HamScan User's Guide

HamScan is a program that works with the TC2000 / TCNet data servers and the TC Software Development Kit. It:


Downloading, registration and installation of HamScan

The set of files that make up HamScan is packaged is a downloadable, self-installing module. To use HamScan, you first much Register . After registration, click here to start installing HamScan, select OPEN, then click SETUP and follow the on-screen directions.

Logging in to HamScan

The first time that you use HamScan after Registering, you must Log In before it will load and display data. This registration information is used only for communication and information specifically relating to the HamScan program. For example, by registering, you automatically are placed on a mailing list that is used to announce updates and other information about HamScan. When you first start HamScan, a Registration window will pop up. Enter your TCNet user name (if you have one), or your on-line handle. Also, enter your email address. Please enter a valid email address because that is the only way that I can contact you regarding your copy of HamScan, for bug fixes, updates, etc. Your email address is NOT shared. You may also Register from the HamScan menu Settings / Register. The registration window looks like this:

Once you have registered, you can check your account registration status (as well as expiration dates and program versions) from the HamScan menu, Help / About. This window looks like this:

This window displays the following information:

The HamScan User's Guide is available while running HamScan

This User's Guide for HamScan is available both on the HamScan web site as well as locally installed on your machine. To view the local copy, select Help / User Guide from the HamScan menu.

Quickstart - displaying data for a TCNet/TC2000 watchlist

Start by running HamScan, and then click on the LISTS pulldown. Lists are separated into several categories. Each category has a header line (all capitalized), followed by the lists in that category. As you can see, LISTS is a collection of all of the WatchLists that you have defined in TCNet/TC2000. Select one - a good one for testing is the "Dow Jones 30 Industrial Component Stocks" - scroll all the way to the bottom, then scroll up to the COMPONENT WATCHLISTS (which start with 8:) to select it. Immediately, you will see the data from the TCNet/TC2000 databases. Next, click on the PAGES pulldown and select a different entry to see other data. In addition to the watchlists that you have set up in TCNet, HamScan scans the TradeStation directory for CSL (Custom Symbol List) files. Any CSL files that are found are added to the LISTS, so that you can select one to have HamScan display the data for a list of tickers that you built in TradeStation.

Starting in Version 3.00.01, you can also select the Watchlist or Stock Group from the menu Data / Choose WatchList. This is a much easier way to access the full collection of WatchLists, which can number several hundreds. By using the menu technique, the watchlists are organized by type in sub-menu hierarchies. In addition, the Media General Industry Groups are sub-categorized for easier use.

Sorting displayed data for the current watchlist

Once you have some data displayed, you can click on the column header buttons at the top of each column of data to have HamScan sort the data using that column. Click again to reverse the sort order. HamScan indicates which column is used for sorting by color coding the headers as Ascending or Descending.

Using TCNet/TC2000 pre-programmed Sorts

Next, click on the SORTS pulldown to see a list of all of the sort orders that you have defined in TCNet/TC2000. You may select one to change the sort order of the data. Starting in Version 3.00.01, you can also select the TC Sort from the menu Data / Choose TCSort.

Viewing other pages of data for the selected watchlist

Click on the PAGES pulldown again, and select a different page. Each page has it's own set of data columns, using the same WatchList that you have selected. You may add a new Page by selecting Settings / Page Setup / Add Page from the menu. To give the current page a new name, select Data / Configure Pages / Rename Current Page. If you would like to delete the current page, select Data / Configure Pages / Remove Current Page. You can also change the name of the current page with Data / Configure Pages / Rename Current Page. Starting in Version 3.00.01, you can also select the Page from the menu Data / Choose Page.

The "Criteria" page demonstrates many of the features that HamScan offers:

The "True Range" page has High, Low, and Previous Close, the True Range, and two different methods for calculation of the Average True Range.

