Remember: I have the license. I know the party line!
The types of things you're describing are the things that got me interested in it in the first place. But it's not enough to carry my interest.
For example, QRP interests me. How far can I go on 5W? Sounds cool. But once I build a radio, what do I do with it? Who do I talk to? Now I'm back to the old guys who only want to talk about their signal strength and what gear they're using.
On top of which, AR seems mired in old technology: CW and SSB. Where is the developments? I see *zero* digital--not even 20-year-old packet. I see almost *nothing* outside of HF (CW and SSB) and 2m repeaters. What is exciting about that?
So I still don't get it. I need something to *do* with the radios and antennas I build during the very long stretches of time in between the disasters! And I haven't found *anything* worth actually doing during those times.
I guess that's my question: what do you actually *do* with AR that makes it a worthwhile activity? If the answer is "build radios because I can", then I guess it's just not for me. I would like to actually *use* it for something productive. Every single thing that I could do with AR I can do 50 times easier and cheaper with something else.
I know what the next statement is: "But what will you do when there's no cellular coverage? No phone lines? No power?" I appreciate the value of such skills and resources. And I would like have such skills and resources. But I cannot afford to invest time into a hobby that I *might* use once in my life purposefully, if during the *rest* of the time there is almost nothing to do of even creative value. And that's what I'm looking for: some creative value that can be gotten from AR. After all, you can't spend *all* of your time building radios, right? You do want to actually *use* them, right?