contribute to a stations rating because at the end of the day ratings should directly correlate to a station contribution to tracking an Aircraft. i.e. put a position report on a map for another users to observe the received aircrafts position.
After all this is about Aircraft tracking not how many packets are received by a station. Therfore the OTHER Aircraft simply do not count, for all we care they could be cars driving past with transponders in them in STBY mode, the data from these transmissions is useless to us and pointless to the whole system.
Here is a quote from your own page:
Want to improve your ranking? Make sure your feeder and network is running 24/7/365. Then, you can either add more sites (e.g., at home in addition to the office, at a vacation house, at a friend’s house, etc.) or improve your reception. To improve your country’s ranking, recruit colleagues or friends to submit their data to FlightAware. Create or join a flight crew so that you can collaborate with others.
This does not say anything about having a line of site view to an airport which seems to have a dramatic effect on a stations statistics and rating. Just go and take a look at some of the top ranking stations and tell me otherwise.
I have seen stations that have quite a huge range > 250Nm, myself included, that would see all the same traffic coming out of surrounding airports that cannot beat the stats of a station that has a rather poor reception coverage but obviously a perfect reception of ground traffic at the same airports.
The data just does not correlate making the ranking system unfair to some degree and there are people that chase these stats, but they are against stations they could never possibly beat due to the OTHER aircraft factor and the simple fact they live in line of sight view of an airport…
I am not one for chasing these statistics but I have quite a good station with very good coverage than the average one and looking at stats on a daily basis it does not add up to me.
It took me some time to understand why poor coverage stations can get such a high ranking, think this through a little bit Flightaware, it maybe something that has just never been bought to your attention.
That’s my 2c worth on the matter.