Today I discovered another big find.
While listening to the APRS freq and watching the igate log, I realized that I was receiving way more signals rf than I was decoding and gating. I decided to try another receiver. And bam, I went from gating ~200/hr to over 1500/hr. Wow! Big difference.
So the moral of the story is, a good receiver puts a cleaner signal to the soundcard for decoding and gating.
I had a rat shack portable receiver and went to a rat shack desktop model I had. Good find. Funny how Im watching the area gates for who is getting what. Tracerts allow me to find the fastest routes to market on the gate.