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Fred, I don't have the answers to all your questions but I'll answer what I can based on what I have.

I have the NCE 10amp wireless system. NCE just announced an upgrade that extends the wireless, exactly how far I don't know and may depend on conditions. My upgrade is scheduled for early April. My current wireless works well up to about 40 feet from the base, after that it gets iffy. But that should be plenty for the size layout you specified.

They also just came out with a USB interface to work with a computer, but I don't know the details on what all you can do with it.

One of the locos I run is an LGB Mike, with MTS type II decoder (55021). It works no problem, but the MTS decoder only recognizes serial commands, so to execute F3 you have to press F1 3 times. Massoth did an upgrade on mine for $50 so I could use parallel commands and just press F3.

For switching between locos, the NCE has a recall button, so I can easily switch between locos fast and it remembers the settings. I've only tried this with 2 locos so I don't know how 3 or more at the same time work. 2 locos is all I can run at present because of layout limits, but this summer I'll be expanding so I hope to be able to run 3 at a time.

You mentioned the big guys (NCE, LENZ, ZIMO) but also look at Digitrax and Massoth.

I've had my NCE for 2.5 years and no problems, except 1. I run outdoors and below 40 degrees (F) the wireless doesn't work. I can still run tethered. But if you are indoors that shouldn't be a problem.

Digitrax, I think, has a transponding decoder so you can track the location of your loco, but I don't know the details or how far along they are on this. I'd love to see a diagram on my computer screen with the location of my engines and cabeese so I know all is well when I'm not watching things myself.
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