vk2byf wrote:Does autotune only work for Dongle?
No, it should work for any audio source, but in my experience, it seems optimized for IQ signals provided by an SDR device. If you are manually tuning, then you will probably get best results for the first few minutes and the last few minutes of a high elevation pass since Doppler shift will be minimal during that period, and you won't have to shift tuning very much or very often to keep the signal within the passband.
vk2byf wrote:Is the data in the noise or in the tone pair, which seems to short to carry much data?
It's in the "noise". You should be able to tell that the autotune is using the dual-tone periods for tracking in the passband
vk2byf wrote:Should Dashboard work with an ordinary SSB receiver?
Yes, but you will only see an effective passband that matches the bandwidth of your receiver, so you will only be using about 2.4-3.0 kHz on the left side of the Dashboard display at the bottom of the screen if you use USB mode. I'm not familiar with the FT-817, so I can't say anything about the Dig mode.
I will add a couple of comments on relevant issues that might be causing you grief.
First, the type and capability of your computer processor(s) and the load on that processor can have a significant effect on your ability to use the Dashboard software. So using a faster, more capable processor (or a processor with more cores) and reducing the number of additional processes or programs that are running at the same time as the Dashboard can improve your decoding prospects.
Second, noise/interference sources within the frequency range spanned by the FUNcube signal during a pass can cause you to be unable to decode the signal if the noise/interference signal overlaps at all with the FUNcube signal for some or all of the pass. Best decoding results will be when the signal-to-noise ratio is greatest, and that doesn't necessarily correspond to when the FUNcube absolute signal strength is greatest. You may have to do some detective work and determine what noise sources are present and take steps to mitigate the ones you have some control over.
As an example, I have interference spikes and signals due to several reasons and sources. Computer equipment in general and networking equipment in particular generates fixed frequency spikes at my location, and these signals are strong enough that, if they overlap with the FUNcube signal at all, I am able to decode few (if any) frames. I also have a variety of RF emitters in fairly close proximity (some quite strong) that I have no control over, and these can also have an adverse effect depending on which direction I am pointing my antenna and the time of day. Also, because I use a wideband receiver (Alinco DJ-X11T), I suffer from sporadic image signals that can completely obliterate the FUNcube signal for up to several seconds at a time.
Good luck on resolving your issues, and welcome to the forum.