In this article, a study of planar triple band unidirectional Substrate Integrated Waveguide (SIW) cavity backed slot antenna using equivalent circuit model is presented. The proposed antenna uses a modified dumbbell shaped slot of much larger length placed in a planar SIW cavity to excite three closely spaced SIW cavity hybrid modes which help the slot to radiate into free space. The design is analyzed with the help of equivalent circuit model to predict the resonant frequencies of the design and also to explain the excitation mechanism of the proposed slot antenna. The proposed circuit model is validated by comparing its performance with the simulation model for a wide range of parametric variation. The relationship between modification in design dimension with the variation of coupling between feed line and cavity modes is studied which gives a design guideline for the proposed antenna. The fabricated prototype of the antenna resonates at 7.39, 9.43, and 14.79 GHz with a gain of 3.2, 4.9, 4.7 dBi and front-to-back ratio (FTBR) of 10 dB, respectively, at three resonant frequencies which makes it suitable for C (4–8 GHz), X (8–12 GHz), and Ku (12–18 GHz) band applications. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.