Huawei E160X (Vodafone K3565) 3G dongle external antenna / casing

Picture of Huawei E160X (Vodafone K3565) 3G dongle external antenna / casing
The K3565 dongle that Vodafone supply with their pay as you go plan is excellent, but frustratingly the external antenna connector is hidden under the casing. Here's how to hack the casing to get at that hidden connector - and for those who want to go the extra step, how to wrap the dongle in a neat little enclosure for a professional look.

(Please note that you won't be able to access the SIM card or the onboard Micro SD socket if you go for the enclosure.)
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Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools

Vodafone K3565 / Huawei E160X USB 3G dongle
Huawei 3G Plug to SMA Socket pigtail (PIG-HUAWEI-SMAS-30 from Solwise in the UK, other suppliers unknown?)
75mm x 50mm x 27mm enclosure (Unscreened or Screened)
3G external antenna with SMA connector


5mm drill bit
Small Phillips / Pozidrive screwdriver
Pry tool
Circular file
Flat file
Fine-grain sand paper
Nut & washer for SMA connector  OR epoxy resin (depends how lazy you want to be about fixing the external antenna connector to the enclosure!)

Step 2: Make our LED brighter

Picture of Make our LED brighter
If the 3G dongle is to be mounted within the enclosure, we need some more light from our status LED, currently barely visible through the semi-opaque casing.

I simply took a flat file to the area above the Vodafone logo to remove the semi-opaque coating, and then polished with some fine-grain sandpaper.

For maximum light you'll want to drill a hole in the upper shell of the casing and led the LED shine bright into the enclosure; this approach will give a much brighter indicator.

Step 3: Disassembling the dongle: Remove screws

Picture of Disassembling the dongle: Remove screws
There are two small cross-headed screws on the underside of the dongle - remove them with your screwdriver.

Step 4: Prise open

Picture of Prise open
Starting from the end with the screws, prise the casing apart. A plastic pry tool used for opening mobile phone casings is ideal for this, just try to use something other than a screwdriver (which would damage the casing). You can afford to be fairly rough with the casing, just make sure you're not flexing the circuitboard inside.

Step 5: Look for external antenna connector

Picture of Look for external antenna connector
Here's our prised-open dongle, and our external antenna connector's hidden under the second white tab from the left on the circuit board. Hopefully it's in the same place on yours.
bartdereu10 months ago

Any idea how this connector is named ?

pmn93933 years ago
you might want to fix that to say HSDPA, not HDSPA
raftech3 years ago
hey man . i like u r project, and i want to say that i have already the same with my usb broadband dongle . good work man
dpestro3 years ago
Hey. I've read your tutorial step by step and I really like what you did here. The Model Label pdf is the nice touch that prove me you are a good person that like to do things in a right manner.

Hands up for ya man !!! Keep up the good work
can i use the 2.4GHz wifi antenna for my hspd dongle (for mobile frequency rang)
hwally3 years ago
I have a huawei e-1556 3g modem. I'd like to install an external antenna Are there any instructions out there or at least a picture of the board showing where to hook up the antenna
davidramm5 years ago
 Good description, very helpful. You can buy the adaptor cable and 3g aerial here -
Newton5 years ago
 Cool instructable.
Do you know if this hack could work for the older E220 Huawei modems?
isacco5 years ago
The crafting of this box is very good and well finished. The instructable is also well illustrated and clearly explained.
almost looks like you bought it cause the final product look very professional very nice job
frollard5 years ago
Not my thing really - wireless gsm/gprs is available here [canada], but the prices just dont make any sense...

Excellent hack, with the finishing touches that make it even more excellent!
lemonie5 years ago
That's a poor device, my 3 Huawei has access to the aerial socket. Does the Vodafone case let you at the micro SD? - It looks like it, but it also doesn't...
The finished box is very nice.

s-taylo (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Yep, the device isn't all that full-featured, but keep in mind it's part of a pay-as-you-go plan that isn't available without the dongle; a £30 purchase with 1GB of credit that doesn't expire has its uses. On the dongle itself, prising back a little rubber cover (visible in step 6) gives you access to the micro SD slot.