The Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (B-TAC) has decided on a standardized way for broadcasters to use program information (PI) codes as part of their transmission of RDS/RBDS (Radio (Broadcast) Data System) services.
In order to ensure proper operation of RBDS FM receivers and other devices that make use of RBDS signals, stations must transmit a unique PI code. The PI code allows suitable receivers to identify the programming being received. ThePI code structure contains 16 bits, with 4 bits exclusively allocated for country identification. All codes are in hexadecimal format.
The NRSC-4 standard outlines an algorithm in which PI codes are determined in the United States using the existing 4-letter station call sign. Current PI code assignments allocated for Canada by the NRSC-4 standard are C000-CFFF (with certain exceptions) and B_02 to B_09 for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) network stations.
The current state of PI codes in Canada may fall into one of the categories below:
- Some stations may be transmitting PI codes that do not fall into the accepted format
- Some stations may be transmitting a default PI code that came pre-programmed with the RBDS encoders
- Some stations may not be transmitting a PI code at all.
The CBC has created a spreadsheet tool using Microsoft Excel that allows a user to select a call sign (using drop-down letter combinations), and then outputs the corresponding PI code. The CBC has allowed Industry Canada to post this online so users may access the tool to generate a PI code for a given station.
Instructions on using spreadsheet:
- Download the below file onto your computer.
- Open the '*.zip' file and extract the file entitled "RBDS PI Code Algorith v1.xls". Save this file on your computer as well.
- Upon opening the Excel file, the first three columns at the top left indicate the call sign to be entered. Select the desired call sign using the drop-down letter options. Three and four-letter call signs may be chosen.
- Once the desired call sign is entered, the appropriate hexadecimal PI code will be output on the far right of the spreadsheet (under the 'Conversion DEC => HEXA' header).
PI Codes in Canada (Zip File, 444 KB)
Updated: October 26, 2007