Note that although the ATR14 method of calculating the Average True Range can be calculated in a TCNet/TC2000 PCF, the SmoothedATR can not. It is possible to approximate the SmoothedATR value in a PCF (to with close enough accuracy that it's "correct"), but iterative calculations like this can not be calculated exactly. HamScan is able to calculate and display these values exactly, including more complex calculations that would either generate prohibitively long PCFs or would just not be possible.

The "Dir Movement" page demonstrates the various Welles Wilder Directional Movement indicators, including DI+ and DI- (which gives indication of direction), the DMI, and ADX (which gives indication of trend strength - but NOT direction), and the smoothed ADXR average.

The "S+R Pivots" page demonstrates the traditional calculations of Pivot Support and Resistance levels.

NOTE on how TCNet stores Fundamental and System Criteria data, and what information is available:
For System Criteria (including Fundamentals - you'll see them preceded with '*' in the UserPCF/*SystemCriteria dropdown selector in the Formula Builder), the actual numeric values are not stored. Instead, TCNet/TC2000 ranks all tickers with a value of 1 through 99 (0 indicates that the ticker is not ranked), from lowest to highest value, and grouping tickers with similar values together in each of the 99 ranking levels. This ranking level is available in HamScan ("Rank"). HamScan will also calculate a "Value" (which is the same value that TCNet shows on the Data Sheet) for System Criteria. It does this in the same way that TCNet does, so the value is NOT exact, but "approximate" (see the TCNet Data Sheet accessed via Ctrl-V to notice that TCNet also lists the values as approximate). The "Criteria" Page, described above, contains examples of Value, Rank, and Upper data values.

Exporting displayed data to Excel, text, or HTML files

Now that you have some data displayed, you can export it to other program formats. HamScan currently supports export to text files (using spaces to align the data - so they should be viewed in a fixed (non-proportional) font), HTML files (exported as an HTML <Table> which you can easily upload to your web server), and Excel files (XLS spreadsheets). To export the data for all of the displayed columns, select Data / Export Data from HamScan's menu. When exporting to Excel, HamScan will create a new spreadsheet file, modify an existing file, or even paste the data into a spreadsheet that you have open on your screen. HamScan remembers the last directory that you used for each type of export, and stores each one separately. You can select one or more pages to export together to a single file. HamScan brings up a selection window that allows you to choose which page(s) to export. Select a page to export by clicking on it, and remove it from being selected by clicking on it again. The Page Selection window (with Pages Criteria and S+R Pivots selected to export) looks like this:

Exporting displayed data to TradeStation files

HamScan has two features that allow you to export to TradeStation files. You can export the list of tickers currently shown based on a TCNet list or one of your own Easy Scans. In addition, you can export the values of each of the columns for each symbol. These are exported to an ELX file, which TradeStation Indicators and Strategies can read. Here are examples of each type of export:

Exporting the list of ticker symbols

NOTE! There are two issues relating to passing symbol tickers between TCNet and TradeStation. First, both programs have tickers for stocks that the other program is unaware of. If you create a list in TCNet that includes unknown tickers, TradeStation will display that row as Invalid Symbol. Second, some tickers (particularly indices and calculated values like TRIN) differ between TCNet and TradeStation. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is $INDU on TradeStation, but DJ-30 on TCNet.

Importing a list of ticker symbols into HamScan from TradeStation

Exporting ticker data from HamScan to TradeStation ELX files TradeStation has an add-on DLL called ELX.DLL. This is not part of the regular release. It is not automatically installed when you install TradeStation. You need to install the DLL and a series of support Functions to use the ELX features. ELX is Easy Language eXtensions. Using ELX allows you to pass data and settings between Indicators, Charts, Strategies, etc. By exporting HamScan data (including calculated PCF values and System Criteria) via ELX, you can provide this data to TradeStation so that it can display it or use it for calculation of Strategies or Indicators.

