Finally I got around to making a little change on my GI Radio Slave Transmitter set (those are also known as GI Triggers or Poverty Wizards).
I love the triggers dearly, and while there pop rate is not good enough to play Russian Roulette with, it is good enough for most of my usage.
One thing that has been bothering me for ages is the short rage of those triggers. While they work well indoors, they tend to be a little limiting once stepping outside. I looked around and found some great tuts (including a camo one) about extending the GI range. This post will describe how I did it (kinda quick and dirty).
What You’ll Need
Nothing fancy: a GI Trigger to mod, an antenna, and a connector. Now I am not an RF guy, so I just played with several antennas that I had around the house to find the best one. (If you are an RF person, you may wanna check this very technical thread)
A drill – to make the hole in the casing; a hot glue gun that will be used to place the antenna connector in place, a small screwdriver and a solder.
Step 1 – Open The Casing
This was a piece of cake. There is one screw located on the bottom side of the radio trigger. See the top of the picture above. I’m gonna call it the Saturday screw.
[this is a bit of a back story feel free to skip to step 2 - The hard thing here was not loosing the screw. When I was int he army we used to carry M16s. to clean the rifle we had to take it apart. One of the parts was a small pin call "Saturday Pin". It got its name because it was very easy to loose and once lost, you were in for a saturday duty. Just some free association on a small screw and small parts in general. I will call this small black screw Saturday screw from now on. Just for funzees]
Step 2 – Drill The Casing
In my case the only place that would fit the connector without cutting into the PCB was need the LED. I started with a small drill and slowly made bigger and bigger holes. This was done to better control the hole location. (I ended up using a 6mm drill for fitting the connector in). I know it looks just like the previous picture. top right has a new hole.
Note that the Saturday screw is in the picture. I am not letting my eyes of this one.
Step 3 – Glue And Solder
Place the RF connector in the hole and apply hot glue on both sides. Make sure to place some glue under the connector plate. Now let the glue dry a bit.
Locate the antenna that comes out of the PCB and solder it to the base of the antenna connector. Apply more glue.
Saturday screw never left the picture.
Step 4 – Close The Case
This is why you should have been concentrating on knowing where the Saturday screw is at all time. fold the antenna wire and use the screw to re-close the trigger case.
Testing was done in a fairly simple way. I mounted an speedlight on a nastyclamp and kept shooting while stepping backwards. I managed to get to about 120 meters before starting to get misfires. I closed the aparture to f/22 so it will be easier for me to see if the flash fired or not.
Word Of Warning
The GI Trigger does comply with several Radio Regulations, and I would not be surprised if tweaking the antenna totally breaks that. So if you do this and a couple of suits in a van make you disappear of the face of the earth, please don’t mention my name.