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Carl, your story reminds me of when I was building a 25 watt AM transmitter for a college carrier current station. It is rumored that this may have been connected to an antenna for brief tests. I won’t confirm nor deny.
Back to meters, analog meters have a distinct advantage over digital meters for routine monitoring and adjustment because once the operator becomes familiar with the meter positions it is very easy to quickly detect an abnormal reading. The 250 watt repeater I built and managed had four meters, B+, grid drive current, reflected power, and plate current. I could tell at a glance when entering the shed if anything was amiss such as an antenna problem or the final tube going flat.
I hope Rich pursues this and keeps us posted on his adventures.