To install TradeStation's ELX extensions, go to TradeStation World and log in (join if you haven't - it's free, and there is a *huge* amount of information there). Scroll down to TradeStation 7 Support Discussions, then select EasyLanguage-DLL Questions. Click on the first "sticky" topic, "ELX", and follow the directions. You may be able to get to the ELX download by a direct link.

The example below assumes that you have already installed the ELX.DLL file and that you have imported the ELX Functions.

Backing up your User PCFs

Often in TCNet/TC2000, you will create or acquire PCFs and get a collection of many more than you actually use. These extra PCFs slow down the update process significantly. By "backing up" your PCFs, you can remove them, and speed up the update process. You can also preserve them in case of loss of TC data. HamScan will dump all of your User PCFs to a text file (editable with WordPad). This format is NOT compatible with TC, and can not be imported. It's only purpose is to save the PCFs, one per line, including the PCF name. The format of each line is PCFName=Formula. After you have backed up and removed the unused PCFs from your system, you can bring individual ones back by copy-and-paste from the HamScan dump file.

Adjusting the number of bars of data to use for calculations

Just like TCNet/TC2000, HamScan looks at historical data to calculate function values. The more data needed, the longer the calculation takes. The Settings / Max Bars Back menu item lets you adjust the number of bars of data that HamScan will use. You can select Fast, Medium, or Slow settings. Slow settings are necessary for calculations that use long moving averages, or use BOP. HamScan will automatically test your settings, and inform you if there are not enough bars of data - and then it will adjust the setting for you. These menu items are only provided so that you can test your own optimizations, to try and speed up the calculations

Surviving the TCNet/TC2000 Update cycle

If a TC Update cycle is started while HamScan is running, TC will change the data that HamScan needs to do it's calculations. To handle this issue, HamScan detects a TC Update cycle, and pops up a message window. This window tells you that TC is updating, and gives you instructions for reloading the data. In addition, HamScan changes the color of the Update field (in the upper right of the main window) to Red to indicate that data has changed, and needs to be reloaded. Note that you may continue to use HamScan while TC is doing the update, but that the data will not be updated until you specifically tell HamScan to reload it. To reload the data, wait until the TC update is completely finished. Then, from the menu of HamScan, click Data / Reload TC Data. This will cause a restart of the TC data interface, and will reread the data for the current screen, and all other screens. The formulae will be recalculated. After you have done this Reload, the Update field on the main screen will be changed from Red back to the default color.

Ticker commands: Creating sub-lists of tickers, controlling TCNet and Yahoo

With the Tickers that are displayed in HamScan, you can right click on any of the displayed tickers (not hidden), and perform several operations. These operations include hiding and showing groups of tickers (to narrow your list down), as well and the ability to control TCNet, TC2000, and Yahoo with the ticker you select.

After selecting a LIST from the Lists drop-down, you may wish to eliminate some of the tickers based on the data displayed. This will trim your list to make it easier to evaluate the remaining tickers, and will also make the list smaller if you export it. For example, you might sort on column "BullishTrend" (with your own formula in it), and identify 25 out of 100 stocks that have this condition as "TRUE". To further examine only the matching tickers, you can right-click on a ticker symbol to bring up a pop-up menu. You can select a ticker by left-clicking on it. You can select a group of tickers by left-clicking and dragging - or by using the SHIFT key with a mouse click.

The popup menu includes the following options:

Using the advanced Formula Builder features

Select the Personal choice from the PAGE pulldown on the main HamScan screen. This displays an (initially) empty page, containing only the Ticker column. Right click on the Ticker header and select Add to create a new column with a calculated formula that you specify.
To change a formula, right click on the column header.
To add a new column, right click in the blank space to the right of the last column, or right click on any column header and select Add.

After choosing Formula Builder, a new window (see above) will pop up to allow you to edit the formula for that column of data.

