Sunday, May 31, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: SkySweeper Decoder Program Is Discontinued!

This terse announcement was posted on Saturday to the SkySweeper mailing list:

Hello All,

All sales, marketing and development of SkySweeper Std, SkySweeper Plus and SkySweeper Pro will be discontinued from 1st of June 2009.

SkySweep Technologies LTD is now fully concentrating on the SkySweep Messenger product family and some other professional systems development.

SkySweeper support continues as it is until 1.1.2011.

The latest versions and manuals can be downloaded here:

We would like to send our warmest thanks to all the SkySweeper users!

Mikko Huttunen

General Manager
SkySweep Technologies

Given the time difference between here and Finland, where the program was produced, June 1 has already come. SkySweeper is no more.

SkySweep Messenger is a commercial-grade messaging suite based on STANAG 4285, 4539, and 5066. It is also capable of the American MIL-STD-110A/B and MIL-STD-141 (more commonly known in the hobby as "ALE"). It has the usual e-mail and Internet connectivity. It is aimed at government users and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

SkySweeper was intended for either the more geeky hams or the hard core digital utility fans (in other words, us). It was a good deal for the price. It contained a great number of highly modular sub-programs, some working better than others, which could be combined in endless ways at the will at the user. More money got you more modules, not better code.

Dedicated, more specialized programs could often produce more accurate decodes of a few modes at a time, but with the loss of this modularity. SkySweeper allowed the user to string together decoders, analyzers, filters, processors, and transmitters into truly mind boggling series and parallel configurations. One could spend years experimenting with all this.

Best of all, Mikko was always available on the mailing list to answer newbie questions, gripes, and bug reports.

Mac users are lucky to still have Chris Smolinski's excellent MultiMode package. On the PC side, however, the departure of SkySweeper leaves a real gap in the market. There are still MixW and MultiPSK, both excellent multimode packages, but obviously aimed more at hams. On the high end, we still have the professional multi-mode products by HOKA, Wavecom, et al, but these are rightfully priced well beyond the means of most hobbyists.

I'm hoping that I'll still be able to move SkySweeper to new computers, because I'll be using it for a long time to come.