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.)
Step 1: 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
3G external antenna with SMA connectorTools:
5mm drill bit
Small Phillips / Pozidrive screwdriver
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
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
There are two small cross-headed screws on the underside of the dongle - remove them with your screwdriver.
Step 4: 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
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.