Don't think I'm ever going to be able to wake up the modem part of the comms board, but I'm posting all the info for posterity--
I have two meta doctors-- one recent one I just created and one from when I originally frankenpre'd the phone (it was an unlocked dev day pre2)
The original one actually completed but didn't disable first use and the modem still wasn't working so it was stuck on the sky screen.
The new one also completes and since it skips first use app it doesn't hang. The phone is useable in wifi mode for internet etc.
I tried doing the ModemFW flash through novaterm and it was still unable to access the modem (/dev/modemdiag not found). Tried a few different versions, the only one that really "worked" was the CDMA firmware from the verizon doctor. The WR doctor HAS a cdma firmware file but it is empty (0Kb filesize) so I extracted it from the verizon doctor instead.
Also tried the sprint firmware from their pre- doctor but that didn't work at all. I think whatever moisture got in didn't JUST scramble the firmware, it caused actual permanent hardware damage (probably a soft short, since nothing really exploded when I turned the phone on after the drying period but the battery drained very quickly)
I also swapped the cable with the pre- one (the pre2 one was a bit damaged looking) but it didn't change anything
My only question, then, is if it's worth it to try for a new comms board-- given the other things that are working (wifi for instance), is it possible the problem is NOT the comms board but other connective tissue? I think that this shouldn't be the case (since the ATT comms board does show up when I plug it in) but I'm curious if there are any other opinions on that