Skype is more or less half-duplex so noise being picked up by the microphone affects your ability to listen to your remote partner. Adjust your audio settings. Don't let Skype automatically adjust your volume. Set the mic sensitivity down a bit so that your voice still comes through but rubbing your hands together, scratching your knee, or typing softly doesn't interrupt the conversation.
The other thing I found on Linux was that the volume setting for capture device was turned up all the way. If I didn't mute the mic, I couldn't hear my partners. I turned this device down and suddenly I have the behavior I wanted all along. I didn't know I had a "capture device" before. Watch for this!
Troubles de jure:
Finally gave up on skype around 11:08 today. Too many disconnects and audio trouble even when it was connected. Gizmo no better. Google voice & video really eats up my computer but is a more viable choice if we don't do anything but watch and listen on my side.
It's bandwidth. I ran some test from speedtest.net and I'm apparently getting only 6Mbps down, 1.3Mbps up. That's a new low for me. Guess I should add bandwidth testing to my morning routine. Switch from wireless to wire, same answer (actually slightly worse). Need a boost in bandwidth. I suppose I can talk to my ISP about that.
Talk to my partners, and see what I can do without A/V support.