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The propagation properties of the half-mode substrate integrated waveguide (HMSIW) are studied theoretically and experimentally in this paper. Two equivalent models of the HMSIW are introduced. With the first model, equations are derived to approximate the field distribution inside and outside the HMSIW. Using the second model, an approximate closed-form expression is deduced for calculating the equivalent width of an HMSIW that takes into account the effect of the fringing fields. The obtained design formulas are validated by simulations and experiments. Furthermore, the attenuation characteristics of the HMSIW are studied using the multiline method in the frequency range of 20-60 GHz. A numerical investigation is carried out to distinguish between the contributions of the conductive, dielectric, and radiation losses. As a validation, the measured attenuation constant of a fabricated HMSIW prototype is presented and compared with that of a microstrip (MS) line and a substrate integrated waveguide (SIW). The SIW is designed with the same cutoff frequency and fabricated on the same substrate as the HMSIW. The experimental results show that the HMSIW can be less lossy than the MS line and the SIW at frequencies above 40 GHz.