Marcella Lindeman Phillips, 77, a physiciat known for her work in radio wave propogation and applied mathematics, died Sunday at her home in Washington after a heart attack.

During World War II while working at the National Bureau of Standards, Mrs. Phillips was in charge of devising methods for predicting worldwide usable radio frequencies. She also was in charge of issuing reports on these predictions to our military forces and all Allied merchant shipping. The methods are still in use.

After the war, Mrs. Phillips accompanied her husband, Maj. Gen. James F. Phillips, an engineer and guided missiles authority, on a tour of duty to the Philippines, where she was in charge of an ionosphere station.

She returned to the Bureau of Standards in 1947, continuing her ionospheric research there until 1951, when she accompanied her husband to Cambridge, Mass., where she became associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Phillipses came back to Washington after Gen. Phillips' retirement in 1953, and for many years lived at Union Farm at Mount Vernon. The historic old house had been built on the foundations of a farmhouse once owned by George Washington.

Mrs. Phillips became a private consultant in physics and applied mathematics, keeping MITs Lincoln Laboratory among her clients, which also included the National Security Agency and the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp.

She was born in Cumberland, Iowa, and grew up in Adel. After earning a degree in music from Highland Park College in Des Moines, she became interested in physics and went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Iowa at Iowa City. She took further graduate work at Columbia University.

She and her husband met at the University of Iowa and were married in 1927. She first went to Philippines with him in the late 1930s, and taught at the Adamson School of Applied Physics in Manila. She also had taught at the University of Iowa and at Hunter College in New York.

Mrs. PHillips had been a member of the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the Acoustical Society of America, the Philosophical Society of Washington and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

She wrote numerous papers and reports for publications in her field.

She and her husband moved into Washington from Union Farm in September 1972. He died six months later at their winter home in Las Palmas on Grand Canary Island.

She is survived by two daughters, Laura Phillips, of San Pedro, Calif., and Mrs. Ulric Weil, of White Plains, N.Y., and two grandchildren.