Creating your own Formula
A HamScan Formula consists of:

Variables may be optionally followed by an "offset" which specifies how many bars back (C1 is Close of Previous Bar) PCF Specifiers provide access to all PCF and System Criteria values as calculated by TCNet. In the following PCF Specifiers, the 'xxxx' is a code used internally by TCNet to identify which PCF or Criterion. HamScan will determine the value of xxxx for you. Select the PCF or System Criterion (preceded by '*') from the UserPCF/*SystemCriteria drop-down. Then click the Value (or other) button to paste the corresponding PCF Specifier into the formula editor. HamScan will also include a comment that provides the name of the PCF or Criterion, so that you can remember which PCF/Criterion you selected. Arithmetic operators: HamScan follows standard algebraic order of precedence rules, that is, Multiplication and Division are calculated before Addition and Subtraction. For example, 2*3+4*5 is calculated as (2*3)+(4*5). Comparison operators: Boolean operators: Function calls: perform complex calculations on values. Parameters for Functions are contained in parentheses. Parameters may be constants, variables, or other complete formulae. In the following functions: Note that you do not need to supply all parameters to functions - only from left to right the ones that are needed.

Encoding your Formula
HamScan has the ability to encode your formula. This lets you create your own proprietary formula, and provide it to other users (you may sell it, give it as part of a membership, etc.). The users can see the results of your formula - but they can not see the formula itself - and they can not modify it. To encode your formula, bring it up in Formula Builder. Next, determine whether you want to allow everyone to use your formula, or just a specific user. If you choose a specific user, you need to have the user provide you with their TC User Number (they can get this from the TCNet/TC2000 menu, Reports / Account Information). Enter the user's number in the TC User Number (blank for "ALL") input field. If you leave this field blank, then all users will be able to use it. If you specify a User Number, then only that user can use your formula. You can make special versions for each user, if you want to give your formula to several people, but not allow everyone to use it.

After entering the User Number (or leaving that field blank to allow any user to use your formula), click the Encode Formula button. HamScan will encode your formula, and then copy it to the Windows Clipboard. You may now change to your email program and Paste (Edit/Paste from the menu, or Ctrl-V from the keyboard) to send your encoded formula to a user. Alternatively, you may wish to save the encoded formula in a Text Document.

When the other user gets your email (or file), they simply mark and copy the complete encoded text - and then paste it in to their Formula Editor as the formula. Note that if you specified a User Number, then that particular version of your formula can only be used on a TC machine which has the same User Number - so if you sell a formula, users can not share the formula with each other (unless you left the User Number field blank - which allows any TC user to use (but not view or change) the formula.

Fibonacci Charting

Right clicking on a ticker, then selecting "Show Chart" will bring up a new window that displays the price information for the ticker, as well as Swing high and low Pivot points, and Fibonacci retracement and extension values based on the pivots. HamScan shows eight retracement percentages (which you can change). It also shows four line segments that you can adjust. HamScan will draw Fibonacci support and resistance lines on the chart for you automatically. If you have any patterns that you would like to save, you can tell HamScan to save your color settings, Fibonacci retracement settings, and line segment selection - for easy use at a later time. Once the Charting window is visible, you can use a shortcut to select a different ticker: simply left-click on the ticker in the watchlist to change charts. Feel free to move the charting window to a location that makes the viewing easier. The charting window looks like this:

This window provides a lot of information:

Custom programming for HamScan

If you have special needs for calculations of strategies or indicators, and want to display them in HamScan, please contact me (HamFon) for a price quote. I will need your specifications and any calculation methods that I don't already have. Customized versions of HamScan are written for YOU only - the techniques and calculations do not become part of the public version. Other people may ask for a similar calculation, of course. Also, HamScan can do additional specialized calculations like comparing two or more tickers or indices, or even accessing external databases such as calculation of Volatility Bands based on Put and Call data from www.ivolatility.com.

All discussions of your methods remain private between you and me, even if you decide to not pursue a customized version.

Thanks for your continued support!