Sparks31: Down-Grid Communications Book Review and Thank You!

Good day, patriots!

Recently a friend of TOWR gave us a copy of Sparks31’s latest tome, “Down-Grid Communications”.  It then, I’m sorry to say, sat on my shelf for a few days before I got around to picking it up.

First of all, THANK YOU, Tom, for thinking of us when writing your acknowledgements.  We greatly enjoyed having you up here.  For those who don’t know, Tom’s introductory class was the first one we sponsored at TOWR, and remains our most successful to date.  Now, on to the review.

If you are the newly minted “comms guy” in your group, or your team’s intel officer, “Down-Grid Communications” is the stepping off point you want as you begin gathering intelligence information from your local area.   This book is not one that you buy and stick on your shelf until something goes sideways; it’s an action plan that you need to put into effect today.

The book begins briefly by considering common news sources, their trustworthiness, and whether or not the information they provide is relevant to you when it comes to monitoring your AO.  Even if you think Fox News is the greatest thing since sliced beef, which is more immediately important: the latest presidential hullabaloo or the meth house down the street?  The author then lays out a basic five step plan that the rest of your communications will hang on.

Next, the author focuses on your education.  Specifically, what you need to know to use and maintain the equipment that will support your mission.  He briefly covers a basic library of books that will help get you up to speed on maintenance, repair, and modifications of communications equipment to maximize their use.

I’m not going to go step by step through the entire book and ruin it for you, but the sections on monitoring equipment and techniques are definitely worth the price of admission.  He also covers the major available radio services (such as CB, FRS, Amateur Radio), basic One Time Pad generation, and field phones.

“Down-Grid Communications” packs a lot of information into its 80 pages, but it’s up to you to act on it.  At the risk of being redundant, this isn’t a book you skim and file away for when the zombies rise.  It’s an introduction to the skills you need to develop.  You can buy the book on Lulu for $9.99.  Sparks31’s current blog is


Author: Steve

Steve is a father of two, husband of one, devoted follower of Christ, IT guy, and jack of all trades. He's a liberty activist, blogger, gun lover, and general class radio operator. He read entirely too much Heinlein as a child and routinely fails at his attempts to become the "competent man".

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