Gidday folks, Hi Frank,
PalTalk can indeed be used for contact, but I think you should investigate Skype, Frank.
I tried it when it started and at the start of a call the sound quality was very good but we found that it deteriorated.
Mind you Skype recommends XP and broadband while we were using ME and dial-up. If you and your correspondents have the necessary then you'll likely find Skype the answer.
Let me know how you go.